October 19, 2008

Wrong solution

NATO warships will patrol the coast of Somalia, in hopes of deterring pirate attacks. The Somali prime minister (at least in name) thinks this is good. (In practice Somalia doesn't have a real government.)

He says so now, but wait until one of the ships fires on pirates and kills them. Then it'll hit the fan.

It seems to me that this is the wrong solution. The right solution is cheap and easy and would be effective: put a squad of armed soldiers on each cargo ship at one end of the zone of vulnerability and take them off at the other end. Arm them with .50 caliber machine guns, and give them orders to shoot to kill any boat that doesn't veer off in response to warning shots.

I wager that after four or five motor-boats full of pirates are sent to the bottom, the rate of pirate attacks will decline drastically.

But even warning shots from an M2 can be an effective deterrent. It worked for USNS Walter S. Diehl in the strait of Hormuz.

comments disabledThe reason there's a lot of piracy off the coast of Somalia is because it's easy, relatively safe, and very lucrative by comparison to all the other ways that bandits can try to make a living. All you have to do is to change that equation to increase the risk/reward ratio, and piracy will decline. A handful of NATO warships alone cannot do that unless you institute a convoy system in the area, and I doubt that's what they have in mind.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 03:35 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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