Tuesday, February 22, 2011

We've been here before

Today, pirates off the coast of Africa murdered in cold blood 4 American civilians.  Our government's response?

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the killings "deplorable." She said in a statement that the killings underscored the need for international cooperation on fighting the scourge of piracy in waters off the Horn of Africa.
She urged international partners to provide material, financial and logistical support to an African peacekeeping mission in Somalia, the country the pirates use as the launching point of their attacks.

I'm sure the pirates are quaking in their boots at the thought of Sec Clinton getting our allies to help.  Wait, do we still have any allies left?

How did we deal with pirates the last time they threatened our country?  We tried diplomacy, and then found that dealing directly with the threat was much more effective.

In his autobiography Jefferson wrote that in 1785 and 1786 he unsuccessfully "endeavored to form an association of the powers subject to habitual depredation from them. I accordingly prepared, and proposed to their ministers at Paris, for consultation with their governments, articles of a special confederation." Jefferson argued that "The object of the convention shall be to compel the piratical States to perpetual peace."

Paying the ransom would only lead to further demands, Jefferson argued in letters to future presidents John Adams, then America's minister to Great Britain, and James Monroe, then a member of Congress. As Jefferson wrote to Adams in a July 11, 1786, letter, "I acknolege [sic] I very early thought it would be best to effect a peace thro' the medium of war." Paying tribute will merely invite more demands, and even if a coalition proves workable, the only solution is a strong navy that can reach the pirates, Jefferson argued in an August 18, 1786, letter to James Monroe.

 Hope and Change and good intentions are wonderful concepts, but in the real world there are still people who are best dealt with by violence.  I disagreed with our last president on a number of things, but his understanding of the right time to use force was one of his best presidential traits.

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