Third Party & Independents Archives

April 13, 2009

Will Somalia Become Obama's War?

President Obama rightly gave the Navy SEALS the green light to take out the pirates holding an American ship Captain hostage if the American appeared to be in danger. The pirates gave the Navy the opportunity and they took 3 of the 4 hostage holding pirates out. The fourth surrendered. The American Captain was returned to the U.S. safely. It worked out. It could easily have gone another way. Pres. Obama’s green light would still have been the right call. Now Somalian pirates are vowing revenge and to target Americans specifically.

And these pirates wasted no time following through on their threat as rocket propelled grenades were launched at a visiting U.S. Congressman in Somalia today. The Congressman was unharmed. Somalia is a state with a weak and fledgling new government. As a result, lawlessness and very high profit criminals are pursuing their crimes with abandon, threatening all the world's cargo ships passing even hundreds of miles from the Somalian coast. Somalia constitutes now a direct threat against Americans overseas, American shipping and Navy, and American interests and visits in Africa. In other words, the criminals in Somalia have declared war upon America.

These criminals, now estimated to number in the hundreds, if not thousands, engaging in piracy upon the high seas off the Eastern Coast of Africa, have acquired enormous millions of dollars via their piracy and ransoms from taking cargo ships hostage. America cannot avoid this declared threat, or the power to attack American interests given their financial resources. President Obama made the right call this week. But he has now to make another one that puts in place a plan to deal with and eliminate the threat now aimed at Americans and American interests in, and around North Eastern Africa.

But, Somalia is a threat to all nations attempting to conduct commerce in Africa by way of the Indian Ocean off the Somalian coast. To effectively be stopped, these Somalian criminal acts should be addressed by all the trading nations of the world, quickly, and permanently. Failure to do so, will, without doubt, be viewed by the likes of Islamic Fundamentalists targeting industrialized nations, as an opportunity to expand their tactics in their war to include the high seas.

America has the legal right under international law to protect her interests. This piracy cannot be permitted to grow into a new threat, and third front war for America. It is incumbent upon Pres. Obama to seek the cooperation and unified international offensive to halt these Somalian criminal interests operating in international waters and threatening the lives of crews and commerce of all nations engaged in shipping or receiving their products of trade by way of the Western Indian Ocean.

A nation which allows its criminal elements to perpetrate crimes against the people and interests of other nations, is no less culpable for those acts than a government which sanctions such acts. The absence of an effective centralized government in Somalia cannot be allowed to stand as a defense against foreign intervention to halt the crimes perpetrated against other nation's people, ships, and goods of commerce. The Somalian government, relatively new, is demonstrably too weak to rein in this criminal piracy organization, without international assistance and direction. The fact that America has now been targeted by this Somalian crime organization, affords Pres. Obama the opportunity to lead the international community to forge an effective international plan to put a quick and complete halt to these crimes.

Every new American president is tested in the international arena. Pres. Obama inherited the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and is now responsible for the conduct and outcome of those wars. Unfortunately, for our new president, the Somalians have just laid an entirely new confrontation on Pres. Obama's plate. How Pres. Obama handles this threat has enormous political consequence for his presidency. Often it is the small international incidents that can come to symbolize a president's international and foreign affairs effectiveness. Pres. Obama can ill afford to let this incident rest on the successful retrieval all American crew members from the Somalian pirate's grip.

Credit should be extended to the Bush Administration for the success of this Somalian rescue operation as well. The Washington Post reports our military and national defense departments worked closely together without impediment and with a high degree of cooperation and efficiency. Given the disarray in our national defense agencies cooperative capacities on 9/11/2001, Pres. Bush's administration is to be commended for handing Pres. Obama a very efficient and cooperatively functioning inter-agency machine capable of effectively dealing with this incident.

Pres. Obama made the right calls to win this battle in a new war waged against America. Though it pales in size and threat toward the American homeland, compared to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the Somalian crime organizations have nonetheless, declared war on the United States, and Pres. Obama must not mistake winning this battle, for winning the war with the Somalian threat. The Somalian threat must be put down, or it will grow into a much larger and far more costly threat toward the United States with the passage of time.

Pres. Obama's demonstrated intent to resolve conflicts cooperatively if possible, with force if necessary, is the right course to pursue with the fledgling Somalian government. Given the resources, and inducements, the Somalian government may be able halt these criminal organizations. If that fails, Pres. Obama has an obligation to seek stronger necessary measures by the international community to resolve the threat to international shipping and their crews. This is where the good will generated by Pres. Obama's visit to Europe and Middle East, will have been a timely and well spent investment.

Posted by David R. Remer at April 13, 2009 11:08 AM
Comments
Comment #280084

David,
…by way of the Atlantic Ocean? umm, only in the most remote sense. For South America and Western Africa going around the Cape of Good Hope makes more sense. It’s the eastern route for Europe and North America, except obviously, the West coast.

Somalia is positioned near the Suez outlet of the Red Sea in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. I’m sure you meant that, but it is rather vague in the way you stated it.

Obama needs to act swiftly at this point handing serious crippling blows to the pirates. The crew stated that they were tracked for a week before being boarded. I understand the Naval presence is being increased. Unfortunately many of the hostages are aboard mother ships. This complicates taking effective action.

A larger issue is the conflicting manipulation between Ethiopia and the West, and Muslim interests in the security issues of Somalia over the last 20 years. This kettle didn’t just boil over. Nation building is not what America needs to be doing right now, but that is what is needed to effectively end this Somalian survival strategy by fishermen turned thugs.


Posted by: gergle at April 13, 2009 12:35 PM
Comment #280085

A map for convenience:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gulf_of_Aden_map.png

Posted by: gergle at April 13, 2009 12:37 PM
Comment #280091

David Samalia will be Bowing Obama’s War.Lets see how he handles the left when Dead Black children who look alot like American Children are being used by our enemy on the front page’s of every newspaper in the world.Obama is about to get a taste of what liberals gave G.W. for eight years.Welcome to the real world.

Posted by: jb at April 13, 2009 01:21 PM
Comment #280092

David,
You write: “Though it pales in size and threat toward the American homeland…”

First, I refuse to call my country the “homeland.” The word smacks of totalitarianism, like ‘fatherland’ and ‘motherland.’ We would all be better off calling the country “Fat City.” It would make us think, and discourage foolish nationalism and jingoism.

Second, the Somali pirates are not a serious threat, and never will be. They occasionally threaten shipping, and they demand tribute. They want money. That’s all. They are criminals, not terrorists or soldiers, and declaring war does not even make sense in this context. A couple destroyers in the area will tamp down the threat. Case closed.

Does the failed state need help being built? Sure. But that’s a matter for diplomacy and foreign aid, not warships.

Posted by: phx8 at April 13, 2009 02:56 PM
Comment #280093

gergle, thanks. Yes, my references were not consistently correct regarding Somalia’s location. A map link was included in the article.

And you are right about contradicting phx8 regarding the potential threat of these pirates becoming adjuncts to, or part of, the terrorist group’s efforts as a result of neighboring influences. These pirates have a lot of money, and the terrorists have a lot of strategy and tactics, and they BOTH now have a common enemy, Americans. Why phx8 fails to acknowledge that possible marriage between these pirates and the fundamentalist Islamic terrorist groups, is beyond me.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 13, 2009 03:04 PM
Comment #280094

phx8, homeland may be a four letter word to you. It means America to me. My home. The land of the free. My homeland.

See my reply to gergle above regarding your take on the Somalian crime organization’s potential threat.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 13, 2009 03:06 PM
Comment #280095

gergle, Just noticed the map link in the article didn’t take. I fixed it. Thanks again.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 13, 2009 03:19 PM
Comment #280097

David,
Prior to 2000, the use of ‘homeland’ in reference to America was almost non-existent. See if you can find that word used during the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Cold War, and so on.

By the way, does ‘homeland’ include legal immigrants? After all, they came from another “home” and merely adopted this one. They certainly weren’t born here. What about illegal immigrants? And of course, many people do not speak the language of the homeland, while others are the wrong color or religion…

In other words, we are a country and a culture united by political ideals like freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; NOT a common home.

Posted by: phx8 at April 13, 2009 04:08 PM
Comment #280098

phx8 asked: “By the way, does ‘homeland’ include legal immigrants? After all, they came from another “home” and merely adopted this one.”

Since the dictionary definition refers to one’s ancestral origin as one definition, and country of origin as another, it would appear to refer to the country in which one is born or, where one’s ancestors originated from.

My parents were born here, so this is my Homeland.

Does Homeland Security ring any bells? Our politicians and government have no problem referring to America as Homeland. Surely, if the popular understanding of the word were as you suggest, these politicians referring to our Homeland Defense would surely never be reelected, wouldn’t you think?

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 13, 2009 04:36 PM
Comment #280099

phx8, I don’t care for the term either. Never liked it from the beginning. I think it started with the Bush admin. I recall the German Republic referring to the ‘fatherland’ or perhaps ‘homeland’. Just never felt good to me.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at April 13, 2009 04:38 PM
Comment #280100

My opinion is that this should be a joint effort of all Countries involved. Joint naval presence in the area would be a great deterent to the pirates. Most if not all merchant ships have radar and could report any suspecious activity in and around their area.

Posted by: KAP at April 13, 2009 04:42 PM
Comment #280102

KAP,
The Obama administration is already coordinating a joint effort.

David,
The word ‘homeland’ also has sentimental overtones. We can argue all day about terms like ‘democracy’ and ‘republic,’ and finding an issue on which 70% of Americans agree on anything at all is difficult; but invoke ‘homeland,’ and no one is supposed to gainsay the argument…

Posted by: phx8 at April 13, 2009 05:15 PM
Comment #280105

David. I have to agree with phx8 on this one. The idea of declaring war on a small time criminal band of pirates doesn’t make any sense. Why is everything military first in this “Homeland” of ours.

I also have to disagree with you about the pirates. When they took the ship, the crew fought them off and all they could come away with was one hostage and a life boat. We came a long and sniped three of them and the last one gave himself up. Do you really think they’re going to go after ships flying the American flag? These aren’t religious fanatics fighting a great evil, they’re business men with a very profitable business. ( Their business is ransom.) No I think they’ll stay away from Americans. Time will tell.

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at April 13, 2009 07:39 PM
Comment #280110

The ‘horn’ is likely to become another Iraq based on the tug of war going on in that area. Oil you know. Here is an excerpt from a globalresearch.ca article by Keith Harmon Snow. Seems likely we would put the ‘horn’ on the back burner for a time until Iraq/Afghan is done.

“Mel Middleton has a long and deep history of working on behalf of the disenfranchised people of South Sudan, where the operations of Talisman Oil have been connected to atrocities. Talisman is one of the powerful Adolph Lundin companies (Lundin Oil is another) with nefarious mining and petroleum operations connected to war and mass murder in Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. A Swedish national, Adolph Lundin has a deep history of connections to the G.H.W. Bush family. In 1996, for example, just weeks before the U.S.-backed invasion of Zaire commenced, G.H.W. Bush personally telephoned Zaire/DRC strongman, Mobutu Sese Seko, on Lundin’s behalf. Adolph Lundin’s Tenke Mining Corporation today holds major concessions in Katanga, DRC.”

and …

“If we were to distill it all down into the most simple analyses we might say this: What Exxon-Mobil and other more U.S.-based companies control in Chad, China wants; and what the Chinese National Petroleum Company and TotalFinaElf have in South Sudan, the US companies want. Darfur is right in the middle.”

and…

“The U.S. special operations (SOCOM) trainings of soldiers in Chad, Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya, raise questions about the involvement of these soldiers in the “complex emergencies” in Chad, Somalia and Central African Republic. It would be absurd and irresponsible—given the petroleum and other resources at stake—NOT to assume that these forces are involved in clandestine Project Pheonix or School of the Americas signature type programs in Sudan (Darfur).”

and…

“Understand that in return for his services over the years former U.S. Senator Bob Dole received massive campaign financing from giant Agribusiness companies like Archers Daniels Midland, the Supermarket to the World, and National Public Radio sponsor. It’s no accident that Bob Dole is a pivotal member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience, or that the Holocaust Memorial Museum is leading the charge to “Save Darfur!” and “Stop Genocide!” in Sudan. Bob Dole is also on the Africa Society board, and the board of the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa. The PCHPA includes as board members President of Uganda and SPLA backer Yoweri Museveni, and this, again, is merely the tip of the Golden Spear.
But this is not the appropriate behavior of humanitarians. It is the behavior of pigs at a trough and it applies to the entire misery industry. Save the Children? Which children? And save them from whom? What about Save the Children’s partnerships with Exxon-Mobil? Or CARE’s partnerships with Lockheed Martin?
Understand such things and you will understand true moral outrage, and the meaning of “unconscionable”. There are numerous precedents, of which perhaps Somalia—given the ongoing US covert military invasion—is the most poignant. It has all happened before, and it’s happening again. The Road to Hell does not end in Sudan, but for many of the good people out to “Save Darfur,” it has certainly begun there.”

Entire article: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=+SN20070207&articleId=4717

Posted by: Roy Ellis at April 13, 2009 09:01 PM
Comment #280111

David,
I have to also agree with Phx8 on using the word “Homeland” to discribe the Shores of America. And with All Due Respct to Americas’ Politicians and Their Lawyers, I think they would call a Bull a Pig if they knew they could get away with it in the Eyes of the Public.

However, I am glad to see President Obama has the Freewill to use Good Judment in this latest event. Nevertheless, “We the People” need to remember that part of Our Heritage comes from Acts of Pirates and as such deal with the causes that lead Men and Women to risk their lifes by challenging the Authority of Government and Society. For if it is wrong for a Corporation to go against Their Inherent Best Interest, shouldn’t the same thing be said about the Individual?

Yet, having nothing and nothing to lose what is a Man or Woman to do if the Societal Elite cannot or will not meet their Basice Needs? And since it has already been established that the Pirates of Somalia are in it for “The Money” I do believe that President Obama and the other World Leaders will have to see if the deaths of the three pirates will cause an increase in violence or bring the Leaders of the Merry Men to the Political Table IMHO.

KAP,
Actually, the merchant ships could be equipped with armed drones manned by an U.S. Military Ship in the area. However, who are you going to charge for the costs of setting up such a system around the world. When doing so represents the same tactics that the Pirates are presentlly using (i.e. pay us for your safety).

Mike,
Why staying out of the fight may be the wiser move, given the Standing of America I do believe that our leaders can find a way to help solve the problem other than getting into another full blown war.

Posted by: Henry Schlayman at April 13, 2009 09:02 PM
Comment #280117

Well, I am impressed by the number consternated over the term homeland. Frank Herbert uses the term in Dune, and the book was a best seller. That was in the 1960’s. I have seen the word used in a positive context for decades. Then Bush comes along, and defines an agency with the term, and it suddenly became a 4 letter word. There is some sense to that, I guess, on a sociological level.

One of our most patriotic songs refers to the land of the free, and home of the brave. Apparently putting the two words side by side however is verboten in the lexicon of the post Bush era NewSpeak. So be it. Language is a living and changing entity.

The word pot used to be a very useful and utilitarian word too, until the 1960’s, when the very mention of the word could get your phone tapped. A chicken narc in every pot?

I have to differ with those here who would make the case that these pirates are not terrorists. Were the Crew of the Maersk Alabama not terrorized? Their video taped comments indicate they were. How about the families of the crew and Capt. Phillips? Were they not terrorized?

Also, Google “terror on the high seas” for an eyeful of references and associations in video, music, history and other references associating piracy as terrorist acts.

One does not have to be religiously motivated to be a terrorist. Terrorism is not defined by the motive, but the act of terrorizing others for whatever motives. These growing numbers of pirates are indeed terrorists, and Muslim, and on record as having launched an attack on a plane with a U.S. Congressman aboard this morning.

They are wasting no time fulfilling their promise to target Americans.

I can’t believe that some commenters her actually propose leaving these terrorists alone militarily until they blow up an American ship, shoot down an American plane, or take a tourist group of Americans prisoner, torture and kill them, in retribution for yesterday’s killing of 3 of their criminal band.

I trust such commenters never criticized Clinton for not doing more to target that ‘insignificant band’ of criminals calling themselves al-Queda, before 9/11. Otherwise the hypocrisy would be just too glaring.

And what is the alternative to physically going after them to try them at the Hague for piracy, kidnapping, and blackmail on the high seas, or killing them if they refuse to come along without a fight? Bribe them in to giving up their piracy? That would just be piracy in another form, the kind which brought down the Roman Empire.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 13, 2009 09:25 PM
Comment #280118

The President did the right thing with the pirates. Thomas Jefferson faced a similar challenge with savage pirates. Sometimes you just have to take care of business.

Posted by: Christine at April 13, 2009 09:26 PM
Comment #280120

Christine, was that Barbary Pirates? I don’t recall. And yes, there actions were referred to as terror on the high seas.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 13, 2009 09:31 PM
Comment #280121

Mike the Cynic. You may call these pirates business persons if you wish. I would expect you to vote Republican forever after, however :-)

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 13, 2009 09:36 PM
Comment #280122

DRR
280117 is right on. We need Naval presence in the area to deter the pirates, and it should be a multy national force. I guess some feel that it is easier to pay millions of dollars to a bunch of thugs who find unarmed merchant ships easy prey, that is until someone gets killed or a ship is blown up and as usual they will be the first to cry WHY WASN’T MORE DONE.

Posted by: KAP at April 13, 2009 10:06 PM
Comment #280123

David,
In every violent crime, the victim experiences fear. That emotional experience could be described as terror. However, not all crimes are acts of terrorism. Political terrorism is a violent act of asymmetrical warfare aimed at civilians, which seeks to inflict casualties and inspire terror in order to publicize the cause, the vulnerability of the victims, and the powerlessness of the larger force.

In virtually no political sense of the word does the act of the Somali pirates meet the definition of terrorism.

Americans acquited themselves in admirable style, from top to bottom-

-with the notable exceptions of Limbaugh, Beck, and Fox news. If anyone is curious, search the clips of what they were saying on Sunday. Limbaugh is still furious the rescue succeeded. Truly ugly.

Posted by: phx8 at April 13, 2009 10:12 PM
Comment #280127

David

Yes, Barbary Pirates. Jefferson first had contact with them while he was Ambassador to France. When he asked the Ambassador from the Barbary Pirates why they had such animosity toward America, which had done them no harm, the pirate replied “Islam was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Qur’an, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Muslim who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

This was 1786. The U.S. tried to keep the peace for the next decades, but eventually had to go over there and take care of these guys.

The geography is a little different, but the players are remarkably similar … and so are the solutions.

Like Jefferson, Obama is a man who would prefer not to use force, but also like Jefferson he understands that you cannot negotiate with some people until you show them who is boss.

Posted by: Christine at April 13, 2009 10:24 PM
Comment #280130

Christine and Phx8, I happen to agree with the actions taken against these pirates, but let’s have a little perspective here. Our commanders on the scene pretty clearly COUNTERMANDED Obama’s orders in order to do the right thing and take out the pirates. Obama, passive appeaser that he is, had given the order to not take out the pirates unless the American’s life was in “imminent danger.”

Now, I happen to think that his life was in danger the entire time, but that wasn’t Obama’s point of view which is why the Navy has had to give a butt-covering story that sounds improbable at best.

When the shooting actually started, the pirates were in a lifeboat attached with a 25m line to the USS Bainbridge (the ship which the snipers were on).

The fact is that these Pirates have NEVER, not ONCE, in all the hundreds and thousands of times they’ve taken hostages actually killed anybody. But here they were, tied off to an American warship, and we’re supposed to believe that they were about to shoot this guy and thereby ensure their own immediate slaughter?

No, the American commanders on the scene just got tired of the charade, which is why we’re hearing that that somebody was pointing a gun at the American captain. On what basis do we know that the pirate intended to shoot? On what basis, anyway, is physically pointing a gun any worse than taking somebody hostage to begin with? Will there ever be a video to confirm this gun pointing? No, because it most likely never happened.

But saying it did is just the butt-covering that’s required when you have a weak-willed pacifist appeaser for commander in chief and you’re determined to do the right thing anyway. Bravo to our armed forces.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at April 13, 2009 11:26 PM
Comment #280131

DR
Piracy? What century is this again?
The pirates are not only harming the US, but most other countries in the world by threatening shipping lanes. BHO needs to enlist their cooperation in the effort to stamp it out. For starters we should pressure involved countries not to pay ransoms. This is a tough sell but will save lives in the long run.The negotiations should consist of,release the hostages and surrender or we will kill you.It is a responsibility of the countries with the largest navies to protect the sea lanes.That is the prime directive, the basic reason to even have a navy.
Cynically ,it is good politics for BHO to get tough with the pirates. He gets to show he can be tough without having to endanger relations with countries whose support we need,like Russia and Iran.

Posted by: bills at April 13, 2009 11:27 PM
Comment #280132

David,
Interesting, you and others call for deadly force to be used on those Humans who raise up against the Establishment of Government and Society; yet, call for understanding for those Humans wishing for a Better Life for their families.

And why I agree with Christine that some if not all Humans need to be hit upside the head before they will listen to Common Sense, I do believe that history will show that it was through diplomacy that the Battle of the High Seas were won in the 1800’s by the British. So given the expantion of the problem in today’s high seas, I do believe that the technology of unmanned drones operated by the military on the merchant ships would be more than a match for any Pirate in a small vessel with no amorant.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at April 13, 2009 11:31 PM
Comment #280134

Loyal Opposition,
You’re deep into conspiracy territory with that alternate reality concerning the Somali pirates. So let me get this straight-the navy disobeyed orders because they got tired of waiting around- but the pirates were easy to kill because they were close- yet the American captain was not actually in danger- but he was in danger, so it was good for the Navy sharpshooters to kill the pirates- and everyone agreed to a version of events which was a lie- and shooting at a moving target in a rough ocean was easy, because the pirates were only 75 feet away- although they were not actually a threat- so Navy good, Obama bad-

Seriously, that is an incoherent version of events, and its only purpose is to discredit Obama without any supporting evidence.

Why not cut to the chase, Loyal Opposition? You wanted Obama to fail.

Posted by: phx8 at April 14, 2009 01:02 AM
Comment #280136


I can envision him now, standing on the deck of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan under a huge banner saying mission acomplished. For oneupmanship, he will be wearing a Horatio Hornblower costume and there will be a couple of pirate/jihadists hanging from the yardarms.

Posted by: jlw at April 14, 2009 02:34 AM
Comment #280138

LO,

Lol. They countermanded the president? So Bush countermanded the Congress when he invaded Iraq, right? Hoo-boy! That was rich.

Posted by: gergle at April 14, 2009 03:54 AM
Comment #280139

Bills,

Having lived in Houston now for nearly 20 years and having become familiar with a few sailors of the Caribbean, pirates have never gone away. Few of them are like Johnny Depp. When you are asea and far from land, you are very alone. Most experienced sailors won’t venture out without weapons aboard. It’s still a dangerous world out there. Of course I’m referring to small fishing vessels or yachts, not sizable ships.

Posted by: gergle at April 14, 2009 04:03 AM
Comment #280141

LO
Really,not a particularly rational opinion. The navy is commanded by BHO ultimately. There must be some reason to knock him even if you have to make one up.


I am living in the Philippines, not in the southern part,where the troubles are but have looked in to the history some. Piracy is a tradition in the Sulu Sea and has been for centuries. That is a Muslum area as is Somalia.I do not know what that means, if anything. There are cities here that would logically be located near the various bays but are instead set back miles to give time for the residents to flee pirates. There are 3-4 hundred year old bell towers to warn of pirate attacks. Historically in the southern islands being a pirate was just another occupation like being a tradesman or merchant.One wonders if we have progressed at all sometimes except for the hardware.

Posted by: bills at April 14, 2009 07:37 AM
Comment #280143

gergle

Many countries do not allow armed ships to enter their ports and forbid forigners from having even small arms. This complicates things for the merchant marine. Do we go back to allowing arms lockers? Placing marines on board every ship? That was their original purpose. Didn’t the Brits hire “reformed pirates” to catch other pirates?Watching the developements should be interesting. Here we have the most sophisticated navy in the world, where one submarine can deliver all the firepower unleashed in WW2 within minutes and cost enough to support the whole country of Somalia for years, having to adapt to an enemy that is really not that far removed Blackbeard.

Posted by: bills at April 14, 2009 07:50 AM
Comment #280145

phx8, only in your last reply to me do you INTRODUCE the word Political Terrorism. Prior to your last comment, I was discussing terrorist acts. Two topics, political terrorism being a subset of the wider and broader definition of terrorism in general.

If you want to switch topics to Political Terrorism, then I agree with you the acts up to the freeing of our Captain, were not defacto Political Terrorist acts, but the act of inflicting terror for money, (give us money or we kill you all - the kill you all induces terror, and is intended to do so).

However, with the RPG attacks at the airport yesterday morning, and the vow to kill Americans in retribution, these threats of terror no longer fall in the realm of inducing terror for money, but, inducing terror for having intervened in their blackmail. Still not political terrorism, but, terrorism for revenged. But, this is precisely how escalation which Christine warns of, is taking place before our very eyes.

The next step is for these pirates to subscribe to al-Queda’s religious terrorism in order for the pirates to motivate and recruit the numbers of agents needed to take Americans out without the pirates themselves projecting themselves into harm’s way. Religion has, throughout history, been used thus to advance other motives and the cause of power.

It would be wise for the international community to interdict this evolution from pirates to employers of Islamic Fundamentalism for retributive and power purposes. These pirates truly believe they have the RIGHT to extort money from passing ships. It is now their way of making a living. They no longer view their piracy as a crime nor wrong act. They DO now view interference with their piracy as undo interference with their chosen professions. These are now very, very dangerous people, all the more so, now that they have millions of dollars to procure the assets to fight for their way of living.

To miss this bigger picture and psychology of these pirates, to miss the obvious appeal their way of living will have on other poor and uneducated peoples in the world with no love for America or the modern nations, is to an enormous mistake. I know Pres. Obama is not overlooking this bigger picture, by his comments yesterday regarding a policy forming to deal with these pirates going forward.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 14, 2009 08:22 AM
Comment #280146

Henry, I fail to see your equation between blackmailers threatening the lives of passerbys for money, and illegal immigrants seeking profitable employment sufficient to provide their children with a decent education and vocational opportunities. They are not the same at all, and therefore, your critique of myself and others holding differing views on these different groups, fails.

They are different groups and their differences mandate entirely different responses.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 14, 2009 08:25 AM
Comment #280147

KAP said: “We need Naval presence in the area to deter the pirates, and it should be a multy national force.”

Couldn’t agree with you more, KAP. An ounce of prevention (or deterrence) is worth a pound of cure.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 14, 2009 08:27 AM
Comment #280148

jlw, thank you for comment which demonstrates how for some, Obama cannot possibly be viewed as having done anything right. Such views lie well outside the realm of the real world, designed to keep integral an unrealistic world view.

I liken such comments to the views of some sports fans for whom a field goal by their own team is expertise and skill, and by the other team a matter of wind shift or luck, lacking any objectivity whatsoever.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 14, 2009 08:32 AM
Comment #280152

Some of the loyal opposition is turning into the libs of Bush presidency. Just like Bush couldn’t do anything right in the simple heads of the liberals, so Obama is ALWAYS wrong in some conservatives eyes.

What did you want president to do fly to Kenya and plan the operation himself and be one of the snipers? He did what every commander does - gives an order and let’s those who are qualified to carry out the order take care of business. I hope the President learns a valuable lesson from this situation - when you have competent people, you can give them directions and they will get the job done.

Somalia is a interesting problem. Though pirates are not religious zealots, at least they have not shown it yet, they are not just a criminal matter. It is a complex problem which needs a complex solution. You can’t just hit the pirates and weaken them because that will create an economic and political vacuum which will allow Al-quida to go in and fill it. That is the worst case scenario because it will create a state with a strategic location which would create a lot of problems for everyone in the Red Sea basin. How ever problematic the “piracy” may be, it is still much cheaper than what it would cost to rebuild the Somalia into a country with the help of the US military. So, I think a diplomatic approach could be the best in this situation.

If it was me, I would borrow a page from the old British playbook and enlist the Pirates (like the old Privateers) to combat Al-Quida in the Somalia. Basically give them “an offer they can’t refuse”:

Choice #1 - the US and some other interested parties will destroy their operational capability and $100 mill business will be reduced to nothing which will require a sizable capital investment to rebuild. This will surely cause the leaders to loose their positions and loose a lot of money.

or

Choice #2 - they stop piracy. As a compensation they will receive ~ $100 mill to fight the Al-quida elements in Southern Somalia every year and another $100 mill to rebuild the infrastructure at the ports. I think Saudi’s and other interested countries in the region will sign on to this type of financing because no one wants to have the Al-Quida that close to the oil shipping routs. To help with tactical aspects, we can assign our special opps people to train and instill some sort of discipline which could be a basis of the future police and law enforcement organization. That is exactly how Taliban came to power in Afghanistan. They were able to introduce the order and people were drown to it.

This will take some time but at lest it will be a “Somali” solution from the get go. But what ever we do, we shouldn’t get the UN anywhere near that place because everything they touch gets screwed up.

Posted by: Crusader at April 14, 2009 11:05 AM
Comment #280153

David said “Mike the Cynic. You may call these pirates business persons if you wish. I would expect you to vote Republican forever after, however :)”

I assume by your comment that you disagree with me. When I say the pirates are business people what I mean are they’re more likely to go after easy targets that pay really well, not targets that fight back. Also I can’t see them recruiting more pirates. The more piracy going on in that area, the more likely someone will end their gravy train on the high seas. (Though these pirates have been very profitable for years so I can’t see the problem not growing.)

I still hold to the fact that they are a small time criminal band. The only thing big about these pirates is the amount of area they cover. (We patrol one area and they move to another.) That’s why I agree with some of the posts, the only way anyone can stop these criminals is to take away their safe harbors.

As far as my voting Republican, I live in a small town in northern Missouri. I vote Democrat far too many times because the Republicans running here really worry me. I take your comment as a slur on my intelligence. I admit I’m not as smart as you, or Steven or Lee. But that’s the neat thing about Watchblog. You don’t have to be really smart to post a comment, you just have to have an opinion. And I’ve got plenty of those.


Posted by: Mike the Cynic at April 14, 2009 11:05 AM
Comment #280155


David R.R., My remarks were not directed towards President Obama. I thought his response to the situation was appropriate and long overdue. I also think he should be preparing to follow it up right now with an even stronger response to today’s situation.

My comments were in response to your article which, pardon me if I am wrong, seems to be leaning in the direction of the Bush/Cheney doctrine of preemptive invasion of another country to protect the homeland.

Posted by: jlw at April 14, 2009 11:26 AM
Comment #280156

jlw, the article, I thought, expressed my position clearly in the last paragraph, to whit:

Pres. Obama’s demonstrated intent to resolve conflicts cooperatively if possible, with force if necessary, is the right course to pursue with the fledgling Somalian government. Given the resources, and inducements, the Somalian government may be able halt these criminal organizations. If that fails, Pres. Obama has an obligation to seek stronger necessary measures by the international community to resolve the threat to international shipping and their crews.

Perhaps you didn’t read through the last paragraph. If you did, I fail to see how you could interpret my position as advocating invasion, ala Bush/Cheney, as our next step to take.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 14, 2009 11:44 AM
Comment #280157

Mike the Cynic, my reference was to Republican’s penchant when in power to grant extra-legal authority to business types to extort profits from consumers who had few choices. I refer to the Credit Card companies permitted to charge 32% interest rates on credit card holders who had not defaulted on payments at any point in time, and whose only action justifying such rates was their debt amount exceeding one arbitrarily established by that particular credit card company, (AS IN BANK OF AMERICA).

Or, Republicans justification and permission to allow a transfer of wealth from the middle and working class to the upper and executive class, unprecedented since the Robber Baron days prior to the 1929 stock market crash.

The pursuit of wealth is not a justification nor rationalization for piracy, extortion, or exploitation of the innocent, naive, or uneducated.

The only insult intended was aimed at GOP rule in favor protection of unfair exploitation in the name of wealth accumulation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 14, 2009 11:55 AM
Comment #280158

Crusader said: “If it was me, I would borrow a page from the old British playbook and enlist the Pirates (like the old Privateers) to combat Al-Quida in the Somalia. Basically give them “an offer they can’t refuse”:”

Careful with that. The Romans pursued that course, and it backfired on their Empire, bringing it down. I am not suggesting that would necessarily happen with the Somalians, but, one needs to be very careful in employing criminals toward justifiable ends while also training them and giving them the resources to pursue their criminal careers ever more powerfully, after their employment is terminated.

We employed the Afghans to fight the Russians for us. It came back to us in the form of 9/11, and a very, very difficult guerilla factions to now fight on their own turf.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 14, 2009 12:01 PM
Comment #280160

Crusader-

Remember, the pirates don’t like being called pirates (from the Reuters article)….


Often, though, the pirates are friendly and helpful, though they detest use of the p-word. “We never kill people. We are Muslims. We are marines, coastguards — not pirates,” one said. Hostages say the pirates are normally as friendly as they can be under the circumstances. While they threaten to shoot or beat them if they do not cooperate, they also roast goat for their captives and pass phones around for calls home….


Posted by: George at April 14, 2009 12:18 PM
Comment #280161

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/piracy/5153515/Somali-pirates-seize-four-more-ships.html There not Robin Hood and anyways He’s not all he was cracked up to be so the Historians are finding out.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at April 14, 2009 12:18 PM
Comment #280162


The French government has been actively involved in combating the pirate situation. They presented a resolution authorizing the use of force against the pirates which pass in the U.N. and in the past year, French commandos have retaken several vessels and captured 60 pirates.

Last week, French commandos retook a yacht, in 20 seconds, that had been taken by pirates after the French had repeated warned the captain of the yacht to avoid the area he was sailing into. Unfortunately the captain of the yacht and his child were killed in the action.

The British Navy has also taken an agressive position against the pirates.

Up until now, it has been the U.S. response that has been lacking.

Posted by: jlw at April 14, 2009 12:23 PM
Comment #280163

“”Up until now, it has been the U.S. response that has been lacking.”“” Said jlw, We’re there now jlw and what do you think would have happened four months ago if we went there with guns a blazing like some cowboys, Obama has from what I’ve seen has taken or trying to what was Eisenhower’s vision of a Europe stepping up protecting it’s own backyard and we can’t take on everything jlw but we sure can help if Needed Right?

Posted by: Rodney Brown at April 14, 2009 12:52 PM
Comment #280165

What happened in Afghanistan has to do with the mistakes made by the US rather than the approach.

Did you know that most of the aid to Mujahedeens was funneled through Pakistan. There was no unified front of Mujahedeens. At best, there were 7 warlords who received the aid from the US. Unfortunately, most of the aid went to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who was openly hostile towards the US. He was a fundamentalist who ended up joining the Taliban. The best hope for the US at the time was Ahmad Shah Massaud but he was ethnically Tajik and Pakistan didn’t like him. He was the founder of the Northern Alliance which we used to remove the Taliban. Also, after the Russians withdrew from Afghanistan, our personnel who was involved with the everyday activity and knew all the players were removed. The ambassador to Pakistan died in the plane crush with the President Zia and the head of the CIA opps along with his deputy were transferred to Soviet and Eastern European division and new people were brought in. The head of Pakistani intelligence who had great contacts with our CIA guys died in the same plane crush and the new guy was not so thrilled with the CIA.

To make a long story short, there were objective and subjective reasons for the way Afghanistan turned out. Objective was, lot’s of our allies died in the fricking plane crush, subjective reasons were in Washington where it was decided that Pakistan and Afghanistan was no longer an area of our special interest and we shifted our attention to the USSR. It was catch 22. Most of the events unfolding in the Warsaw Block was out of CIA’s control. For example, during the fall of the East Germany most of the info getting to the White House was through CNN instead of from East Berlin office of CIA. Pres. Bush saw Stasi headquarters being looted and made a comment “I hope we are getting some of that!” In reality we weren’t getting any of it. CIA guys were too busy recruiting new KGB defectors who just wanted to get out of the crumbling empire. Seriously, until the attempted coup, CIA had not real time intelligence coming from the USSR about the political situation. So the decision was made to concentrate on more urgent matter at SE Division (Soviet and East Europe) at the expense of the Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Another subjective reason was the US early policy to “bleed the USSR to the last Afghan”. It was changed in 1985 when Mujahedeens were near total defeat and Reagan issued to order to win in Afghanistan.

So, we should learn from the mistakes made in Afghanistan and apply them to the situation in Somalia.

As far as Romans go, they outsourced all their military to the Germanic tribes. I don’t think enlisting less than a brigade of Somali marauders to do some dirty work for us is equivalent to what Romans did. I compared it to the British example because it was most applicable.

Posted by: Crusader at April 14, 2009 02:19 PM
Comment #280166

The Pirates or ad hoc coast guard, as they prefer, may well have a point about a right to collect fees for the use of their waters. It is impossible to use the Suez without passing thru Bab-el-Mandeb. These are Somali territorial waters. While treaties may exist to allow free passage, Somalia has been under the influence of various regional factions and Western powers for the last 100 years. They should have the power to demand a rewrite of these treaties.

Clearly what they are doing must be stopped. There needs to be hostile force in scale with the hostile force they are using, if this can be used to bring them to form a coalition and negotiate new treaty terms, fine. If not, NATO and local Arab Nations should be enlisted to deliver a blow to these Somalian terrorists. Somalia needs a revenue stream to fund a stable government.

What a relief it is to have a President that understands power, and has the sophistication to use it wisely. This is a true test of his ability to offer change. We’ll see if he handles it well.
Thus far I’m impressed with this man.

Posted by: gergle at April 14, 2009 02:35 PM
Comment #280167

gergle, governments have the right to assess fees on national territorial waters, not criminals. Criminals cannot be held to a contract. Governments, potentially can, though in real life, not always, as the U.S. has demonstrated many times in its history.

Still, one cannot equate criminal’s claim to a right to assess fees, with a governments. Additionally, we are talking international waters here, where many of these hijackings are taking place some 400 miles off the Somalian coast.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 14, 2009 02:44 PM
Comment #280168

Crusader said: “As far as Romans go, they outsourced all their military to the Germanic tribes.”

I think you need to revisit Roman history. The barbarians were hired to keep the Roman frontiers safe from other barbarians. The domino effect of Rome having to hire ever more, and more, barbarians to fight ever more unemployed barbarians, all seeking a piece of Roman tax dollars, resulted in a bankrupting of the Roman treasury.

A lesson to be observed in Somalia.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 14, 2009 02:48 PM
Comment #280178

Gergle:

Thus far I’m impressed with this man.

You are impressed because he gave the green light to our US navy to kill three teenagers. Our SWAT teams in the USA make this level of decision.

This was easy. You are easily impressed.

Let’s look at Iran, Afghanistan, and North Korea.
Those are complex and are better areas to measure a President.

It is great that the Captain was returned unharmed. Waiting for the movie. The sound must have been strange.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 14, 2009 05:06 PM
Comment #280182

Dear David R. Remer,

Since we are getting technical, could you be more specific which of the Roman Empires example should we be cautious off? I was under the impression that the united Roman Empire suffered only one defeat at the hands of the Barbarians at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. All the other defeats came after the Empire was split into the Western and the Eastern Roman Empires. I honestly didn’t know that the reason why Roman treasury was bankrupted was the hired Barbarian warriors. Here I thought the whole time it was the welfare state that they had created that contributed to the financial downfall, especially when the granted citizenship to all free people within the Empire.

Anyhow, as I said before, more appropriate comparison is the British Empire and Privateers who proved to be effective and British kept them under relative control.

There was a story written by a Soviet Dissident in a prison. Not many know of it but it’s a great book none less. It is about a rebel in Caucasus who fears Tsarists and Bolsheviks equally. This book is filled with allegories to reflect the Soviet Society. In that book there is a passage where this rebel is visiting a friend. This friend has a very unique occupation. He raises a rat eating rats. When he asks him who would want to buy a rat that only eats rats, his friend answers that sailors like to use rat eating rats because that is the only way they can keep the population of rats under control on the ship.

It was only a suggestion, work in progress so to speak. But I am sure you have nothing to worry about. The new administration just labeled me a right wing extremist, I don’t think they will be taking any advice from me.

Posted by: Crusader at April 14, 2009 07:01 PM
Comment #280183

Craig

I am very proud of the Navy and the SEALS. It must have been a hard shot. I am glad that they used force against the bad guys and didn’t let it degenerate into a long-term hostage situation.

I am not as easily impressed as Gergle, but the President did the right thing. I wonder how different the reaction would have been had George Bush still been in office, but we should welcome the support of guys like Gergle.

Let’s be happy that people have returned to the right side of these things. We even get support from the NYT. I am glad to have the support for our country and our president again.

It is sort of like Victor Laslo said to Rick Blane in Casablanca, “Welcome back to the fight. This time I know our side will win.”

Let’s not let conservatives fall into that error liberals fell into a few years back. Barack Obama, like George Bush before him, is President of the U.S. and of all Americans. He deserves our support on this.

Posted by: Christine at April 14, 2009 07:04 PM
Comment #280185

A very hard shot on a that open sea and that lifeboat swaying they didn’t have a stable rooftop or terra firma, Good no great job Navy and POTUS and All!

Posted by: Rodney Brown at April 14, 2009 08:51 PM
Comment #280187

David,
Does one have to hold a gun to your head in order to harm you and your family? No!

Does blackmail have to come in the from of hold individuals hostage? No!

Yet, the individual coming to America through illegal means does blackmail the Individual, Nation, and Society. From keeping wages low to undermining the Authority of the Law, itself. One can and in IMHO should consider both the Pirates and the Illegal Aliens as a treat to the National Securty of Society.

For even if you support the Trickledown Economics of former President Regan, the fact that allowing people to go around The Law in order to keep wages depressed among the Unskilled Labor takes money out of the pockets of your family and forces the parents to find ways to send their kids to college.

So why the Pirates blackmail by asking for millions to be spread among a few families, seeing that you cannot tell me how much the “illegal immigrants seeking profitable employment sufficient to provide their children with a decent education and vocational opportunities” blackmail the American Economy and Society by asking to stay in the country I do believe that both Individuals can be said to be exploiting others for personal gain.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at April 14, 2009 09:46 PM
Comment #280188

Christine, quite right! Republican talking heads in the days prior were on air criticizing Obama as a wuss, spineless, and unable to effectively deal with the pirate hostage takers. They aren’t talking so loud now and have switched topics in a big damn hurry.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 14, 2009 10:05 PM
Comment #280189

Henry there is imminent threat warranting any means to escape it, and then there is a less immediate threat which requires a humane and considered response.

If a pirate is holding a gun to my head, any action I take that saves my life is likely to be warranted and justified. If an illegal alien arrives in this country and gets a job which I don’t at lower pay, it constitutes a threat to my financial future, but, does not warrant any and all measures possible to repel the threat.

Justice, as I said, is a matter of insuring the punishment and defense against the crime matches the crime.

Example, property owners have a right to protect their property from invasion. Property owners are expressly forbidden by law from laying booby traps for invaders onto their property that would maim or kill intruders. Such booby traps do not meet the ‘equal force’ doctrine of justice nor specificity requirements for the potential criminal. An innocent child could just as easily wander onto one’s property seeking a lost parent and set off the booby trap.

Illegal immigrants who are otherwise law abiding, working and paying tax payers, and English speaking do not warrant the same legal or policy responses as an illegal immigrant trafficking in drugs and heading up a gang organization protecting sales turf with lethal force.

But, we need to return to the topic of this article as we have drifted away from it. The topic is the Somalian pirates, not illegal immigration.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 14, 2009 10:15 PM
Comment #280190

There we go. Lets fly the pirate leaders over to manage AIG. Us taxpayers would get our money back in no time.

Posted by: bills at April 14, 2009 10:25 PM
Comment #280191

Crusader, Rome was not built, nor dissolved in day. In fact the demise of the Roman Empire took several centuries. But, one of the primary drains on the economic might of the Roman Empire was the outsourcing of military operations to the private barbarian sector.

In much the same way that Haliburton and Blackwater drained our treasury in Iraq many times what it would have cost if our own military had done the same work and jobs, except our outsourcing didn’t invite vast new startups to form and threaten our government if we didn’t contract with them, which was the case with the barbarians.

Paying the pirates to fight al-queda, is an economically flawed concept. Look at it from the pirate’s point of view. As a Pirate, an individual can make from 30,000 to a half million in a year. As a U.S. contract fighter against al-Queda, what could we pay each individual, maybe 10,000 a year, per person? There are vastly less expensive ways to deal with the pirates, mostly involving the utilization of resources we are already paying for and maintaining at ready.


Posted by: David R. Remer at April 14, 2009 10:26 PM
Comment #280194

David,
Why Justice may attempt to insure the punishment and defense against the crime matches the crime. You can avoid the Pirates, but you cannot see the damage done by illegal immigration until the problem becomes unmanageable. So which exploitation of the system is more dangerous?

The Pirates which by nature operate on the high seas and thus cannot by defination attack your Homeland or the growing numbers of illegal aliens that at some point make it impossible for you and your family to get a job and thus support yourself in your own Homeland?

Remember, the Indians thought that it was ok to allow the White Men upon the Homeland at first. But history tells us now that allowing those Illgal Immigrants onto the shore did not help the Indian Nations now did it? So with about 20 million Illegal Immigrants in the country today and the raise of crime and violence along the border should “We the People” allow Justice to be blind to the fact that the Government could be overthrown from the Enemy within?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at April 14, 2009 11:45 PM
Comment #280197

David,
Why it can only be politically, wouldn’t you say to your children “Exploiting is Exploiting” and that you will have none of that?

And since we are speaking of Congress reforming the policies and laws to reflect the new treats of the 21st Century that in the Inherent Best Interest of the Homeland that the Courts be given the Instructions to make it easier to charge and get convictions of those citizens not willing to yield to the Knowledge and Wisdom of “We the People” Authority.

Now, putting that into words that would help you and others protect the Innocent Human. I’ll let you discuss that with Your Peers and Community Elders.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at April 15, 2009 01:57 AM
Comment #280199

Henry asked: “Why it can only be politically, wouldn’t you say to your children “Exploiting is Exploiting” and that you will have none of that?”

No, absolutely not. Mutual exploitation occurs all the time between consenting parties, and can be very productive, as the relationship between employer and employee. The each exploit the resources of the other, by mutual consent. Only when exploitation without full and voluntary consent occurs, is exploitation an unethical act.

There is nothing intrinsically bad about exploitation. I exploit the resources of my 5 acres for selfish reasons without any negative ethical consequences at all.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 15, 2009 04:38 AM
Comment #280223

Craig,

No, I’m not impressed over the pirate action. I’m impressed with having a sentient president. This is a leader. Talk softly and carry a big stick.
While I liked G.H.W. Bush, except for some flag burning pandering and letting the Kuwaiti Royal Family lie to Congress unchallenged, It’s been a quite a while since Republicans have offered anything but a stooge.

Posted by: gergle at April 15, 2009 12:36 PM
Comment #280224

David,

I wasn’t suggesting that the pirates are legitimate leaders in Somalia, but they are a manifestation of a reality. I’m not familiar with Maritime Law or the treaties surrounding the Red Sea or Gulf of Aden. I was simply suggesting a carrot to go along with a big stick.

Craig,

To comment further while Bill Clinton was an intelligent man, he was morally challenged. I frankly was hesitant of him before he was elected. I did not vote for him. He co-opted Republican issues to get elected and showed little back-bone as president. Sort of like Newt Gingrich.

Posted by: gergle at April 15, 2009 12:45 PM
Comment #280264

David,
Why Mutual Consent should never be seen as exploiting Ones’ Partner, I do believe that Labor and Management do share Common Ground when it comes to the Spirit of the Law. For your own words “Only when exploitation without full and voluntary consent occurs, is exploitation an unethical act” is not anything else free for the taking?

Exploit according to Dictionary.com
1. to utilize, esp. for profit; turn to practical account: to exploit a business opportunity.
2. to use selfishly for one’s own ends: employers who exploit their workers.
3. to advance or further through exploitation; promote: He exploited his new movie through a series of guest appearances.

So why you can chop down every tree as well as pave every blade of grass on your own property, would it be Exploiting or a Mutual Consent to borrow oxygen from your neighbor?

So again, tell me how a Man stealing a piece of bread to feed his family is any less guilty of Unethically Exploiting than the Pirate who kidnaps another Human for Ransom. Is one less Moral than the other or is it the Offense of the Violation that drives Emotional Response or Sympathy toward the Criminal and away from the Victims?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at April 15, 2009 09:44 PM
Comment #280275

gergle, thanks, and I understand. It seemed appropriate thought to highlight the distinction between national governments and subsets of their populations organized around criminal activity. They share almost nothing in common in the eyes of the law or history of human civilization.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 16, 2009 05:16 AM
Comment #280276

Henry, like the definition you quote from the dictionary indicates, exploitation is not inherently a negative act. It can be, in the absence of mutual consent of the parties to the exploitive act, as I previously pointed out.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 16, 2009 05:19 AM
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