Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dealing with piracy?

The Reality-Based Community: International law query
l tend to agree with Eugene Volokh and Kenneth Anderson that the Somali piracy problem might represent an opportunity for the Obama Administration to assert international leadership. I don't understand the operational issues here, but if Google Earth can show street traffic it shouldn't be hard to spot pirates.

Apparently part of the problem is what to do with captured pirates, and in particular their potential asylum claims in whatever country catches and tries them.

That raises a question.

When a pirate ship is sunk by naval forces, is there an affirmative duty to rescue the crew? If not, then the question of whether the pirate crews have rights of asylum might not arise. If the duty exists and is triggered by the presence of ships capable of effecting the rescue, then the use of long-range air-to-surface or ship-to-ship missiles might make rescue infeasible.

Come on. Using a long-range weapon on the basis that it renders an otherwise obligatory rescue infeasible is no different, morally, from sailing away after letting them have it with a Vulcan cannon or something.

The idea of using an expensive missile to shield yourself from a supposed obligation to rescue, and possibly provide asylum to a fucking criminal, is absurd.

This is why we are collectively incapable of dealing with terrorists or making quick work of war. I am not in favor of ineffectual and half-assed anti-piracy policies, which is all we'll get with this kind of thinking.

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