Newsweek Wrings Hands Over Deadly Force on Pirates

Oh, the Navy's gone and done it. They've made the pirates angrier, and hence more dangerous.

Newsweek's Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff predicted in their April 15 piece that the future of pirate encounters off the Horn of Africa will only result in more "Blood in the Water," because it will "radicalize the [Somali] population" according to some insurance and shipping experts.

Before the demise of three of the Maersk Alabama pirates, the Somali pirates were downright nice bad guys, aside from hijacking unarmed civilian shipping vessels and yachts:

But according to both [Control Risks analyst Hannah] Koep and [Lloyd's Register-Fairplay Middle East correspondent Jim] Wilson, over the past year or two there have been numerous incidents in which Somali pirates have attacked merchant ships in the gulf and taken crews and/or ships hostage for ransom. But until very recently, they note, violence to crew members has been minimal, and in most cases cargo and crew were released unharmed. Wilson says one captain was taken ashore and subjected by pirates to "mock executions." But the captain was not injured, and Wilson says the pirates apparently only wanted to frighten him as part of a "negotiating tactic."

Oh, those lovable pirates and their mock executions. They were perfectly harmless until our Navy SEALs dispatched three of them. Now we're just asking for it:

Koep warns, "The use of force raises the stakes for pirates and the international community." Although U.S. Navy representatives have emphasized the deterrent effect of the recent operation, the International Maritime Bureau has cautioned that military interventions may spur the pirates to more violent measures.

Hosenball and Isikoff failed to find any security or military consultants who would argue that Koep and Wilson are wrong or wrong-headed in their approach to securing civilian sea traffic.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters