Joe the Sailors

Yes, they were the ones who heroically defended their ship from a full pirate takeover, but it seems a little presumptuous for the crewmembers of the Maersk Alabama to be advising the U.S. president on anti-piracy policy.

“We would like to implore President Obama to use all his resources and increase his commitment to end this Somali pirate scourge,” he said, reading from a prepared statement. “Right now there are still ships being taken, right now as we are standing here. America has got to be at the forefront of this. It’s time for us to step up and put an end to this crisis.

Calling for American leadership on an important global issue is not exactly making false claims about a candidate’s tax plans — and it’s something we agree with, to boot.  The crew of the Maersk Alabama does actually know what it’s talking about — having been trained, through their union, no less, to thwart pirate attacks — but let’s hope Officer Murphy’s comments are not Wurzelbacher-ed into some sort of ubiquitous green light for pirate snipings.  He’s right that America should take the lead on this, but it needs to do so in a way that will address Somalia’s interior crisis.  The killing of three Somali pirates yesterday was probably a necessary, spur-of-the-moment decision, but just the kind of thing that is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

And, as usual, Beth Dickinson has all the right answers — or asks all the right questions — to those who are calling for bombing strikes against Somali pirates.  In addition to Beth’s points, I might add: bomb what?  The secret pirate fortresses where they keep their mounds of cash?  The docks where they park their Jolly Roger-flying vessels?  If there’s one thing that we’ve learned about Somali civilians over the past 18 years or so, it’s that they, like civilians the world over, don’t like having bombs dropped on them.

(image from flickr user baldheretic under a Creative Commons license)

UPDATE: Cordell suggests that we just find the pirates’ island of Tortuga; GoogleEarth has already got it covered.