Via Ilan Goldenberg, conservative nutter Ralph Peters reacts to the successful use of law-enforcement techniques against Somali pirates by insisting that “piracy is not a law-enforcement problem. It’s a military problem.”
And retribution can’t be “proportional,” a tit-for-tat tap. Pirates and their supporters must be punished fiercely and comprehensively.
Attack their harbors with land, sea and air power. Kill pirates, sink their vessels (including those dual-use fishing boats) and wreck their support infrastructure. The clans behind the pirates must feel sufficient pain to rein in their young thugs. The price for piracy should be stunning.
And we don’t need to stay to rebuild Somalia. End the fix-it fetish now. We need to leave while their boats are still burning down to the waterline.
Interestingly, the “make them feel the pain” approach is precisely what Peters advocated for Iraq back in October 2006:
If we can’t leave a democracy behind, we should at least leave the corpses of our enemies. The holier-than-thou response to this proposal is predictable: ‘We can’t kill our way out of this situation!’ Well, boo-hoo. Friendly persuasion and billions of dollars haven’t done the job. Give therapeutic violence a chance.
Among those who believed we couldn’t “kill our way” out of Iraq’s insurgency: General Petraeus. (Though the fact that Petraeus’s counter-insurgency strategy represented a complete rejection of Peters’ ideas didn’t stop Peters from mocking critics of the surge.)
As Ilan notes, “just about everyone who has seriously covered this [Somalia] issue would tell you that [Peters' suggestions] would only make things worse.” Right now we’re dealing with a piracy problem that’s driven primarily by profit. If, however, we wanted to transform Somalia into yet another front in the global jihad — with all of the staggering costs in lives, resources and security that would involve — we could follow Peters’ recommendations.