Press reports suggest that Somali pirates have executed the four Americans they seized on a yacht. While this is tragic for the families, it is also an affront to the United States. After we won our independence from Great Britain, we fought our first war both to avenge and prevent piracy against Americans. Perhaps it is time to draw a lesson from history. While many captains in the politically correct U.S. Navy will avoid hanging the pirates they catch on the high seas, and spending millions to try pirates in U.S. courts is an obnoxious waste of taxpayer money, there are other options.
Many of the pirates base themselves in Puntland. There, the fruits of piracy are obvious, as pirates—and their families—have used both booty and ransoms to build palatial mansions. Piracy thrives because of the profits. Perhaps it is time for U.S. drones to raise the cost and let any surviving Puntland pirates make an honest buck salvaging the rebar. Of course, just to assuage international concern, we might leaflet-bomb first to give the pirates’ family members fair warning that their villas have been condemned.
American honor matters. The world is watching. If we do not remind these pirates that they shouldn’t mess with America, we may just find that every two-bit criminal and terrorist believes he has an open invitation.