The Weak Link in Anti-Piracy Efforts
Last week a USN helicopter was fired on by a Somali pirate from a Taiwanese fishing ship. They just keep getting bolder, and getting away with it, according to JE Dyer at Commentary Magazine:
There was no decision point for returning fire from the Navy helicopter, because the crewmen were not certain they had been fired on until they evaluated the recording from their infrared camera after the mission. The pirates used small arms (rifles), which give off little muzzle flash and do not have the range to hit the helicopter at the altitude it would maintain for a surveillance mission. A shoulder-fired missile would be immediately detectable and draw an immediate response from the Navy. But small-arms fire, in these circumstances, is not a valid pretext for any specific critique of either our operational policies or our military rules of engagement.
Citizens, however, can be excused for finding this explanation technically and politically unsatisfying. While our Navy and others labor in obscurity, making the headlines only when something less than heroic occurs, Somali piracy is on the rise and adapting to naval deterrence tactics, and European lawyers are representing pirates and arguing for their rights.
It’s such a relatively minor threat, no one would argue this, but anti-piracy often takes firm, even brutal measures to suppress, or it grows into something far worse. Today I read the following on Sri Lankan lessons dealing with terror, that apply here as well. David Axe reveals to us how Brutality Can Help Win Small Wars:
• Unwavering political will
• Disregard for international opinion distracting from the goal
• No negotiations with the forces of terror
• Unidirectional floor of conflict information
• Absence of political intervention to pull away from complete defeat of the [enemy]
• Complete operational freedom for the security forces — let the best men do the task
• Accent on young commanders
• Keep[ing] your neighbors in the loop
Such ideas are horrible I know, but “It is best that war is so terrible, less we grow too fond of it“. Now we have these endless wars with a minority of the population doing the fighting and dieing, while the rest go about our everyday business. War no longer is terrible to us but push button, quick, and decisive or just far-off.