Looks like President Obama handled the pirate hostage situation pretty well, even if it took him a while to get down to business.

MOMBASA, Kenya (AP) - An American ship captain was freed unharmed Sunday and three of the pirates who held him for days in a lifeboat off the Somali coast were killed in a operation by U.S. Navy Seals that was approved by President Barack Obama, officials said. ...

U.S. officials said Obama ordered the Defense Department to use military resources to rescue Phillips. Obama said the captain had courage that was "a model for all Americans."

The fourth pirate should have been hanged on the spot.

Shannon Love nails the implications of the current piracy problem:

The return of international lawlessness on both land and sea arises from a paralysis brought on by the breakdown of internal trust and cooperation in the developed nations. We cannot enforce international law because half of our polity believes we have no right to. Half of our polity is more concerned with using piracy and other forms of lawlessness as sticks with which to attack their internal political enemies than they are with defending international law. The Geneva and Hague conventions have died in the last few years as it became evident that the principles of those conventions will only be applied to actions of the militaries of liberal democracies, and to no one else. Systematic violation of the Conventions has become the accepted road to political power, personal wealth and, occasionally, a Nobel Peace Prize.

Half of the polity now argues that unlawful and inhumane tactics merely represent the desperation of the justified underdog instead of the callousness of the cruel and greedy. In such a moral environment, those who must fight and apprehend pirates understand that they will face far harsher judgment, with far less presumption of innocence, than will the pirates. Why should they risk their reputations, careers, freedoms and lives just to uphold the law when they know their most likely reward will be a knife in the back?

Despite all the hand-wringing, solving the pirate problem should be pretty easy.

The rich nations are already taking steps to protect their shipping – the US 5th Fleet has five to 10 ships in the area; there is also an EU force, and a Nato fleet. A host of countries, including Britain, China, Russia, India, Saudi Arabia, Denmark and Malaysia, have either sent warships or are reportedly considering doing so.

Such ships must act promptly and ruthlessly, as piracy will spread unless it is stamped out. The Gulf of Aden is an exit from the Mediterranean, one of the world's most important seas, crossed annually by thousands of ships. So our campaign must be ruthless and pitiless: pirate ships must be sunk on sight and the crews left to swim to safety, if it can be reached.

Many would complain about such tactics but, in my opinion, pirates have no rights – indeed, it will be vital to exclude human rights lawyers from the anti-piracy campaign. To bring any captives to Europe or America for trial would probably be to grant them their dearest wish, which is to secure entry to a new life in the First World.

Hang 'em high.

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