Sunday, April 12, 2009

Blackbeard the Somali

So, I assume I am now in a time warp, and I am living in the early 1800s. Blackbeard is roaming the high seas in search of rich treasure troves from English and Spanish galleons.  While the US Navy sits by watching, the pirates casually retrieve (well, probably not so casually) the captain who tried to desert their tender loving care.

And what is the world’s response? “Well, um, uh, yeah, ok, I guess we could scarf up a million bucks. Sure why not?” And what is the pirates’ next move? They hijack yet another ship.

Other latter day Blackbeard’s, aka Blackwater, tried putting their services up for grabs to the highest bidder—no takers. Huh? Blackwater, which had no legitimate role in Iraq, now has an almost ideal role as armed escorts to the nation’s shippers and none will hire them?  I read that there are “liability issues” with having heavily armed guards on board. And apparently there is no liability issue associated with being hijacked by heavily armed pirates?

So, where’s the NRA, and the Republican gun crowd on this issue? Doesn’t the “Law of the Sea” have anything instructive on such a big issue?

Now, I’m not really a big believer in the law of the gun, but man, if ever there was a case for blowing the little shits out of the water, this one seems to be it.  No drones, armed with predator missiles for this scenario? They’re only good for blowing up Pakistani villages? Remember the Vietnam "Free Fire Zones"? How about "Free Fire Ocean Zones"?

But this all gives rise to an earlier Blog, where I noted that many so-called countries are not really nations at all. I said that Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia are really failed states and need the “protection” of the World body, aka the UN. Actually, Somalia isn’t really a failed state—it isn’t a state at all. It’s just a part of Africa currently with no government at all. So, since it is home to the pirates, someone adult needs to move in and take charge. The pirates are in this for money, pure and simple—no jihad for them. But, that being so, they need a place to park their money, and . . . a big and . . . someplace to spend it. If they are denied safe haven in Somalia, or someplace else, it kind of takes the fun out of piracy.  In the 1600s (I think) the Brits moved into the Indian subcontinent and took over with a few thousand troops. So, we’re saying that in the 21st century, the “world powers” can’t subdue a small part of Africa that has no troops and mostly small arms? That being so, why are we spending $700 billion on “defense”?

And elsewhere, we just received a form letter from one of our banks (forever nameless). Chase (oops) sent us this note saying that they're raising the interest rate on our credit debt, because, well, because they can.  They screwed up and made a lot of really bad loans and other “deals” so now they have to recoup from those folks who actually pay their bills on time.  They also told us that they reserve the right to cancel our contract any time they chose, for any reason they chose, or for no reason at all. Just for the hell of it.  Now that’s called chutzpah. Apparently the Chase (oops) folks skipped out on that Harvard MBA class on Customer Relations. Well, on the other hand, maybe Harvard’s Customer Relations class is called “Screwing Your Customers while smiling, 101.”

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