Let the cannonball fly and hang them high

Let the cannonball fly and hang them high

Piers Akerman
Monday, April 13, 2009 at 06:33pm

DESPITE the popularity of successive Pirates of the Caribbean films, real pirates are not cuddly criminals.

Nor are they members of an oppressed minority group suffering from low self-esteem. They are murderers and kidnappers who live by the gun and understand only one thing – force.

Sunday’s successful rescue of American sea captain Richard Phillips, after US President Barack Obama authorised the use of force against the Somali pirates who held him captive, emphasises that reality.

A team of US Navy SEALS aboard the USS Bainbridge freed Phillips after shooting his captors from their position about 30m away, a ridiculously easy shot for trained marksmen.

This followed an earlier rescue of a French yacht crew by French commandos, during which a French yachtsman was killed, possibly by the French rescue team.

A photograph of the French crew taken before their rescue shows an anguished woman held at gunpoint by a young pirate armed with an automatic weapon. Anyone who doubts the ruthlessness of the pirates should use that image as a reality check.

The US effort marked Obama’s first authorisation of force against a group hostile to Americans, and it is reported that he received news of the successful rescue 11 minutes after it was completed, and spoke with Phillips shortly after.

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