For those too young to know what the Gulf of Tonkin Incident involved, read this article for an introduction. Lyndon Baines Johnson used the alleged attack as a pretext for ramping up the war in Vietnam, which I was a part of as an aviation electrician’s mate in a squadron of F-4J fighter jets on board the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk (CVA-63). I know whereof I speak.
Now, the New York Daily News and the Wall Street Journal are beating the war drums, as usual. For them, the latest piracy incident involving the Maersk Alabama in the Gulf of Aden is an excuse to carpet bomb the small coastal villages of Somalia from which the pirates launch their missions.
There is, as always, another side to this story; one that is never reported by the corporate media here in the United States. Human Rights Watch, a respected organization devoted to human rights world-wide, published an article by Chris Albin-Lackey on the Somalia crisis on December 29, 2008. If you are interested in why there is a piracy problem in the Gulf of Aden, you will learn a lot there. You will learn much more than by reading the chest-thumping articles by the bullies at the Wall Street Journal, listening to the ignorant parrots on the cable “news” channels, or reading the vitriolic demagoguery at the New York Daily News.
As an interim solution (the policy recommendations proffered by Mr. Albin-Lackey will take a long time to put into effect, if ever), I’d like to offer a simple solution: construct armored platforms at the mid-point on each side of the cargo ships so that an armed observer can see approaching pirates who might attempt to scale the sides of the ships. Floodlights would illuminate the sides of the ships at night. When pirates approach (if they were foolish enough), they could then be dealt with appropriately.
Is there no reason why this would not work? Why must over-whelming military force be the be-all and end-all of United States foreign policy? It is way past time to put the bellicose grand-standing led by George W. Bush and the right-wing false patriots who have never gone to war to rest. I’m almost 60 years old and I have witnessed violent “solutions” to political problems my entire adult life. Those violent “solutions” have never worked. It is time to try something different.