Piracy: Paying the Ransom

As I write, American Captain Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama is drifting in the Indian Ocean in a lifeboat, some hundreds of miles from land, with limited food and water and (probably) no fuel, and with four armed Somali pirates. Captain Phillips and his Somali captors are surrounded by elements of the US Navy including the Bainbridge, a guided missile destroyer, and miscellaneous other vessels and helicopters. The pirates are demanding a substantial ransom in exchange for the release of the good Captain. In the circumstances, and given the relative fire-power of the pirates and the US Navy, it seems to me that the Navy should be asking for a ransom for the release of the Somali pirates.

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