Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Who Wants to Be a Privateer?

Ron Paul has proposed a novel solution to the growing international pirate problem. Congress should once again issue letters of marque and reprisal, he suggests, authorizing bounty hunters to go after pirates on the high seas.

Basically, he is proposing that the U.S. further privatize its military. The firm formerly known as Blackwater (now called Xe) has lost its license to operate in Iraq (although it is still, in fact, operating there). Here is the perfect opportunity for it to re-tool as a naval force. Maybe the Fincantieri Marine Group could start building pirate-hunting vessels, letting some Wisconsinites get in on the privateering action and bringing back some lucrative manufacturing jobs.

One thing to keep in mind, however. Historically, privateers were often (current or former) pirates themselves. We may find ourselves hiring a bunch of Somali thugs to prey upon their former comrades. On the other hand, maybe future generations will find themselves drinking Blackwater spiced rum. It has a certain ring to it...

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