Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Letters of Marque?

Apparently Ron Paul thinks we should handle piracy by issuing Letters of Marque. The Constitution explicitly empowers Congress to issue these letters, which are essentially writs empowering a private person to act as a naval vessel and attach enemy ships. This is yet another reason why Ron Paulistas are unsuited for government in the 21st century. Can you just imagine the uproar it would cause if private vessels flying US flags were chasing all over the African coast attacking any other private boat that they claimed was engaged in piracy? And, of course, some of these freebooters would screw up and need to be rescued by the US navy anyway, or be taken captive themselves. Other than being cheap, this is a terrible, terrible idea.


Raised By Republicans said...

Also, the practice of relying on letters of marque in part contributed to the pandemic of piracy in the 17th and 18th centuries. What happens when the time period stipulated by the letter runs out and the issuing government decides not to renew? That's probably how many of the Caribbean pirates got their start. Many figures we think of as "pirates" actually had legal letters of marque for some or all of their careers: Henry Morgan, Captain Kidd, and Blackbeard come to mind.

Or what happens if the Privateer (one who holds a letter of marque) attacks some ship belonging to a group that has just cut a deal with the issuing government? That's what happened to Captain Kidd. He was hanged for capturing the wrong type of ship.

Kidd is particularly interesting because his letter of marque was specifically authorizing him to track down and capture or kill pirates in the Indian Ocean. He was actually patrolling around the Gulf of Aden!

Anonymous said...

The one thing about the pirates is, at least they are more honest about their stealing. They come at you with guns etc., and you can see where they are coming from and know what is happening. The same can not be said for the 'Pirates of Wall Street', a new musical coming your way soon.:>) And we are still paying them ransom to continue their piracy. It is amazing what will outrage people, 160 million in bonuses and 20 to 30 million in ransom vs. a trillion plus to banks, securities firms,and insurance companies, and the virtual loss of our civil liberty via the Patriot Act. Where is the outrage indeed...and when did we become so passive?