Where were our Marines?

I don't mean that in a literal sense; I know the Navy had a ship on the way to the area. I mean it in the sense that we've become so politically correct that no one would even dare think about sending Marines to fight pirates.

"Pirates? What? Don't they just sing songs and put parrots on their shoulders?"


In fact, a more accurate name for pirates is something you're probably a little more familiar with: terrorists.

We also shouldn't sugarcoat the fact that paying ransom to these pirates is not only negotiating with terrorists, but it's also funding real, future attacks. And no, not the kind with long swords and short planks, the kind with AK-47s and RPGs.

For example, last year, pirates seized a Saudi supertanker loaded with a $100 million in crude oil. After being held for nearly two months, the Sirius Star and its 25 crew members were freed after $3 million in ransom magically parachuted onto the deck.

Turns out that people do negotiate with terrorists after all.

So what does ransom paid near Africa have to do with us? Easy, follow the money trail. Most terrorism experts agree that most terrorist attacks can't succeeded without a source of funding-and that includes 9/11.

There have now been nearly 400 pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia since 2008. Almost 200 people have been killed in these attacks over the last decade, with another 200 missing, 600 injured and 3,000 taken hostage.

Which brings me to the United States Marines.

You may have heard the hymn: "From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli." But you probably don't know where it comes from. Tripoli — today's Libya — is where the U.S. fought its first foreign war and where the U.S. Marines were baptized by fire.

It was late in the 18th century and as much as one out of every $5 in U.S. revenue was being paid out in ransom to Barbary raiders, who engaged in theft, extortion, hijacking and slavery.

In 1801, just days after his inauguration as the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson — who famously said "one war, such as that of our revolution, is enough for one life" — would not tolerate any more blackmail from the pirates. He tried to build an international coalition but, surprise, surprise, no one else was interested.

So Jefferson — realizing that America would never truly be free if it cowered to terrorists — dispatched the Marines.

Those Marines fought bravely against Islamic terrorists for 14 years far from home and as far as I know it was never described as a quagmire or a lost cause.

Their sacrifice was embodied in the Tripoli Monument, which was once in Washington, D.C., but is now — for all you conspiracy theorists in the audience — hidden in Annapolis.

There is no shame in admitting that our enemies today are much like our enemies back then: Barbaric Islamic terrorists who despise everything we stand for. But there is plenty of shame in skirting our responsibilities and backing down from the fight. That's why it's time these modern-day pirates meet the same people who ended the tyranny of their predecessors: the few, the proud, the United States Marines.

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