Obama is being tested with his decisions about Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea and now pirates. Obama believes in Government as the grand solution-maker and will probably deal with pirates with the military (yes, yes, Bush was even worse). But a non-government solution has been offered by several congressmen including Obama’s most realistic opponent in the Presidential Race, Ron Paul of Texas. These congressman are proposing that letters of marque and reprisal be used to reduce piracy.
Piracy was a large problem in the beginning years of US history. The constitution addresses it here:
[The Congress shall have power] To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, paragraph
“Marque” comes from the french work for “frontier”. And thus, a letter of marque is issued by a nation to a mercenary to act on behalf of that nation and pass beyond the border (“marque”) of our nation for the purpose of retaliating against another nation for some wrong, such as a border incursion or seizure. It was considered a retaliatory measure just short of a full declaration of war.
National security experts estimate that this week’s ship captain rescued by Navy SEALs cost tens of millions whereas granting letters of marque and reprisal–hiring bounty hunters–would be a lot cheaper than any organized U.S. military response. Small, flexible teams to hunt the pirates using their own creativity and initiative would be in keeping with the constitution, a more efficient solution and a better use of your tax money. Ron Paul is still working for us even if he is not the President — now, if only our President will listen.