Thursday, April 23, 2009

More History Is Needed, Alas.

Day-by-day, I’m ever-more convinced that our news is edited either by ADD-addled twenty-somethings who barely remember last night, or middle-agers like me who ought to know better but don’t. How else does one explain the breathless “OMG! What CAN we do...?” coverage of the Somali pirates?

My philosophy in most of life - but especially as I read the news - is “...either DO something or shut up and stop whining!” Yet today, headlines are still rife with news of Somali pirates doing more of whatever the hell it is pirates do...mostly acting like small men compensating for their penis envy with large guns.

This, of course, leads me to conclude that nobody took my sincere, heart-felt advice a few days ago. With fading hope that it’ll do any good, I’m offering yet another short history lesson harkening back to the dark, early days of WW II.

To a time when keeping Britain’s population and the war effort adequately supplied meant ships crossing the Atlantic from west to east, lots of ships, ships full of flour and butter, tanks and ammunition. And the Germans kept sinking those ships (see a parallel yet?)

So one day someone in the War Office had the bright idea (hey, it happens...) that forming the merchant vessels into a CONVOY and heading them across the north Atlantic in GROUPS would make said ships easier to protect (how about now?)

And so it was that destroyers and submarines and some long-ranging PBY patrol planes were assigned to PROTECT the CONVOYS from marauding U-boats. (now?) It wasn’t perfect; some shipping still went up (down?) in flames, but sufficient material made it to the Southampton docks that defeat was averted.

But today we hear “Oh, the Gulf of Aden is TOOOOOO Big! And the pirates are TOOOOO fast! We can’t be everywhere!” Bigger than the north Atlantic? Faster than silent, unseen U-boats? Ummm, no.

You don’t HAVE to be EVERYWHERE, dumbasses. You just have to be WHERE THE SHIPS ARE! So, form 30 or 40 merchant vessels into a CONVOY, assign a destroyer or two to ride shotgun and start puncturing some pirates. Hell, a few special forces badasses in a Boston Whaler are probably sufficient.

If you’re too stupid to do that, do me a favor and stop complaining about losing a few. Consider piracy a cost of doing business.

(And you also LOSE points, all of you history class-sleepers, if YOU thought the term CONVOY originated with Burt Reynolds and Jerry Reed as a way to foil Smokey.)

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