Pirate attacks

Tuesday morning, Scott and Jean Adams, 70 and 68, of Marina del Rey, Calif., and traveling companions Bob Riggle, 67, and Phyllis Macay, 59, of Seattle, were shot and killed aboard the Adams' 58-foot sloop The Quest by Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea.

Pentagon officials say the four were murdered during negotiations as the sloop was being shadowed by a flotilla of U.S. warships and drone aircraft.

The piracy and ransom game has been going on in those waters for years. This year, Somali pirates have mounted 54 attacks, hijacked 12 ships and taken 228 crew members hostage, according to the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

Why? Because it pays. Because weak-kneed politicians order "negotiations" and payments of ransom.

In 1805 and again in 1815, in the first action of U.S. troops overseas, our naval commanders Stephen Decatur and William Bainbridge, and a detachment of men dubbed U.S. Marines were sent to the coast of North Africa to stop the Muslim pirates there from capturing American ships for ransom, or killing or enslaving their crews.

The small detachment of Marines, under the command of Lt. Presley O'Bannon, led a frontal assault on a harbor fort at the Battle of Derna. Lt. O'Bannon raised an American flag over the fortress. The mention of the "shores of Tripoli" in the "Marines' Hymn" refers to this triumph.

A new pasha was installed in Tripoli, who presented Lt. O'Bannon with a curved Mameluke sword. To this day Marine dress swords replicate the sword given to Lt. O'Bannon.

Our armed forces have the assets necessary to locate and sink the mother ships from which these pirate craft operate. We have the assets necessary to locate and destroy the ports from which they sail, whether via aerial bombardment, naval gunfire or landing a detachment of demolition experts.

If the enormous expenditures the American public lavishes on the "defense establishment" mean anything, they should mean that American citizens can travel unmolested on any international waters they please, and that when Americans are murdered in cold blood, those who commit such acts should expect all hell to break loose, considerably impacting the structural integrity of whatever homes they hail from.