The art of rhetoric
Posted by Charles II on November 21, 2008
Robert Farley of Lawyers, Guns, and Money has a great piece up at The Guardian on Somalian piracy. In one of the great bits of dry wit of our era, he says:
In a November 19 article, Peter Lehr makes a provocative argument about the rise of maritime piracy off the Horn of Africa. He suggests that Somali pirates are victims of circumstance as much as high seas highwaymen, and that the intervention of western naval forces will not solve the piracy problem. Both of these claims may have a kernel of truth, but unfortunately Dr Lehr’s analysis makes significant errors of fact and interpretation.
There are two major problems with Lehr’s argument. First, he buys into the notion that Somali pirates are acting as a coast guard, and that they are primarily interested in the defence of traditional fishing grounds. Were this so, it would hardly explain why the pirates have attacked ships well beyond Somali territorial waters, or why their attacks have been indiscriminate with regards to nationality and type of vessel. The Saudi oil tanker seized the day before yesterday was not, after all, engaged in illegal fishing.
That line alone wins him the argument.
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