Rather, argues Mr. Chalk, the US needs to target the pirates' bases in Somalia, where they have had free reign to establish camps in various port cities of the failed state. In a commentary for CNN, Tom Wilkerson of the United States Naval Institute, a nonprofit professional association, also advocates targeting the pirates' home bases, which he says is a lesson "we seem unable to learn from our own history."
In 1804 President Thomas Jefferson said "Enough" to paying 20 percent of the US national budget as tribute to Barbary pirates. His response was clear and successful – build a strong naval task force, equip it with a sizeable contingent of Marines, and send it to attack and defeat the pirates in their lair. The sailors and Marines sent on that mission did just that – and in the process wrote a stirring page in our nation's early history.
The problem today is that we have refused to take the Jefferson model. We've confined our anti-piracy efforts to the open seas and left the pirates' home bases on land as a sanctuary. Thus, the pirates continue to operate with relative freedom and stealth. We and our allies only respond, never seizing the initiative.
The Jefferson model is a better answer: Take on the pirates where they are, rather than guessing where they will be. In short, attack them at their home bases.