When Will Congress Investigate the Death of Somali Pirates?

Kyle-Anne Shiver & Lee Cary
The redux debate over enhanced interrogation techniques (EIT) promises to provoke a new flurry of Congressional investigations. So when will Congress investigate the killing of three Somali pirates?

The decision to release TOP SECRET memos addressing EIT was made by President Obama on the principles of law and transparency. The use of those EIT is perceived by some as reprehensible and represents a shock to the conscience.

Additionally, the argument that the EIT occurred in a context where there was indisputable evidence (in the form of 3,000 body bags) of a clear-and-present danger to the people of the United States is not viewed as an exigent circumstance by the Obama administration.

Fair enough. The declassification of documents is within any President’s authority.  

Now, to be consistently fair and principled, when do Congressional hearings begin on the use of deadly force in the form of three mortal head shots inflicted on three, non-combatant, Somali pirates?  

Sure, the pirates held an American seaman captive in international waters and were holding a gun to his head. But they’d inflicted no bodily harm on any of the ship’s crew, nor had they made any attempt on the captain’s life.

In the minds of some, the pirates are aligned with the deaths of American servicemen in Mogadishu in 1993. But no evidence places them at that scene. Plus, they would have been very young at the time. Too young to hold an AK47.

We used EIT on 28 al-Qaida detainees and waterboarded 3 directly involved with the attacks on September 11, 2001. No one suggests the CIA intent was punitive, or designed merely to inflict pain.  All agree that the purpose was to gain information to forestall more attacks. In other words, to save lives.  And, across administrations, former intelligence officials claim that lives were saved.

So, to the original question: When do Congressional hearings begin on the deaths of the Somali pirates? When will government memos be declassified and released, for the sake of law and transparency, that detail the decision process that led up to those killings? (Then, when will President Obama apologize to the people of Somalia for using deadly force against three of its citizens?)

After all, no al-Qaida detainees died as a result of ETI, but three Somali pirates are dead.  Principles are only transparent and legitimate when consistently applied.


The redux debate over enhanced interrogation techniques (EIT) promises to provoke a new flurry of Congressional investigations. So when will Congress investigate the killing of three Somali pirates?

The decision to release TOP SECRET memos addressing EIT was made by President Obama on the principles of law and transparency. The use of those EIT is perceived by some as reprehensible and represents a shock to the conscience.

Additionally, the argument that the EIT occurred in a context where there was indisputable evidence (in the form of 3,000 body bags) of a clear-and-present danger to the people of the United States is not viewed as an exigent circumstance by the Obama administration.

Fair enough. The declassification of documents is within any President’s authority.  

Now, to be consistently fair and principled, when do Congressional hearings begin on the use of deadly force in the form of three mortal head shots inflicted on three, non-combatant, Somali pirates?  

Sure, the pirates held an American seaman captive in international waters and were holding a gun to his head. But they’d inflicted no bodily harm on any of the ship’s crew, nor had they made any attempt on the captain’s life.

In the minds of some, the pirates are aligned with the deaths of American servicemen in Mogadishu in 1993. But no evidence places them at that scene. Plus, they would have been very young at the time. Too young to hold an AK47.

We used EIT on 28 al-Qaida detainees and waterboarded 3 directly involved with the attacks on September 11, 2001. No one suggests the CIA intent was punitive, or designed merely to inflict pain.  All agree that the purpose was to gain information to forestall more attacks. In other words, to save lives.  And, across administrations, former intelligence officials claim that lives were saved.

So, to the original question: When do Congressional hearings begin on the deaths of the Somali pirates? When will government memos be declassified and released, for the sake of law and transparency, that detail the decision process that led up to those killings? (Then, when will President Obama apologize to the people of Somalia for using deadly force against three of its citizens?)

After all, no al-Qaida detainees died as a result of ETI, but three Somali pirates are dead.  Principles are only transparent and legitimate when consistently applied.