Treaty Supported by State Nominee Coddles Pirates

Treaty Supported by State Nominee Coddles Pirates

Letter to the Editor in The Washington Examiner
April 20, 2009
Originally published in The Washington Examiner

Quin Hillyer is right to criticize Obama’s nomination of Harold Koh to
be chief counsel for the State Department. Koh’s appointment would make
it even harder to reign in the rampant piracy in the crucial shipping
lanes off of Somalia, which has resulted in deaths, kidnappings, and
billions of dollars in losses. Koh argues that unratified treaties like
the Law of the Sea Treaty, aka LOST, are binding on the U.S. as “customary international law.” Article 110 of LOST
bars naval ships from simply firing on suspected pirates. Instead, they
are required to first send over a boarding party to inquire of the
pirates whether they are, in fact, pirates. That makes it almost
impossible to prevent hostage-taking. Koh also supports controversial
treaties that have been interpreted as restricting free speech and
mandating quotas.