Ships with cargo worth many millions of dollars are sailing through waters adjacent the poorest inhabited continent on the planet. And they’re doing so without armed guards. What do you think is going to happen? The only remarkable thing about the Somali piracy so far is that no hostages have been killed. If you drove an unguarded Brinks truck loaded with $10 million or so in cash at a leisurely clip through, say, Gary, Indiana, much worse would befall you. The brigandage plaguing the Gulf of Aden is serious but hardly anything to get hysterical about. Basic private-security efforts should be sufficient to control Somali privacy.

Classicist-turned-propagandist Victor Davis Hanson, however, has apparently never stubbed a toe without wanting to amputate a leg–and somebody else’s, at that. He doesn’t just crave a war on pirates, at National Review Online he calls for “disproportionate measures” (his words) that would involving slaughtering Somali civilians in large numbers. Take it away, VD:

Pompey’s victories over the Cilician pirates, the Venetian clean-up of the Mediterranean sea-lanes, and the British success in stopping Caribarrean piracy were all predicated on going ashore, destroying the docks, headquarters, and homes of the pirates. To end Somali piracy, disproportionate measures against the shore should be taken—for every one pirate assault, a lethal air assault should immediately follow.

A lethal air assault on what? VD knows there isn’t a nice isolated buccaneer cove with a bar marked “Pirate Shack–Bomb Here.” He would kill women and in children in retaliation for what a gang of street-criminals-on-the-waves gets up to. Hanson is the Ward Churchill of the neocons: civilian deaths mean nothing in themselves to him, they’re just fuel for his power fantasies — sinners on the wrong side of progress.