Arrgh diplomacy - Will Durst

It's bad enough that President Obama has to juggle two wars while scrubbing the floor of the White House trying to clean up the domestic mess left by the previous tenant, but as soon as he looks out the door, what does he see ... pirates.

That's right. Pirates. And no, I'm not talking left-handed relievers from Pittsburgh, or a limo full of Bernie Madoff wannabes, or some Hong Kong cartel peddling bootleg copies of the "Watchmen" sequel.

Actual bilge-sucking pirates. With guns and boats and rum and Davy Jones' Locker and everything. Wouldn't be surprised to find out they're brandishing scabbards and cutlasses in possession of a motley selection of wooden prosthetics as well. Shiver me timbers.

You all know the story. A U.S. ship, the Maersk Alabama, on its way from Djibouti to Mombassa, filled with relief supplies, is attacked by two boatloads of scallywags. That's right. These guys tried to hijack a boat full of relief supplies.

They're not just pirates, they're BAD pirates. The U.S. Navy surrounds them, and they try calling other pirates for help, but, of course, no one comes, because, me hearties, THEY'RE PIRATES. And then they got out-sea dogged by a group of landlubbing Navy SEALs.

And there was a happy ending. Especially for the rescued captain. Less so for the pirates. They were ship out of luck.

These sea bandits have terrorized the waters around the Horn of Africa since the beginning of Somalia's civil war back in the '90s, boarding ships and holding them for ransom. Last year, it is estimated they were able to leverage over $100 million in ransom, which ain't bad booty. A lot of doubloons. Pieces of eight o'plenty.

Abdullah Lami, a pirate currently holding a Greek ship hostage, vowed revenge. "We will retaliate for the killings of our men." Dude. You are a pirate. This is not new news. Retaliation is in ye job description. As is pillaging and keelhauling and walking the plank. Thems that dies is the lucky ones.

Hillary Clinton threatened to hang 'em all from the yardarm, but a pirate doesn't fear tough talk, only a bigger, badder pirate.

Now, Obama may look good with his shirt off, but the question is, how does he look in a ruffled shirt? And hoop earrings? I think he should stop shaving and convince his staff to refer to him as Blackbeard. Even if the whiskers come in gray, it still works on a couple of levels.

Then we buy the secretary of State a bird to perch on her shoulder. And encourage Joe Biden to appear in public wearing an eye patch. That could even be the real reason behind last week's Executive Caribbean visit. We're going to Pirate School. "Buckle your swash in six easy lessons." Where are our buccaneers? Under our bucking hat.

This was the first time a president was forced to act against piracy on the high seas since Jefferson sent the Marines to the shores of Tripoli. Hence the song. The halls of Montezuma had something to do with tequila, I think. Or an epidemic of bad burritos. 21st Century pirates. What's next: scurvy?

Who knew that piracy was a legitimate career track? Besides banking CEOs, I mean. Can't wait for the Vikings and Visigoths to make a comeback. Oh, that's right, they have, only now they call themselves Teabaggers. Talk about arrgh.

Will Durst is a political comedian who writes sometimes. He has performed around the world. He is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at durst@caglecartoons.com.