Skip to comments.America's first war on foreign soil was fought against...
Posted on 03/21/2004 10:20:16 AM PST by The_Macallan
"Peace Through The Medium Of War"
Muslim pirates operating in the Mediterranean from Tripoli, Morroco, Tunisia and Algeria (the Barbary States) had been terrorizing European and early American merchant ships for hundreds of years. They attacked and pillaged any and all ships along trade routes, stole all cargos and held crews hostage for ransom which, if not paid, resulted in the crews being sold into slavery.
European states got so accustomed to these attacks that they actually paid regular "tributes" which were in effect blackmail "pre-ransom monies" to avoid having the crews of their ships seized. European states had tried many times to make treaties with these Muslim Barbarians only to see them broke time and time again as the pirates continued to raid their ships, enslave thousands of crew members and extort millions in "tributes" from the cowering European states.
Clearly the Europeans have a long history of appeasement to Islamic terrorists dating back many centuries.
Then along came America.
In 1801, just 19 days after his inauguration, US President Thomas Jefferson dramatically (some might say "radically") shifted America's response to the Muslim pirates of the Barbary States - especially those of Tripoli. With very little congressional or public debate, Jefferson sent newly-built US Navy ships to the Mediterranean to confront the Muslim pirates and defend American economic interests abroad.
Upon arriving, the Navy discovered that Tripoli had already declared war on the United States. Though the US did not formally declare war against the Tripoli, American military response shifted from defense to offense. Together with fighters from many regional tribes and states, the American Naval and Marine forces conducted military strikes and mercenary raids against the Islamic Barbary state of Tripoli in what is now known as America's first war on foreign soil ("...to the shores of Tripoli").
Again, this was all done to protect our economic interests and trade routes in the Mideast and Mediterranean. (Do you suppose there were any shouts of "No blood for spices" from homeless hippies in the streets of early America???)
The battles ebbed and flowed, some losses were incurred and some victories were won and importantly, the American show of force split the Barbary states with Algeria and Tunis breaking their alliance with Tripoli.
In the end, America's first war lasted almost five years and resulted in the weakening of the Barbary pirates. After the War of 1812, American military power had become quite well established and, in addition to the weakening of Tripoli at the hands of the Americans in 1805, had led to the final defeat of the Barbary pirates and establishment of peace treaties which were backed up by the threat of force by the American military. And by that time, Europe had also seen the success of American force against the Muslims of the Barbary states which finally strengthened their resolve to stand up to the Islamic pirates as well.
Lastly, the victory of the America's first war against Islamic terrorists resulted in the permanent establishment of US military bases in the Mediterranean, the triumph of defending our honor over paying their tributes and, most importantly, shifted American political thought away from pacifism and treaties which ruled the early founding father's Federalism to one of offense and in the words of Thomas Jefferson - "peace through the medium of war".
Some of Jefferson's words on dealing with the Islamic pirates/terrorists:
"it will be more easy to raise ships and men to fight these pirates into reason, than money to bribe them."
"The [Barbary] states must see the rod; perhaps it must be felt by some one of them"
"[It is] our determination to prefer war in all cases to tribute under any form, and to any people whatever,"
"I very early thought it would be best to effect a peace through the medium of war"
Thomas Jefferson, enough said.
Even the Marine Corps anthem bears tribute to the Barbary Wars; ...to the shores of Tripoli.
Other quotations coined about that time:
No; no; not a sixpence.
CHARLES COTESWORTH PINCKNEY, American minister to France, letter to Timothy Pickering, October 27, 1797, relating the American response to a French request for a tribute or bribe [in the XYZ Affair].
"Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute."
Representative Robert Goodloe Harper, Address, June 18, 1798 (Harper was the Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means)
Same place, different name, same bunch of rock chucking neanderthals, same outcome. Will these guys ever learn ?
"We do not negotiate with terrorists". (the modern version of the same sentiment)
Perhaps this has been America's fate, or raison d`etat, from the beginning.
The Quasi-war is also the source of the quote:" millions for defense but not one cent for tribute". We kept paying tribute to the Barbary Pirates through the Quasi-war, by the time of Jefferson's presidency the tribute to them was over 1/4th of the total federal budget!
Ironically the Quasi-war was fought with... our good friends the French!
But the Barbary War was an internationally significant moment in our history, and a step up in intensity from the Quasi-war. Here is a terrific thread on it by our vets-cor "Freeper Foxhole" fanatics The FReeper Foxhole Remembers The Barbary War . (Anyone interested in military history or anything military should check out the VetsCoR forum at the upper right of the FR forum page!)
French canadians and indians
I seem to recall an abortive/failed attempt to invade Canada during the Revolution in order to try to convince the
colonies to the North to join the 13 to the South.
That's not to mention the logistical/staging importance of Quebec to the Brits.
If you want to watch something which will turn your stomach, tune into the History Channel's "Battle of Tripoli" which appeared tonight.
I KNOW they will retelecast it.
In case you are not familiar with the storyline - a REAL American hero by the name of William Eaton travels to Egypt, with the approval of the Jefferson Administration.
His goal: to raise a force of mercenaries to unseat the ruler of Tripoli, one Yousouf Karamali who had dethroned his brother Hamid and seized the throne. He also had a handfull of U.S. Marines and some Christian European mercenaries with him.
Yusouf, like other Barbary rulers, made a living extorting protection money from Christian shipping in the Mediterranean. Like other Barbary States, he probably also augemented his illgotten gains by slave-raiding Christian countries in Southern and Western Europe, and petty acts of piracy.
The reason Eaton wanted to dethrone Yusouf, was to free several hundred American mariners who had been held for a very long time as prisoners in Tripoli where they were regularly beaten, abused, forced to work as slave labor, kept under inhuman conditions, and humiliated by the sons of Mohammed. Bargainning for their release by the Jefferson Administration had accomplished little.
After an epic journey with many personal hazards, Eaton was well on the road to accomplishing his goals.
But he was blind-sided by a viperous piece of offal named Tobias Lear, a creature of the State Department and a progenitor of many successors of a like mind. We can think of a current one immediately.
Lear had been manoevering behind the scenes all along to undermine Eaton, effectuate a ransome, and release the Americans that way.
After stunning victories, and just before Eaton and his group could make their move, Lear negotiatied a ransome of $60,000 for the release of the prisoners. Needed aid from the U.S. government never materialized and Commodore Baron, a man with a poor record as a commander, recalled Eaton and he and Hamid, a few of his followers and the remnant of the Americans were evacuated by ship.
Hamid was abandoned by the U.S. The balance of those who had supported him in Tripoli were left to the none too tender mercies of Yousuf. Eaton had the ground cut off around him and was totally embittered by the failure to support him, the abandonment of Hamid, and the use of money to buy back free Americans who should have been and most certainly WOULD have been freed by the sword.
Needless to say, Tripoli went onto commit new outrages, encouraged by Lear and Jefferson's cowardly behavior, and only another naval expedition to the area and committment of many more troops and ships under a more able commander than Baron was able to finally bring the Barbary Pirates to heal.
Parts of what I am telling you were omitted or glossed over in the History Channel acount.
But the REAL BARF alert involves two Professors of New England University and one Caucasian American profssor from where I can't recall. The two from the University of New England were one Dr. Ali Abdullatif Ahmid and one Dr. Anour Majid.
These pieces of human offal proceeded to present a politically correct account of things from the Barbery perspective. All three of them were critical of heroic Eaton as a "selfish adventurer", defended the actions of the Barbary States as necessary for their survival as a revenue source, defended them as legitimate nations, pointed out the Barbary Pirates were not "terrorists", criticized Eaton for raising an American Flag over a fort they seized, equated his efforts with "western colonization" and blamed this unfortunate incident as one cause for our "mistaken" concept of Islam.
Only one guy, a military man named Wheeler, seemed to actually speak out in support of Eaton.
I have read several of the books they mention in the presentation.
The Barbary States were predator sheikdoms who survived totally by slaving and raiding and extortion. Entire Christian villages from southern Italy to Ireland and England were totally wiped out by their slaving operations. They sent their corsairs out into the Atlantic and throughout the Mediterranean.
There was very little difference in their methods, given the times, between the lunatics threatening us now, and them.
I shudder to think of the impact these "professors" will have with their cultural equivalency concepts on the minds of young students at the University of New England.
I was in college during the Viet Nam era and I well know how vicious, biased, and unpatriotic leftist profesors can be.
I'm super steamed. I'm steamed at the History Channel, at the University of New England, and at these three pieces of human offal who are brainwashing American Students who will only hear one side of this story.