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.
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