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When the Founding Fathers Faced Islamists ( History ... The Barbary Pirates )
Pajamas Media ^ | May 27, 2008 | Michael Weiss

Posted on 05/28/2008 10:00:46 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach

Back in 1784, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had to decide whether to appease or stand up to armed Middle Eastern pirates. Sound familiar?

John McCain and Barack Obama are now engaged in a long-distance dispute over whether talking to America’s enemies is integral to America’s security (with neither one wishing to talk to poor Hillary Clinton any longer).

McCain has not so subtly assailed Obama as an “appeaser” for his stated willingness to sit down with the Iranian leadership about its nuclear weapons program and sponsorship of jihadism in Iraq — and never mind for now if that leadership consists of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Ali Khamenei. Meanwhile, Obama has repeatedly labeled McCain a kind of hyper-Bush militarist of the shoot first, sign treaties later school of foreign policy. McCain has hinted at Chamberlain and Munich, always a histrionic conversation-ender in matters of these sort, and Obama has sheepishly downplayed the Iranian threat by contrasting it against the Soviet one, and, without any hint of irony, indicating Kennedy’s talks with Khrushchev in Vienna, and Reagan’s momentous mini-summit with Gorbachev in Reykjavik as proof that toughness and diplomacy are not mutually exclusive concepts. (One witty editorial in The New York Times reminded Obama that Camelot’s finest hour was not its Austrian kibitz with the Russian premier, an event that laid all the psychological bricks, so to speak, for the erection of the Berlin Wall and the Cuban missile crisis.)

Oddly though, in their rush to analogize by way of chivvying each other, neither candidate has actually pulled an example relevant to the region of the globe now under discussion.latter eventually winning out.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 2008; americanhistory; appeasement; barbarypirates; ezrastiles; godsgravesglyphs; islam; mccain; obama; thomasjefferson; yale; yaleuniversity
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1 posted on 05/28/2008 10:00:46 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: All
H/T to the JAWA Report

Learning the Lesson of Islamist Appeasement: The Barbary Pirates


Michael Weiss recounts the experience the Founding Fathers had with the Barbary Pirates in this PJM article. I'm sure most of you know the story of how the North African states extorted Western countries based upon Islamist principles, but it's important to remind ourselves that the Islamist war against the West (and everyone for that matter) is not a new one.

What I find interesting in the article is that in the early years of the Republic we actually did negotiate with the petty Islamist rulers of North Africa. In fact, one year we paid nearly 20% of the national budget as tribute in return for promises that US shipping would be left alone. The attacks didn't stop, of course. For as soon as we paid off one tyrant others demanded the same. Lesson learned?

2 posted on 05/28/2008 10:03:14 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (No Burkas for my Grandaughters!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
"To the shores of Tripoli".

Or Tehran, as the case may be.

3 posted on 05/28/2008 10:04:16 AM PDT by neodad (USS Vincennes (CG 49) "Checkmate Cruiser")
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Knowing my fondness for the Founders, my (Liberal) family members used to ask me if the the Founders would have done such a thing. I get to tell them, "Yes, and the DID". Then I tell them about the barbary pirates, and our first military excursion beyond our shores.

Ya think Oliver Stone would make a movie about this?

4 posted on 05/28/2008 10:10:22 AM PDT by Paradox (Politics: The art of convincing the populace that your delusions are superior to others.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Terrorism in Early America
The U.S. Wages War Against the Barbary States to End International Blackmail and Terrorism
by Thomas Jewett
5 posted on 05/28/2008 10:12:17 AM PDT by BullDog108 (A Smith & Wesson beats four aces)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Amazing how history repeats itself. But the real Americans, like Adams and Jefferson, unlike the FAUX AMERICANS that have infested Washington, knew that FREEDOM IS NOT FREE — IT MUST BE FOUGHT FOR, as our freedom was.

Appeasers are coming at us from every direction.

6 posted on 05/28/2008 10:14:21 AM PDT by EagleUSA
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

What I find interesting - and maybe one of your links mentions it - is that this episode puts the Treaty of Tripoli in context. This treaty is often cited by secularists as being a definitive statement about ‘separation of church and state” because it contains a passage that America is not founded on the Christian religion. No matter what influenced America’s founding, reliance on this passage in the treaty would be about as misplaced as citing a modern-day hostage video as proof of certain facts. The pirates were taking our sailors hostage and demanding tribute. The US was not the military might it is today. So a treaty was signed, which the pirates violated, causing the US to use force.

Far from conclusively proving America’s totally secular nature, it’s evidence that radicals in that hare of the world have been a problem for the US just about since its inception.

7 posted on 05/28/2008 10:20:21 AM PDT by cvq3842
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To: BullDog108

Thanks for that link....Good stuff...

8 posted on 05/28/2008 10:22:06 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (No Burkas for my Grandaughters!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Good and appropriate parallel. But why is the date for the Barbary Pirates so far out of date? It was 1805 that Congress passed authority for President Jefferson to "use military force" and do so "across international boundaries." The language was nearly identical to that used by Congress in 2001 for President Bush to go after the current crop of Muslim terrorists.

Congressman Billybob

Latest article, "Ever See a Bridge Pull?"

9 posted on 05/28/2008 10:24:33 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob (
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To: cvq3842

To my way of thinking it is also an excellent come-back to those who state our founding fathers didn’t believe in foreign entanglements if the situation warranted it.

Jefferson was very much involved in taking it to the Barbary Pirates in his day. I don’t see any reason why we should avoid doing something similar.

10 posted on 05/28/2008 10:26:19 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Votes to Pass Leftist Policy: McCain Senators 90, House 375 / Obama Senators 58, House 275.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

The article overlooks the most important part about either of the Barbary Pirates war. That the Marine Corps led by Lieutenant Pressley Obannon kicked some butt and solved the problem. Oh, the Navy had a little part in it also. Semper Fi!!! : )

11 posted on 05/28/2008 10:27:34 AM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: cvq3842

The United States fought the pirates of the Barbary coast, in a war that continued on and off for four years. The pirates demanded that tribute be paid in order to ensure safe passage for American ships. When Jefferson refused, the pirates declared war. Ultimately, the American fleet defeated the pirates.

Nine days after the Thomas Jefferson took office; his administration received a demand from the Pasha of Tripoli to increase the amount to tribute that was paid him, or else he would declare war. Jefferson's inclination, despite his party's policy of dismantling the Navy, was to respond with force. This inclination was further supported when a ship, the "George Washington," under the command of Captain William Bainbridge, was forced to convey the yearly tribute to Constantinople, after having brought it to Tripoli.

The US' first step was to send a small squadron, three frigates and a schooner, to show the American flag off the coast of Tripoli. Then, the American squadron instituted a loose blockade of Tripoli. One squadron was commanded by Commodore Dale, and was relieved by a squadron led by Commodore Richard Morris. Neither squadron did much more than show the flag. Morris was relieved, and replaced by Commodore Edward Prebble, who was on board the flag ship "Constitution." For the first time, the squadron included shallow draft ships, which had the capacity to provide inshore bombardment.

Prebble was determined to take a more active approach than his predecessors. He made a show of force off the coast of Tangiers, and sent the "Philadelphia," under the command of Captain Bainbridge, to blockade Tripoli. On November 1, the "Philadelphia" pursued a Tripolitan ship toward the harbor. While pursuing her, the "Philadelphia" ran aground. All attempts at refloating her failed, and her crew of 307 was forced to surrender. The Tripolitans later managed to refloat the frigate.

Prebble then faced a major dilemma: what should he do about the captured ship and its crew? He developed a plan to destroy the ship as she lay anchored in Tripoli Harbor. He had earlier captured the "Mastico," a Tripolitan ketch. The "Mastico" was renamed the "Intrepid," and, on February 16, 1804, Lt. Stephen Decatur led the ship straight into Tripoli Harbor. He and the crew managed to overpower the guard on the "Philadelphia," and succeeded in setting it on fire without any casualties.

Prebble then began an intensive blockade on Tripoli, as well as successive bombardments of the harbor. Prebble was replaced with Samuel Barron, who was quite ill. Barron was in turn replaced by William Eaton, who hired a mercenary Arab army in Egypt. They crossed the desert and successfully captured the Tripolitan coastal town of Derna. The war was then brought to a negotiated end.

12 posted on 05/28/2008 10:28:42 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (No Burkas for my Grandaughters!)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Not sure...See #12...will look for more .

13 posted on 05/28/2008 10:31:09 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (No Burkas for my Grandaughters!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

I have posted a number of times on free republic concerning how the current war in Iraq has many parrallels to the Barbary Pirate Wars. Specifically that it was a war protecting our trade (free flow of oil), the Congress authorized the use of force against this confederation of states. Most importantly, it was conducted by a President who was a founding father (Jefferson) and many in the Congress were founders who signed the Constitution and voted on the BOR. This example clearly tells us that the majority of the founding fathers would not have had a problem with this current war. In fact, I think people like Jefferson would have seen the need for it.

14 posted on 05/28/2008 10:32:58 AM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: Old Teufel Hunden
Oh, the Navy had a little part in it also. Semper Fi!!! : )

Thanks for tossing us a bone :)

15 posted on 05/28/2008 10:33:26 AM PDT by neodad (USS Vincennes (CG 49) "Checkmate Cruiser")
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To: Congressman Billybob
The Tripolitan War, 1801 - 1805


Escalation, a new American President, and a failure to honour treaties, led to a declaration of war between the Barbary State of Tripolitania and the United States of America.

When the United States of America gained independence from Great Britain there was an unexpected problem - piracy. Removed from the protection of the world's greatest navy, US ships were prize targets for pirates all cross the seven seas. In 1783, the same year that the Treaty of Paris was signed, corsairs from the Barbary States began to attack American shipping in the Mediterranean.

Inundated by many other problems which required immediate attention - border wars with Indians, navel conflict with Revolutionary France - the US Congress capitulated to demands for tribute. Within the next fifteen years, treaties were ratified with each of the four Barbary states: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Tripolitania (one of three regions which were combined to form Libya).

By the time Thomas Jefferson was appointed president (1801) the situation had changed: a treaty had been signed ending naval war between the US and France, and the American ship George Washington, transporting the yearly tribute to Algiers, had been ordered to sail on to Constantinople to deliver the money directly to the Ottoman sultan. (To add to the humiliation, Captain William Bainbridge was instructed to fly the Ottoman flag whilst in harbour at Algiers.) America had, by this time, paid over $2,000,000 in tribute and ransom to the Barbary States - but this was only one-fifth of what was expected.

Angered by delayed and undersized payments the Barbary State regents demanded more. The escalating situation was finally brought to a head by the Pasha of Tripolitania, Yusuf Karamanli. On May 14, 1801, he ordered the flag staff (flying the 'Stars and Stripes') standing in front of the US consulate to be cut down. This symbolic act was taken as a declaration of war against America.

A squadron of four ships were being made ready at that time in the US. Under the command of Commodore Richard Dale they were dispatched to the Mediterranean. On the 17th of July, 1801, a blockade was imposed on the harbour at Tripoli. Although there were a few naval successes against the corsairs, the squadron proved too weak to effectively control the situation. The US envoy to Tripoli, James Cathcart, continued discussions with the Pasha hoping to reach a compromise on the amount of tribute now being demanded - a one-off payment of $250,000 and an annual tribute of $20,000.

In 1803, an enlarged squadron was sent to the Mediterranean under the command of Commodore Edward Preble (of the 44-gun frigate Constitution). On the 31st of October 1803, one of Preble's ships, the frigate Philadelphia, ran aground on a reef near the harbour. Captured by Tripolitan gunboats, the frigate was floated free and taken into port. Captain William Bainbridge and the ship's 307 crew were imprisoned.

On the 16th of February, 1804, Lieutenant Stephen Decatur led a raid on the harbour in a previously captured ketch, renamed Intrepid. Although the main aim of the raid was to retake the Philadelphia, Decatur had to settle with burning the frigate to the water line. The raiding party escaped before an alarm was sounded. The British Admiral, Lord Nelson, described the raid as "the most daring act of the age." Unfortunately the crew of the Philadelphia remained in prison, and the Pasha was now asking for $200,000 for their release.

Commodore Preble, who considered the Barbary regents to be "a deep designing artfull treacherous sett of Villains" decided that a show of force was necessary. Two ineffectual and one highly successful bombardments on Tripoli were undertaken in August 1804. On the 4th of September, Preble once again used the captured ketch Intrepid, this time sacrificing it as a fire-ship in the hope of destroying the Pasha's fleet. Unfortunately for Preble, the ship was spotted by enemy gunners and blown up in the harbour entrance. None of the crew survived the premature detonation. Although the attack was a failure, the harbour was seriously compromised and the Pasha's fleet severely restricted.

Next page > Part II: Attack on Derna > Page 1, 2, 3

16 posted on 05/28/2008 10:36:22 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (No Burkas for my Grandaughters!)
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To: NormsRevenge; elhombrelibre; Allegra; SandRat; tobyhill; G8 Diplomat; Dog; Cap Huff; ...

Discussing the History of appeasement and the Barbary Pirates.

17 posted on 05/28/2008 10:39:06 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (No Burkas for my Grandaughters!)
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To: neodad
"Thanks for tossing us a bone :)"

No problem, you guys deserved it... : )
18 posted on 05/28/2008 10:39:09 AM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
...navel conflict with Revolutionary France...

I wouldn't have had the stomach for that.

19 posted on 05/28/2008 11:04:31 AM PDT by decimon
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach


Hitchens on Thomas Jefferson and the Barbary Pirates.

20 posted on 05/28/2008 11:05:24 AM PDT by dervish (Why is the post-racial candidate drawing 90+ percent of the Black vote?)
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