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Thread: Islam: Not Peaceful Not a Religion. History

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    Default Islam: Not Peaceful Not a Religion. History

    Islam Has Never Been Peaceful Nor Is It a Religion
    By Dave Gibson (08/16/2006)

    While the Christian prophet Jesus sacrificed himself for his believers, the Muslim prophet Mohammed frequently ordered his followers to sacrifice themselves for his own glory. Islam is not a religion at all, but a political movement with the goal of world domination. Islam has a very violent history and the terror now being perpetrated on the West is simply another campaign for world conquest.

    The Quran orders Muslims to either enslave or kill those who refuse to worship Allah. The Muslim holy book does not teach love, but hate. Faithful Muslims are directed to kill the 'infidels.'

    The following are a few of the violent passages found within the Quran:

    "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you." (Sura 9:122)

    "make war on the leaders of unbelief..." (Sura 9:12)

    "Allah has given those that fight with their goods and their persons a higher rank than those who stay at home. He has promised all a good reward; but for richer is the recompense of those who fight for Him." (Sura 4:96)

    "Believers, retaliation is decreed for you in bloodshed." (Sura 2:178)

    A merchant, Mohammed became a military leader and led several campaigns against 'non-believers.' He could also be easily classified as a common thief, as he frequently raided caravans headed for Mecca.

    In 624, Mohammed led a few hundred Muslim warriors in a raid on a merchant caravan. It resulted in a battle between the Meccans and the Muslims at Badr. The Muslims prevailed and took 70 prisoners who were held for ransom.

    In 627, the Meccans again were defeated by the Muslims in what is known as the Battle of the Trench. Afterwards, the Muslims accused a local Jewish tribe (Banu Qurayza) of conspiring with the Meccans and subsequently attacked the Jews. Under Mohamed's direction, the defeated Jews were given mock trials and executed by their Muslim captors.

    In 630, Mohammed led a force of 10,000 to seize Mecca.

    By the time of his death in 632, Mohammed was regarded as a ruthless military leader and a skillful politician. Less than a century after his death, his followers had conquered Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Armenia, Syria, and most of North Africa. During the 10th century, Muslim armies conquered part of India (in what is now Pakistan).

    Webster's defines religion as: 1. belief in and worship of God or Gods 2. a specific system of belief or worship built around God, a code of ethics, a philosophy of life

    As I said earlier, Islam is not a religion but a plan for world domination in which conquered peoples will either submit, become slaves, or be killed. Islam is no different to Nazism or Japanese Imperialism. American Muslims do not deserve Freedom of Religion protection under the U.S. Constitution and should be viewed as potential enemies of the state.

    We must no longer allow Muslims to hide behind the banner of religion. We must shut down their mosques, deport all non-citizen Muslims within this country, and consider internment for American Muslims until the end of the war. If we do not recognize the Muslim threat lurking within this nation...We can look forward to seeing more smoke rising over American cities.

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    WHOA! Three cheers for Dave Gibson!

    ...that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

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    Default Re: Islam Has Never Been Peaceful Nor Is It a Religion

    Jean Colombe / Wikimedia Commons
    Siege of Tyre (1187)
    The Real History of the Crusades

    A series of holy wars against Islam led by power-mad popes and fought by religious fanatics? Think again.
    Thomas F. Madden/ May 6, 2005

    With the possible exception of Umberto Eco, medieval scholars are not used to getting much media attention. We tend to be a quiet lot (except during the annual bacchanalia we call the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan, of all places), poring over musty chronicles and writing dull yet meticulous studies that few will read. Imagine, then, my surprise when within days of the September 11 attacks, the Middle Ages suddenly became relevant.
    As a Crusade historian, I found the tranquil solitude of the ivory tower shattered by journalists, editors, and talk-show hosts on tight deadlines eager to get the real scoop. What were the Crusades?, they asked. When were they? Just how insensitive was President George W. Bush for using the word crusade in his remarks? With a few of my callers I had the distinct impression that they already knew the answers to their questions, or at least thought they did. What they really wanted was an expert to say it all back to them. For example, I was frequently asked to comment on the fact that the Islamic world has a just grievance against the West. Doesn't the present violence, they persisted, have its roots in the Crusades' brutal and unprovoked attacks against a sophisticated and tolerant Muslim world? In other words, aren't the Crusades really to blame?
    Osama bin Laden certainly thinks so. In his various video performances, he never fails to describe the American war against terrorism as a new Crusade against Islam. Ex-president Bill Clinton has also fingered the Crusades as the root cause of the present conflict. In a speech at Georgetown University, he recounted (and embellished) a massacre of Jews after the Crusader conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 and informed his audience that the episode was still bitterly remembered in the Middle East. (Why Islamist terrorists should be upset about the killing of Jews was not explained.) Clinton took a beating on the nation's editorial pages for wanting so much to blame the United States that he was willing to reach back to the Middle Ages. Yet no one disputed the ex-president's fundamental premise.
    Well, almost no one. Many historians had been trying to set the record straight on the Crusades long before Clinton discovered them. They are not revisionists, like the American historians who manufactured the Enola Gay exhibit, but mainstream scholars offering the fruit of several decades of very careful, very serious scholarship. For them, this is a "teaching moment," an opportunity to explain the Crusades while people are actually listening. It won't last long, so here goes.
    The threat of Islam

    Misconceptions about the Crusades are all too common. The Crusades are generally portrayed as a series of holy wars against Islam led by power-mad popes and fought by religious fanatics. They are supposed to have been the epitome of self-righteousness and intolerance, a black stain on the history of the Catholic Church in particular and Western civilization in general. A breed of proto-imperialists, the Crusaders introduced Western aggression to the peaceful Middle East and then deformed the enlightened Muslim culture, leaving it in ruins. For variations on this theme, one need not look far. See, for example, Steven Runciman's famous three-volume epic, History of the Crusades, or the BBC/A&E documentary, The Crusades, hosted by Terry Jones. Both are terrible history yet wonderfully entertaining.

    So what is the truth about the Crusades? Scholars are still working some of that out. But much can already be said with certainty. For starters, the Crusades to the East were in every way defensive wars. They were a direct response to Muslim aggression—an attempt to turn back or defend against Muslim conquests of Christian lands.
    Christians in the eleventh century were not paranoid fanatics. Muslims really were gunning for them. While Muslims can be peaceful, Islam was born in war and grew the same way. From the time of Mohammed, the means of Muslim expansion was always the sword. Muslim thought divides the world into two spheres, the Abode of Islam and the Abode of War. Christianity—and for that matter any other non-Muslim religion—has no abode. Christians and Jews can be tolerated within a Muslim state under Muslim rule. But, in traditional Islam, Christian and Jewish states must be destroyed and their lands conquered. When Mohammed was waging war against Mecca in the seventh century, Christianity was the dominant religion of power and wealth. As the faith of the Roman Empire, it spanned the entire Mediterranean, including the Middle East, where it was born. The Christian world, therefore, was a prime target for the earliest caliphs, and it would remain so for Muslim leaders for the next thousand years.
    With enormous energy, the warriors of Islam struck out against the Christians shortly after Mohammed's death. They were extremely successful. Palestine, Syria, and Egypt—once the most heavily Christian areas in the world—quickly succumbed. By the eighth century, Muslim armies had conquered all of Christian North Africa and Spain. In the eleventh century, the Seljuk Turks conquered Asia Minor (modern Turkey), which had been Christian since the time of St. Paul. The old Roman Empire, known to modern historians as the Byzantine Empire, was reduced to little more than Greece. In desperation, the emperor in Constantinople sent word to the Christians of western Europe asking them to aid their brothers and sisters in the East.
    Understand the crusaders

    That is what gave birth to the Crusades. They were not the brainchild of an ambitious pope or rapacious knights but a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslims had already captured two-thirds of the old Christian world. At some point, Christianity as a faith and a culture had to defend itself or be subsumed by Islam. The Crusades were that defense.
    Pope Urban II called upon the knights of Christendom to push back the conquests of Islam at the Council of Clermont in 1095. The response was tremendous. Many thousands of warriors took the vow of the cross and prepared for war. Why did they do it? The answer to that question has been badly misunderstood. In the wake of the Enlightenment, it was usually asserted that Crusaders were merely lacklands and ne'er-do-wells who took advantage of an opportunity to rob and pillage in a faraway land. The Crusaders' expressed sentiments of piety, self-sacrifice, and love for God were obviously not to be taken seriously. They were only a front for darker designs.

    During the past two decades, computer-assisted charter studies have demolished that contrivance. Scholars have discovered that crusading knights were generally wealthy men with plenty of their own land in Europe. Nevertheless, they willingly gave up everything to undertake the holy mission. Crusading was not cheap. Even wealthy lords could easily impoverish themselves and their families by joining a Crusade. They did so not because they expected material wealth (which many of them had already) but because they hoped to store up treasure where rust and moth could not corrupt. They were keenly aware of their sinfulness and eager to undertake the hardships of the Crusade as a penitential act of charity and love. Europe is littered with thousands of medieval charters attesting to these sentiments, charters in which these men still speak to us today if we will listen. Of course, they were not opposed to capturing booty if it could be had. But the truth is that the Crusades were notoriously bad for plunder. A few people got rich, but the vast majority returned with nothing.
    What really happened?

    Urban II gave the Crusaders two goals, both of which would remain central to the eastern Crusades for centuries. The first was to rescue the Christians of the East. As his successor, Pope Innocent III, later wrote:
    How does a man love according to divine precept his neighbor as himself when, knowing that his Christian brothers in faith and in name are held by the perfidious Muslims in strict confinement and weighed down by the yoke of heaviest servitude, he does not devote himself to the task of freeing them? … Is it by chance that you do not know that many thousands of Christians are bound in slavery and imprisoned by the Muslims, tortured with innumerable torments?
    "Crusading," Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith has rightly argued, was understood as an "an act of love"—in this case, the love of one's neighbor. The Crusade was seen as an errand of mercy to right a terrible wrong. As Pope Innocent III wrote to the Knights Templar, "You carry out in deeds the words of the Gospel, 'Greater love than this hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friends.'"
    The second goal was the liberation of Jerusalem and the other places made holy by the life of Christ. The word crusade is modern. Medieval Crusaders saw themselves as pilgrims, performing acts of righteousness on their way to the Holy Sepulcher. The Crusade indulgence they received was canonically related to the pilgrimage indulgence. This goal was frequently described in feudal terms. When calling the Fifth Crusade in 1215, Innocent III wrote:
    Consider most dear sons, consider carefully that if any temporal king was thrown out of his domain and perhaps captured, would he not, when he was restored to his pristine liberty and the time had come for dispensing justice look on his vassals as unfaithful and traitors … unless they had committed not only their property but also their persons to the task of freeing him? … And similarly will not Jesus Christ, the king of kings and lord of lords, whose servant you cannot deny being, who joined your soul to your body, who redeemed you with the Precious Blood … condemn you for the vice of ingratitude and the crime of infidelity if you neglect to help Him?
    The re-conquest of Jerusalem, therefore, was not colonialism but an act of restoration and an open declaration of one's love of God. Medieval men knew, of course, that God had the power to restore Jerusalem Himself—indeed, he had the power to restore the whole world to his rule. Yet as St. Bernard of Clairvaux preached, His refusal to do so was a blessing to His people:
    Again I say, consider the Almighty's goodness and pay heed to His plans of mercy. He puts Himself under obligation to you, or rather feigns to do so, that He can help you to satisfy your obligations toward Himself. … I call blessed the generation that can seize an opportunity of such rich indulgence as this.
    It is often assumed that the central goal of the Crusades was forced conversion of the Muslim world. Nothing could be further from the truth. From the perspective of medieval Christians, Muslims were the enemies of Christ and his Church. It was the Crusaders' task to defeat and defend against them. That was all. Muslims who lived in Crusader-won territories were generally allowed to retain their property and livelihood, and always their religion. Indeed, throughout the history of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, Muslim inhabitants far outnumbered the Catholics. It was not until the 13th century that the Franciscans began conversion efforts among Muslims. But these were mostly unsuccessful and finally abandoned. In any case, such efforts were by peaceful persuasion, not the threat of violence.
    All apologies

    The Crusades were wars, so it would be a mistake to characterize them as nothing but piety and good intentions. Like all warfare, the violence was brutal (although not as brutal as modern wars). There were mishaps, blunders, and crimes. These are usually well-remembered today. During the early days of the First Crusade in 1095, a ragtag band of Crusaders led by Count Emicho of Leiningen made its way down the Rhine, robbing and murdering all the Jews they could find. Without success, the local bishops attempted to stop the carnage. In the eyes of these warriors, the Jews, like the Muslims, were the enemies of Christ. Plundering and killing them, then, was no vice. Indeed, they believed it was a righteous deed, since the Jews' money could be used to fund the Crusade to Jerusalem. But they were wrong, and the Church strongly condemned the anti-Jewish attacks.
    Fifty years later, when the Second Crusade was gearing up, St. Bernard frequently preached that the Jews were not to be persecuted:
    Ask anyone who knows the Sacred Scriptures what he finds foretold of the Jews in the Psalm. "Not for their destruction do I pray," it says. The Jews are for us the living words of Scripture, for they remind us always of what our Lord suffered … Under Christian princes they endure a hard captivity, but "they only wait for the time of their deliverance."
    Nevertheless, a fellow Cistercian monk named Radulf stirred up people against the Rhineland Jews, despite numerous letters from Bernard demanding that he stop. At last Bernard was forced to travel to Germany himself, where he caught up with Radulf, sent him back to his convent, and ended the massacres.

    It is often said that the roots of the Holocaust can be seen in these medieval pogroms. That may be. But if so, those roots are far deeper and more widespread than the Crusades. Jews perished during the Crusades, but the purpose of the Crusades was not to kill Jews. Quite the contrary: Popes, bishops, and preachers made it clear that the Jews of Europe were to be left unmolested. In a modern war, we call tragic deaths like these "collateral damage." Even with smart technologies, the United States has killed far more innocents in our wars than the Crusaders ever could. But no one would seriously argue that the purpose of American wars is to kill women and children.
    The failure of the Crusades

    By any reckoning, the First Crusade was a long shot. There was no leader, no chain of command, no supply lines, no detailed strategy. It was simply thousands of warriors marching deep into enemy territory, committed to a common cause. Many of them died, either in battle or through disease or starvation. It was a rough campaign, one that seemed always on the brink of disaster. Yet it was miraculously successful. By 1098, the Crusaders had restored Nicaea and Antioch to Christian rule. In July 1099, they conquered Jerusalem and began to build a Christian state in Palestine. The joy in Europe was unbridled. It seemed that the tide of history, which had lifted the Muslims to such heights, was now turning.
    But it was not. When we think about the Middle Ages, it is easy to view Europe in light of what it became rather than what it was. The colossus of the medieval world was Islam, not Christendom. The Crusades are interesting largely because they were an attempt to counter that trend. But in five centuries of crusading, it was only the First Crusade that significantly rolled back the military progress of Islam. It was downhill from there.
    When the Crusader County of Edessa fell to the Turks and Kurds in 1144, there was an enormous groundswell of support for a new Crusade in Europe. It was led by two kings, Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany, and preached by St. Bernard himself. It failed miserably. Most of the Crusaders were killed along the way. Those who made it to Jerusalem only made things worse by attacking Muslim Damascus, which formerly had been a strong ally of the Christians. In the wake of such a disaster, Christians across Europe were forced to accept not only the continued growth of Muslim power but the certainty that God was punishing the West for its sins. Lay piety movements sprouted up throughout Europe, all rooted in the desire to purify Christian society so that it might be worthy of victory in the East.
    Crusading in the late twelfth century, therefore, became a total war effort. Every person, no matter how weak or poor, was called to help. Warriors were asked to sacrifice their wealth and, if need be, their lives for the defense of the Christian East. On the home front, all Christians were called to support the Crusades through prayer, fasting, and alms. Yet still the Muslims grew in strength. Saladin, the great unifier, had forged the Muslim Near East into a single entity, all the while preaching jihad against the Christians. In 1187 at the Battle of Hattin, his forces wiped out the combined armies of the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem and captured the precious relic of the True Cross. Defenseless, the Christian cities began surrendering one by one, culminating in the surrender of Jerusalem on October 2. Only a tiny handful of ports held out.

    The response was the Third Crusade. It was led by Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa of the German Empire, King Philip II Augustus of France, and King Richard I Lionheart of England. By any measure it was a grand affair, although not quite as grand as the Christians had hoped. The aged Frederick drowned while crossing a river on horseback, so his army returned home before reaching the Holy Land. Philip and Richard came by boat, but their incessant bickering only added to an already divisive situation on the ground in Palestine. After recapturing Acre, the king of France went home, where he busied himself carving up Richard's French holdings. The Crusade, therefore, fell into Richard's lap. A skilled warrior, gifted leader, and superb tactician, Richard led the Christian forces to victory after victory, eventually reconquering the entire coast. But Jerusalem was not on the coast, and after two abortive attempts to secure supply lines to the Holy City, Richard at last gave up. Promising to return one day, he struck a truce with Saladin that ensured peace in the region and free access to Jerusalem for unarmed pilgrims. But it was a bitter pill to swallow. The desire to restore Jerusalem to Christian rule and regain the True Cross remained intense throughout Europe.
    The Crusades of the 13th century were larger, better funded, and better organized. But they too failed. The Fourth Crusade (1201-1204) ran aground when it was seduced into a web of Byzantine politics, which the Westerners never fully understood. They had made a detour to Constantinople to support an imperial claimant who promised great rewards and support for the Holy Land. Yet once he was on the throne of the Caesars, their benefactor found that he could not pay what he had promised. Thus betrayed by their Greek friends, in 1204 the Crusaders attacked, captured, and brutally sacked Constantinople, the greatest Christian city in the world. Pope Innocent III, who had previously excommunicated the entire Crusade, strongly denounced the Crusaders. But there was little else he could do. The tragic events of 1204 closed an iron door between Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox, a door that even today Pope John Paul II has been unable to reopen. It is a terrible irony that the Crusades, which were a direct result of the Catholic desire to rescue the Orthodox people, drove the two further—and perhaps irrevocably—apart.
    The remainder of the 13th century's Crusades did little better. The Fifth Crusade (1217-1221) managed briefly to capture Damietta in Egypt, but the Muslims eventually defeated the army and reoccupied the city. St. Louis IX of France led two Crusades in his life. The first also captured Damietta, but Louis was quickly outwitted by the Egyptians and forced to abandon the city. Although Louis was in the Holy Land for several years, spending freely on defensive works, he never achieved his fondest wish: to free Jerusalem. He was a much older man in 1270 when he led another Crusade to Tunis, where he died of a disease that ravaged the camp. After St. Louis's death, the ruthless Muslim leaders, Baybars and Kalavun, waged a brutal jihad against the Christians in Palestine. By 1291, the Muslim forces had succeeded in killing or ejecting the last of the Crusaders, thus erasing the Crusader kingdom from the map. Despite numerous attempts and many more plans, Christian forces were never again able to gain a foothold in the region until the 19th century.

    Europe's fight for its life

    One might think that three centuries of Christian defeats would have soured Europeans on the idea of Crusade. Not at all. In one sense, they had little alternative. Muslim kingdoms were becoming more, not less, powerful in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. The Ottoman Turks conquered not only their fellow Muslims, thus further unifying Islam, but also continued to press westward, capturing Constantinople and plunging deep into Europe itself. By the 15th century, the Crusades were no longer errands of mercy for a distant people but desperate attempts of one of the last remnants of Christendom to survive. Europeans began to ponder the real possibility that Islam would finally achieve its aim of conquering the entire Christian world. One of the great best-sellers of the time, Sebastian Brant's The Ship of Fools, gave voice to this sentiment in a chapter titled "Of the Decline of the Faith":
    Our faith was strong in th' Orient,
    It ruled in all of Asia,
    In Moorish lands and Africa.
    But now for us these lands are gone
    'Twould even grieve the hardest stone …
    Four sisters of our Church you find,
    They're of the patriarchic kind:
    Constantinople, Alexandria,
    Jerusalem, Antiochia.
    But they've been forfeited and sacked
    And soon the head will be attacked.
    Of course, that is not what happened. But it very nearly did. In 1480, Sultan Mehmed II captured Otranto as a beachhead for his invasion of Italy. Rome was evacuated. Yet the sultan died shortly thereafter, and his plan died with him. In 1529, Suleiman the Magnificent laid siege to Vienna. If not for a run of freak rainstorms that delayed his progress and forced him to leave behind much of his artillery, it is virtually certain that the Turks would have taken the city. Germany, then, would have been at their mercy.
    Yet, even while these close shaves were taking place, something else was brewing in Europe—something unprecedented in human history. The Renaissance, born from a strange mixture of Roman values, medieval piety, and a unique respect for commerce and entrepreneurialism, had led to other movements like humanism, the Scientific Revolution, and the Age of Exploration. Even while fighting for its life, Europe was preparing to expand on a global scale. The Protestant Reformation, which rejected the papacy and the doctrine of indulgence, made Crusades unthinkable for many Europeans, thus leaving the fighting to the Catholics. In 1571, a Holy League, which was itself a Crusade, defeated the Ottoman fleet at Lepanto. Yet military victories like that remained rare. The Muslim threat was neutralized economically. As Europe grew in wealth and power, the once awesome and sophisticated Turks began to seem backward and pathetic—no longer worth a Crusade. The "Sick Man of Europe" limped along until the 20th century, when he finally expired, leaving behind the present mess of the modern Middle East.

    From the safe distance of many centuries, it is easy enough to scowl in disgust at the Crusades. Religion, after all, is nothing to fight wars over. But we should be mindful that our medieval ancestors would have been equally disgusted by our infinitely more destructive wars fought in the name of political ideologies. And yet, both the medieval and the modern soldier fight ultimately for their own world and all that makes it up. Both are willing to suffer enormous sacrifice, provided that it is in the service of something they hold dear, something greater than themselves. Whether we admire the Crusaders or not, it is a fact that the world we know today would not exist without their efforts. The ancient faith of Christianity, with its respect for women and antipathy toward slavery, not only survived but flourished. Without the Crusades, it might well have followed Zoroastrianism, another of Islam's rivals, into extinction.
    Thomas F. Madden is associate professor and chair of the Department of History at Saint Louis University. He is the author of numerous works, including The New Concise History of the Crusades, and co-author, with Donald Queller, of The Fourth Crusade: The Conquest of Constantinople. This article originally appeared in the April 2002 issue of Crisis and is reprinted here with permission.
    © 2002 Washington DC, USA
    Copyright © 2005 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.

    Related Elsewhere:

    Coverage of the film, Kingdom of Heaven, from Christianity Today Movies includes:
    Review: Kingdom of Heaven | The director of Gladiator ventures into relatively unexplored cinematic territory with a film on the Crusades—and while it's not historically perfect, it certainly maintains the spirit of those events. (May 06, 2005)
    Kingdom Come | Director Sir Ridley Scott, a self-described agnostic, and leading man Orlando Bloom, discuss their new film about the Crusades, Kingdom of Heaven, opening in theaters Friday (May 04, 2005)
    More CT articles about the Crusades include:
    Waging Peace on Islam | A missionary veteran of Asia proposes one way to defuse Muslim anger about the Crusades. (May 05, 2005)
    Unholy Wars | Two books document the dangers of mixing church and state. (Jan. 27, 2005)
    Christian History Corner: A Muslim Perspective on War | Muslim response to the Crusades showed jihad in action, and while the grievances have changed, the rhetoric still echoes. (Oct. 5, 2001)
    Christians Retrace Crusaders' Steps | The effort is being called the "Reconciliation Walk." And the 2,000-mile, three-year walk across Europe, through the Balkans and Turkey, then south to Jerusalem, seeks to build bridges of understanding and to reverse a legacy of animosity among three of the world's most prominent religions. (Oct. 7, 1996)
    Our sister publication, Christian History & Biography, devoted an issue to the crusades.
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    Liberals Still Trying to Save Obama From ‘Crusades’ Idiocy After Jindal Slapdown


    AP Photo/Evan Vucci

    by John Hayward7 Feb 2015843
    Obama: 'People Commit Terrible Deeds In the Name Of Christ'

    Breitbart Non-Syndicated

    Dear liberals: Please stop trying to save President Obama from the idiotic remarks he made about the Crusades and moral equivalence at the National Prayer Breakfast.
    The Republican governor of Louisiana put it quite nicely in his response:
    “It was nice of the President to give us a history lesson at the Prayer breakfast,” said Bobby Jindal. “Today, however, the issue right in front of his nose, in the here and now, is the terrorism of Radical Islam, the assassination of journalists, the beheading and burning alive of captives. We will be happy to keep an eye out for runaway Christians, but it would be nice if he would face the reality of the situation today. The Medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President. Please deal with the Radical Islamic threat today.”
    On the other hand, hearing liberals defend Obama is annoying, and those who are doing so should know this: you’re making fools of yourselves over something you should let go. He was wrong – absolutely, completely, and dangerously wrong. He casually and callously insulted Christians in a lazy attempt to reinforce his ideological blindness to Islamist terror. He once again tried to position himself, and his bankrupt ideology of a morally superior State, above all the religions of the world – lumping the one that did the Crusades a thousand years ago into the same basket as the one cited for authorizing the burning alive of a man in a cage last week. (When I say Obama’s ideology is bankrupt, I mean that quite literally.)
    He made the kind of lazy, historically ignorant argument that would have gotten him kicked off the debate team at a decent high school. As the New York Times reported, the comment was basically an ad-lib Obama threw in at the last minute. There’s nothing worth defending here, loyal Obama worshipers. You’re tending barren ground and hoping for flowers to bloom because your man’s shadow once fell there.
    One of the really annoying things about Obama’s thoughtless remarks is that he gave marching orders to an army of online pinheads to start nattering about the Crusades and the Inquisition again. Left-wing Twitter solons are depositing 140-character effusions claiming that the horrors of al-Qaeda, ISIS, and the army of “lone wolves” wreaking havoc around the world in their name are perfectly balanced out by that one guy who shot up a Sikh temple in Wisconsin two years ago. Sensible people are wasting valuable time explaining to sweaty Obama supporters that the Westboro Baptist Church, as objectionable as they might be, has not tortured or murdered anyone, much less seized territory through military conquest and set up a theocracy.
    Also, Obama apologists would do well to pause and consider that the response of contemporary Christians to the occasional crime or outrageous statement made in the name of their faith undermines Obama’s flaccid argument, rather than bolstering it. You folks are on much better ground babbling about 12th-century history you’re only dimly aware of. Unfortunately, even that ground is quicksand. The worst thing you can do when you step into quicksand is thrash around blindly. Let this one go, kids. It was an incredible blunder on Obama’s part, an outrage you can only save him from by hoping that more sensible people forget he said it.
    Of course, Obama’s remaining supporters lack the capacity for such restraint or reflection, and they went nuts when Jindal reminded us that the threat from medieval Christian knights was pretty much under control, so it would be nice if Obama would focus on the monsters who are crucifying people, burning them alive, burying them alive, and taking slaves right now.
    Jindal’s comments were fighting words to the bent-pinky set, so we’re now we’re getting tortured screeds asserting that Obama’s critics are wrong to “defend” the Crusades by recalling their history with accuracy. As they have done so often before, liberal op-ed writers are concocting elaborate theories of what Obama “really meant,” detecting all sorts of studied critiques floating beneath the blunt stupidity and bigotry of his actual words.
    Most amusingly, some of the people who respond to atrocities like the Charlie Hebdo massacre by musing that maybe the Islamists have a point, and free speech should be restrained by a Heckler’s Veto to avoid offending the many and delicate sensibilities of Muslims, are trying to cover for Obama by calling Christians thin-skinned for taking offense to his Crusade and Inquisition slander. C’mon, folks, all he did was insinuate that you’re permanently guilty, for the rest of eternity, for what European knights did in the 13th century. He told you to get off your “high horse” and stop criticizing Islam’s violent tendencies, because who knows – you Christians could all come boiling out of your bake sales tomorrow and launch a new Crusade or something. What are you being so touchy about?
    Obama’s speech is actually yet another illustration of the double standard: mocking, impugning, insulting, and hectoring Christians and Jews is totally fine, because everything they do about it is verbal. Let’s see Obama get up in front of a Muslim audience and lecture them about the Islamic aggression that actually began the Crusades. He’d never dream of doing that in a million years, but he’s happy to casually throw in a couple of lines in a speech to the National Prayer Breakfast hectoring Christians. He’d never dream of discussing the way modern slavers like ISIS and Boko Haram are citing Islamic verse right this minute to justify slavery, and he’s not even slightly interested in discussing the immense contribution Christian faith made to ending the slave trade in the West, but he’s happy to score a cheap shot against Christians by dragging out Jim Crow for the zillionth time, while conveniently forgetting to mention what they did to end slavery and discrimination.
    To their shame, liberals like Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine are still trying to prop Obama up. Chait’s still trying to sell Obama’s stale talking point that he’s the brilliant Man in the Middle who says provocative things that make both sides angry, so he must be doing something right – as if the most radically left-wing President in modern history really thinks “government can overreach.” Yes, Chait actually says that:
    Barack Obama’s method of persuasion involves conceding his opponent’s most justified grievances in order to locate common ground. When Obama does this with Republicans, by acknowledging that government can overreach, he irritates liberals. When he does this in the context of acknowledging American historical failures to other countries whose behavioral improvements he is urging, he angers Republicans, who depict him as an unpatriotic apologist. That vein of resentment has taken on religious overtones, as Obama appeared before a National Prayer Breakfast and, in the service of denouncing Islamic extremism, acknowledged that Christians, too, have historically been capable of using religion to justify extremism and violence.
    “Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” Obama said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”
    Obama’s point, as I understand it, is that the prevalence of Islamic extremism does not reflect a tendency of violence inherent in the Muslim religion, but rather specific historical, economic, and social conditions in the Muslim world today. This argument places Obama in strong opposition to elements of the left, which often embraces a form of relativism that refuses to acknowledge the disproportionately violent quality of Muslim extremism today.
    See what I mean about inventing a phantom speech that’s much less stupid than what Obama actually said? Chait argues the President was trying to make some sophisticated point about how Muslims are not all inclined to violence – possibly the most worn-out, understuffed straw man in the entire rhetorical arsenal, a banal observation that lightweights think makes them look smarter than the imaginary hordes of reactionary bigots who believe every single Muslim in the world is a potential terrorist.
    Chait also thinks Obama made his silly comments about the Crusades and Inquisition as a rebuke to atheist liberals, because what Obama Really Meant was that all religions are roughly equally violent, including Islam. Newsflash, Mr. Chait: Barack Obama’s entire foreign policy, his every public utterance, is based on “refusing to acknowledge the disproportionately violent quality of Muslim extremism today.” He never tires of claiming that none of the violent types are actually Islamic, and none of their deeds has anything to do with the Muslim faith, no matter how often the head-choppers quote Koranic verses. It’s the first thing he says after every fresh head rolls.
    In fact, Obama has actually asserted that Muslims are less likely to commit violence than anyone else. “ISIL’s actions represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own,” the President declared after the beheading of hostage Peter Kassig, using the Muslim name Kassig adopted after he converted to Islam in captivity.
    And yet, no matter how hard the likes of Jonathan Chait refuse to hear it, Obama expressly describes the Crusades and Inquisition as immoral real estate owned wholly and completely by Christians – not even just the specific branch of Christianity directly involved with them, but all Christians, everywhere – and the lease still hasn’t expired centuries later.
    Most sensible people are laughing at these tools for going back 500 to 1,000 years and looking for something they think is roughly equivalent to what al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, and the rest of that crew are doing today, because it makes them look ridiculous, and it disproves the argument they’re trying to make. Chait even comes close to acknowledging that by admitting that “at one historical time, Christian extremism posed a far larger problem than Muslim extremism,” but “at the present time, the reverse is true.”
    Gee, that seems kinda relevant, don’t you think, Mr. Chait? A little tidbit of information that makes the entire rest of your argument collapse into a pile of dust? We might venture to guess that Christianity has changed in rather significant ways since those ancient times, while Islam hasn’t changed enough, might we not? I can bury you under evidence for the latter part of that proposition; what have you got to dispute the former?
    There we have the essential point of this dispute, and the reason why decent people should be angry at Obama and his defenders, not laughing at their foolishness: they don’t think Christianity has changed. The only way their argument makes a lick of sense is that modern Christians remain interested in Crusades and Inquisitions, or at least sympathetic to them. Chait actually makes the latter argument when he idiotically asserts that people who insist on accurately recounting the history of the Crusades are “right wing American Christian chauvinists” who are out to “defend” them. Apparently liberals think accurate history is chauvinistic, and remembering events properly connotes approval, while all Good People prefer to believe in false narratives and history butchered down to easily digested Tweet-friendly memes like “innocent peaceful Muslims minding their own business when evil Crusaders attack for no reason.”
    Another thing liberals don’t understand, because they’re so eager to revise history to fit their ideological narratives, is that recounting historical events with some degree of sympathy in context doesn’t mean you approve of them today. The Crusades were as horrible as any other medieval war. A historian who explains how they were launched in response to Muslim aggression is not calling for a medieval war today. Such a historian is not saying that he, personally, would launch the Crusades right now. But that’s the assertion made by linking the Crusades to modern Christianity as a reason for Christians to get off their “high horse” and stop expressing concerns about modern Islam’s violent tendencies.
    No matter how hard Obama apologists try to dance around this point, the one and only reason to bring up the Crusades and Inquisition, in a discussion of current events involving Muslims, is to assert that Christianity today is really no different than Christianity then. The only faith that really “evolves,” ever, is Obama’s Religion of the State. That’s why he threw Jim Crow in there – modern leftists never want to acknowledge the role Christian faith played in the civil-rights movement. They want to claim it as entirely an achievement of their secular ideology.
    “I know that crusading fervor isn’t essential to the Christian religion; it is historically contingent, and the crusading moment in Christian history came and, after two hundred years or so, went,” writes Michael Walzer in a piece Chait cites as “entirely brilliant” and floats as a phantom of inspiration for What Obama Really Meant. “Saladin helped bring it to an end, but it would have ended on its own. I know that many Christians opposed the Crusades; today we would call them Christian ‘moderates.'”
    No, you colossal fools, today we would call them “normal Christians.” There is no pro-Crusades wing eager to saddle up and conquer the Middle East. There is no comparison to be made between Christianity in 2015 and the mix of politics and religion in 1215. Once that point is conceded, everything else from Barack Obama’s offensive attempt at moral equivalence before the National Prayer Breakfast evaporates into meaningless hot air.
    Chait ends his pompous article by explicitly insulting Bobby Jindal as a medieval Christian, a Crusader wannabe: “In a prepared statement, Jindal rebukes Obama, ‘The Medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President.’ It’s true – as long as Jindal is out of the White House.” It’s still true even if Bobby Jindal is in the White House, you bigot.
    One other thing about this idiocy from Obama and his dead-enders… There is one group of people in the world conspicuously noted for claiming that Christians remain incipient Crusaders: the enemy we’re fighting. ISIS, al-Qaeda, and all the rest of them prattle on endlessly about the Crusades, and how the Western world is still run by Crusaders. They did it again just yesterday, in the statement where they claimed American hostage Kayla Jean Mueller was killed in a Jordanian airstrike: “The criminal Crusader coalition aircraft bombarded a site outside the city of Raqqa today at noon while the people were performing the Friday prayer.” What Obama said at the National Prayer Breakfast is very close to reciting enemy propaganda. The last thing the world needs right now is high-ranking Western officials agreeing with ISIS that the Crusades still offer relevant insights into the Christian mind.

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    Default Re: Islam Has Never Been Peaceful Nor Is It a Religion

    Paying Ransoms: What the Barbary Pirates Teach Us about ISIS

    When it comes to giving in to terrorists' demands, a look back at history might shed some light on this controversial issue.

    Lionel Beehner

    There is a debate raging between the United States and Europe over the wisdom of paying ransoms to terrorists who kidnap people. The United States refuses to pay. The Europeans say they do not pay, yet end up paying through intermediaries (often the hostages’ employers, in the case of kidnapped journalists). A recent report by the New York Times found that Al Qaeda-affiliated groups have pocketed over $125 million from such ransoms over the past five years. The result is that Europeans are targeted more than Americans or Brits—they pay more—and hostage taking by groups like ISIS is on the rise.

    A similar dilemma vexed European and American statesmen in the late eighteenth century. Instead of Islamist terrorist groups like ISIS, it was Barbary corsair pirates roaming the Mediterranean Sea. The pirates were not all Muslims or North Africans—two-thirds of their captains were in fact Europeans who had “taken the turban”—and were motivated mostly by profit, but also partly by religion. They sought to disrupt European and American maritime trade by raiding ships, stealing cargos, and holding crews for ransom. Despite the various peace treaties signed, these North African pirates saw themselves in a “permanent state of war” with their Christian adversaries, writes Paul Silverstein, an anthropologist at Reed College. Likewise, Europeans treated the pirates as “pathological parasites,” but refused to use force against the nonstate actors.

    In 1785, Thomas Jefferson sought to get the Europeans to break the cycle of paying yearly “tributes” to North Africans—namely the sultan of Morocco and governors of Tunis, Algiers and Tripoli—in exchange for safe passage for their merchant vessels. Europe was still primarily mercantilist at the time, and its armies were a collection of mercenaries and privateers, not the professionalized militaries of today. Britain and France refused the Americans’ offer out of commercial self-interest. It was the onerousness of the tributes that eventually persuaded the United States to resort to using force against the Barbary corsairs—thereafter immortalizing the “shores of Tripoli” phrase in the U.S. Marine Corps hymn.

    Norms around the payment of tribute gave way to the greater use of force against such nonstate actors, eventually leading to the law of the seas doctrine known as “hot pursuit.” This governed the ability of one state's navy to pursue a foreign ship that had violated laws and regulations in its territorial waters, even if the ship had fled to the high seas. Today, policy makers employ the term to justify (arguably illegal) cross-border counterterrorism operations, but it makes the analogy between yesterday’s Barbary pirates and today’s terrorists that much more apt, if imperfect.

    Like today’s world, whereby states employ mercenary soldiers and nonstate actors as proxies, there was plenty of hypocrisy to go around back then:

    Europeans benefited from the training its own privateers received from corsair pirates—the line between the two groups was often blurred. Pirates predated on virtually all ships from all countries, and so Europeans found these groups quite useful in weakening their rivals to maintain their own commercial supremacy beyond the Mediterranean. As Silverstein notes, it was not for humanitarian reasons that these states turned to force to combat piracy, but rather to “[negotiate] better nonaggression treaties with North African rulers.” They were motivated by cost-benefit analysis and profits, not by morality. This fed a cycle—or what one U.S. ambassador at the time described as a “protection racket”—that continued for centuries. A similar dynamic is dividing Americans and Europeans today. "We must find a way to break the cycle,” David Cohen, the undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the Treasury Department put it to a Chatham House audience in 2012. “Refusing to pay ransoms or to make other concessions to terrorists is, clearly, the surest way to break the cycle, because if kidnappers consistently fail to get what they want, they will have a strong incentive to stop taking hostages in the first place." The same thing might have been said by a U.S. official in the late 1700s.

    Terrorism, like piracy in its heyday, is a growth industry. Today, a terrorist group can expect to receive around $10 million per hostage, up from $200,000 in 2003. By contrast, according to Janice Thomson, author of Mercenaries, Pirates and Sovereigns, in the late 1700s, the United States paid a lump sum of around $600,000 (in today’s dollars) and $20,000 annually in naval supplies to North African states as tribute to ensure the safety of its vessels.

    The lesson of how the West conquered its piracy problem applicable to today’s debate is: While it may pay not to pay “tributes” or ransoms, there are collective action problems to overcome. Like in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, each country whose nationals were targeted faced private incentives to undercut the other by defecting and giving in to these groups’ demands, which resulted in all foreigners being targeted. It took the U.S. Barbary Wars of the early 1800s and France’s occupation of Algiers in 1830 to eventually stamp out piracy in the Mediterranean.

    The United States, as well as Great Britain, remains steadfast about not paying terrorists ransoms (though it does negotiate with them and exchange prisoners when its own servicemen are captured, as the case of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl revealed). When ISIS asked for money and a prisoner swap in exchange for the life of James Foley, an American reporter kidnapped in Syria, the United States refused. His recent beheading has renewed criticism that the Obama administration did not do enough to save his life, despite a failed rescue attempt. There is immense pressure by authorities to take action to save the lives of hostages—the White House website has been bombarded with petitions to save another American held captive, Steven Sotloff. But the ISIS scare has also sparked criticism toward Europe that by paying ransoms, it is not doing enough to “break the cycle” of kidnappings and if anything, is encouraging them.

    Jefferson was right not to give in to the pirates’ demands and faced a duplicitous Europe all-too-willing to pay up rather than risk conflict. Today’s European leaders are similarly too willing to give in to these groups. We can all agree that the Islamists in Iraq and Syria kidnapping and beheading their captives are “pathological parasites.” But the lesson of eighteenth-century piracy is that acquiescing to these organizations will only make things worse.
    Lionel Beehner is formerly a senior writer at the Council on Foreign Relations, a PhD candidate at Yale University, and editor of Cicero Magazine.
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    Default Re: Islam Has Never Been Peaceful Nor Is It a Religion

    Christopher Hitchens
    Jefferson Versus the Muslim Pirates
    America’s first confrontation with the Islamic world helped forge a new nation’s character.
    Spring 2007

    When I first began to plan my short biography of Thomas Jefferson, I found it difficult to research the chapter concerning the so-called Barbary Wars: an event or series of events that had seemingly receded over the lost horizon of American history. Henry Adams, in his discussion of our third president, had some boyhood reminiscences of the widespread hero-worship of naval officer Stephen Decatur, and other fragments and shards showed up in other quarries, but a sound general history of the subject was hard to come by. When I asked a professional military historian—a man with direct access to Defense Department archives—if there was any book that he could recommend, he came back with a slight shrug.

    But now the curious reader may choose from a freshet of writing on the subject. Added to my own shelf in the recent past have been The Barbary Wars: American Independence in the Atlantic World, by Frank Lambert (2005); Jefferson’s War: America’s First War on Terror 1801–1805, by Joseph Wheelan (2003); To the Shores of Tripoli: The Birth of the U.S. Navy and Marines, by A. B. C. Whipple (1991, republished 2001); and Victory in Tripoli: How America’s War with the Barbary Pirates Established the U.S. Navy and Shaped a Nation, by Joshua E. London (2005). Most recently, in his new general history, Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present, the Israeli scholar Michael Oren opens with a long chapter on the Barbary conflict. As some of the subtitles—and some of the dates of publication—make plain, this new interest is largely occasioned by America’s latest round of confrontation in the Middle East, or the Arab sphere or Muslim world, if you prefer those expressions.

    In a way, I am glad that I did not have the initial benefit of all this research. My quest sent me to some less obvious secondary sources, in particular to Linda Colley’s excellent book Captives, which shows the reaction of the English and American publics to a slave trade of which they were victims rather than perpetrators. How many know that perhaps 1.5 million Europeans and Americans were enslaved in Islamic North Africa between 1530 and 1780? We dimly recall that Miguel de Cervantes was briefly in the galleys. But what of the people of the town of Baltimore in Ireland, all carried off by “corsair” raiders in a single night?

    Some of this activity was hostage trading and ransom farming rather than the more labor-intensive horror of the Atlantic trade and the Middle Passage, but it exerted a huge effect on the imagination of the time—and probably on no one more than on Thomas Jefferson. Peering at the paragraph denouncing the American slave trade in his original draft of the Declaration of Independence, later excised, I noticed for the first time that it sarcastically condemned “the Christian King of Great Britain” for engaging in “this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers.” The allusion to Barbary practice seemed inescapable.

    One immediate effect of the American Revolution, however, was to strengthen the hand of those very same North African potentates: roughly speaking, the Maghrebian provinces of the Ottoman Empire that conform to today’s Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia. Deprived of Royal Navy protection, American shipping became even more subject than before to the depredations of those who controlled the Strait of Gibraltar. The infant United States had therefore to decide not just upon a question of national honor but upon whether it would stand or fall by free navigation of the seas.

    One of the historians of the Barbary conflict, Frank Lambert, argues that the imperative of free trade drove America much more than did any quarrel with Islam or “tyranny,” let alone “terrorism.” He resists any comparison with today’s tormenting confrontations. “The Barbary Wars were primarily about trade, not theology,” he writes. “Rather than being holy wars, they were an extension of America’s War of Independence.”

    Let us not call this view reductionist. Jefferson would perhaps have been just as eager to send a squadron to put down any Christian piracy that was restraining commerce. But one cannot get around what Jefferson heard when he went with John Adams to wait upon Tripoli’s ambassador to London in March 1785. When they inquired by what right the Barbary states preyed upon American shipping, enslaving both crews and passengers, America’s two foremost envoys were informed that “it was written in the Koran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon whoever they could find and to make Slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.” (It is worth noting that the United States played no part in the Crusades, or in the Catholic reconquista of Andalusia.)

    Ambassador Abd Al-Rahman did not fail to mention the size of his own commission, if America chose to pay the protection money demanded as an alternative to piracy. So here was an early instance of the “heads I win, tails you lose” dilemma, in which the United States is faced with corrupt regimes, on the one hand, and Islamic militants, on the other—or indeed a collusion between them.

    It seems likely that Jefferson decided from that moment on that he would make war upon the Barbary kingdoms as soon as he commanded American forces. His two least favorite institutions—enthroned monarchy and state-sponsored religion—were embodied in one target, and it may even be that his famous ambivalences about slavery were resolved somewhat when he saw it practiced by the Muslims.

    However that may be, it is certain that the Barbary question had considerable influence on the debate that ratified the United States Constitution in the succeeding years. Many a delegate, urging his home state to endorse the new document, argued that only a strong federal union could repel the Algerian threat. In The Federalist No. 24, Alexander Hamilton argued that without a “federal navy . . . of respectable weight . . . the genius of American Merchants and Navigators would be stifled and lost.” In No. 41, James Madison insisted that only union could guard America’s maritime capacity from “the rapacious demands of pirates and barbarians.” John Jay, in his letters, took a “bring-it-on” approach; he believed that “Algerian Corsairs and the Pirates of Tunis and Tripoli” would compel the feeble American states to unite, since “the more we are ill-treated abroad the more we shall unite and consolidate at home.” The eventual Constitution, which provides for an army only at two-year renewable intervals, imposes no such limitation on the navy.

    Thus, Lambert may be limiting himself in viewing the Barbary conflict primarily through the lens of free trade. Questions of nation-building, of regime change, of “mission creep,” of congressional versus presidential authority to make war, of negotiation versus confrontation, of “entangling alliances,” and of the “clash of civilizations”—all arose in the first overseas war that the United States ever fought. The “nation-building” that occurred, however, took place not overseas but in the 13 colonies, welded by warfare into something more like a republic.

    There were many Americans—John Adams among them—who made the case that it was better policy to pay the tribute. It was cheaper than the loss of trade, for one thing, and a battle against the pirates would be “too rugged for our people to bear.” Putting the matter starkly, Adams said: “We ought not to fight them at all unless we determine to fight them forever.”

    The cruelty, exorbitance, and intransigence of the Barbary states, however, would decide things. The level of tribute demanded began to reach 10 percent of the American national budget, with no guarantee that greed would not increase that percentage, while from the dungeons of Algiers and Tripoli came appalling reports of the mistreatment of captured men and women. Gradually, and to the accompaniment of some of the worst patriotic verse ever written, public opinion began to harden in favor of war. From Jefferson’s perspective, it was a good thing that this mood shift took place during the Adams administration, when he was out of office and temporarily “retired” to Monticello. He could thus criticize federal centralization of power, from a distance, even as he watched the construction of a fleet—and the forging of a permanent Marine Corps—that he could one day use for his own ends.

    At one point, Jefferson hoped that John Paul Jones, naval hero of the Revolution, might assume command of a squadron that would strike fear into the Barbary pirates. While ambassador in Paris, Jefferson had secured Jones a commission with Empress Catherine of Russia, who used him in the Black Sea to harry the Ottomans, the ultimate authority over Barbary. But Jones died before realizing his dream of going to the source and attacking Constantinople. The task of ordering war fell to Jefferson.

    Michael Oren thinks that he made the decision reluctantly, finally forced into it by the arrogant behavior of Tripoli, which seized two American brigs and set off a chain reaction of fresh demands from other Barbary states. I believe—because of the encounter with the insufferable Abd Al-Rahman and because of his long engagement with Jones—that Jefferson had long sought a pretext for war. His problem was his own party and the clause in the Constitution that gave Congress the power to declare war. With not atypical subtlety, Jefferson took a shortcut through this thicket in 1801 and sent the navy to North Africa on patrol, as it were, with instructions to enforce existing treaties and punish infractions of them. Our third president did not inform Congress of his authorization of this mission until the fleet was too far away to recall.

    Once again, Barbary obstinacy tipped the scale. Yusuf Karamanli, the pasha of Tripoli, declared war on the United States in May 1801, in pursuit of his demand for more revenue. This earned him a heavy bombardment of Tripoli and the crippling of one of his most important ships. But the force of example was plainly not sufficient. In the altered mood that prevailed after the encouraging start in Tripoli, Congress passed an enabling act in February 1802 that, in its provision for a permanent Mediterranean presence and its language about the “Tripolitan Corsairs,” amounted to a declaration of war. The Barbary regimes continued to underestimate their new enemy, with Morocco declaring war in its turn and the others increasing their blackmail.

    A complete disaster—Tripoli’s capture of the new U.S. frigate Philadelphia—became a sort of triumph, thanks to Edward Preble and Stephen Decatur, who mounted a daring raid on Tripoli’s harbor and blew up the captured ship, while inflicting heavy damage on the city’s defenses. Now there were names—Preble and Decatur—for newspapers back home to trumpet as heroes. Nor did their courage draw notice only in America. Admiral Lord Nelson himself called the raid “the most bold and daring act of the age,” and Pope Pius VII declared that the United States “had done more for the cause of Christianity than the most powerful nations of Christendom have done for ages.” (In his nostalgia for Lepanto, perhaps, His Holiness was evidently unaware that the Treaty of Tripoli, which in 1797 had attempted to formalize the dues that America would pay for access to the Mediterranean, stated in its preamble that the United States had no quarrel with the Muslim religion and was in no sense a Christian country. Of course, those secularists like myself who like to cite this treaty must concede that its conciliatory language was part of America’s attempt to come to terms with Barbary demands.)

    Watching all this with a jaundiced eye was the American consul in Tunis, William Eaton. For him, behavior modification was not a sufficient policy; regime change was needed. And he had a candidate. On acceding to the throne in Tripoli, Yusuf Karamanli had secured his position by murdering one brother and exiling another. Eaton befriended this exiled brother, Hamid, and argued that he should become the American nominee for Tripoli’s crown. This proposal wasn’t received with enthusiasm in Washington, but Eaton pursued it with commendable zeal. He exhibited the downside that often goes with such quixotic bravery: railing against treasury secretary Albert Gallatin as a “cowardly Jew,” for example, and alluding to President Jefferson with contempt. He ended up a supporter of Aaron Burr’s freebooting secessionist conspiracy.

    His actions in 1805, however, belong in the annals of derring-do, almost warranting the frequent comparison made with T. E. Lawrence’s exploits in Arabia. With a small detachment of marines, headed by Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon, and a force of irregulars inevitably described by historians as “motley,” Eaton crossed the desert from Egypt and came at Tripoli—as Lawrence had come at Aqaba—from the land and not from the sea. The attack proved a total surprise. The city of Darna surrendered its far larger garrison, and Karamanli’s forces were heavily engaged, when news came that Jefferson and Karamanli had reached an understanding that could end the war. The terms weren’t too shabby, involving the release of the Philadelphia’s crew and a final settlement of the tribute question. And Jefferson took care to stress that Eaton had played a part in bringing it about.

    This graciousness did not prevent Eaton from denouncing the deal as a sellout. The caravan moved on, though, as the other Barbary states gradually followed Tripoli’s lead and came to terms. Remember, too, that this was the year of the Battle of Trafalgar. Lord Nelson was not the only European to notice that a new power had arrived in Mediterranean waters. Francis Scott Key composed a patriotic song to mark the occasion. As I learned from Joshua London’s excellent book, the original verses ran (in part):

    In conflict resistless each toil they endur’d,
    Till their foes shrunk dismay’d from the war’s desolation:
    And pale beamed the Crescent, its splendor obscur’d
    By the light of the star-bangled flag of our nation.
    Where each flaming star gleamed a meteor of war,
    And the turban’d head bowed to the terrible glare.
    Then mixt with the olive the laurel shall wave
    And form a bright wreath for the brow of the brave.

    The song was part of the bad-verse epidemic. But brushed up and revised a little for the War of 1812, and set to the same music, it has enjoyed considerable success since. So has the Marine Corps anthem, which begins: “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.” It’s no exaggeration to describe the psychological fallout of this first war as formative of the still-inchoate American character.

    There is of course another connection between 1805 and 1812. Renewed hostilities with Britain on the high seas and on the American mainland, which did not terminate until the Battle of New Orleans, might have ended less conclusively had the United States not developed a battle-hardened naval force in the long attrition on the North African coast.

    The Barbary states sought to exploit Anglo-American hostilities by resuming their depredations and renewing their demands for blood money. So in 1815, after a brief interval of recovery from the war with Britain, President Madison asked Congress for permission to dispatch Decatur once again to North Africa, seeking a permanent settling of accounts. This time, the main offender was the dey of Algiers, Omar Pasha, who saw his fleet splintered and his grand harbor filled with heavily armed American ships. Algiers had to pay compensation, release all hostages, and promise not to offend again. President Madison’s words on this occasion could scarcely be bettered: “It is a settled policy of America, that as peace is better than war, war is better than tribute. The United States, while they wish for war with no nation, will buy peace with none.” (The expression “the United States is” did not come into usage until after Gettysburg.)

    Oren notes that the stupendous expense of this long series of wars was a partial vindication of John Adams’s warning. However, there are less quantifiable factors to consider. The most obvious is commerce. American trade in the Mediterranean increased enormously in the years after the settlement with Algiers, and America’s ability to extend its trade and project its forces into other areas, such as the Caribbean and South America, was greatly enhanced. Then we should attend to what Linda Colley says on the subject of slavery. Campaigns against the seizure of hostages by Muslim powers, and their exploitation as forced labor, fired up many a church congregation in Britain and America and fueled many a press campaign. But even the dullest soul could regard the continued triangular Atlantic slave trade between Africa, England, and the Americas and perceive the double standard at work. Thus, the struggle against Barbary may have helped to force some of the early shoots of abolitionism.

    Perhaps above all, though, the Barbary Wars gave Americans an inkling of the fact that they were, and always would be, bound up with global affairs. Providence might have seemed to grant them a haven guarded by two oceans, but if they wanted to be anything more than the Chile of North America—a long littoral ribbon caught between the mountains and the sea—they would have to prepare for a maritime struggle as well as a campaign to redeem the unexplored landmass to their west. The U.S. Navy’s Mediterranean squadron has, in one form or another, been on patrol ever since.

    And then, finally, there is principle. It would be simplistic to say that something innate in America made it incompatible with slavery and tyranny. But would it be too much to claim that many Americans saw a radical incompatibility between the Barbary system and their own? And is it not pleasant when the interests of free trade and human emancipation can coincide? I would close with a few staves of Kipling, whose poem “Dane-Geld” is a finer effort than anything managed by Francis Scott Key:

    It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
    To call upon a neighbor and to say:—
    “We invaded you last night—we are quite prepared to fight,
    Unless you pay us cash to go away.”

    And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
    And the people who ask it explain
    That you’ve only to pay ’em the Dane-geld
    And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!

    Kipling runs briskly through the stages of humiliation undergone by any power that falls for this appeasement, and concludes:

    It is wrong to put temptation in the pathof any nation,
    For fear they should succumb and go astray;
    So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
    You will find it better policy to say:—

    “We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
    No matter how trifling the cost;
    For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
    And the nation that plays it is lost!”
    Libertatem Prius!

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    The First Barbary War

    When Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated in March of 1801, he inherited troubled relations with the Barbary states — the Ottoman Regencies of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, along with independent Morocco. The United States had treaties with all four, but tension was high and rising.

    American representatives in the region wanted an American naval presence. They regularly, if less eloquently, echoed the 1793 view of their colleague in Lisbon: “When we can appear in the Ports of the various Powers, or on the Coast, of Barbary, with Ships of such force as to convince those nations that We are able to protect our trade, and to compel them if necessary to keep faith with Us, then, and not before, We may probably secure a large share of the Meditn trade, which would largely and speedily compensate the U. S. for the Cost of a maritime force amply sufficient to keep all those Pirates in Awe, and also make it their interest to keep faith.”[1] The new president was fully aware of the situation. In 1790, as Secretary of State, he had reported to Congress on the subject in some detail, and he had been directly involved in the region even earlier.[2]

    In 1784 Congress had appointed Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin as peace commissioners to negotiate treaties of amity and commerce with the principal states of Europe and the Mediterranean — including the Barbary states. Already in Europe, the commissioners quickly learned that the Europeans made peace with the Barbary powers through treaties that involved annual payments of tribute — sometimes euphemistically called annuities. The merchant vessels of any country without such a treaty were at the mercy of the state-sponsored maritime marauders known as corsairs, sometimes mislabeled pirates.[3] The commissioners reported this to Congress and sought guidance.

    The Barbary challenge to American merchant shipping sparked a great deal of debate over how to cope with corsair aggression, actual or threatened. Jefferson’s early view guided him in future years. In November 1784, he doubted the American people would be willing to pay annual tribute. “Would it not be better to offer them an equal treaty. If they refuse, why not go to war with them?”[4] A month later, having learned that a small American brig had been seized by a Moroccan corsair in the Atlantic, he emphasized the hard line: “Our trade to Portugal, Spain, and the Mediterranean is annihilated unless we do something decisive. Tribute or war is the usual alternative of these pirates. If we yeild [sic] the former, it will require sums which our people will feel. Why not begin a navy then and decide on war? We cannot begin in a better cause nor against a weaker foe."[5] Jefferson was convinced this solution would be more honorable, more effective, and less expensive than paying tribute.[6]

    In addition, he believed that America wanted to be a trading nation, and “to carry as much as possible” in our own vessels. “But,” he wrote James Monroe, “this will require a protecting force on the sea. Otherwise the smallest powers in Europe, every one which possesses a single ship of the line may dictate to us, and enforce their demands by captures on our commerce. Some naval force then is necessary if we mean to be commercial.” However, for the task then before him, he added, “if it be decided that their peace shall be bought it shall engage my most earnest endeavours.”[7] And that would be the approach John Adams favored. He believed that paying tribute would be more economical and easier than convincing the people of the United States to fund the building of a navy.[8]

    Congress did decide that peace was to be bought. They authorized $80,000 for negotiations. The Commissioners sent American consul Thomas Barclay to Morocco and Connecticut sea captain John Lamb to Algiers. In Morocco the draft treaty Barclay carried with him was accepted with only minor changes. Jefferson, Adams and Congress were very satisfied; the Morocco treaty made American vessels safe from Moroccan corsairs and there was no call for future tribute.[9]

    The offer of an equal treaty did not work elsewhere in Barbary. Algiers was much more dependent than Morocco on the fruits of corsairing — captured goods, slaves, the ransoms they brought, and tribute — and less amenable to a peace treaty with the United States. While planning the Barbary missions the American Commissioners had learned that two American ships — the Maria and the Dauphin — had been captured by Algerine corsairs. As a result, Lamb was instructed to negotiate ransom for the captives in Algiers as well as a peace treaty to prevent further attacks on American vessels. This proved impossible with the limited budget Congress had approved.[10]

    After the failure of the Lamb mission in 1786 Jefferson made further futile attempts to launch negotiations with the dey of Algiers, both from Paris and later as Secretary of State under President Washington. During these years American vessels in the Mediterranean sailed in convoy with European ships, often with Portuguese naval protection, flew European flags illegally, or ventured out at considerable risk from Barbary corsairs. In the Atlantic, the Morocco treaty provided protection from Moroccan corsairs and the Portuguese navy kept those from Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli in the Mediterranean. That was changed by an Algiers-Portugal treaty in 1793. In a very few months Algerine corsairs seized eleven American merchant vessels — at least ten of them in the Atlantic — with over 100 crewmen and passengers.[11]

    Jefferson was no longer Secretary of State in 1795 when America finally did make peace with Algiers, agreeing to pay annual tribute. The following year, once the US met its initial treaty commitments, the Americans held in Algiers were freed, including the few survivors from the Maria and the Dauphin. Treaties were also concluded with Tripoli, in 1796, and Tunis in 1797. Soon after, American consuls were appointed in each Barbary state.[12]

    The news from these consuls that awaited the new administration in 1801 was distressing. Tension was particularly great with Tripoli. Pasha Yusuf Qaramanli, feeling slighted by the Americans, was threatening war. He was convinced the Americans treated him less well than they did the other Barbary rulers. He was right, but Tunis and Algiers had negotiated better treaties. In October 1800, five months before Jefferson took office, the American consul in Tripoli, James Cathcart, summarized the long, rambling messages he had been sending the Secretary of State and others for a year or more. In short, he said, the pasha’s message is “if you don’t give me a present I will forge a pretext to capture your defenseless merchantmen; he likewise says that he expects an answer as soon as possible, and that any delay on our side will only serve to injure our own interests….”[13]

    A week after that was written in October 1800, a Tripolitan corsair took a captive American brig, the Catharine, into Tripoli. The pasha immediately ordered the Catharine and her crew released and dismissed the corsair captain. His explanation: he had told the president that “before he would take any measures whatsoever against the United States” he would wait for the President’s answer to his letter of five months earlier (May 25, 1800). Later, however, in a meeting with Cathcart, Captain Carpenter of the Catharine and local officials, the Pashaw declared that he wanted money from America, that he would wait six more months for an acceptable reply to his letter to the President, and that he would declare war on the United States if the answer did not arrive in that time or was unsatisfactory. Reporting on that public ultimatum, Cathcart explained to the Secretary of State why America owed nothing to the pasha and how he was regularly at war with some country or other from which he would demand beneficial negotiations. (He was then at war with Sweden which would soon agree to pay annual tribute and ransom for 131 captives; 14 Swedish merchantmen had been seized by Tripolitan corsairs since the angered Pasha had broken an existing treaty and declared war a few months earlier).[14]

    The demanding, threatening language Cathcart reported to the Secretary of State was more explicit than the Pasha’s unanswered letter to president Adams of May 25 but no more so than the exchanges Cathcart had related then and previously. The consul had followed his report with a circular letter in November to American consuls and agents in the Mediterranean. He advised them to warn American ships of the possibility of hostile action by Tripolitan corsairs from the month of March, or possibly sooner, a warning he repeated in January after Tripoli made peace with Sweden. In February, efforts by the dey of Algiers and Cathcart to ease tensions with the pasha were fruitless, producing only more confirmation of the likelihood of war as the corsair fleet began fitting out.[15] On February 21, 1801, in a new circular letter, Cathcart told the consuls and agents, “to detain all merchant vessels navigating under the flag of the United States, in port, and by no means to permit any of them to sail unless they are under convoy, as I am now convinced that the Bashaw of Tripoli will commence hostilities against the United States of America in less than sixty days.”[16]
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    With the Quasi-War with France ended by the Convention of 1800, the incoming Jefferson administration turned its attention to the looming trouble in Barbary. The new president very quickly made his decisions. He would arrange the payments long overdue to the rulers in Algiers and Tunis and following his convictions of earlier years he would send the navy to deal with the maritime forces of Barbary, of whose strength he himself prepared an estimate from documents sent him by the Navy department.[17] The American navy had just been reduced to modest size, but its first ships had been commissioned in response to the Algerine seizures of American merchantmen in 1793 and it was time to show it in Barbary waters.

    Early in June, barely three months after the inauguration a small squadron — three frigates and a schooner — sailed for the Mediterranean under Commodore Richard Dale. If they found on arrival that war had been declared, the squadron was to protect American shipping from the corsairs and to “chastise their insolence … by sinking, burning, or destroying their ships and vessels wherever you shall find them.” It was also to blockade the harbor of any of the regencies that had declared war on America and, to the extent possible, was to convoy merchantmen when asked. In addition, Commodore Dale was to take to Algiers and Tunis letters, gifts for the rulers, tribute payments in the case of Algiers and assurances to both rulers that overdue tribute was soon to be forthcoming on other vessels. And, he was to go to Tripoli. There he would deliver the President’s letter to the pasha and, if still at peace, could give Cathcart money for a gift to the pasha.[18]

    Jefferson’s letter to Pasha Qaramanli emphasized “our sincere desire to cultivate peace & commerce with your subjects.” Also mentioned was our dispatch to the Mediterranean of “a squadron of observation” whose appearance [we hope] will give umbrage to no power.” The squadron’s purpose, the letter explained, was to exercise our seamen and to “superintend the safety of our commerce…[which] we mean to rest…on the resources of our own strength & bravery in every sea.”[19] Meanwhile, Secretary Madison wrote American consuls in the Mediterranean that the President, convinced “of the hostile purposes of the Bashaw of Tripoli” was sending a naval squadron to protect our commerce in the Mediterranean and to respond appropriately to any powers who declared war on the United States.[20]

    Unfortunately, the pasha had not waited to hear from the new president. Yusuf Qaramanli declared war on the United States on May 14, 1801 by chopping down the flagpole at the American consulate in Tripoli.[21]

    On arrival at Gibraltar July 1, Commodore Dale learned we were at war with Tripoli. During the next few months, squadron vessels blocked two Tripolitan corsairs in Gibraltar, delivered goods and messages in Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, escorted American merchant ships, and briefly blockaded Tripoli harbor. In the only real action that year, the schooner Enterprize engaged and soundly defeated the Tripolitan ship Tripoli off the coast of Malta on August 1.[22]

    In his annual address to Congress at the end of the year Jefferson reported on the demands of the pasha, concluded that “the style of the demand admitted but one answer,” and described the action taken to date. That action had been taken without any consultation with Congress, but the president now asked for formal and expanded power to deal with Barbary. Two months later Congress passed an act authorizing him to instruct naval commanders to seize Tripolitan goods and vessels, and to commission privateers to aid in the effort.[23]

    During the following three years the pasha maintained his demands and the United States, rotating ships and crews, maintained its naval presence in the Mediterranean as well as diplomatic efforts to make peace. In 1802 Jefferson was reportedly of the view “that the time is come when negociations [sic] may advantageously take place.” He was to be disappointed.[24] Tripolitan corsairs evaded the blockade and American merchantmen were captured. Most escaped their captors; only one was carried into port, the Franklin, in 1802, and the five Americans on it were quickly ransomed. InAlgiers, Richard O’Brien sarcastically remarked without comment: “It is asserted that there are at sea, at present, six sail of Tripoline corsairs & it is asserted that the frigates of the United States & those of Sweden are blockading Tripoli.”[25] Nor did the blockade stop Tripoli’s trade with other Barbary powers. It did, however, interfere with it, and the other rulers sided with the pasha. The possibility of Tunis and/or Morocco entering the war became a serious concern off and on throughout 1802.

    By then Jefferson was reconsidering his position. He had inherited a national debt that he was determined to eliminate, but the challenge posed by Tripoli could not be ignored. The old question was still debated: which would be less costly, tribute or war? The president had argued in favor of the latter, but as 1802 advanced war was proving to be more difficult and more costly than anticipated —it would to be even more so if other Barbary powers became involved. “They know they cannot meet us with force any more than they could France, Spain or England,” he wrote from Monticello at the end of March. “Their system is a war of little expense to them, which must put the great nations to a greater expense than the presents which would buy it off.”[26] He was still as much against buying peace and paying tribute as he had been since first dealing with Barbary in 1784; it was a matter of principle. But one had to be practical as well as principled.[27]

    Back in Washington ten days later, Jefferson asked his cabinet whether we should buy peace with Tripoli. All agreed that should be an option. The next day, Secretary Madison wrote Cathcart: “…it is thought best that you should not be tied down to a refusal of presents whether to be included in the peace, or to be made from time to time during its continuance, especially as in the latter case the title to the presents will be a motive to its continuance.” He was given explicit dollar limits and reminded that any engagements should be kept smaller if possible.[28]

    There had also been a complete change in negotiators. Cathcart was no longer welcome in Tripoli, Tunis or Algiers; Consul William Eaton had left Tunis on orders from the bey and returned to America; and Tobias Lear had arrived as Consul General in Algiers in November 1803 to replace Richard O’Brien, who had long sought to leave the post. Lear was also to take over negotiations with the pasha in Tripoli with instructions based on Cathcart’s revised guidance, allowing present on treaty signature, periodic tribute and ransom for captives if necessary.[29]

    A new commodore for the Mediterranean squadron was also named in 1803, Captain Edward Preble. He had barely arrived when he was told that Morocco was at war with America and Moroccan corsairs were looking for American merchantmen. Commodore Preble spent his first month in the region dealing with Morocco. Early in October, with four US Navy warships in Tangier harbor the troublesome issues were resolved peaceably by Commodore Preble and Consul James Simpson.[30]

    The most important naval action in 1803 involved the frigate Philadelphia, which ran aground near Tripoli in October. The pasha imprisoned the 307-man crew and refloated and repaired the stricken vessel. Before they could make any use of her, though, on February 16, 1804 a U.S. navy team under Lt. Stephen Decatur slipped into Tripoli harbor after dark and set fires on board that totally destroyed the Philadelphia. The loss of the frigate weakened the American squadron, while captives from the Philadelphia gave the pasha new leverage and prospects of substantial ransom.[31]

    When news of the Philadelphias loss reached America, Jefferson and his colleagues began looking for a way to send at least two more frigates to the Mediterranean. Congress rallied behind the President and the navy, approving a new tax and new expenditures for the war.[32] After initial political and public criticism of the president due to the devastating loss, widespread public support was stimulated by Stephen Decatur’s successful stealth mission under Tripoli’s guns.[33]

    Jefferson’s thinking about how to deal with the Barbary challenge had evolved with experience. Already in 1803, planning to add smaller vessels to the squadron and just before approving presents for peace and annual tribute, he had written his Secretary of the Navy “I have never believed in any effect from a show of force to those powers…but [if one works within their system of presents and tribute] the warring on them at times will keep the demand of presents within bounds. The important thing for us now is to dispatch our small vessels.”[34] A year later, in 1804, he decided the current squadron was not big enough to do the job. Newly-appointed Commodore Samuel Barron would command eleven vessels, “a force which would be able, beyond the possibility of a doubt, to coerce the enemy to a peace on terms compatible with our honor and our interest.”[35] The expanded squadron would be more than twice the size of the original one three years earlier and its mix of frigates, brigs and smaller vessels would be better suited to its mission.

    With his expanded fleet, Commodore Barron was to maintain “an effectual blockade of Tripoli” and “you will by all other means in your power annoy the enemy so as to force him to a peace honorable to the United States.” Negotiations to that end were left in the hands of Tobias Lear, Consul General in Algiers, with whom Barron would “cordially cooperate... in all such measures as may be deemed the best calculated to effectuate a termination of The war with Tripoli and to ensure a continuance of the friendship and respect of the other Barbary Powers.”[36]

    After arriving on the scene, if Barron judged it expedient he was authorized to support an overland attack on Tripoli by forces supporting the restoration to power of Hamet Qaramanli, an older brother ousted in a 1796 coup by Pasha Yusuf Qaramanli. That idea had been proposed in 1801 by James Cathcart and also by William Eaton who knew the exiled Hamet in Tunis when he was American consul there. The proposal had received qualified approval from Secretary of State Madison in 1802.[37]

    Commodore Barron arrived in the Mediterranean in the fall of 1804 with Eaton, now American Naval Agent for Barbary[38] and anxious to implement his scheme to lead ex-pasha Hamet overland to attack Tripoli. With or without a change of pasha, however, peace was Jefferson’s objective. A few days after Secretary Madison had given hesitant support to Eaton’s plan back in 1802, Secretary of the Navy Robert Smith wrote Commodore Morris, who was then commanding the squadron in the Mediterranean: “In adjusting the terms of Peace with the Dey of Tripoli, whatever regard may be had to the situation of his Brother, it is not to be considered by you of sufficient magnitude to prevent or even to retard a final settlement with the Dey. Mr Eton (sic) in this affair cannot be considered an authorized agent of the Government.”[39]

    Barron had doubts about involving Hamet, but Eaton and Captain Preble persuaded him. November 16 Eaton sailed on the brig Argus to find Hamet in Egypt. Barron may have expected Eaton to bring Hamet to Syracuse for a consultation[40]—that is unclear—but having eventually located him, Eaton helped the ex-pasha put together a collection of a few hundred armed Arabs and Greeks, mostly mercenaries under a handful of disparate leaders. Eaton, Hamet and several marines marched their “army’ nearly 500 miles through the desert along the southern shore of the Mediterranean and, on April 27, 1805, they captured the town of Derne, some miles east of Benghazi. The Argus and two sister ships supplied them with provisions along their march and actively supported them in the taking of Derne (where Hamet had been governor three years before under his brother Yusuf). In the meantime, the American blockade of Tripoli had been maintained through the winter and spring.

    Commodore Barron was seriously ill in Syracuse (Sicily), whence he continued to oversee fleet affairs. Concerned that Eaton may be over-committing himself, he had written in March to point out that the United States was working with Hamet only to achieve its own ends and was in no way committed to putting him back in power.[41] Then, May 18, he wrote Tobias Lear that, from what he had learned of Hamet Qaramanli, he could no longer support the plan involving the ex-pasha. He noted that the condition of some of his vessels and periods of enlistment of his personnel precluded another winter of blockade, was concerned about the fate of the American prisoners held by the pasha, and thought it time to respond to encouraging hints from Tripoli favoring negotiation. Not mentioned, but no doubt also on his mind, his health would not permit him to lead an attack on Tripoli that summer.[42] Indeed, he handed command of the squadron to Captain John Rodgers less than a week later.

    Lear sailed from Syracuse for Tripoli May 24th. Negotiations began shortly after his arrival, preliminary articles were agreed June 3 and the American captives from the Philadelphiawere embarked on US vessels June 4. The final document was signed on the tenth. It involved neither payment for peace nor annual tribute. Based on the difference between the numbers of captives held on the two sides, ransom of $60,000 was agreed, well below the limit given Lear. Far to the east, the Americans, Hamet and his close associates left Derne on board American naval vessels June 12. The Senate ratified the treaty April 12, 1806.[43]

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    The conclusion of the war in 1805 set off a wave of national pride among Americans, inspiring artwork and patriotic songs. But the circumstances under which peace was achieved gave President Jefferson’s political opponents ammunition to criticize his decisions. The Federalists championed the cause of William Eaton, who complained that the United States’s Navy had abandoned Hamet Qaramanli and Eaton’s plan to reinstall him as Pasha. Eaton felt that if his plan had been carried through, the United States would have won a more glorious victory.[44] Jefferson formally addressed questions about his treatment of Hamet in a letter to the Senate. There, he reiterated and amplified the reasoning of Madison’s 1802 letters to Eaton and Cathcart: “We considered that concerted operations by those who have a common enemy were entirely justifiable, and might produce effects favorable to both without binding either to guarantee the objects of the other,” explaining that “cooperation only was intended and by no means an union of our object with the fortune of the ex-pasha.” Jefferson explained that the U.S. government had never planned a full-scale land attack to place Hamet back in power, noting that Hamet himself had acknowledged that he was to carry out the land operations, while the U.S. undertook those by sea. The experience reaching and taking Derne made it clear that Hamet had little local backing and access to few resources. When, at the same time, an opportunity for peace presented itself, Tobias Lear seized it.[45]

    Jefferson exonerated himself from playing any part in building up the expectations of Hamet, and he defended any unauthorized verbal commitments Eaton may have made, stating that, “In operations at such a distance, it becomes necessary to leave much to the discretion of the agents employed, but events may still turn up beyond the limits of that discretion. Unable in such a case to consult his government, a zealous citizen will act as he believes that would direct him, were it apprised of the circumstances, and will take on himself the responsibility. In all these cases the purity and patriotism of the motives should shield the agent from blame, and even secure a sanction where the error is not too injurious.”

    The U.S. government did attempt to provide some concessions for Hamet Qaramanli in terms of the treaty. Tobias Lear convinced the Pasha to accept a clause that would require him to restore Hamet ’s wife and family. Roughly a year after the U.S. Senate had ratified the treaty, it was learned that Lear had added a secret clause that allowed the Pasha to wait four years to return the family. That fact might well have prevented ratification of the treaty had the legislature been aware of it. Although the Barbary victory had been tainted by questionable actions on the part of Lear and Eaton, both had technically gone beyond the bounds of their instructions, and so the reputation of President Jefferson and his administration suffered minimal damage.[46]
    - Original article by Elizabeth Huff, August 2, 2011; revised and expanded by Priscilla and Richard Roberts, September 26, 2011.




    • Allen, Gardner W. Our Navy and the Barbary Corsairs. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1905. A hundred-year old classic introduction to the subject, although some of the author’s manuscript citations are difficult to locate.
    • Allison, Robert J. The Crescent Obscured: The United States & the Muslim World, 1776-1815. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. First American historian to place the confrontation with Barbary in the larger context of U.S. cultural relations with the Muslim world.
    • Anderson, R.C. Naval Wars in the Levant, 1559-1853. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1952. Cogent study by the late British naval historian.
    • Boot, Max. The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power. New York: Basic Books, 2002. Not much on the Barbary wars, but insightful in its brevity.
    • Braudel, Fernand. The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Phillip II. New York: Harper & Row, 1976. 2 vols. in paperback with continuous pagination. Unsurpassed erudition by the late great French historian.
    • Carson, David A. “Jefferson, Congress, and the Question of Leadership in the Tripolitan War.” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 94, no. 4 (October 1986): 409-424. Concise approach to Jefferson’s handling of the war and the role of Congress.
    • Colley, Linda. Captives. New York: Pantheon Books, 2002. Well-researched and written in lucid prose by the British historian now teaching at Princeton.
    • Irwin, Ray W. "The Diplomatic Relations of the United States with the Barbary Powers: 1776-1816." PhD diss., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1931. An old-timer, but still the best brief approach to the subject.
    • Folayan, Kola. “Tripoli and the War with the U.S.A., 1801-5.” Journal of African History XIII, no. 2 (1972): 261-70. An African historian offers a rare antidote to America-centric writing on this war.
    • Folayan, Kola. “The ‘Tripolitan War’: A Reconsideration of the Causes.” Africa: Rivista Trimestrale de Studi e Documentazione 27 (1972): 615-26. Thought-provoking essay.
    • Kitzen, Michael. “Money Bags or Cannon Balls: The Origins of the Tripolitan War, 1795-1801.” Journal of the Early Republic 16, no. 4 (1996): 601-624. Author lays the blame on John Adams.
    • McKee, Christopher. Edward Preble: A Naval Biography, 1761-1807. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1972. Thoughtful study of the Jefferson administration’s naval policy with original research into European archives, including the Frenchman Beaussier’s consular dispatches which help correct “the one-sided view of the war provided by American sources.”
    • Parker, Richard B. Uncle Sam in Barbary. Gainesville, Fla.: University Press of Florida, 2004. The late American diplomat spent most of his professional career in the Middle East. This work includes some original findings. Emphasis on Algiers.
    • Roberts, Priscilla H. and Richard S. Roberts. Thomas Barclay (1728-1793): Consul in France, Diplomat in Barbary. Bethlehem, Penn.: Lehigh University Press, 2008. Chapters 9-11 discuss Barbary and its challenges for the new United States. Focus is on Morocco.
    • Tucker, Robert W. and David C. Hendrickson. Empire of Liberty: the Statecraft of Thomas Jefferson. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. North Africa does not figure in the text, but the authors devote a 5 ½-page footnote to the apparent contradiction in Jefferson’s use of naval power in the Mediterranean in spite of a commitment to peace reflected in his diplomacy.

    Further Reading


    • 1. Edward Church, U.S. Consul, Lisbon to the Secretary of State, September 22, 1793, in Naval Documents Related to the United States Wars with the Barbary Powers [hereafter ND], 1:45. For similar views 1794-1801, see ibid., 67-68, 71, 245, 328, 331, 356, 401, 402.
    • 2. PTJ, 18:416-422, 423-429, 430-435 and the related editorial note, 369-416.
    • 3. Richard B. Parker, Uncle Sam in Barbary, 7 -11; Priscilla H. Roberts and Richard S. Roberts, Thomas Barclay (1728-1793), 326 n5. For discussion of “corsairs” vs “pirates” see Fernand Braudel, The Mediterranean, 866-880; Linda Colley, Captives, 44-45; Max Boot, The Savage Wars of Peace, 8.
    • 4. Jefferson to James Monroe, November 11, 1784, in PTJ, 7:511.
    • 5. Jefferson to Horatio Gates, December 13, 1784, in ibid., 7:571.
    • 6. Jefferson to John Adams, Paris, July 11, 1786, in ibid., 10:123.
    • 7. Jefferson to James Monroe, [February 6, 1785], in ibid., 7:639.
    • 8. John Adams to Jefferson, London, July 3, 1786, in ibid., 10:86. See also Appendix, letter of July 11, 1786.
    • 9. Roberts & Roberts, 163-170. For the treaty and related documents, see the Avalon Project.
    • 10. Roberts & Roberts, 155-56; Ray W. Irwin, The Diplomatic Relations, 37-38; Parker, 48-58.
    • 11. Parker, 66-86.
    • 12. Treaty of Peace and Amity, signed at Algiers September 5, 1795, available at the Avalon project. Re consuls, see Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate, I:228, 248-50.
    • 13. James L. Cathcart to the Secretary of State, October 7, 1800, in Cathcart, Tripoli. First War with the United States. (hereafter Tripoli…Letterbook), 176. See also Appendix, letter of October 7, 1800.
    • 14. James L. Cathcart to the Secretary of State, October 18, November 1, 1800, and January 4, 1801, in Tripoli...Letterbook, 187-88, 191-96; ND, 1:405-09.
    • 15. James L. Cathcart to the Secretary of State, May 12 and 27, 1800, in Tripoli...Letterbook, 145-52, 154-55. See the pasha’s letter of May 25 in Italian (as transmitted), ibid., 155-56 and an extract in English, American State Papers, Foreign Relations: 2:352; Circular to the Consuls and Agents of the United States, November 12, 1800 and January 3, 1801; and Cathcart to the Secretary of State, February 25, March 13, 1801, all in Tripoli...Letterbook, 197-199, 228-30, 279-93,298-99.
    • 16. Circular to the Consuls and Agents of the United States, February 21, 1801, in ND, 1:421-22.
    • 17. Samuel Smith to Jefferson, May 4, 1801, in PTJ, 34:31.
    • 18. Robert Smith to Commodore Richard Dale, May 20, 1801, in ND, 1:465-69.
    • 19. Jefferson to Yusuf Qaramanli, May 21, 1801, in PTJ, 34:159. See Appendix, letter of May 21, 1801.
    • 20. Secretary of State, Circular Letter to American Consuls, Mediterranean, and Secretary of State to James L. Cathcart, both May 21, 1801, in Papers of James Madison (hereafter PJM), 1:209, 211-12. See also “Dispatching a Naval Squadron to the Mediterranean," 20-21 May 1801, Editorial Note, in ibid., 197-199. For the issues and responses in Jefferson’s words, see Appendix, letter of 1801 June 11.
    • 21. Circular from James L. Cathcart to Agents and Consuls of the United States, May 15, 1801, and Cathcart to the Secretary of State, May 16, 1801, in ND, 1: 454-55, 455-60; Jacob Wagner to Jefferson, August 31, 1801, in PTJ, 35:188.
    • 22. R.C.Anderson, Naval Wars in the Levant, 1559-1853, 397-399; Gardner W. Allen, Our Navy and the Barbary Corsairs, 95-97; Lt. Andrew Sterrett to Commodore Dale, August 6, 1801, in ND, 1:537.
    • 23. Thomas Jefferson, First Annual Message to Congress, December 8, 1801, in PTJ, 36:58-59; Act for the Protection of American Commerce and Seamen, February 6. 1802, Statutes at Large, 129; David A.Carson, “Jefferson, Congress and the Question of Leadership…” 413-415.
    • 24. Secretary of State to James L. Cathcart, April 18, May 10, 1802, in ND, 2:126-28, 147; Christopher McKee, Edward Preble, 94-96.
    • 25. Richard O’Brien to the U.S. Consul, Leghorn, June 26, 1802, in ND, 2:187; Allen, 111-113.
    • 26. Jefferson to the Secretary of the Navy, March 29, 1803; letterpress copy at the Library of Congress. Cited text also quoted in McKee, 128.
    • 27. For a good discussion of apparent conflict between “the commitment to peace that dominated Jefferson’s diplomacy” and his use of force in the Mediterranean, see note 80 on pages294-99 of Robert W. Tucker and David C. Hendrickson, Empire of Liberty: the Statecraft of Thomas Jefferson.
    • 28. Secretary of State to James L. Cathcart, April 9, 1803, in PJM, 4:494-95.
    • 29. Secretary of State to Tobias Lear, July 14, 1803, and Tobias Lear to Secretary of State, December 2, 1803, in ND, 2:482-85, 3:245-49.
    • 30. McKee,101-104, 139-72; Allen, 107, 113-15, 123, 140-45; Folayan, “Tripoli…,” 266-268.
    • 31. Irwin, 135-136.
    • 32. McKee, 278-79.
    • 33. Carson, 417-419; Robert J. Allison, The Crescent Obscured, 28-31.
    • 34. Jefferson to Robert Smith, March 29, 1803; letterpress copy at the Library of Congress. Cited text also quoted in McKee, 128.
    • 35. Secretary of the Navy to Edward Preble, May 22, 1804, in ND, 4:114-15.
    • 36. Secretary of the Navy to Samuel Barron, June 6, 1804 and Secretary of State to Tobias Lear, June 6, 1804, in ND, 4:152-54, 155.
    • 37. Secretary of the Navy to Samuel Barron, June 6, 1804, in ND, 4:152-54; William Eaton to the Secretary of State September 5, 1801, in ND, 1:569-70; Secretary of State to William Eaton and Secretary of State to Cathcart, both August 22, 1802, in PJM, 3:504-06. See also James L. Cathcart to the Secretary of State, July 2, 1801, ibid., 370-72.
    • 38. Secretary of the Navy to William Eaton, May 30, 1804, in ND, 4:120.
    • 39. Secretary of the Navy to Richard Morris, August 27 [or 28], 1802, in ND, 2:257.
    • 40. McKee, 308, 330 and Hamet to Barron, February 15?, 1805, “Eaton begged me to come to Syracuse to confer with your Excellency….”, in ND, 5:442.
    • 41. Samuel Barron to Tobias Lear, March 22, 1805, in ND, 5:438-441.
    • 42. Samuel Barron to Tobias Lear, May 18, 1805, in ND, 6:22-23; McKee, 232-33; Allen, 247-48.
    • 43. Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate, 2:32.
    • 44. William Eaton to the Secretary of the Navy, August 9, 1805, in ND, 6:213-219.
    • 45. Source of this and the next paragraph: Jefferson to the U.S. Senate, January 13, 1806, in Journal of the Senate of the United States, 4:19- 20.
    • 46. See the retrospective discussion of the Hamet Qaramanli issue in Irwin, 158-60.
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    Default Re: Islam Has Never Been Peaceful Nor Is It a Religion

    I found this thread, unused for a long time. It fits. Changed the name slightly and have added articles.

    There seems to be some kind of a "moral equivalency test" being applied to Islam by the current Obama (Muslim) administration, against Christians, the Crusades and the various invasions (allegedly by Christianity but actually) by various European (and in particular France in the 1700s) to stop Muslims.

    The following link is from the University of Michigan and specifically about the Barbarity Wars.
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