So I was conversing with an older lady yesterday about some world issues and the intent behind the second amendment... and the conversation turned to
Thomas Jefferson and the Barbary wars.
She fancied herself a 'history buff' and was surprised that she knew so little about the US' first foreign war. It's not hard to find information
on this as long is one is looking, so I will spare the deluge of links.
But essentially, the highlights of this conversation revolved around Jefferson's hesitation to start a navy to combat the Islamist pirates, as he did
not want to the new government to amass such power over its own citizenry. (When we left the kingdom, we lost the alliances that came with the
association with the Royal Navy and as a budding young nation, trade was of utmost importance.)
After many of our mercantile ships and sailors were captured, and a massive portion of the GDP was spent on ransom, Jefferson took over and decided
that he was not having that. Adams,Franklin and Jefferson took a trip to meet up with the Tripoli ambassador and was told 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.”
... sooooo, not a whole lot of change in the 200 years since.
France was dealing with its own situation and was little help, although Sweden stepped up and gave us a hand. Go Swedes!!
Jefferson wanted to throw down, yet Adams disagreed, saying,
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.”
It seems public education's focus on early US history ends with the Revolution, which is a shame because our current situation seems to have many
rhyming verses with this time period. I do remember a teacher telling me that Morocco was the first country to recognize the United States'
independence... though either intentionally or not... kind of left out the important context and seemed to think Morocco was in support of the US at
Anyway... I am not here to recite a history lesson, my question to ATS is simple, have you heard about these conflicts? Do you see any modern
parallels? Do you think it had been intentionally left out of history lessons for political reasons?
Can't wait to hear some thoughts.
I know I said I would spare the links, but in fact checking this post I found an article by Christopher Hitchens, which I now feel compelled to share.