November 20, 2009

America and Muslim Terrorism: This Is Nothing New

By Chris Dumford

Muslim Terrorism Is As Old As America Itself.

It is interesting to me that our current administration has so little knowledge of American History and our Nation’s first international crisis. This is borne out by their re-defining of the War on Terror as a man-made disaster, by waffling on commitment of more troops to the Middle East, and by attempting to diplomatically deal with the Terrorists instead of militarily deal with them. America’s first international crisis involved Muslim terrorism overseas. How our early Presidential Administrations dealt with Muslim terrorism is a lesson in how to deal with Muslim terrorism in our modern world.

Following the American Revolution, the US economy, unshackled from English restrictions and heavy taxation began to grow. The result was an increased demand for foreign goods. As a result, the US produced the largest merchant fleet in the world. Much of the domestic demand for goods emanated from goods produced in the Mediterranean rim.

Following the American Revolution, the entire remaining United States Navy was paid off and there was not a single US naval vessel in commission (nor much of a standing army for that matter). The loss of British naval protection in the Mediterranean Sea as a result of the Colonies becoming independent of England resulted in Muslim terrorists exploiting American military weakness by stealing US merchant ships, confiscating the cargoes and enslaving the crews. This was not exclusive to the US. The Dutch and the English were also plagued by this practice, but they chose to simply pay ransoms to curtail the practices, and occasionally to react militarily.

By the 1790's these acts of piracy resulted in several hundred Americans becoming slaves to Tripolitanian, Moroccan and Algerian Muslims. In exchange for the prisoners, these Muslims demanded that huge ransoms be paid from the US treasury. Though the US Government followed through with the yearly ransoms, which increased in amount every year, the various Deys and Padhas often failed to release their prisoners after the ransoms were paid. The primary reason for this travesty was that the Muslims in the region believed westerners to be infidels and according to the Q’uran, they were to be plundered, enslaved or killed if they did not convert to Islam (referred to by American sailors as turning Turk). Several sailors in fact did convert to Islam in order to escape the brutal treatment and torture. Some of this torture included being bound and having the soles of the feet beaten by rods until the flesh was virtually stripped from their feet. The prisoners were often worked until they dropped dead cutting stones for various fortresses. They were starved, allowed to become disease ridden and treated to total humiliation. George Washington, wrote to Thomas Jefferson and the American Consul to Tunis William Eaton that these circumstances existed because of America being perceived by the Muslim nations as a Christian nation (i.e. having a State controlled and legislated official Church). Washington attempted to distance this notion by writing a letter to the various Beys of Tripoli, Morocco and Algeria that America was not a Christian Theocracy but rather a democratic government (in comparison to the European Governments, many of which governed over state churches and were perceived by the Muslims to be in-essence Theocracies), but this failed to convince the Muslim governments who continued to see us as infidels because we did not embrace Sharia Law.

Washington’s solution was to commission a navy to be built. The initial authorization was for 6-frigates, three of which were to be 44-gun frigates, and three to be 36-gun frigates. These were the Constitution, Constellation, United Sates, President, Chesapeake and Congress along with several smaller ships. In addition, 6-subscription frigates were built by citizens of the US and presented to the US Navy including: Essex, Boston, New York, Adams, John Adams (a separate frigate) and Philadelphia. Several of these were laid up in an incomplete state and not completed when a financial agreement was reached with the Tripolitanian governments which included a yearly bribe to be paid out by US tax payers and delivered by the Navy. This agreement did not last long as the Muslim governments were (and are) not known to keep their word to so-called infidels. Under Adams administration, following continued terrorism and failure of the Muslim governments to keep their word the various frigates were completed and the US navy was born. (Much of this occurred due to pressure from the US populace with such cries as "Millions for Defense and not one cent for tribute...").

From 1801 to 1805, the new US navy was deployed in various squadrons bombarding Tripolitanian towns, capturing Tripolitanian ships and rescuing US and foreign (Christian) sailors who were prisoners. These actions included Stephen Decatur’s boarding and burning of the frigate Philadelphia which had grounded on a reef while captained by the rather unfortunate William Bainbridge. The frigate was captured by the Tripolitanians and Bainbridge and his crew became slaves to the Muslims. British Admiral Lord Nelson later called Decatur’s boarding, capturing and burning of the Philadelphia in plain sight of the guns of the Tripolitanian harbor fortresses, “The boldest act of the age…” In addition, another heroic action occurred when a small contingent of Marines led by Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon in concert with a rather dubious Arab army under William Eaton stormed and captured the city of Derna (Subsequently the Marine Corps Anthem contains the lines “To the shores of Tripoli...” as a tribute to O’Bannon and his Marine’s deeds).

As a result of this show of overwhelming force, the Muslims finally signed a treaty to stop stealing US ships and imprisoning US crews (without being paid ANY tribute money!).


As America entered the War of 1812 and much of the navy was blockaded in US ports by the British navy, the Muslim governments in the Mediterranean once again began to prey on US shipping as a result of the US having no military presence in the region. Over 1,000 sailors were once again enslaved. Following the end of the War of 1812, an overwhelming US naval squadron including several new Super-frigates and the new 74-gun Ship-of-the-Line USS Independence sailed for the Mediterranean and were deployed from 1815 to 1816. Except for the capture of two ships, this fleet overawed the Muslims into surrendering by simply appearing in the various ports with guns run out and loaded without firing a shot.

There are several lessons that can be learned from the US Government's first involvement with Muslim terrorists:

1. Muslims cannot be reasoned with, nor expected to keep agreements due to their religious views of so-called Christian infidels. This was played out by both the history of the various Muslim Deys in constantly breaking agreements with the US Government and the history of William Eaton’s army in which they were continually seeking to run away, lying to the Americans, were constantly stealing from the Americans, and generally were useless as a fighting force. This is also the current trend as evidenced by Iranian President Ahmadinejad and his dubious promises made to the International Atomic Commission regarding cessation of his nuclear weapons production.

2. Claiming that America is no longer a Christian nation as Washington attempted to do and as has also our current president in a recent speech, will not change the views of the Muslims toward America as being a nation of infidels.

3. Signs of weakness are only avenues of exploitation to Muslim terrorists.

4. Since they see us as infidels, they have no respect for persons or property, nor are obligated to treat us with honor, but only see us as only inferior enemies.

5. They only understand overwhelming force and any relaxation of this force will only allow them to re-emerge and recommence their acts of terrorism. This is the current understanding of General Petraeus and his recommendation of ramping up the US military presence in Afghanistan.

6. Their hatred of America is not due to our prosperity, nor our culture, nor our involvement in the Middle East militarily, as is evidenced by the fact that in the 1790's the US had no military presence anywhere in the world (including our own territory, excluding two regiments of infantry and several companies of Militia stationed in Cincinnati), nor were we a rich nation by any means (we were in fact what would be referred to today as an emerging nation). In addition, America at that time was much more of a Christian nation than today, and our moral character was much stronger and closer to Muslim moral ideologies than that of today. Thus, our westernized concept that the rise of militant Muslimism is due to our morally declining culture, our military presence in the Middle East, or our economic prosperity as the reason for the current war is not a logical reason for the current Muslim war.

7. Any belief that Muslim terrorists can be left alone and therefore will leave us alone is not reasonable as is evidenced by the US withdrawal from the Mediterranean during the War of 1812. This left a window of opportunity for the Muslims to begin terrorizing us again (see number 5 above).

8. They do not believe in peaceful coexistence but only believe that peace can be achieved when everyone is converted to Islam or destroyed. The only way the US prisoners could escape the brutal treatment of their captors was to convert to Islam. Once they "turned Turk", they then were granted full freedom, and only then.

9. Although on the surface this appears to be a Xenophobic view, history indicates that unless Western culture is willing to make a long term commitment to stamping out Muslim terrorism, and by default, protecting Western ideologies of freedom and democracy, and invest in a long term and overwhelmingly strong military response when threatened by Muslim terrorism, the end result will be a slow and complete stamping out of western culture as we know it. This is evidenced by simply looking at a world map of the 10/40 window and seeing that Western culture has largely been excluded from these areas. Christianity is illegal in almost all of the areas within this window, while Islam is permitted within almost all of the Western World. The result has been historically that Muslim dominated regions do not allow free, peaceful coexistence with Western cultural ideas, while Western regions have allowed and fostered peaceful coexistence. The end result has been that Islam has increasingly encroached upon Western culture (i.e. England and France are prime examples) while Western culture has made little impact on the 10/40 window. Notice that based on the above evidence, the Xenophobia rests square in the laps of the Muslim terrorists, not within the ideology of Western culture.

10. Last, but not least, if anyone thinks that in our enlightened age, the Muslim faith has grown out of such 18th century ideologies (and thus negates what some may see as a rather radical statement above), need only to look at the modern pattern of Muslim terrorism and listen to Muslim Clerics and their messages regarding views of Western infidels and Western culture in order to see that their actions and views have not changed in over 200 years.

Conclusion: Winston Churchill said, "those who fail to learn from History are doomed to repeat it..." Our current administration is waffling on committing troops to Afghanistan and wavering on the prosecution of the war to the fullest extent. We can win this war as proved by the 1801-1805 scenario. Muslim terrorists must be shown overwhelming force with a constant reminder that any time they entertain any evil toward the west, we will come with a vengeance that they cannot even conceive. Only then will they leave us alone and we will then see the Western ideology of peaceful coexistence in which the battlefield is the debating and exchanging of ideology, not ordinance!

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