Tripolitan War

A Lesson from the Tripolitan War


In the west, people tend to have short memories. Typically this isn’t a problem because most lapses in memory tend to be centered around the mundane: Where you left your car keys, picking up the dry-cleaning, the date of your third cousin’s wedding to the Shriner who resembles Dwight Yoakam, only uglier – if you can imagine that. With any luck you’ll find your keys, get to the dry-cleaner, and, hopefully, you chose something more becoming to wear to the nuptial ceremony than a leisure suit. These things are easily understood and forgiven, if not completely relatable. The leisure suit… Not so much. It’s the bigger things we forget that are less understandable. Entire wars are said to have been lost to the sands of time. Less notable than the Korean War is the Tripolitan War which was declared against the United States some two hundred and sixteen years ago.

Angered by President Thomas Jefferson’s refusal to pay ransom in exchange for captured merchant vessels, Yusuf Pasha declared war on the United States, a misstep he came to regret as our new navy blockaded his lands and eventually compelled the Barbary states’ compliance in 1805. It was a decisive victory for our fledgling nation, one that speaks from the pages of history if anyone cares to pay attention.

There’s a reason we don’t negotiate with terrorists. If you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile. The practice of paying ransom to the Barbary corsairs was common in Europe but did nothing to dissuade the Muslim conglomerate of Algiers, Morocco, Tripoli, and Tunis, from changing their methods of violent extortion.

Any number of analogs can be elaborated upon to make the point, such as a fox in the henhouse. You can give the fox a chicken and expect full well that he’ll be satisfied and he will be, for a time. But he’ll be back as any sane and hungry fox would be. Submission and appeasement have historically led to further submissions and appeasements. That’s as true of foxes in henhouses as it is with the WPK in Pyongyang which thrived under concessions from Washington, D.C. while honoring none of its own. It was true two hundred years ago with the Barbary pirates until President Jefferson put his foot down.

And it’s true today in regards to the progeny of the Muslim raiders who asked how high when told to jump by the Pasha of Tripoli. While technology, key players, and exact locations of battlefields have changed since the early 19th century, the modus operandi of the unwashed Muslim horde has remained largely the same: Take hostages, demand concessions, and declare victory when effete western nations curl into the fetal position, tail firmly between legs and thumb firmly in mouth. They’ve been following the same path against us for nearly two hundred years because, by in large, it works.

Jimmy Carter didn’t just humiliate himself when he tried to play tough with the revolutionary clerics in Iran who had captured our embassy staff, he embarrassed our whole country. It wasn’t a ransom payment of cash but it served to enrich Tehran in other ways. It emboldened them. The appearance of American weakness presented them with the appearance of Iranian, and subsequently, Islamic, strength.

Obama followed in Carter’s disgraceful footsteps when he delivered $400,000,000 to Tehran and when he spiked the football over the Iran Deal which gave the mullahs almost everything and gave us next to nothing. Under the fearful and feckless rule of spineless presidents, the Muslim horde has had much to boast of and we can’t really blame them. They’re good at what they do, as long as leadership in the US is determined by self-loathing and a desire to play nice with those who have no intention of reciprocating naive courtesies.

It wasn’t until President Reagan took office that the embassy hostages were released and six years later, he ordered Operation El Dorado Canyon in response to a German terror attack linked to the Tripolitan regime of Moammar Gaddafi. Gaddafi’s response? He executed three hostages, two British and one American. Are you beginning to see a pattern here?

Islam doesn’t respect or fear olive branches. It’s difficult to say if it respects anything other than it’s own twisted tenets of world conquest. The only thing it understands is what it practices: Force. It would be easy for forgetful westerners in the throes of judgment-clouding compassion to blame America first for the aggression of the Muslim horde toward our civilization. It would be easy to point to debacles like the Iraq War and catastrophic regime change in Tripoli as examples of how the west is the root cause of all the bad blood between our nation and the pseudo-religious terrorist organization best known as Islam. But the plain truth is, Islam threw the first punch.

They threw the first punch two hundred years ago when they tried playing their hostages-for-ransom game with a president who would have none of it. Since then they have frequently enjoyed success by way of the same tried and true rules of engagement. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Weakness in Washington, D.C. has encouraged this bad behavior and the result is that the Barbary pirates are still with us, only instead of warships and cannons they now have AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades, and remote-detonated improvised explosive devices.

The only tool in Islam’s toolbox is a hammer, and hence every nation and person on earth not in line with their inherently radical ideology appears to them as a nail. We can play the politically correct part of the nails by showing compassion to our enemies and in so doing make hostages of ourselves. Or we can fight fire with fire. It’s the only thing they understand and, under a barrage of MOABs, they’re going to learn the hard way that the United States is far better at this game than they are.

We didn’t start this war but, like President Jefferson in 1801, we have a chance now under strong leadership to put our foot down and do what it takes to end it.

By day, Michael Rodgers is a logistics specialist in the aerospace industry. By night, he is an Associate Editor for the Liberty Conservative. He lives and drinks profusely in Dover, New Hampshire.

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