Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

October 29, 2012

STUMPTALK: Jefferson and the pasha

CROSSVILLE — One of the results of the Revolution was that, as a new autonomous country, the United States lost British naval protection on the high seas. Lacking a navy for protection, American commercial seamen were at the mercy of unscrupulous governments and pirates. The “Barbary pirates” were a particularly onerous lot. The Barbary regime (today roughly Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia) regarded itself to be entitled to demand tribute from nations to sail undisturbed through the Strait of Gibraltar. Many American commercial ships were taken and, as was the practice of the day, captured seamen and passengers were sold into slavery. In 1785 John Adams and Thomas Jefferson met with the ambassador from Tripoli in London (Abd Al-Rahman) to inquire how Tripoli justified the piratical activities.

They reported his response thusly: “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 make Slaves of all they could take as prisoners and that every Mussulman (note: Muslim) who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.” That is identical to Iranian Ahmadinejad’s stupid, arrogant primitive rant in 2012.

Jefferson was particularly aggravated by the interference with free trade and the arrogance of the “Mussulman” regime that combined religion and government … exactly as medieval regimes such as Iran do today with Sharia law. Adams thought it better to avoid war and pacify the pirates. Soon the tribute demanded approached 10 percent of the American national budget. There continued to be political disagreement in America regarding the Barbary pirates until, in 1801, the pasha of Tripoli wanted increased tribute from America and so declared war. Big mistake! Tripoli was heavily bombarded by the new Marines that Jefferson had sent. In 1802 Congress passed legislation allowing Jefferson to direct the navy to have a permanent presence in the Mediterranean. This time it was Morocco that declared war. Tripoli captured the U.S.S.  Philadelphia. This resulted in yet another attack on Tripoli with the Americans blowing up the Philadelphia and again heavily damaging the harbor and its defenses. In 1805 William Eaton and a detachment of Marines marched on Tripoli from Egypt and attacked from land. This resulted in yet another treaty which resulted in the release of the Philadelphia’s crew and a settlement of the tribute problem. 

In 1815 Omar Pasha thought that America had been weakened by the war of 1812 and resumed the piracy and demands for tribute. He awoke one morning to find the harbor filled with American ships sent by President Monroe and in time to see his ships being blown apart. He had to pay reparations and release all hostages. President Monroe wrote, “It is settled policy 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.” We did not hear from the Mideast pashas for a very long time. Now, of course, “tribute” is given the euphemistic and politically less aggravating name of “foreign aid.” It seems that we, and most particularly Obama, have not learned from history and so of course are doomed to repeat it, but in this case it is nuclear threats from a medieval pasha rather than wooden frigates, and instead of the Strait of Gibraltar it is the Strait of Hormuz. Jefferson was, of course, quite correct in his assessment. More recent history clearly shows us that appeasement is not and never has been a successful foreign policy. We can put Obama in the same list of failed leaders with Neville Chamberlain, who sought to appease Hitler and announced he had obtained “peace in our time” by giving Hitler bits of Czechoslovakia for his demand for “lebensraum.” That lasted a matter of months.  Earlier, Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations proved a complete failure. Obama will discover that an appeaser is simply one who feeds others to the crocodile in the hopes it will eat him last. Obama is no Jefferson. If we understand history, a vote for Obama is a vote for war. Let’s see, how does that go again? “From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli…..”

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Lion and the Lamb: Our war on women

    Jimmy Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981, has had quite an impressive career as an author. His first book was published in 1975, and he has now written a total of 37 books, 23 of them after his presidency. He has set a high example for other past presidents, especially those who would like to find ways of being as beneficial to their nation as possible in the days after their retirement.

    April 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: "Selfie" destruction

    Technology continues to profoundly impact our daily lives, from the Heartbleed Bug that put hundreds of thousands of websites at risk of compromising customer usernames and passwords, to the little light that tries to tell me I'm about to run out of gas. Technology also impacts our language, with new words being created to describe the latest gizmo, gadget or trend.

    April 21, 2014

  • Stumptalk: It depends on what you mean

    A writer’s headline asks, “Do we really believe in democracy?” To which I answer, “What do you mean by democracy?

    April 21, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice