A History Lesson 

Of Birds and Schemes and Peaceful Dreams

Deborah Venable



So, September 11, 2001 placed a marker in history because it brought about so much change in how America would fight terrorists from that point on?  Is that what you think?  We are living in a “post 911 world” and our children can never know the kind of security we enjoyed before?  Tell me, just what kind of security was that?  The kind where we were not suspicious of religious motivations of an enemy that hates us, or the kind where Americans could freely travel the world without fear of abduction, torture, or death simply BECAUSE of their religion or country of origin?  Or perhaps you think that America’s military might was always pointed at definitive targets after war was declared by a courageous Congress to defend our shores – never our economic welfare.  (War for oil ring any bells?)  Islamic Fascism had always flown pretty much under the radar until that fateful September morning early in this century, eh? 


Elect a Democrat for President and he or she will “talk to the terrorists” in Doolittle fashion and iron out all our problems and take away the terror, huh?  They’ll pull our troops home and we will quit making war for oil, give the terrorists whatever “tribute” they demand and America can get back to feeling secure – right?  It sure beats making those poor Islamists pay for following their “peaceful” religious ways, huh?


In my dedication for telling it like it is, I have asked some very pointed if seemingly satirical questions simply to spark some serious thought.  I’m tired of a lemming mentality that paints a dove as an equal match for a hawk – or especially an eagle.


Here is another important question to ask a person educated by the government school system in this country:  what can you tell me about the United States war against the Barbary Coast Pirates?


For over a hundred and fifty years before the Revolution that resulted in the formation of the United States Of America, the pirates of the Barbary States, supposedly under the control of the Ottoman Empire, had terrorized the shipping lanes of the Mediterranean.  In actuality these pirates controlled the collection of North African seaports from Tangiers to Tripoli.  They were a fearsome lot – mercenary and totally ruthless.  They actively dealt in the slave trade and were not particular about where these slaves were acquired nor how they were treated.  Ships were captured for their bounty and their hapless victims either ransomed or enslaved if they lived to tell the tale.  Unencumbered passage in these dangerous waters was possible only by the payment of “tribute” to the lords of these lands.  They had expensive tastes, these pirates, so the price of tribute was not cheap. 


While the American colonies remained under the control of the British Crown, the tribute for American ships was paid by England, but after the Revolution our ships became easy pickings for the pirates of these Muslim North African states.  The fledgling government tried to negotiate “fair tribute” for safe passage in keeping with traditions started by previous European rulers, but there was no fairness or safety secured for American ships in these negotiations.  Indeed, these Barbarians were more interested in the wealth that could be taken from the ships and demanded through ransom than they were from any paltry payment of tribute.  The Americans were seen as “fat ducks.” 


This is a fascinating period in our history, and one that is merely skimmed in the history books if it is taught at all.  The hero politician of that time would be Thomas Jefferson, who tried to convince the new government of the foolishness of paying this tribute or negotiating for security from the Barbarians. 


"From what I learn from the temper of my countrymen and their tenaciousness of their money, it will be more easy to raise ships and men to fight these pirates into reason, than money to bribe them."  

Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the president of Yale College, Ezra Stiles - December 26, 1786  Source.


He lost the argument until he became president, whereupon his actions resulted in the initiation of war against the Barbary States.  Finally after some fifteen years, including another war with England, and much military heroism of the U.S. Navy and Marines, American freedom from the terrorism of the Barbary Coast Pirates was secured.  Some European countries continued to pay the tribute for another fifteen years after America had secured her own victory.


When our early history is so replete with examples of America’s struggle against Muslim terrorists, as well as the many incidents of the same struggle culminating late in the twentieth century with multiple attacks on American citizens, why are so many refusing to look at the root cause of our differences with the anti-freedom culture of Muslims honestly?  It was not our fault that we had to fight a war two centuries ago to stop the Barbarians’ practice of terrorizing for profit – just like it is not our fault today that war is the only thing this culture understands as it attempts to hold hostage every other religion, culture, and peaceful coexistence itself for the unfair price of capitulation to this one culture and religion.  There is no negotiating or capitulation possible that will secure us against a future of terror indefinitely.


Is this an indictment of all Muslims?  Certainly not – but it is reiteration of a wide body of evidence that suggests war is the only vehicle of communication their culture truly respects or understands.  Conflict courses through their veins as surely as prophets and profit rules their religion.  Radical Muslims are as apt to turn violence on their own people as they are sworn to deal death and violence to “infidels”.  Indeed, more Muslims have died at the hand of other Muslims.  They do not all think alike, but built into their religion is a justification for almost anything.                


We do not have to sit and talk with such leaders of Muslim nations to know what is on their minds.  We already know.  Any “negotiations” with these people will end in disaster unless our willingness to fight and our unwillingness to pay tribute lays the groundwork for such discussions.  Actions speak much louder than words, and some actions certainly cannot be answered with words.  I don’t think Senator Obama or Senator Clinton would be respected or feared by our radical Muslim enemies.  I think our country would be in grave danger with either of them at the helm.  Much evidence exists to back up this opinion. 


This is an old enemy we are fighting, with old thoughts about how we should be handled.  We are fat ducks to this enemy as they base their thoughts, words, and actions on a religion that justifies anything they would do to us.  Paying “tribute” is spelled out for them in the history of their religion, and any “infidel” who refuses cannot get away with simply using words.  A review of a Study Page on this site examines the jizyah tax or “tribute” as an accepted method of Islamic dealings with non-Muslims. 


It is clear that if the fat ducks wish to present themselves as doves, they had better carry a bejeweled, solid gold olive branch to any negotiations and be prepared to pay out the nose indefinitely.  The only hope for “perpetual peace” requires the fat ducks to become hawks and eagles.  If history has taught us nothing else, it has most assuredly taught us that.    


Recommended sources for further study:


Terrorism In Early America


Thomas Jefferson and the Barbary Pirates


An International Battle Against An Unconventional Foe


What Thomas Jefferson Learned From the Muslim Book Of Jihad


To the Shores Of Tripoli


Tripolitan War


Barbary States


How Did the United States Defeat the Barbary Pirates 



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