America’s First War on Terror 1784-1816

Advancing Against Al Qaeda

Advancing Against Al Qaeda (Photo credit: Third Way)

CBS aired a clip of  Warren Weinstein sharing the demands of his captors in exchange for his life at the hands of his radical Muslim captors. My heart goes out to him and his family.

The tactic to hold Americans hostage in order to influence our country is not new on the scene in our current war on terror. This is not something that Al Qaeda has suddenly come up with to try to even the playing field with the Big Bad American Superpower invading their country.

Over two hundred years ago, radical Muslim pirates of the Barbary Coast (North Africa) regularly captured American ships at sea and then held their passengers and crew hostage for ransom paid by the American government or private American citizens. With George Washington and James Madison, our first and second presidents, a large percentage (growing up to 16%) of the federal budget went toward paying these ransoms. At that time we were helpless because we had no navy and at first no standing army. Navies and effective fighting forces are not built overnight. Until they were ready, our only option was diplomacy and payment.

Thomas Jefferson was one of those early diplomats. He was told quite simply that these Muslims felt it was their religious duty to capture and kill Christians. He obtained a Koran so he could, in the words of Chinese general Sun Tzu “Know thy enemy.” (Incidentally, this is the original reason Jefferson obtained the Koran… not because of a religious interest in the text as is popularly portrayed in the media today. It was because he was in negotiations and later at war with Muslim terrorists.) When the Navy was finally ready to sail in Jefferson’s presidency he immediately ordered the Marines to take the war to the Muslim terrorists. And commenced 10 years of fighting on the ground before a peaceful negotiation was reached. That military action bought us a 150 year peace.

The fact is that we must press in and finish our war leaving no doubt in the radical Muslim mind that they do not want to attack America anymore. If we show a lack of resolve, we will buy more terrorist attacks.

If you’d like to learn more about America’s first War on Terror, I recommend the WallBuilders presentation on the subject.

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About Conservative Educator
Conservative Christian Elementary Tech Teacher making a difference for students and teachers.

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