Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Democrats should remember Thomas Jefferson and the shores of Tripoli:

Before Democrats dishonor America by cutting and running from Islamic extremists a second time (the first was Mogadishu), they should take a moment to dust off their history books and refresh their memory about another time in American history.

Back in 1801 when America was still in its infancy the Islamic nation of Tripoli and its ruler, the Bashaw Yusuf Karamanli, became the first country to declare war on America. During that time the Islamic nations in the Mediterranean prayed on shipping by pirating the goods of nations. After the capture of American ships, Thomas Jefferson and Congress sent what was our first Navy and Marines on a mission to show America would not succumb to their threats. Congress and Jefferson new like today the world was watching to see how our nation would react and it was imperative to show America couldn’t be pushed around.

The war for a time went badly as America lost one of its ships, the Philadelphia, and it’s crew of 300 to the Bashaw after it ran aground near Tripoli. Our men were tortured and put into hard labor with the only way of saving themselves was by converting to Islam. Only two converted as the rest rather die. Despite some in America calling for Jefferson to just pay tribute instead of the higher cost of a prolonged war, Jefferson knew folding would do more damage to America and its relations overseas then the cost of keeping the fight going.

Jefferson and America kept the fight going eventually forcing the Bashaw to succumb to a treaty where America would pay no tribute. The war would give America its original war heroes like Commodore Preble, Stephen Decature and William Eaton who led America’s first Marines on land in an attempt to sack the Bashaw. Eaton and his men’s legacy still live today in the Marine Hymn, with the line, “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we will fight our country’s battles on the land as on the sea.”

What America’s resolve did over those 5 years (and you think 3 years in Iraq is to long) was put America on the map and gain respect from the international powers like Britain and France who would have used a show of weakness for their own gains. Though exactly 200 years later, the times are similar. Leaving Iraq before a clear victory will give Al-Qeada, Iran, Syria and others a boost in confidence that the worlds feared superpower can be beaten and worse no longer has the resolve to fight a long prolonged battle. If you listen quietly you can hear those French surrender jokes being replaced with America throughout the Middle East.

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