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Shores of Tripoli
Terrorism Tony Rubolotta
May 13, 2008

The Marine Hymn should remind us that America has a problem with Islam that dates back to the founding of our nation. Before that, Britain, as our "Mother Country”, dealt with the problem of Islamic state sponsored piracy. Either you paid tribute to the Barbary States or they raided and seized your ships and sailors. You could consider the tribute that was paid the maritime version of the jizya, the tax infidels pay to not be molested by Muslims.


The Tripolitan ambassador to London made it clear in a conversation with Thomas Jefferson and John Adams that as Muslims, they had a right and duty to plunder and enslave infidels. That was the only reason they needed to make war. This was in 1786.


The reason to stop making war didn’t arrive until the Barbary States were defeated by the American Navy and Marines in 1805. After the First Barbary War, the United States enjoyed a brief period of safe passage for commercial shipping in the Mediterranean. That changed during the War of 1812 when the Barbary States saw an opportunity to exploit the absence of American naval power in the Mediterranean.


Raids on American shipping resumed until the Second Barbary War. Even then, after agreeing to a peace treaty, the Pasha of Tripoli reneged once the American fleet departed for Tunis. A Muslim’s word to an infidel is merely an expedient dependent upon present circumstances. It took another year and a combined Dutch and English fleet to bombard the Pasha into submission. It took the colonial occupation of North Africa by European states to end Islamic piracy in the Mediterranean, at least until recently.


If anything, Islam has remained true to its founding as a religion designed to motivate and unify caravan raiders (land pirates) under a single leader with a single set of guiding principles. Thievery and murder gained the respect of a religious calling. How could anyone believe that a religion that had remained faithful to its principles for 11 centuries prior to 1786 would deviate two centuries later? The only peace the civilized world has had with Islam has been exacted on the battlefield or by payment of the jizya. Even then, the peace is a temporary interlude before some Islamic leader perceives weakness in his enemy and the opportunity to pursue his Islamic "duty and right” to "plunder and enslave”.


Thanks to political correctness and the Left’s incessant war against the American military, it is unlikely that public school students any where in America have any idea where the phrase "shores of Tripoli” originated or the historical relationship between the United States and Islam. Are we dooming our children to repeating the mistakes of the past by depriving them of this simple lesson? To the Left, American history should be taught as a source of guilt and shame, not virtue and pride. The American military is evil, and anyone leaving this classroom not knowing that is a mentally disturbed warmonger.


In those same classrooms, Islam is just another religion and if it’s a bit wacky or extreme, it’s no different than any other religion, just like Christianity. So let’s be Muslims for a week or two, see how stern and silly it is, and project our disdain for that sternness and silliness on our own religious beliefs. It is an insidious attack on all religions by portraying Muslim believers as the stereotype for all people with deep religious convictions and obedience to religious ritual.


Barbary pirates, air pirates, caravan raiders, suicide bombers and terrorists are the products of religion, any religion. That is the lesson being taught and it is a false one. They are the products of Islam and those Muslims who do not recognize their "duty and right” to "plunder and enslave” are the apostates. Or are they like the Pasha of Tripoli, waiting for their opportunity at redemption?


Tolerating the intolerable, accommodating diversity for the sake of division and omissions of fact from our historical perspective exposes us to a danger the civilized world has known for more than 13 centuries, even if our own experience dates back only two centuries. Is our memory span as a nation that short or shorter?


The shores of Tripoli are still there, long ago washed by American blood. The ignorant and their Leftist mentors would have us drench those shores, or the sands of Iraq, or the hills of Afghanistan, again, and again, and again.

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