A observation from history's greatest bore..........
Back in the early 1800's the northern part of Africa was the playground for the Barbary pirates, organized groups who attacked and captured "Christian" ships and their crews. The crew members were literally enslaved by the Muslims until they could be ransomed by their governments. In many cases, these acts were sponsored and supported by the governments then in power in the area. Most of the time, the major governments of Europe and the United States figuring it was easier, just paid tribute to the Muslims to protect their shipping. However, when the tribute was late, or perhaps not enough, the various Muslim governments had a very interesting method of expressing their dissatisfaction. They would go to the American Consulate, and chop down the flag pole. This was acknowledged to be a declaration of war by all the parties involved.
This state of affairs was compounded by the fact that a former ally France, which was at war with England at the time, started capturing American ships which were trading with Britain and it's colonies. America started negotiations with the French government and was told that the attacks would stop if America, gave 50,000 pounds sterling, a $12 million loan from the United States, a $250,000 personal bribe to French foreign minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, and a formal apology for comments made by President John Adams. These demands were refused and when the American public became aware of this incident known as the X, Y and Z affair there was a great cry for action. This led to what was called the Quasi-War with France which took place at sea from 1798 to 1800.
At a American dinner party held about this time, Robert Goodloe Harper, a Congressman from South Carolina, gave history
the memorable phrase, in a toast: "Millions for defense, sir, but not one
cent for tribute!"
Now here we have a small new country, basically fighting two wars, with a undermanned Navy and Army still standing up to it's foes. By standing up, they made the French back down and by blockading the Barbary Pirates and even landing troops to overthrow various governments that supported the pirates, the attacks on American shipping stopped.
Now we have had a consulate attacked in the old stomping ground of the Barbary Pirates and had a Ambassador as well as other American citizens murdered. Perhaps it WAS a act of individuals and not state sponsored, but I find it somewhat curious that these protesters had plenty of automatic weapons and R.P.G.s but that's just me. I firmly feel that we should reply to this in the strongest manner. It's a well known fact that the only way that we can prevent this kind of behavior is to cause these evil people to fear us. If they act in such a manner we will retaliate in a overwhelming manner. After all, we once went to war over a cut down flag pole, isn't it pitiful that we will not take strong action over spilled American blood?
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