Tuesday, May 27, 2008

When the Founding Fathers Faced Islamists

I have seen things about this topic before, but felt that it is always nice to get a review of history to help us understand the present. Read the quote from the Muslim leaders back then and tell me how it differs from what Muslim leaders say now.

Pajamas Media » When the Founding Fathers Faced Islamists: "John McCain and Barack Obama are now engaged in a long-distance dispute over whether talking to America’s enemies is integral to America’s security (with neither one wishing to talk to poor Hillary Clinton any longer).

McCain has not so subtly assailed Obama as an “appeaser” for his stated willingness to sit down with the Iranian leadership about its nuclear weapons program and sponsorship of jihadism in Iraq — and never mind for now if that leadership consists of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Ali Khamenei. Meanwhile, Obama has repeatedly labeled McCain a kind of hyper-Bush militarist of the shoot first, sign treaties later school of foreign policy. McCain has hinted at Chamberlain and Munich, always a histrionic conversation-ender in matters of these sort, and Obama has sheepishly downplayed the Iranian threat by contrasting it against the Soviet one, and, without any hint of irony, indicating Kennedy’s talks with Khrushchev in Vienna, and Reagan’s momentous mini-summit with Gorbachev in Reykjavik as proof that toughness and diplomacy are not mutually exclusive concepts. (One witty editorial in The New York Times reminded Obama that Camelot’s finest hour was not its Austrian kibitz with the Russian premier, an event that laid all the psychological bricks, so to speak, for the erection of the Berlin Wall and the Cuban missile crisis.)

Oddly though, in their rush to analogize by way of chivvying each other, neither candidate has actually pulled an example relevant to the region of the globe now under discussion. The Middle East, a term coined by Alfred Thayer Mahan, one of McCain’s boyhood idols, is where both American warfare and American diplomacy began in the late 18th century, as our infant republic faced its first post-Revolutionary struggle against the evocatively named Barbary States of the Ottoman Empire.

Adams was incensed. “It would be more proper to write [of his meeting with ‘Abd al-Rahman] for the… New York Theatre,” he thundered. He agreed with Jefferson that a military response was increasingly likely, but Adams doubted his country’s economic ability to sustain it. For the short term, he thought it better to offer “one Gift of two hundred Thousand Pounds” rather than forfeit “a Million annually” in trade revenue, which the pirates were sure to disrupt. Not long thereafter, Jefferson joined him in London to prevent the “universal and horrible War” and reach an accord with the refractory envoy from Tripoli. Both gentlemen of the Enlightenment, and comrades in revolution, affirmed America’s desire for peace, its respect for all nations, and suggested a treaty of lasting friendship with the regency. ‘Abd al-Rahman listened well, but his reply was one that would shock modern ears less than it did those of the two Founding Fathers:

“It was… written in the Koran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged [the Muslims’] authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon wheoever they could find and to make Slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”"

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