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America's First 'War on Terror' .... and Her Last

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How can Americans prevail against radical Islam? How can we win this on going war on terrorism? Without a knowledge of real history, we have to relearn the same lessons over and over again. We have been dealing with Islamic nations for a very long time (since the creation of the U.S), and the history of how Islamic nations have interacted with other nations goes back to the 7th century. It’s all there. The instruction book for the future is written in bold letters in the past.

After the establishment of American Independence and the close of the Revolutionary War, a new nation, broke, and deeply in debt turned to foreign trade to help steady the economy. The great difficulty came fast, as American trade ships were immediately attacked by pirates of the Barbary coast. Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis all were out to capture ships to steal their goods, convert the ships themselves into their own fleets, and put the crew into slave labor. Then these radical Islamic pirates would demand astronomical ransoms to free the slaves and also they required regular financial tributes to refrain from further acts of piracy. The demands of these Barbary states was far too high for the United States to afford and so they were forced to match force with force. The first move taken after diplomacy failed, was the creation of a Navy. This was a slow and costly endeavor, but it was a price we could not afford to refrain from. The proud history of both the Navy and the Marine Corps (USMC) would begin there in the Mediterranean during the First Barbary War. There we suffered humiliating defeats, proud victories, unforeseeable setbacks, and avoidable blunders. Heroes would emerge during the course of this war, two of which were William Eaton and Stephen Decatur. These warrior poets were both brilliant, courageous, skilled, and they were men of action. Through the leadership and military daring of Stephen Decatur, the USS Philadelphia would be destroyed to keep it from enemy hands during a daring covert naval operation. Decatur would also engage heroically in naval battles and become an American war hero and legend. William Eaton would also show his daring in the battle of derne. Here Eaton would bring about a land victory with a handful of US marines and a foreign army they raised while marching 600 miles through the desert. This unprecedented victory would bring about the end of the war and gain respect for the United States in the eyes of foreign powers.

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