Friday, November 10, 2006


Daniel Pipes finds startling news of a document written back in the early days of the US, that could give some clues about why the US has never engaged in a serious war with Islamofascism. This is important news, because in order to build the future, that's why we need to learn from the mistakes of the past:
Has the United States ever engaged in a crusade against Islam? No, never. And, what's more, one of the country's earliest diplomatic documents rejects this very idea.

Exactly 210 years ago this week, toward the end of George Washington's second presidential administration, a document was signed with the first of two Barbary Pirate states. Awkwardly titled the "Treaty of Peace and Friendship, signed at Tripoli November 4, 1796 (3 Ramada I, A. H. 1211), and at Algiers January 3, 1797 (4 Rajab, A. H. 1211)," it contains an extraordinary statement of peaceful intent toward Islam.

The agreement's 11th article (out of twelve) reads: As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, - as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, - and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

In June 1797, the Senate unanimously ratified this treaty, which President John Adams immediately signed into law, making it an authoritative expression of American policy.

In 2006, as voices increasingly present the "war on terror" as tantamount to a war on Islam or Muslims, it bears notice that several of the Founding Fathers publicly declared they had no enmity "against the laws, religion or tranquility" of Muslims. This antique treaty implicitly supports my argument that the United States is not fighting Islam the religion but radical Islam, a totalitarian ideology that did not even exist in 1796.
Actually, the part about totalitarianism did exist, and is one of the themes of the Koran. That aside, look at this:
Beyond shaping relations with Muslims, the statement that "the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion" has for 210 years been used as a proof text by those who argue that, in the words of a 1995 article by Steven Morris, "The Founding Fathers Were Not Christians."
Could it be that this is one of the weapons used by moonbats who try to delegitimize the rights of Christians in America and elsewhere? Good question. Now, take a look at this startling discovery:
But a curious story lies behind the remarkable 11th article. The official text of the signed treaty was in Arabic, not English; the English wording quoted above was provided by the famed diplomat who negotiated it, Joel Barlow (1754-1812), then the American consul-general in Algiers. The U.S. government has always treated his translation as its official text, reprinting it countless times.

There are just two problems with it.

First, as noted by David Hunter Miller (1875-1961), an expert on American treaties, "the Barlow translation is at best a poor attempt at a paraphrase or summary of the sense of the Arabic." Second, the great Dutch orientalist Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (1857-1936), reviewed the Arabic text in 1930, retranslated it, and found no 11th article. "The eleventh article of the Barlow translation has no equivalent whatever in the Arabic," he wrote. Rather, the Arabic text at this spot reprints a grandiloquent letter from the pasha of Algiers to the pasha of Tripoli.

Snouck Hurgronje dismisses this letter as "nonsensical." It "gives notice of the treaty of peace concluded with the Americans and recommends its observation. Three fourths of the letter consists of an introduction, drawn up by a stupid secretary who just knew a certain number of bombastic words and expressions occurring in solemn documents, but entirely failed to catch their real meaning."
What's amazing about this is that it's a form of early political corruption, and done at a time when democracy was far from being as fully thought out as it is today (for at least a century, women did not have the rights to vote in elections, and their rights to owning property like estates and businesses was very difficult or almost impossible). What the US government at the time did, you could say, was to perform something along the lines of taqqiya, the Islamic concept of deception, by writing up a document in English, scripted specially so that the American public would be tricked into accepting it, when in reality, it's something that they should've rejected.
These many years later, how such a major discrepancy came to be is cloaked in obscurity and it "seemingly must remain so," Hunter Miller wrote in 1931. "Nothing in the diplomatic correspondence of the time throws any light whatever on the point."

But the textual anomaly does have symbolic significance. For 210 long years, the American government has bound itself to a friendly attitude toward Islam, without Muslims having signed on to reciprocate, or without their even being aware of this promise. The seeming agreement by both parties not to let any "pretext arising from religious opinions" to interrupt harmonious relations, it turns out, is a purely unilateral American commitment.

And this one-sided legacy continues to the present. The Bush administration responded to acts of unprovoked Muslim aggression not with hostility toward Islam but with offers of financial aid and attempts to build democracy in the Muslim world.
And that's something that needs to change. And there are many changes that America's made for the better over the years. A change in how US policy should deal with Islam is one of the most important that's going to be needed right now. We cannot continue with policies of appeasement that cost many good Americans their hard-earned tax dollars, and just like Communist countries were isolated years before, so too will the Islamic world have to undergo isolation if that's what's needed for starters to tell them that we do not accept their hostility.


Reliapundit said...

1 - it was AFTER that treaty was signed that we fought ou first war against jihad:


Book Description
Two centuries ago, the ostensibly pacifist president Thomas Jefferson launched America’s first war on foreign soil—a war against terror. The enemy was Muslim; the war was waged unconventionally, with commandos, native troops, encrypted intelligence, and foreign bases under short-term alliances. For nearly two hundred years, Barbary pirates had haunted the Mediterranean, enslaving infidels and extorting millions of dollars from European countries in a holy war against Christendom. Newly independent, American ships became a target of piracy. Instead of paying tribute, after his inauguration Jefferson chose to fight. With telling illustrations, Jefferson’s War traces the events surrounding his resolute belief that peace with the Barbary States, and the attainment of Europe’s respect, could be gained only through the "medium of war." Jefferson ordered the new U.S. Navy to Tripoli in 1801, starting the Barbary War that ended in 1805. The war proved that ship-for-ship the U.S. Navy was the equal of any navy afloat. William Eaton’s bold frontal assault on Derna with a fractious army of Arabs, disaffected Tripolitans, European mercenaries, and eight U.S. Marines punctuated the American victory as the marines ran up the Stars and Stripes over the city—the first flag-raising on hostile shores by U.S. troops.

2 -

Reliapundit said...


America's First War against Militant Islam
By David Forsmark
FrontPageMagazine.com | June 16, 2006

White Gold: The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and Islam's One Million White Slaves
By Giles Milton.

Picador, $15, 336 pp.

The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805
By Richard Zacks.
Hyperion, $15.95, 454 pp.

Stop me if you've heard this one:

A totalitarian dictator of a Muslim nation kills hundreds of thousands while spending his nation's resources building a palace of mind-boggling size.
European powers toady to a Muslim tyrant who projects his power in provocative ways, preferring to pay him off and do business rather than take action against him - even though they have enough military power to do so.
The American president authorizes a mission to install a friendly government in a hostile Muslim country.
Sleazy French agents undermine the mission and warn the dictator.
An American diplomat whose marriage keeps him well connected scorns the idea that a government friendly to America can be established – or a military mission can succeed – then sets about to cause appeasement and containment.
Marines are left hanging without support in unfriendly territory after a spectacular military success.
Americans take the lead in stopping nation-sponsored terrorism in the Middle East, while the Europeans maintain a safe distance, becoming involved only in mop-up operations and peace negotiations.
If you suppose this scenario was taken from recent headlines, think again. Some are the main elements of a nearly 300-year old story, others from America's first shooting war during the Thomas Jefferson administration.

Two instant classics of popular history, Giles Milton's White Gold and Richard Zacks' The Pirate Coast, new in paperback this month, cover this dramatic era in our national past.

Many readers may be surprised to learn the West's battle against militant Islam did not end with the Crusades and not resume until the Iran hostage crisis in 1979. If anything, the century and a half of relative peace between Islamic states and the West that ended in the latter half of the 20th Century was the exception, not the rule.

When Bill Clinton and others justify Arab hatred for the West by hearkening back to the Crusades, they are exercising a selective memory. What they never mention is that, long after the Crusades, Arab pirates sanctioned by North African states kidnapped, murdered, plundered and enslaved Europeans for at least 200 years. Nor, when excoriating America’s tainted history of slavery, do they note that while Western countries were developing modern economies and evolving from mercantilism to capitalism, which ultimately would make their involvement slavery obsolete, slaves continued to be an essential element of the Muslim system. In the 17th and 18th centuries, sea-going raiders from Islamic Mediterranean countries captured and enslaved about 1 million Europeans.



northern seer said...

very interesting post...though I doubt a treaty from the 18th century would constrain a president in the 21st...especially after 9/11 offed all bets...

Avi Green said...

Good points, and thanks for posting the extra data.