I just heard author and so called “liberal hawk” Christoper Hitchens say, in hawking his book on Thomas Jefferson to Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, that Jefferson “unilaterally” waged war against “Islamic terrorists” when he sent the U. S. Navy to invade the Barbary States of North Africa which were sponsoring the infamous Barbary Pirates. The Pirates attacked vessels from nations which hadn’t paid their annual tribute (protection money), stole the cargo, took the crews prisoner and sold them into slavery.
If Hitchen’s assertion that those of the Barbary States were Islamic Terrorists wasn’t enough to call into question his credibility, he bid farewell to Stewart by invoking the very hackneyed “it’s been real.” A sure sign that Hitchen’s obviously expansive opinion of his own intellect is misplaced. I mean, come on, “it’s been real”?
The Barbary pirates and their employers, the heads of the Barbary States who frequently came to power through coups and assassinations, were criminals motivated by financial gain, not terrorists; and Hitchens should certainly know the difference.
Until the U. S. was able to construct a navy to send after the pirates, for many years it paid an annual tribute to the Barbary States to protect the many commercial U. S. vessels that plied the Mediterranean.