In 1785, many Americans urged their government to follow the European practice of bribing the pirates of the Barbary States, but Jefferson believed that paying off pirates would only encourage them. America’s first foreign war was fought in the Middle East. After trying and failing to form an international coalition against Barbary, Jefferson sent the U.S. Navy to battle the pirates in 1801. American forces suffered many setbacks before 1805, when the Marines marched to “the shores of Tripoli” and defeated the enemy’s army. America has pursued similar goals in the Middle East for well over 200 years. But Jefferson never ordered his troops to occupy the territory they conquered. Rather than crushing the Barbary States, he used the Marines’ victory as a springboard for concluding a negotiated peace. Though U.S. troops will eventually withdraw from Iraq, the persistence of terrorism will necessitate undiminished American vigilance, if not active intervention, in the area.
Click here to read more about Thomas Jefferson versus the Muslim Pirates and America’s 300 year old war with Islam.