Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
An Old Kind of War

By Pac in MLP
Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 07:41:22 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Bloodthirsty Muslim fanatics, they attacked American civilians, demanded a price the United States would not pay and ultimately brought war upon themselves.

Eventually, with full popular support and great resolve, the president decided enough was enough, deployed the Navy and went to war against the Barbary Pirates.

It was 1801.


Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o war against the Barbary Pirates
o Also by Pac


Display: Sort:
An Old Kind of War | 33 comments (28 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Everything old (2.00 / 1) (#3)
by Zeram on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 04:13:36 PM EST

is new again...
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
-1 Repost (2.00 / 1) (#6)
by Anatta on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 05:30:48 PM EST

It's a fascinating topic, one I have been reading about for the past few days... your submission is a bit weak and has some spelling errors... rework it, give some more details as to how and why it is relevant today, and resubmit. You'll get a +1 from me.
My Music
One more (4.50 / 2) (#7)
by spacejack on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 06:52:53 PM EST

I posted this link in my diary a while ago, so I may as well add it here for those who missed it the first time.

On a related note (4.00 / 1) (#8)
by wiredog on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 08:07:22 PM EST

The Marines' Hymn

From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli...

The more things change...

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
Phage

Silly (4.50 / 4) (#9)
by Dlugar on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 08:12:08 PM EST

There may be some very near similarities between "America's New War" and this "Old Kind of War," but there are also some very striking and important differences.

Probably the most important is that the pirates plundered for one reason: money. This perhaps does not seem very important, but if you look at the implications, it becomes much more so.

See, if you're fighting for money, then you obviously don't want to die--hence, no suicide bombers. Therefore, you must be susceptible to attack. The pirates battled on the high seas in ships, and there entire point was to steal and get away to enjoy the loot. Hence, the United States Navy, and attacks on these ships. Terrorists do not have such an easy target for attack.

Then, too, if your main purpose is money, you can be appeased by money. It was when the governments of various countries tired of supplying the "insurance money" that navies were launched and attacks took place. It is doubtful that any amount of "insurance money" would appease current terrorists against the United States, both American and otherwise. The best it would do, if well-spent, would be to calm the rest of the world who currently agrees with the aims of the terrorists, if not their methods.

And, of course, most notably is the fact that terrorists can live and thrive in tiny "cells" of people spread across a number of nations. A single terrorist in Wisconsin can do a considerable amount of damage. Thus there is no central striking point. Pirates, on the other hand, must needs band together to be effective, and indeed "the shores of Tripoli" were one such place they gathered, and attacks were launched there.

So, while the enemy may be similar, the reponse of the United States can in no way be, if it is to be successful.

Dlugar

The very nub of the gist (none / 0) (#11)
by finial on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 11:26:30 PM EST

Probably the most important is that the pirates plundered for one reason: money.

That's it in a nutshell.

The Barbary Pirates were interested in money. They weren't interested in dying and they weren't particularly interested in killing. You could get much more money by selling captured crews into slavery or holding them for ransom. The US (and the proto-US and others) paid tribute for years before they got tired enough of it to do something about it. It was more like a mafia protection racket: "pay me and I'll let you go."

What we're seeing today has absolutely nothing to do with money (except, perhaps that it is somehow a symbol of Western decadence, but then that falls flat when you consider that bin Laden himself is worth many millions, so it can't be much about money). It is a single-minded crusade --and, yes, I use that word delibrately-- by bin Laden, & al with the single purpose of ridding the world of the US and of Americans. At any cost and at all costs. And nothing but that wholesale, genocidal result will satisfy him or his minions.

[ Parent ]

Well, I don't know about that. (4.00 / 1) (#12)
by Dlugar on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 11:45:54 PM EST

nothing but that wholesale, genocidal result will satisfy him or his minions.
I doubt that bin Laden's "real purpose" is genocide of Americans or Westerners. He was perfectly happy with us when we were supporting him and his cause.

It is likely, I wager, that he really doesn't like the US mucking around in the Middle East. I'm certain he'd be happy if all our troops left the Middle East altogether. He'd likely stop attacking us completely.

However, there are some very good reasons for us not to remove our troops from the Middle East altogether. This, I think, is the root of our differences, and any other rhetoric from bin Laden or from US leaders is, in my opinion, mere propaganda.

Dlugar

[ Parent ]
Maybe a little more info might help (2.00 / 1) (#16)
by thejones on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:12:39 AM EST

Posted in April: http://web.nps.navy.mil/~library/tgp/qaida.htm

Current goal is to establish a pan-Islamic Caliphate throughout the world by working with allied Islamic extremist groups to overthrow regimes it deems "non-Islamic" and expelling Westerners and non-Muslims from Muslim countries. Issued statement under banner of "the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Jews and Crusaders" in February 1998, saying it was the duty of all Muslims to kill US citizens--civilian or military--and their allies everywhere.

Sounds like Osama's goals are pretty simple.

Throw all non-Muslims out of muslim countries.

Overthrow of all non-Islamic governments, replacing them with Muslim regimes.

Kill as many Americans and other westerners as possible. Muslim or not.

Looks like bailing out of the middle east just wouldn't be enough. Sorry, pal, he's gotta die.

[ Parent ]

As I said, mere propaganda (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by Dlugar on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:25:26 AM EST

In my (not so) humble opinion, this stuff about "Jihad against the Jews and Crusaders" is just propaganda by bin Laden to get people riled up about the US and fighting against them. If it wasn't, then why was bin Laden so keen on getting our help in the past? He certainly didn't think we were the "great Satan" then.

No, he may say that he wants non-Muslim civilians dead for propaganda reasons, but do you actually see that happening? Are militant Muslims really gunning down innocent people on the streets, just for being in their country? Or in other countries, just for being non-Muslim? No. Even September 11th was a brutal, coldly calculated assault on military and economic centers in the United States--not killing just for the sake of killing people who are different.

So, based on the actual actions of these people, and their actions ten, twenty years ago, I am forced to come to the conclusion that they're spewing rhetoric.

Dlugar

[ Parent ]
Or maybe... (4.00 / 1) (#28)
by khym on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 08:09:56 PM EST

What I think is that Bin Laden believes what he says, but that there's different levels of motivation amongs the various goals. He really wants to get the U.S. out of the middle east, wants to unite the Muslim world in a Caliphate, and sorta wants to make every government in the world a fundamentalist Muslim government. If we withdrew from the Middle East, Laden would (if he could) prevent oil from getting to us, but I rather doubt that he'd continue to try to topple Western civilization.

--
Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
[ Parent ]
Some comments (5.00 / 1) (#14)
by Pac on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:24:50 AM EST

While I cannot agree more with you on the differences of the two situations, I found it interesting that the "spirit" of that past war was somewhat similar to the present one.

Just to pick a minor point, terrorism does not really means that your must have suicide bombers. And I doubt the pirates did not have among them lots of young men willing to die at their leaders command. Suicide bombing is certanly a trend present in groups dominated by a certain kind of religious reasoning. But most Western terrorist groups past and present never made suicide bombing a favoured style of attack. And one can't fail to notice that the leadership of the suicide-bombing groups are not very eager to join the ranks in such activities.

Finally, yes, the response must be very different. But in essence the same objectives are being proposed: Unroot the criminals and unseat the governments harbouring them.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
-1, Bzzt! (2.09 / 11) (#10)
by sasha on Mon Oct 15, 2001 at 10:40:22 PM EST

Unfortunately, making any kind of analogy between Jefferson's war against the Barbary States and the state of things today is indicative of utter incompetence and inability to reason historically. But I can understand your desire to post something just for the sake of posting it ...


--- Signal SIGSIG received. Signature too long.

MLP and reasons (3.40 / 5) (#13)
by Pac on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 12:02:50 AM EST

Please kindly follow the link and read the article, then direct your arguments on historical reasoning at the author and the many experts he quotes.

Also, read my comment on my reasons for posting it. There are many foreigners out here, and most of us don't really care that much about American history to study it down to the minor early wars. So I thought it was at least informative.

Finally, I think your comment should have been editorial.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
MLP and reasons (2.66 / 3) (#15)
by sasha on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 01:03:22 AM EST

The historical reasoning that you supplied in your summary was sufficiently inflammatory, I think. At least, in language.

I think my comment is justifiably topical, since you didn't write the article. Had it been editorial, it would've served better being addressed to the author. You can't make much of an editorial assessment of a tiny MLP summary, anyhow.

But I agree with you in spirit about the fact that it's generally informative. Giving it the character you did in the summary earns it a -1 from me, nevertheless.


--- Signal SIGSIG received. Signature too long.
[ Parent ]

Your irony detector must be broken (4.50 / 2) (#19)
by Pac on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 09:57:10 AM EST

I believe the summary tries to capture (successfully or not) the spirit of the linked article. And it seems pretty obvious that the inflamatory tone is ironic, just a device to cause a temporal displacement in the reader's mind.

I am sorry it failed.

[Off-Topic Rating Observation: I can't help finding it funny when, during (what I believe is) a civilized exchange of viewpoints, one part gives a very low rate to a non-offensive, non-trollish comment. Not that I really care about the ratings. But do you really think the added noise is necessary to stress your point? I tend to think my words are enough, so I never rate a discussion where I am one of the speakers]

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
More life imitating art... (4.50 / 2) (#18)
by SvnLyrBrto on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 02:18:46 AM EST

And, once again, life imitating a Tom Clancy novel.

(Could it be? John, a registered democrat who has been critical of king george and his minions from day one, reading a novel written by a republican??? Yeah... Well... I'm a junkie for "techno-thrillers", and what can I say? Tom Clancy does it pretty well)

The first place I read the "terrorists are the modern day equivelent of pirates" meme was in Patriot Games, in which the Jack Ryan character had written a report for the CIA making that comparison, and suggesting that they be delt with as pirates:

(From the Washington Post article)

Because of their outlaw conduct, pirates -- and modern-day terrorists -- put themselves outside protection of the law, according to military strategy expert Dave McIntyre, a former dean at the National War College. "On the high seas if you saw a pirate, you sank the bastard," he says. "You assault pirates, you don't arrest pirates."
And I couldn't agree more. Sink the bastards, doesn't matter if on the high sea or the dune sea. Sink the bastards.

Kinda creepy tho, how SO many of Clancy's ideas have become reality in the last month or so. I know one thing... I don't plan on being anywhere *NEAR* The Superbowl this year.

cya,
john

Imagine all the people...

Dangerous comparison to make (4.00 / 1) (#20)
by ariux on Tue Oct 16, 2001 at 09:34:33 PM EST

Similar in some ways, different in others.

It's good to be informed by the past, but always a bad idea to see the present entirely through its limiting lens. That war was fought 200 years ago, against different types, in a different international environment.

1789 (none / 0) (#26)
by J'raxis on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 06:42:43 PM EST

Yeah, in the 1780s our government was busy drafting the Constitution. In the 1980s they were creating the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.

— The Cynical Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Re: 1789 (5.00 / 1) (#33)
by Ubiq on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 04:50:15 PM EST

Yeah, in the 1780s our government was busy drafting the Constitution. In the 1980s they were creating the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.

And in 2001 they're busy tearing the constitution down.

--
Freedom in the USA



[ Parent ]
Similarity of Motive? (none / 0) (#22)
by Blarney on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 12:34:47 PM EST

I have been wondering if the WTC bombings and the Barbary piracy have a common motive - money! What if the short selling of insurance and airline stock observed before the bombings wasn't just a sneaky way to make a little profit off of the WTC bombings - what if it was the whole reason for the bombings? What if Islamic fundamentalism wasn't the main reason for the bombings - what if it was just a brainwashing technique used to get intelligent young men to steal airplanes and crash them?

This is my theory, although most other people believe that the attacker's priorities were ordered differently. I could be wrong. But no matter what, it is likely that somewhere Bin Laden is counting his money and laughing at us foolish infidels. We paid him to bomb us!

Something must be done so that no one can ever profit this way again. No more tribute!

Don't cut the nose to spite the face (none / 0) (#25)
by afeldspar on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 05:19:34 PM EST

Something must be done so that no one can ever profit this way again. No more tribute!

I understand the sentiment, but I look at your proposed solution (which I take to be the disallowing of stock-shorting) as doing more harm to us than to those we wish to punish.

First of all, the volume of stock-shorting that occurred shortly before the WTC attack was unusually high. Tracking where those shorted-stock orders originated might well be a strong lead to find out who it was that knew about the attack before it happened. If such an unusual event should be observed again, it will almost certainly be taken as a warning this time. Thus, you are asking us to disable an early-warning system -- even presuming that the perpetrators of the next terrorist attack will have the same audacity to take traceable fiscal advantage of their assault.

Secondly, what our economy needs is investment. Not stock-trading, investment. People need to invest in stocks because they think that that investment will create additional value -- not because they think they can grab the stock low (never mind for what reason) and ride it till it's high (never mind for what reason) and then drop it like a rock.

Unfortunately, most so-called investors today have no idea that they are investing, especially not the day-traders who were a symbolic if not strong force behind the Internet bubble. Stock-shorting is a way of balancing the short-sighted optimism among "investors" who are really gamblers; if we disallow the shorting of stocks, a mechanism to reward investors for critical appraisal of a company's prospects, then we have sacrificed one of the few forces regulating our economy against bubbles.

It is not worth it.


-- For those concerned about the "virality" of the GPL, a suggestion: Write Your Own Damn Code.
[ Parent ]

cool. (4.00 / 1) (#23)
by Profoss on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 02:30:42 PM EST

my great-great-greate-greate-granddad (or something like that) was infact captured by those pirates, in late 18 century. No, he wasn't american, but norwegian, but what did the norwegian-danish state for him, nothing. Being from a small country sucks. The whole thing ended when his dad paid the ransom. Actualy the same guy was taken prisioneer of war by the british during the napoleon wars. Yeah i know, very intersesting indeed? i just feelt the need to post something :)

The difference... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
by DJBongHit on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 05:02:36 PM EST

... between 1801 and 2001 is that today we have weapons of mass destruction. A single person can kill millions and millions of people with one shot. That's why this war is so dangerous.

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

True (none / 0) (#27)
by aphrael on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 06:58:09 PM EST

but you can argue it the other way --- that the existence of weapons of mass destruction makes this war absolutely essential to our survival as a society in a way that the war on the barbary pirates wasn't.

This is one of those double-edged swords that can be used effectively by either side in a political debate.

[ Parent ]

War is hell... (none / 0) (#29)
by DJBongHit on Wed Oct 17, 2001 at 08:57:52 PM EST

... but a necessary evil.

but you can argue it the other way --- that the existence of weapons of mass destruction makes this war absolutely essential to our survival as a society in a way that the war on the barbary pirates wasn't.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm not arguing that we should stop bombing Afghanistan and try to solve everything in a warm-fuzzy way. Those bastards stepped far over the line and got themselves in way, way over their heads, and they need to pay. But dammit, I just don't like the fact that they can hit back so hard :P

I may smoke like a tree-hugging hippie, but that doesn't mean I am one :)

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
Alternatives? (none / 0) (#30)
by aphrael on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 02:11:39 PM EST

But dammit, I just don't like the fact that they can hit back so hard :P

They might be able to hit back even harder; I keep expecting to wake up some morning and find out that [insert city name here] has been nuked.

I'm not arguing that we should stop bombing Afghanistan and try to solve everything in a warm-fuzzy way

This is part of what's so frustrating for me: I really don't *like* the fact that we're dropping bombs on a stone age country and killing random people who had nothing to do with it. But I don't see any reasonable alternatives. Adn that's forcing me to reevaluate what I think about a lot of history.

[ Parent ]

Information Dislocation (none / 0) (#31)
by aleksatone on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 02:41:55 PM EST

The problem here is these people are driven by not devout belief, but by popular upheaval...they are in need of information sources outside of thier mountainous nook. Bombs send them (the average Afghan/Pastoon) a message that I'm not sure we're intending to send them.... I think we'll have more visitors soon.

[ Parent ]
Yeah (none / 0) (#32)
by DJBongHit on Thu Oct 18, 2001 at 03:58:48 PM EST

They might be able to hit back even harder; I keep expecting to wake up some morning and find out that [insert city name here] has been nuked.

Yeah. Aside from the WTC/Pentagon attacks which started this whole thing, they haven't done shit. Infecting a dozen people with a non-contagious, treatable disease? Give me a break.

This is part of what's so frustrating for me: I really don't *like* the fact that we're dropping bombs on a stone age country and killing random people who had nothing to do with it. But I don't see any reasonable alternatives. Adn that's forcing me to reevaluate what I think about a lot of history.

Yeah, same. It's a lot easier to have an opinion on things that happened a long time ago. It's harder to be so sure when it's happening right now.

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
An Old Kind of War | 33 comments (28 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!