HISTORY SCHOLAR, NO! REVISIONIST HISTORIAN, YES!
November 26, 2010
You have to give President Obama credit in one area: He is an expert at revising history.
The type of revisionist history he practices is one that merely takes advantage of the ignorance of the masses. A recent Pew Poll showed that 4 out of 5 Americans care little or know next to nothing about history before World War II. Add that to the fact that the average high school student thinks history classes are a waste of time and you get the idea of how easy it would be for a influental orator like our President could capitalize on such apathy.
Let's admit it... Barack Hussein Obama is a practitioner of many nasty and nefarious things as our President, but none are more destructive to our nation and its endlessly fascinating and largely glorious past than his frequent practice of revisionist history.
The term revisionist means actually, well, lying.
The most recent of these was made during a Presidential speech at a White House dinner, hosted by Barack and Michelle Obama, to celebrate the end of the month-long fast on the part of the Muslim world, a practice which is known as Ramadan. The end of the fast, which seems to require some sort of celebratory event, at least in the alternate universe of the Obama Administration, is known as Iftar. In his remarks at this dinner, the second in his two year Presidency, Obama made various claims in his increasingly pathetic attempts to legitimize the world of Islam, the most outrageous of which was that one of our greatest Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, (who Obama fashioned as a fellow admirer of the Muslim world), hosted the first Iftar dinner at the White House.
Both of these claims are patently false.
The truth about Thomas Jefferson and his involvement in the world of Islam in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries is a fascinating tale, and can be described as both romantic and dashing. It involves pirates, known swashbucklingly at the time as ‘corsairs,’ international intrigue and ultimately acts of astounding military courage on the part of the newly-created United States Marines.
The truth had nothing to do with Jefferson being sympathetic to the Muslim world. The opposite is, in fact, the case. As the historian Michael Oren points out:
“Jefferson was typical of the Americans who…viewed the region [the Muslim states of North Africa] as the repository of despotism, depravity, and backwardness, a kind of inverse mirror of their own democracy, probity, and enlightenment. Certainly, to his mind, a band of Muslim holy warriors bent on enslaving innocent American sailors was far more deserving of whiffs of grapeshot than bags of hard-earned gold….But with much of American opinion still opposed to using force, Jefferson had no alternative other than to continue negotiating with North Africa for the hostages’ eventual release.”
To Jefferson, the Muslim corsairs were nothing but “sea dogs,” and a “pettifogging nest of robbers.” He eventually arrived at the conclusion that only an appropriate military response would be effective, in part in reaction to the many ‘heartbreaking’ letters he received from sailors who were cruelly imprisoned by Muslim pirates, many of whom were ‘mortally afflicted by the plague.’ As Jefferson made known, he “suffered perpetual anxiety” for the innocent American captives.
In December 1790, Jefferson recommended that America go to war against the Muslims: “The liberation of our citizens has an intimate connection with the liberation of our commerce in the Mediterranean,” he explained to Congress. “The distresses of both proceed from the same cause, and the measures which shall be adopted for the relief of one…may…involve the relief of the other.” This was indeed an uncharacteristically hawkish position on the part of Thomas Jefferson, in that he would ordinarily have preferred the payment of tribute to taking military action. This reflects the seriousness of the situation at the time.
Numerous diplomatic efforts were made on the part
of Jefferson, as well as his fellow American diplomat, John Adams,
to try to quell what had become a crisis on the high seas for the
U.S. since losing its British maritime protection following the
Revolutionary War. After certain of these efforts, the stunned
Ambassadors made the following report to Congress providing the
Muslim response to the American request that they stop their
aggressive and violent activities:
The Tripolitan Ambassador to Great Britain, Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adia, had informed Jefferson and Adams of the following: “…that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”
During these and other drawn out negotiations, Jefferson reached the conclusion that the ‘purchase of peace,’ i.e., appeasement, worked only temporarily with the Muslims, and that history proved that they would always break whatever agreement they reached with the young nation of America, later blame the Europeans for whatever acts of piracy that had occurred, and then demand a higher ‘tribute.’ In Jefferson’s classic fashion, he reached this conclusion through considerable study, much of this an examination of the history of militant Islam. And contrary to yet another false claim made by Obama, though Jefferson did indeed possess a copy of the Koran in his library of over 3,000 volumes, it was an English translation and thus not eligible to be called the ‘holy book’ to which the historical illiterate Obama refers. Jefferson was not a particular devotee of Islam, as Obama infers; Jefferson was interested in all religions, in fact he was interested in just about everything. He was both a ‘curious and cultivated’ man.
Not included in Obama’s reference to the contents of Thomas Jefferson’s library was that Jefferson also owned a much read copy of the work about Muslims entitled “The True Nature of the Impostor Displayed,” by Humphrey Prideaux, an inveterate critic of Islam at the time.
It was not until 1801, when Jefferson was President, that the U.S. went to war against Islam, a conflict that lasted just over 4 years, after which the Barbary pirates backed down, then of course rapidly resumed their nefarious activities. Not until 1830 was terrorism on the high seas, (which was not so much acts of piracy, as Muslims ‘encouraged to prey on Christian shipping’), by the practitioners of Islam finally stopped.
While embroiled in the war with Islamic terrorists in his day, Jefferson commented, “Too long, for the honor of nations, have those Barbarians been suffered [permitted] to trample on the sacred faith of treaties, on the rights and laws of human nature!” Mr. Jefferson, in numerous of his later writings, seemed to have reached the conclusion that the ‘religion’ of Islam was based on ‘nothing the likes of which Jefferson had ever seen.’ To him, it was based on “supremacism” “…whose holy book condoned and mandated violence against unbelievers.” Jefferson understood that what the Koran commanded its followers, among other things, was that peace with Islam could be achieved only through submission by non-believers, as “submission to Islam is peace.”
Jefferson’s opinion of Islam notwithstanding, during his Presidency he did as Presidents do, and maintained contact with diplomats and others of the other nations of the world who were in the U.S. Capital representing their country. One of these representatives, Sidi Soliman Mellimelli, had been sent from the Bey of Tunis to negotiate with the American government, which the Muslims had finally agreed to do only after Muslim ships had been captured by American frigates. Contrary to Obama’s claim that Mellimelli was the first Muslim Ambassador to the U.S., the ‘exotic gentleman’ (as he was regarded in Washington at the time) was a temporary envoy sent for a short time to deal with this specific issue. The envoy, along with his 11 attendants, stayed in a Washington hotel for the six months of their stay, which was paid for by the American government, and it was said that they lived lavishly. It was not until the delegation’s request for ‘concubines’ that Jefferson balked. Never one to miss an opportunity to absolve himself when any sort of thorniness arose, Jefferson turned the issue over to Secretary of State Madison to ‘attend to the matter.’
During his brief tenure, Mellimelli had been invited to several dinners by President Jefferson, and was considered to be quite a man about town. It was in 1805 that the Tunisian envoy responded to one such invitation, which happened to coincide with the Muslim event of Iftar, by saying that he could not attend due to having to abide by the fasting rule during the month of Ramadan as commanded by his faith. During this religious observance, no Muslim is permitted to eat anything until sundown, and as dinner was served normally around 3:30 p.m. in that time, Mellimelli was forced to decline the President’s invitation. No one in the world of early 19th Century America was aware of what Ramadan was, nor did anyone care. Jefferson, as he was a courtly and courteous man, simply moved the hour for dinner a few hours ahead. The President did not change the menu, nor did he change anything else.
What, if anything, has changed since Thomas Jefferson’s involvement with the world of Islam? In late 18th and early 19th Century America, we saw ‘Jihad against the West, obfuscation regarding Muslim history, spouting violent orders from the Koran as justification for Muslim murder and mayhem, and abrogating signed international treaties.’ That about covers it for 21st Century America, doesn’t it?
There is one major difference, however. While Jefferson dealt with our Muslim enemies in a realistic and determined fashion, with the point of the exercise being the protection of American citizens, our current clueless President glosses over these and every other Muslim atrocity in his continued attempts to appease our most violent, and centuries-old, enemy.
We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.