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EUGENE ROBINSON: Columnist needs history lesson

Letter by Charles D. Nordeck, Sumner on Aug. 17, 2010 at 12:40 pm with 4 Comments »
August 17, 2010 2:21 pm

Re: Eugene Robinson column 8-17

Rather than just accepting the Obama spin-machine version of the history of the Ramadan dinner at the White House, perhaps columnist Eugene Robinson should have done some fact checking.

Thomas Jefferson invited a representative of the Barbary Pirates (not the Tunisian ambassador – Tunis was a member of the Ottoman Empire and referred to as a Barbary State). This “country” survived by attacking shipping in the Mediterranean and were known as the Barbary Pirates. The main purpose of their attacks was to capture Christian slaves for the Islamic market in North Africa and the Middle East.

President Jefferson invited this representative of the Barbary pirates to the White House to inform him that we would not pay one penny of tribute or ransom. In fact, the US Navy was formed to deal with the situation along the Barbary Coast.

No, Mr. Robinson, if the author of our Declaration of Independence were alive today, he would not face censure from Republicans. He would be given the respect of all Americans who believe in standing up for our country. Please, let’s not accept at face value the ranting of the revisionists of our history.

Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. scott0962 says:

    Jefferson’s decision was all the more gutsy considering the major naval power of the time, Great Britain, regularly paid tribute to the Barbary pirates to spare it’s merchant shipping from attack.

  2. Roncella says:

    Charles, Great comments about Robinson.

    I don’t understand why both Robinson and Pitts don’t join President Obama in Washington D.C. as Press Czars. They then could advise him on what to comment on and when and how to comment using his tele-prompters.

    If I had to guess I would say President Jefferson is turning in his grave….

  3. smcelhiney says:

    Umm… but we did pay, Treaty Of Tripoli anyone? BTW… I love including Article 10 for those who believe this is a Christian Nation.

    From that Treaty…

    Art. 10. The money and presents demanded by the Bey of Tripoli, as a full and satisfactory consideration on his part, and on the part of his subjects, for this treaty of perpetual peace and friendship, are acknowledged to have been received by him previous to his signing the same, according to a receipt which is hereto annexed, except such as part as is promised, on the part of the United States, to be delivered and paid by them on the arrival of their Consul in Tripoli; of which part a note is likewise hereto annexed. And no pretense of any periodical tribute of further payments is ever to be made by either party.

    Art. 11. 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 tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan 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.

  4. Charles D. Nordeck, you need to get your history from someplace other than Fox News commentators. There was a Tunisia, Jefferson referred to the representative of the bey of Tunisia as “the Tunisian Ambassador” in several writings. Just as Monaco is a “protectorate” of France, we still have diplomatic relations with the country and consider it a separate entity. Monticello has an extensive history about the Ramadan dinner and other related histories on this time. Jefferson treated this “Tunisian Ambassador” with all the dignity of a state visit and, as his practice at all of his White House dinners, did not talk politics during that dinner.

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