Christopher Hitchens is an interesting man. He and I disagree on more things than we agree. Yet whenever I read Hitchens I am reminded of the Ronald Reagan philosophy "If we agree 80%, how can we not be friends and allies." I don't agree with Hitchens even 50% but I will always consider him a friend and ally. That is because we agree on the really important things in life. Hitchens is a liberal who has broken with the democrat party over their failure to understand the importance of the war against Islamofascism.
Hitchens has noted in previous articles that the image of the U.S. Marines saving a couple of hundred Americans at Tripoli has left a truly ignorant misunderstanding of our own history. This act was not a swift act of retribution against the Muslims upon their first enslavement of Americans, as it is so often implied. That false image does not recognize the level of horror actually experienced by the people of that time. As Hitchens notes in this article, nearly one and a half million white Americans and English were enslaved over an extended period of time before we slowed the abuse with the famous "shores of Tripoli" attack. More acts of war by our forces were needed before the practice was permanently ended.
Most of those white people spent the rest of their lives in slavery, just as the blacks from Africa who were also enslaved by Muslim raids endured a lifetime of misery in the new world. Tens of thousands of white women were forced to serve as concubines for slave masters in the middle east, enduring years of repetitive rape. Hundreds of thousands of white men spent the rest of their lives incarcerated in labor camps and mines. A favorite practice in that region was to castrate white slaves so they could not reproduce since they were infidels and had to be eliminated from the earth. Though a small percentage of the rich were ransomed, that was not true for the vast majority of the Americans the Muslims took and enslaved. As happens today, anyone who resisted was beheaded.
This article by Hitchens, if you really understand the points it makes, changes the entire dynamic on modern discussions about many issues. It assuredly changes any thought the war against Islamofascism is something new and the false image that only blacks endured slavery. I highly recommend it.
Jefferson Versus the Muslim Pirates
by Christopher Hitchens - April 26th, 2007 - Townhall.com
. . . One cannot get around what Jefferson heard when he went with John Adams to wait upon Tripoli’s ambassador to London in March 1785. When they inquired by what right the Barbary states preyed upon American shipping, enslaving both crews and passengers, America’s two foremost envoys were informed that “it was written in the Koran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon whoever they could find and to make Slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.” (It is worth noting that the United States played no part in the Crusades, or in the Catholic reconquista of Andalusia.)
A credible argument exists that the long battle against the enslavement of Americans and English by the Muslims (and the revulsion it caused) inspired the abolitionist movement which ultimately ended slavery, first in England, and finally in America.
It is sad our own teachers do not seem to understand how these things came about. They certainly don't teach what actually happened. The slavery that happened to whites is simply ignored.