Quick, what was the first war our country had to fight? If you said “the revolutionary war” or even if you said, more accurately, the “war for independence”, hang your head. Wrong! The United States didn’t exist when we won our independence from Britain. The first war, which erupted in 1805, even before we elected our first president, lasted 32 years and culminated in a U.S. victory. Here’s a hint: The Marine Corps hymn is the oldest paean to the U.S. military, and contains the words “to the shores of Tripoli”. The oldest U.S. military monument was made to honor our men who fought and died in the Barbary Wars. The same war erupted again in 1812, when Barbary broke their treaty with us and again started raiding our ships. It is no coincidence that one of the first Federal crimes was piracy. At this time, the “Barbary” pirate bands of Tripoli, Tunis and Algiers had kidnapped thousands of European slaves, most for sexual abuse. When we think of pirates, we might have this ridiculous notion that they were like Johnny Depp or had British accents, but the most effective and brutal pirates in the world were from the Barbary states. To them, plunder of goods was secondary to waging jihad and collecting slaves for their sensual pleasure.
The pirates who sallied forth from Tripoli, Tunis and Algiers were a scourge on the economies of the maritime nations and a terror to the passengers and sailors who fell into their hands, knowing that what awaited them was sexual and physical abuse, being sold into slavery, or tortured, even while being held for ransom. Finally, the United States, Britain and France, in succession, defeated the Barbary states and set the captives free.
It is an interesting case of hypocrisy that Colin Kaepernick and Nike suppressed a shoe design based on the “Betsy Ross flag”, the flag which was carried into the battles to free the slaves of the Barbary–that is, Islamic–states. Why did they suppress it? They try to connect the War for Independence with slavery, which is no connection at all. Why not connect the flag with freeing the slaves of Barbary?