Red S.E. Cupp is the home of S.E. Cupp, co-author of "Why You're Wrong About the Right."
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
And my imagined love affair with Mitt Romney grows...
In light of the spotlight on piracy, I thought it timely to re-post my article in American Spectator from September 29th. Terrorism on the high seas is not new, of course, but there are some lessons we could learn from history on the dangers of piracy on the international stage. It doesn't matter that US ships are not in the headlines. Everyone should be invested in this issue...including us.
By S.E. Cupp on 9.29.08 @ 12:07AM
Barack Obama and his anti-war supporters in the U.S. and abroad are loath to acknowledge that "diplomacy first" is only so effective when challenging Islamic terrorists. Voters should think long and hard about a candidate who wants to pull out of Iraq before stability is achieved, and who wants to sit down with Iranian leaders to amicably discuss our shared futures. As we sit on the precipice of our sixth year in Iraq, it's worthwhile to examine some lessons from the eight-year conflict that, more than two centuries ago, gave us our first real taste of Islamic terrorism.
Often referred to as "America's Forgotten War," the Barbary Wars, like so many other important things, are seldom taught in U.S. history classes. With the Revolution and Civil Wars headlining on the main stage of American history, there's rarely time in a school year to delve deeply into our country's smaller skirmishes.
But small these weren't. The first Barbary War lasted from 1801 to 1805, and the second from 1812 to 1816.
Barbary pirates from the Muslim states of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli had been marauding Europe for years, targeting Christian and other non-Islamic merchant ships -- not just for their goods, but for their men. More than one million European Christians were captured, imprisoned, and sold as slaves in Northern Africa. In many cases, they were held until they died or converted to Islam.
A Tripolitan envoy to London, Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman, explained the position of the Muslim states to Thomas Jefferson and John Adams in 1786. "It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise."
After America gained independence from the British Empire, she was on her own in the rough and pirate-laden seas of the Mediterranean. Barbary pirates traditionally left merchant ships flying the British and French flags alone, but now that America was no longer a British colony, her ships were unprotected and vulnerable to attack.
American Democrats were reluctant to go to war against the Barbary states, and urged U.S. ambassadors to negotiate a peaceful agreement with the Islamic heads of state. They argued that after a costly Revolution, the U.S. should focus on western expansion and other domestic concerns. America had no navy, and was ill-equipped for battle on the seas, particularly in enemy territory abroad where Muslim nationals had clear advantages.
Faced with a superior force, John Adams agreed -- much to the protest of Thomas Jefferson -- to pay taxes to the North African countries, just as many other nations had done. These taxes covered the freedom to send out their trade ships, and to pay the costs of ransom for any captured Americans. They would equal a whopping 20 percent of U.S. annual revenues in 1800.
As the years ticked on, and paying tribute became a bitter but habitual pill to swallow, the U.S. slowly built its navy. In 1801, on the day of Thomas Jefferson's presidential inauguration, the Pasha of Tripoli demanded $225,000 to give American ships safe passage through Barbary waters. Jefferson refused, promising nervous Americans that agreeing to pay tributes would only welcome more attacks on U.S. and European ships. The only way to end the Barbary reign of terror would be to go to war.
The American navy and the marines invaded Tripoli, and with the help of a coalition of Arab, Greek, and Berber allies eventually captured the city of Derna. In 1805, the U.S. and Tripoli signed a peace treaty, but the U.S. paid a ransom of $60,000 for the release of American prisoners. Some thought the ransom payment an acceptable price to pay for American lives. Many others believed the U.S. should have held its ground, and demanded a free release, by force if necessary.
Peace did not last. With the War of 1812 as a brutal distraction, America left the Barbary pirates unchecked and once again took up the unhappy habit of paying tributes for safe passage. More ships were taken, more men were tortured and enslaved. And in 1815, after refusing to pay the most recent tax, the U.S. again went to war with North Africa, eventually forcing the Dey of Algiers to sign another peace treaty and end once and for all the practice of taking Christian captives.
THOUGH there are many differences between the Barbary Wars and the current war in Iraq, there are also obvious similarities, and a number of scholars have pointed them out. Joseph Wheelan, in Jefferson's War: America's First War on Terror 1801-1805, enunciates these commonalities and provides some astute analysis of America's challenges with terrorism -- past and present.
Clear lessons can be gained without the benefit of academic scholarship, however. One is that Islamic terrorists want to rid the world of non-Muslim people. Two, negotiating with Islamic factions is often unreliable. Three, leaving Islamic terrorists unchecked costs lives. If there's any argument for staying in Iraq until there is stability and for dealing with Iran firmly and decisively, it exists within the narrative of the Barbary Wars. Let's just hope that Barack Obama and Joe Biden learned about them in school.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
See full piece here:
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Had a blast on Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld...and doing it again Tuesday night (airs 3am EST on Weds morning). Here are some clips from last Friday's show:
Why do I get the feeling I'm being mocked here?
Friday, November 7, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
My co-author Brett has a piece in American Spectator today:
Thanks to Front Page for reviewing "Why You're Wrong About the Right."
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
"Jurassic Park" author Michael Crichton passed away today. A number of my friends told me today how instrumental he was in shaping their love of reading at a young age.
There's a line in that movie that reminds me of this election. The glossy and made-for-Hollywood prospect of electing Barack Obama -- the candidate of hope and change and historical importance -- had Americans "so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should." We'll know the answer to that question soon.
If liberals are suggesting that Obama's election is a referendum on "out-of-touch," "outdated," and "intolerant" conservative values, then how to we explain what happened last night in California?
- No on Proposition 8, to legalize same-sex marriage
- No on decriminalizing prostitution
- No on naming a sewage plant after George W. Bush
- No on removing Jr ROTC from schools
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
John McCain was far more generous in his concession speech than I wanted. And that's because he's not just an American hero, but a class act. The Clintons could take a page from McCain in losing gracefully, and conceding genuinely. I cannot agree that I admire Barack Obama, as McCain said. But I admire McCain for saying he does. And I believe him. Unfortunately for McCain, this is undoubtedly his last presidential race. Maybe in four or eight years though, he can play a meaningful role in someone else's -- Palin, Jindal, Romney, Cantor. The list of rising Republican stars is long...and that's the silver lining here. The next four years will be ours to rebuild. I take that responsibility as a conservative commentator and writer seriously. All conservatives and Republicans should do the same.
I'm leaving the CNN Grill momentarily, as it has been taken over by drunkards, d-bags and smug lunatics. Sad to say, good guys lost tonight. But there's much to be done in the next four years, which will be rough for everyone. So let's rally together to help navigate the country through the coming tough times.
I'll have stories in Human Events and New York Daily News in the coming days.
I'm deep in the trenches of the CNN Grill with my good friend Nick Rizzuto (ConservativePunk.com)...we're blogging, filing stories, laughing at the liberal lunatics, and watching the returns. I'll post anything interesting...celeb sightings. Stay tuned.
I've been talking to a volunteer in Philadelphia who wishes to remain anonymous about voter turnout there. I'll be getting updates from him all night from the inside, and posting relevant items. Here's his first message:
"Most of the wards I've talked to are reporting 70%+ turnout BEFORE the post-work rush. Turnout is huge - which is not news, but those are numbers from the field."
Today he was in the Fox Strategy Room with us, and I have a new best friend. How refreshing. Here's a candid and courageous conservative who isn't afraid to talk about ugly issues and painful realities. We had a great discussion today, and I have a feeling we'll hear a lot more from him in the near future.
I've been called a traitor to my gender plenty of times -- a female impersonator, too. Young women aren't supposed to be Republicans, and if we are, it means we're anti-woman. Black and minority Republicans get painted similarly, and I can speak from experience when I say, it isn't fun. Or fair.
I'm reprinting here (from my book "Why You're Wrong About the Right") one of the most insipid characterizations of the black Republican I've EVER read:
I had the great pleasure of meeting Joe The Plumber yesterday in the Fox Strategy Room. (See earlier post). And today, in the New York Post, the BEST. NEWS. ITEM. EVER. is squeezed between two other "campaign morsels" on page 6 (actual page 6, not the gossip column of the same name). I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:
"Joe Wurzelbacher, better known as 'Joe the Plumber,' was seen at the 'Saturday Night Live' after-party canoodling with cast member Kristen Wiig and chatting up a major Hollywood agent about starring in the next season of 'The Bachelor.'"
Congratulations, Joe. You just got your first "canoodling." Looking forward to your inevitable stint on The Surreal Life.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Yes, he has stopped plumbing, save for a favor he did recently for his friend (incidentally, an Obama supporter.) Yes, he has a book coming out, though it's not yet written. Yes, he signs autographs as Joe the Plumber, admitting his last name makes it too time-consuming a procedure otherwise. Yes, the left's invasive body cavity search of his finances and personal life was painful. And yes, if he had it to do over again, he may not have asked the question.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
When I learned Mike Huckabee would have his own primetime show on Fox News, I thought "Great...finally a pundit who will defend religious America on a national stage." I am an atheist, but I'm often at odds with secular America, which I have come to view as hostile and antagonistic toward people of faith. That may be surprising, but I've always admired the faithful, envied them even. Though I do not believe, I defend religion steadfastly and every chance I get.
And tonight, I watched Huckabee's show, and was surprised to see he planned to interview Richard Dreyfuss, a well-known Hollywood liberal, and Bill Maher, whose new movie "Religulous" looks to marginalize the faithful as extremist and backward.
Dreyfuss went on for what seemed like hours about what he thinks is wrong with America, namely that we've forgotten the lessons of the Enlightenment. He said that the gift of that moment was that "science and reason" triumphed over "faith and hope." And he mourns the fact that we seem to have forgotten that. Huckabee was incredibly generous and polite with Dreyfuss, affording him ample time to expound on his views with which Huckabee presumably disagreed. He welcomed him warmly.
Then he went to a taped segment in which he interviewed Maher. Maher admitted he thinks religion is a "neurological disorder," which drew affable laughs from the Baptist Minister, who joked, "Did you get hit by a church bus as a child or something?" Maher went on to say that most wars have been religious wars, which many scholars have recently contradicted, most notably Dinesh D'Souza. In his book "What's So Great About Christianity," D'Souza noted that in fact more people have died in the name of atheist projects, like those of Pol Pot, Castro, Kim Jong Il, Ceausescu and others, than ever died in the Crusades and Spanish Inquisition combined. And though Huckabee and Maher had a light debate about faith, one could say Huckabee was decidedly reserved in addressing Maher's palpable disdain for average church-goers, Muslims, Jews, and others whom he views as fanatics. Huckabee even said, "I like you, I've always liked you."
But afterward, Huckabee turned to camera and admitted it might surprise his viewers that he asked someone like Maher to come on his show. To that he said, "Those of us who have authentic faith need not be fearful of those with whom we disagree. Talking to people I disagree with sharpens me."
Though I was hoping for a more aggressive defense from Huckabee, I realized that giving people like Dreyfuss and Maher a forum to talk unfettered about their views is far more courageous than yelling over them, insulting them, chiding them and cutting them off with an indignant huff. Huckabee's doing good work to improve the dialog, which benefits both sides.
Huckabee isn't the best interviewer, nor is he a natural journalist. Maybe that's a good thing.