Many folks like to equate our current experience in Iraq to our failed experience in Viet Nam. In reality, the current situation in the Middle East is much closer to the history of the Barbary Wars. For those of you not versed in American history, the Barbary War was our first overseas military engagement and America’s longest overseas military involvement. It lasted from 1783 to 1815 and it involved the Moslem countries of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli. The Moslem nations pirated American ships in the Mediterranean Sea and held the crews hostage. Believe it or not, it was Thomas Jefferson (yes, the founding father) who first argued that that the United States needed to confront the Moslems.
This subject is addressed in detail in a new book by Michael Oren entitled “Power, Faith, and Fantasy“. His book provides a sweeping history of America’s involvement in the Middle East from 1776 to the present.
It is very fascinating reading and very pertinent to our current situation… There is a great interview with Oren at Pajamas Media.