In a public statement which experts have anticipated for over a week, President Bush revealed that his administration considers the Barbary Pirates to be a grave threat to world peace and American security. "These unprincipled terrorists have no respect for human life or liberty" the statement read. "They seek to spread their radical ideology and destroy American freedoms".
The statement later connected the Barbary Corsairs to the President's well-known "Axis of Evil", which includes Iran, North Korea, possibly Syria, and, until not long ago, Iraq. Citing their status as privateers and pirates, their aggressive behavior, and their radical brand of Islam, the President's statement clearly intended to connect the Barbary Pirates with other terrorist organizations. "They strike without warning and without scruples, granting safe passage to none," the President wrote, "and we will have no peace in the Mediterranean until they are stopped".
The statement insinuated a connection between Muslim riots and protests in Europe and the presence of the Barbary States just to the south, suggesting that the freedom with which the Barbary Pirates move about the Mediterranean serves to encourage Muslim radicals.
The statement also criticized the taking of prisoners for use as slaves by the Barbary States, calling it an "inhumane and barbaric practice".
This does not mark the first time that the United States have clashed with the corsairs of the Barbary Coast. Annoyed at being forced to pay excessive tribute to the Barbary States, in the early 19th century American forces raided the Barbary Coast, ending the need for tribute to the Dey of Algiers and other Barbary leaders.
Spokesmen for the Islamic community in and around the Mediterranean were upset by the document, and voiced their objections loudly. "The Barbary Fleets are not full of ‘pirates'," said Yusuf Ali Mustafa, official spokesman for the Pasha of Tripoli, "they are security vessels who have been licensed by the Sultan to be armed".
Be they privateers, security vessels, or pirates, the administration is clear in stating that the Barbary Corsairs will not be tolerated much longer. It is not yet known what the United States plan to do, but some anonymous sources inside the White House suggest that the president is planning to dispatch the U.S. Marine Corps. Anxious Marine Corps officers are unsure of their ability to fight in this unfamiliar environment.