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Learn from history
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A day after our president called ISIS “contained” the Islamic State launched a well-coordinated attack on the City of Light. ISIS just took down an airliner and conducted a suicide attack in Beirut. More than 900 citizens of our allies have been murdered by ISIS in a little more than a week.

Unfortunately, this was all too predictable. In fact, the U.S. House Intelligence Committee recently warned of the “sharp uptick” in the threat of Islamic terrorism. Yet many of our presidential candidates — even after these horrific attacks — won’t even say the words “radical Islam.”

That has to change.

Thomas Jefferson wasn’t afraid to confront radical Islam. Way back in 1800, the Barbary pirates were enslaving U.S. sailors in the Mediterranean. Jefferson tried for years to negotiate a solution, but the terrorists refused. Jefferson actually read the entire Quran to help understand their motivations.

This is what we wrote: “It was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority are sinners, that it is their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners.” He eventually ordered the Marines to storm Tripoli and take the pirates out in a battle that is famously memorialized by the Marine’s Hymn (“From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli”).

These people have been at war with us for a very long time.

The attacks in Paris are especially poignant since they occurred to our oldest ally. It was France who helped us at the battle of Yorktown during our American Revolution. We could not have won our independence without the help of France, who like ourselves, is a Republic who rejected their monarchy right after we did. In fact, France is the only major European nation we have not been at war with. Look it up.

France was also the nation that saved Europe from Islamic military aggression in 732. The jihadists had already conquered the Holy Lands, all of northern Africa, all of the Middle East, modern day Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and much of India. They overran Portugal, Spain, and even parts of Italy. Even more disturbing, they conquered four of the five centers of Christianity: Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople. In short, Western Civilization was under assault by radical Islam when the invaders crossed the Pyrenees Mountains to conquer France. The vastly outnumbered French monarch Charles Martel defeated the far superior Islamic army at Tours in a conflict that is now called the most important battle in history.

Some of you might think I’m drudging up useless history. But consider this: the high-water mark of Islamic expansion occurred in 1683. A vast Muslim army was about to accomplish something they’d been trying to do for centuries; conquer the jewel of Europe — Vienna. The invaders bombed out a part of the wall and were ready to storm the Austrian capital when a Polish king came to the rescue, smashing the invaders in the largest cavalry charge in history. The ignoble defeat of the Muslim army — just when they were on the verge of a glorious success — has been a source of angst for centuries after.

The date? September the 11th.

Yeah: 911.

We might not care about history. Unfortunately, our enemy does.

These people hate us: not because of any specific slight. More than 200 years ago Thomas Jefferson realized that Islamic radicals hate us for our freedoms, especially of speech and religion. They hate the fact that our women can vote and have meaningful jobs and can drive cars. And they hate us for our tolerance and equality and democracy.

The President of France called the Paris attacks “an act of war” and vowed to strike the Islamic State in a “war without pity.” Is America willing to do the same? Or will the fate of Western civilization once again be decided by the French?

Patrick Henry once said, “Gentlemen may cry, peace, peace: but there is no peace. The war is actually begun.” Whether we like it or not, radical Islam is waging a war against us. If we don’t fight to win, we can expect decades of withering losses like we had in Vietnam. The difference: the war will be taken to our shores, meaning our children will be counted amongst the innocent casualties.

Dave Belton is the newly elected District 112 Georgia Representative. The Morgan and Newton County representative is serving in his first term in Georgia’s House. He is a resident of Morgan County.