Power, Faith, and Fantasy

Prior to the Allied campaign in North Africa, GIs were issued handbooks designed to prepare them for the strange new lands in which they would fight: “Don’t refer to the people as heathen, they are very religious. Never stare at a Moslem woman.” As he prepared for the 1942 invasion, General George Patton was aware that he was retracing the path of American troops who had fought against Barbary pirates. His invasion fleet included the USS Philadelphia, named for a U.S. frigate captured by the Moroccan navy in 1803, retitled The Gift of Allah by its captors, then destroyed in a daring raid by Stephen Decatur.


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