Enough is Enough: The Crusades & The Jihad Are Not Equivalents

by Joe Hargrave

One of the memes – the unconscious, uncritical, lazy thoughts that spreads from person to person like a virus – that has been particularly virulent during this ground-zero mosque controversy is that Christians have no standing to criticize the violence of Islam, given a supposedly violent Christian history. And no one event is more often invoked as an example of Christian hypocrisy than the so-called “Crusades” (so-called, because no one who fought in them called them that).

The latest and most appalling example appears in the NY Times, courtesy of a Nicholas D. Kristof. Among the many absurdities one can find in this column, including definitive claims as to the intentions and desires of Osama bin Laden, Kristof writes,

Remember also that historically, some of the most shocking brutality in the region was justified by the Bible, not the Koran. Crusaders massacred so many men, women and children in parts of Jerusalem that a Christian chronicler, Fulcher of Chartres, described an area ankle-deep in blood. While burning Jews alive, the crusaders sang, “Christ, We Adore Thee.”

What could be more logical, more pertinent, more relevant, than to invoke thousand-year old wartime excesses as proof that Christians have no grounds to criticize Islam?

One can go the route of modern liberal Christianity and make statements about how either a) the Crusades were a “mistake” and never should have occurred, or perhaps b) that while they may have been justified at the time, Christianity has undergone sufficient “reforms” to prevent such things from happening again, while Islam has not.

I totally reject the first notion, and I will explain why I don’t really agree with the second either. But let’s start with the first: that the Crusades were an example of unjustifiable religious violence on the part of Christians, moreover one that can be constantly invoked to equivocate Christianity and Islam as religions that are both prone to violence.

First, the historical facts: a long “train of abuses”, to borrow Jefferson’s phrase, preceded the launching of the First Crusade in 1096. Since its very inception, Islam had waged an unremitting war against Christianity. It conquered and subjugated centuries-old Christian societies in the Middle East and North Africa. After sweeping through France, the Muslim advance was finally checked by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732. Following this, Muslim aggression against Christians continued in southern Italy, with the conquest of Sicily in 827. Resistance to these repeated acts of aggression was not characterized as a “crusade”, but simply necessary self-defense.

Over the next centuries, the Seljuq Turks, who converted to Islam, waged war against the Eastern Christian Byzantine Empire. At the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, the Turks wiped out the Byzantine army, leaving Emperor Alexius Commenus helpless before a relentless and determined foe. Not long after this, he sent envoys to Pope Urban II pleading for military aid. The Council of Clermont was called by the pope in 1095, in which he addressed the clergy, knights, and commoners who had assembled. To the knights especially his words were both reproving and encouraging:

You, the oppressers of children, plunderers of widows; you, guilty of homicide, of sacrilege, robbers of another’s rights; you who await the pay of thieves for the shedding of Christian blood — as vultures smell fetid corpses, so do you sense battles from afar and rush to them eagerly. Verily, this is the worst way, for it is utterly removed from God! if, forsooth, you wish to be mindful of your souls, either lay down the girdle of such knighthood, or advance boldly, as knights of Christ, and rush as quickly as you can to the defence of the Eastern Church. For she it is from whom the joys of your whole salvation have come forth, who poured into your mouths the milk of divine wisdom, who set before you the holy teachings of the Gospels.

What was at stake was nothing less than the preservation of Christianity, and the civilization which had, even if imperfectly, sought to embody its teachings in the world. This was also evidenced by the increasingly hostility to Christians still living in the Levant (the Holy Land), as well as those who went on pilgrimage; in 1009, the Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah ordered the Chruch of the Holy Sepulcher – in an act the Catholic Encyclopedia rightly calls a “fit of madness” - razed to the ground. This was followed by an even broader campaign against Christianity throughout the Levant, culminating in the destruction of thousands of Christian churches.

Given the scale of the unprovoked and ceaseless attacks, as well as the persecution of Christians within the Holy Land itself, I believe the Crusades were more than justified. When we understand that they were in fact a belated response to centuries of violent Islamic expansion, and not a random and spontaneous act of aggression (like every Muslim assault on Christian territories was), I don’t see how a reasonable person could deny it.

What about the atrocities brought up by Kristof? Here again, we can point to some substantive differences between Islam and Christianity. Violence against, and persecution of Jews was never encouraged, tolerated, or condoned by the Papacy. Christianity did not need a thousand years to “clean up its act” with regard to Jews; in response to the atrocities carried out by soldiers in the crusading armies, Pope Calixtus II issued the bull “Sicut Judaeis” in 1120, which declares, among other things that

[The Jews] ought to suffer no prejudice. We, out of the meekness of Christian piety, and in keeping in the footprints or Our predecessors of happy memory, the Roman Pontiffs Calixtus, Eugene, Alexander, Clement, admit their petition, and We grant them the buckler of Our protection.

In other words, when Christians carried out acts of violence against Jews, they were doing so in disobedience to their religion, and their spiritual leaders. This was also the case during the unfortunate sack of Constantinople in 1203, in which Christian turned upon Christian during the Fourth Crusade.

However in the Islamic hadith, which are narrations considered “supplements” to the Koran, we read,

The [final] Hour will not start, until after the Muslims fight the Jews and the Muslims kill them. The Jew will hide behind a stone or tree, and the tree will say, `O Muslim! O servant of Allah! This is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’

Could the contrast be more clear? Even the supposedly backwards thoughts of medieval popes are progressive and enlightened compared to what a significant number of Muslims believe today.

As for the bloodletting at Jerusalem, while such individual incidents are certainly regrettable, it was rather common at the time for savagery to follow a long and protracted siege of a city. This doesn’t excuse it, of course, and especially if the men carrying it out are purporting to act in the name of Christ. But we shouldn’t react as if it were some great deviation from the standards of the time, which in themselves greatly deviate from our own.

What about the very idea of the Crusades, specific incidents aside, in light of modern sensibilities? When I consider the great sacrifices made by the kings, knights, clergy and peasants of Christendom to undergo this pilgrimage, thousands of miles away, in the service of Christ and his Church, I could never bring myself to condemn it or shy away from it. Great risks were undertaken, and losses suffered, for no assurances of material compensation or reward. To “leave all behind” and take up the cross is the noblest thing a human being can do, whether they bear arms in defense of their Christian brothers, or they live a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience, or, as in the case of the Knights Templar, they do both.

Even if in today’s circumstances many have replaced the full, robust faith of Christianity with a shallow sort of secular humanism, behind every Westerner’s desire to “Free Tibet” or to end genocide in Darfur is the same basic spirit that motivated the original crusaders. It was a desire to bring justice and comfort to those suffering under the yoke of tyrants, and to resist a foe that made clear their intent to conquer through centuries of aggression.

Since Mr. Kristof wants us to “remember” things, let us remember a few more. First, let us remember that the goals of the Crusades did not include the conversion of Muslims to Christianity, and that the few conversion attempts made were largely unsuccessful. Not only that, but Arab travelers living at the time, such as Ibn Jubayr, noted that Muslims lived better under their Frankish rulers than they did other Muslims!

It is also worth remembering that the Crusades failed, and that the Islamo-Turks did overrun Southeastern Europe, and would have taken over all of the rest of it as well had they not been checked twice at Vienna, in 1529 and 1683.

It may also be worth remembering that it was not until the so-called Age of Enlightenment that Europeans actually did conquer and colonize the Middle East and North Africa. Evidently all of the supposed wisdom gained from the rejection of “medieval religions” and the embrace of secularism, skepticism, humanism, and the rest didn’t preclude unprovoked wars and imperialist conquests out of Europe against the rest of the world. Of course I’m sure the counter to that will be, “we just hadn’t gotten far enough away from religion yet.”

And it is finally worth remembering that even in the first decade of the 19th century, Thomas Jefferson launched a little “crusade” of his own against the Islamic Barbary pirates in North Africa who, again justifying their criminality and aggression through the Koran, had been capturing and pillaging the vessels of “infidels” for centuries.

It isn’t so far-fetched to use the word “crusade” to describe the First Barbary War or Jefferson’s intent: he didn’t have to fight them, and many American statesmen would have rather paid them the tribute they insolently demanded. But Jefferson was determined to end the extortion, and so he did. In 1805 an American force, along with local mercenaries, captured the city of Tripoli and brought the raids to an end – until the Second Barbary War.

In any event, Christians, and especially Catholics, must be forearmed with the historical knowledge and moral fortitude required to defend their own traditions and their own legacy in the world. What we genuinely have to regret, let us regret. But let us also resist and expose the historical falsifiers, and the fallacies they employ.

Joe Hargrave writes for The American Catholic, Inside Catholic, and his personal blog, Non Nobis.

168 Responses to Enough is Enough: The Crusades & The Jihad Are Not Equivalents

  • well said, thanks for the informative blog, i just hope many will check again world history, especially our Muslim brother s and sisters…

    God bless us all.

  • A good examination of myths of about the crusades, is linked below by Thomas F. Madden, one of the foremost historians of the Fourth Crusade.

    http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2005/print2005/tmadden_crusades_print.html

    His “A Concise History of the Crusades” is a must read for anyone interested in this period in history:

    http://www.amazon.com/Concise-History-Crusades-Critical-Issues/dp/0847694291

  • Mac: The video has mainly lay crusaders – red cross on white for the knights.

    The Pope granted the Templar Order the privilege for two crosses on their habits/tuncs: one on the left breast and one on the left shoulder like a division patch, and on black/brown tunics for the foot soldiers/turkopoles; the black and white beausant banner singularly Templars; etc.

    Paupere comilitonum Cristi: Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ.

    All that stuff about the Crusades is so racist and propaganda for the white man/western civilization. Europe caused all the evil on Earth, and specifically terrorism, by its imperialism. That’s what Orientalist revisionists teach college kids.

    And re: The mosque in NYC. Mayor Mike; the fundamental-change America socialists and anarchists; and terrorist sympathizers like Imam Ralph won’t let 3,000 dead firefighters, office workers, and police officers or their widows and orphans stand in the way of the US Constitution; religious freedom or the jihad.

    And, that moderate Imam Ralph (2005 Australia – translated) siad in a foreign country, “America has more innocent, muslim (Israel support, Saddam Hussein sanctions – hey a bunch of pro-abortion Catholics believe that too) blood on its hands than al Qaeda and roundly deserves massacres.

  • You are correct T. Shaw in regard to the crosses worn by the Crusaders on their garb. I posted the video chiefly for the lovely music.

  • Yes! At last! Thank you!

    I recommend Hillaire Belloc’s THE CRUSADES as an introduction.

    Again, thanks.

  • Western history was in the recent past systematically distorted (it is less so now) to accomodate the ill-treatement that Jews, (Muslims when they play a part were an afterthought) received at the hands of Christians. The chronicles of the Crusaders suffered as a result. So what would normaly be overlooked as the excesses of a marauding army whether in the Rhineland or Jerusalem, take on special significance when the victims were Jews. Within living memory it was possible for Christians of all stripes (except possibly the Orthodox) to take pride in the bravery and piety of the Crusaders, Richard Lionheart, St Louis, Frederick Barbarossa being the most famous. Now we have to precede it with the obligatory confessions – Christians are blackhearts, they made Jerusalem run with Jewish blood, ah woe is me.

  • Excellent post.

  • No mention of the fourth crusade sacking of the christian city of Constantinople? No one is innocent here, no matter which culture you were born into. Muslim apologists can bend every which way to justify everything Muslims have ever done as well.

  • The sacking of Constantinople has been done to death. IIRC the Crusaders were invited to intervene on behalf of one of the factions vying for control of the city. Methinks the Orthodox protest too much, since they know that they were partly to blame.

  • Commie Fascist, if you are interested in reading an excellent study of the Fourth Crusade this is the best:

    http://www.amazon.com/Fourth-Crusade-Conquest-Constantinople-Middle/dp/0812217136

    The sacking of Constantinople was condemned by Innocent III at the time. It was caused by a combination of Byzantine dynastic warfare, Venetian guile, Dandolo was Machiavelli’s master three centuries before Il Principe, and desperate and greedy Crusaders. It was a misuse of the Crusades, but Constantinople was not the first or the last Christian city sacked by Christians, and is a testament to the sinfulness of Fallen Man and no special evil attributable to the Crusades.

  • Wow, “Commie Fascist”, it’s clear you didn’t read the post, in which I wrote,

    “In other words, when Christians carried out acts of violence against Jews, they were doing so in disobedience to their religion, and their spiritual leaders. This was also the case during the unfortunate sack of Constantinople in 1203, in which Christian turned upon Christian during the Fourth Crusade.”

    So, there’s your mention, right there. And no one said that anyone was innocent either. Jeez. Read before you post.

  • Well done Joe, a post that needs to be read in full by all in the mainstream media. Some more authors that one might peruse on this fascinating subject are Bat Ye’or, Serge Trifkovik and Robert Spencer.

  • “Free Tibet…” Hahahaha! Well-written article, and thanks for the laugh.

  • Yes, this is exactly the Catholic spirit. Want to spit on more graves while you are at it?

  • Follower of JPII,

    Huh? Who is spitting on graves here?

    Joe,

    Solid, well written post.

  • Hey, I think it’s great that JP II refused to apologize for the Crusades.

    He did apologize for the sins of Catholics committed during them – as would I. Like I said, the sack of Jerusalem and the sack of Constantinople were regrettable events, certainly unbecoming of Christian soldiers.

  • The Onion put it best, Joe: http://www.theonion.com/articles/god-angrily-clarifies-dont-kill-rule,222/

    “Responding to recent events on Earth, God, the omniscient creator-deity worshipped by billions of followers of various faiths for more than 6,000 years, angrily clarified His longtime stance against humans killing each other Monday.”

  • Ok Nate. The Church was wrong for 2000 years until enlightened pacifists came along to teach her the error of her ways. Oh wait. Even the latest Catechism reaffirms the right of nations to defend themselves through war.

    But who needs that when you have the magisterium of the Onion to aid your drastic oversimplification of complex historical issues?

    I’d be happy to have a serious debate over the matter if you like.

  • CF:

    I ask forgiveness for all my sins I committed 750 years ago!

    That was then. This is now.

    The IVth Crusaders did not kill every Christian in Constantinople, did not rape all the women in Constantinople, did not enslave all the young boys and girls, did not raze Hagia Sophia and did not subvert it into a huge pagan temple, etc.

    In fact, the spiritual descendants – from 630 AD onward to TODAY – are still murdering millions of Armenian Christians as in 1915, gassing (WMD) Kurds NOW, and are still doing it all over the world in 2010: rampaging and murdering Christians and other subhumans.

    The vicious muslims of those violent times had far, far more Christian and Jewish blood (of pilgrims, Byzantine subjects, etc. – recalling your beatific Imam Ralph in Australia 2005) on their hands than all the Crusaders that ever lived.

  • Ok Nate. The Church was wrong for 2000 years until enlightened pacifists came along to teach her the error of her ways. Oh wait. Even the latest Catechism reaffirms the right of nations to defend themselves through war.

    But who needs that when you have the magisterium of the Onion to aid your drastic oversimplification of complex historical issues?

    If you are concerned about “drastic oversimplification of complex historical issues” you might want to check your 100% FALSE insinuation that “the Church” taught just war teaching for 2000 years. Pacifists didn’t come along only after 2000 years. The Church Fathers were largely pacifists.

    I would LOVE to see Nate debate you into the ground, Joe. Please do all you can to hook that up!

  • Ray Muckins appears to be another example of the interesting phenomena of commenters who sound suspiciously like personalities who’ve been banned from the blog showing up with new names and West Virginia IP addresses…

  • Is that all you have, Iafrate? Insinuation?

    I’m not wrong about what the Catechism teaches, and you know that. The Church Fathers, moreover, didn’t have to preside over temporal powers.

    I could win the debate objectively, but in your view, it would be a loss no matter what, since you’ve already decided the winner and the loser.

    But Nate is a gentleman, so I’m sure our discussion would be the antithesis of the sort of hatred your tormented soul feeds upon.

  • Joe – FYI, the catechism came out in the late 1990s.

  • Right, and it was written in a total vacuum, devoid of any insights from the 2000 year old tradition of the Church. It’s just the arbitrary thoughts of a random handful of clerics. Ok.

  • Ray Muckins appears to be another example of the interesting phenomena of commenters who sound suspiciously like personalities who’ve been banned from the blog showing up with new names and West Virginia IP addresses…

    If this was a dating relationship, Michael I. would be well past the restraining order stage by now.

  • Well, I guess he thinks he still has something to teach us. He’s a prophet, you know.

  • Nate, Nice pull from the Onion. Thanks for stopping by. I may not agree with you on pacifism, but your experiences and perspective are valued here. Pacifism has a legitimate place in Christianity and a long tradition.

    Also, nice post Joe!

  • Please read my blog read how islam will win the
    clash of civilization.

    http://www.xanga.com/hfghj23458654fgha

  • Kope,

    I really don’t disagree. Muslims will outbreed the secular Westerners, and oppress the handful of Catholic and Mormon families that didn’t voluntarily sterilize themselves.

  • If this was a dating relationship, Michael I. would be well past the restraining order stage by now.

    Okay, that really did have me laughing for a while…

  • A horrific post on so many levels. Where to start? You paint with contours of dark dualism, contrasting orc-life muslims with noble Christians who simply lived by the (regrettably brutal) standards of the times. You downplay the masscare of Jerusalem that forever marked the first crusade, and ignore the fact that Saladin did not reply in kind (wasn’t that the standard of the time??). You seem to think that killing Jews is more morally grave than killing Muslim non-combatants. You quote random islamic verses, with no evidence of any scholarship to underpin it, blind to the fact that Muslims like you (i.e. bigoted and angry ones) can just as easily quote the Old Testamant out of context to paint all Jews and Christians as bloodthirsty fiends.

    And, like so many modern Americans, you display a frightening myopia when it comes to the long-term consquences of bellicose military adventurism. You fail to note that the crusades forever changed the relationship of the latin west not only with Islam, but with Byzantium. You seem oblivious to the damage done by the thuggish Latin occupation of Constantinple, before the Palaiologus dynasty slipped in from Nicea to re-take the capital – after this, Byzantium became closer to their Muslim neighbors than ever before (“better the Turkish turban than the papal tiara”). You seem equally oblivious to the use of the crusades to justify a more insular, violent, and fundamentalist form of anti-western Islam, from the Mamluks all the way through Al Qaeda.

    And let’s go back in time, shall we, since you talk about the founding of Islam? In its early days, Islam remained the religion of the military elite. Sure, conversions reflected (as they always do) the social gain from joining the favored religion (just as Roman nobles became Christian centuries earlier). But let’s face it, many Christians converted because they were either Miaphysite or Dyophysite Christians, who were often treated worse by their Chalcedonian co-religionists than the Muslims. Then as now, the fruits of religious intolerance are evil fruits.

  • MM,

    …Muslims like you (i.e. bigoted and angry ones) can just as easily quote the Old Testamant out of context to paint all Jews and Christians as bloodthirsty fiends.

    Where in the Old Testament does it say that a tree tells a bloodthirsty terrorist Christian that a Jew is hiding behind it?

    I missed that verse, could you please point to me in the Bible where it specifically states that an inanimate object like a tree actually speaks to a bloodthirsty terrorist Christian and tell hims specifically that a Jew is hiding waiting to be beheaded?

    Is it a Scott Hahn series of Biblical scholarship?

    Are you even serious?

  • Ok Minion, I’m game. I’m sure you aren’t looking for a thoughtful reply, or will respond with one in kind, but I’ll give you one anyway for the benefit of my readers.

    “You paint with contours of dark dualism, contrasting orc-life muslims with noble Christians who simply lived by the (regrettably brutal) standards of the times.”

    Well, I try to keep it under 2000 words. You meant “orc-like”, I’m sure. And yes, I stand by my basic argument: that Muslims attacked and conquered Christian societies without any provocation, while Christians fought in defense of their own.

    You don’t cite a single historical example to suggest otherwise. You really don’t disagree with this point, then – you just wish I’d talked about things you would have talked about. Well, you have a blog. You talk about them. I accept your agreement in the meantime, and thank you for it.

    “You downplay the masscare of Jerusalem”

    I said it wasn’t worthy of Christian soldiers, of men fighting in the name of Christ. Did you miss that part, or is it more of a sin to violate modern liberal sensibilities than it is to fall short of Christian standards of conduct?

    “ignore the fact that Saladin did not reply in kind”

    Actually, Saint Saladin would have done just that after his own siege of Jerusalem had the crusader governor of Jerusalem not threatened to kill all of the Muslim prisoners in the city in kind.

    The inhabitants of Jerusalem during its initial conquest by the crusaders did not have that kind of bargaining power.

    You fail again, Minion. One day you’ll get it right.

    “You seem to think that killing Jews is more morally grave than killing Muslim non-combatants.”

    Wow, is this evil or stupidity? I think it’s stupidity. I think massacring innocent people is always morally grave, and never suggested otherwise. What an uncharitable, mean-spirited reading.

    My only point was that we shouldn’t act as if the siege of Jerusalem was a great deviation from the standards of the time. It wasn’t. That doesn’t make it right, but it does help bring perspective to an issue that would otherwise be unfathomable.

    “You quote random islamic verses”

    There was nothing random about it, I assure you.

    “with no evidence of any scholarship to underpin it”

    Ah yes. The original author didn’t mean what he wrote. We need a modern leftist to give us the genuine interpretation. Find me a scholar that can convincingly show that the passage I quoted means anything other than what it obviously appears to me, and I will listen. I’ll be waiting.

    ” Muslims like you (i.e. bigoted and angry ones) can just as easily quote the Old Testamant out of context to paint all Jews and Christians as bloodthirsty fiends”

    You seem pretty angry right now, so you might want to check the beam in your eye, Minion. At this moment I can’t decide whether I am amused or full of pity for you. But anger really doesn’t come to mind.

    What to say about this? First, I notice you say nothing about the New Testament. How could you? There’s no incitement to war in the New Testament. Nothing taught by Christ and expounded upon by the apostles could ever be used to justify unprovoked wars of aggression, plunder, rape, and robbery. Which is kinda the point of the article, and I think you agree with that too. So thank you for agreeing, I accept it once again. Good show.

    Now as for the Old Testament, sure, it can be quoted out of context. But we are under a new covenant. Of course Christians have been murdering each other for centuries, but the point is this – they do so, most of the time, against the explicit commands of Christ. When Muslims and Jews murder one another in Israel, it can pretty much be justified directly by their holy books.

    That difference may not mean anything to you, but it is absolutely indisputable. You yourself don’t dispute it, because you can’t. I’m so happy when you and I agree, Minion.

    “, you display a frightening myopia when it comes to the long-term consquences of bellicose military adventurism”

    Yes, that must be precisely why I denounced European imperialism in the “age of enlightenment” leading into the 19th century. You… didn’t read the whole thing, did you? I’ve never supported bellicose military adventurism. But I do support the use of force in a just cause, and so do the vast majority of human beings who haven’t deluded themselves with perverse ideologies.

    “You fail to note that the crusades forever changed the relationship of the latin west not only with Islam, but with Byzantium. ”

    I didn’t “fail” to note anything, Minion. I stuck to the topic I chose. And I mentioned the Fourth Crusade, and said quite clearly that the violence among Christians was forbidden by the Papacy. It was wrong. It was tragic. It should not have occurred. But my purpose was to address the equivocation taking place between jihads and crusades, which is fallacious and ignorant.

    I know you struggle with logic. It’s hard for you, and I can be patient with you in your efforts.

    ” You seem oblivious to the damage done by the thuggish Latin occupation of Constantinple”

    I’m really not. It’s just not the point.

    ” You seem equally oblivious to the use of the crusades to justify a more insular, violent, and fundamentalist form of anti-western Islam, from the Mamluks all the way through Al Qaeda.”

    The abuse of historical truth by evil men is never an excuse to whitewash it. That is moral cowardice, sir, and I will have nothing to do with it. I don’t decide what is worthy of admiration and respect on the basis of what twisted men like bin Laden think.

    “But let’s face it, many Christians converted because they were either Miaphysite or Dyophysite Christians, who were often treated worse by their Chalcedonian co-religionists than the Muslims. ”

    And many Christians in Southeast Europe converted to Islam because enrolling in the Janissary corps was a sweet deal. What of it? There is no excuse for apostasy, and again, this is besides the point. I really don’t see what it has to do with anything. The point was simply that Islam spread by the sword and conquered Christian lands.

    I am grateful to the crusaders, on a closing note, for protecting the Maronite Catholics of Lebanon, my ancestors. And indeed all Maronite Lebanese today remember the crusades fondly for this reason. Your enlightened Islamic rulers sent 50,000 men into Christian Lebanon to commit genocide against the Maronites after the withdrawal of the last crusaders. Only the impenetrability of the mountains and God saved them from that fate.

    What’s a handful of Maronites, though, right?

  • You haven’t responded to my fundamental points. Islam was spread by the sword it’s early years? You don’t say!!! To claim that the crusades were part of this general Christian defense is akin to modern Americans claiming that Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq was defensive.

    Your history is rather unsophisticated. You forget that Balian and Saladin were involved in delicate negotiations for the surrender of Jerusalem, and both were skilled negotiators. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and Saladin’s subsequent treatment of the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the Christian sites was exemplary. No saint, but this merely shows that the world is a tad more complicated than your simplistic division into good and evil.

    On the New Testament, I fully agree that it centers of the message of the prince of peace. If you would be so kind as to inform some of your fellow bloggers, I would be most grateful. But sadly, Christians have not followed the example of Christ here, and have defended violence not only by resorting to the OT but also by citing some NT texts out of context (such as Jesus saying he came to bring peace by the sword) and let’s not forget the demented interpretation of Revelation by many modern American fundamentalists. Likewise, many Muslims today use their faith to support peace, and others use it to support violence. The only answer is to join hands as brothers, even if that arm will not always be accepted. This is the Christian position, more of it please.

  • Islam was not just spread by the sword its early years Tony. Islam has always been an aggressive faith and violence has always been part of the spreading of that faith. Of course the target of this violence has not just been the West. Wherever Islam abuts against another culture today, in Africa, India, South-east Asia, the Philippines, Islamic societies tend to have contentious and often violent relations with their non-Islamic neighbors. That some modern Western elites, full of loathing for their own heritage and culture, attempt to deny this, says nothing about the reality, and everything about the capacity of these elites to engage in dangerous self-delusion in this area.

  • A good one volume treatment of the use of war to spread Islam is Efraim Karsh’ Islamic Imperialism.

    http://www.amazon.com/Islamic-Imperialism-History-Efraim-Karsh/dp/0300106033

  • Islam has always been the most regressive of faiths, it scores better only when compared with truly ghoulish religions such as that of the Aztecs. I for one am glad that the Crusaders including numerous SOBs made it their business to defend Christianity. If the same spirit were animating Christians today we won’t be hearing of the sad plight of Christians from South Sudan to N Korea.

  • Muslims will outbreed the secular Westerners, and oppress the handful of Catholic and Mormon families that didn’t voluntarily sterilize themselves.

    To point out yet again, total fertility rates in the Muslim world have been tanking for a generation, and are below replacement level in a number of locales.

  • Art Deco,

    I’m surprised by the assertion that fertility rates in Muslim families are lower than their Christian counterparts. This does not match my limited experience or what I have read. The past few Israeli governments seem to have been quite fearful of large increases in the number of children born to Palestinian families. I recall having read about education endeavors in Central and North Africa with hopes of limiting the number of children to “sustainable” levels. (I’m not staking out a position in favor of population control. I am Catholic after all.)

    Could I trouble you for a citation to support the claim?

  • G-Veg, here is a good post on declining Palestinian fertility rates:

    http://demographymatters.blogspot.com/2009/06/demographic-warfare-and-israeli.html

    Here is an article on the Iranian fertility rate which has gone through the floor and is now below replacement level.

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/KB24Ak02.html

  • You haven’t responded to my fundamental points. Islam was spread by the sword it’s early years? You don’t say!!! To claim that the crusades were part of this general Christian defense is akin to modern Americans claiming that Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq was defensive.

    I’m unclear what MM is getting at here. Pope Urban called the first crusade directly in response to the continuing Islamic conquest of the lands of the Byzantine empire. There were a number of years between the first Byzantine request and the calling of the crusade, but that was mainly because of the slowness of communications and organization at the time, and the fact that both papacy and the Byzantine throne had succession issues come up in the meantime.

    If the first crusade was not called in direct response to the continuing invasion of the Byzantine Empire — what exactly does MM believe it was called in response to?

    You forget that Balian and Saladin were involved in delicate negotiations for the surrender of Jerusalem, and both were skilled negotiators.

    I’m not sure why this is relevant given that Joe mainly wrote about the first crusade and mentioned the fourth briefly. Saladin re-took Jerusalem after the second crusade and before the third (during the third, Philip of France showed some pretty good negotiation chops himself). It’s also worth noting that Saladin re-took Jerusalem for Islam 90 years after it was conquered by the Latins during the First Crusade. If MM considers the first crusade to have been non-defensive because it was fought 20 years after the initial appeal for help from the Byzantine Empire, then surely he also believes that Saladin was like Bush invading Iraq for showing up 90 years after the fact to re-conquer territory which had been ruled by the Latin Kingdom for nearly a century.

    The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and Saladin’s subsequent treatment of the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the Christian sites was exemplary.

    Nor was this unrecognized at the time. Saladin was widely admired in the West (which was rather more broadminded than MM gives it credit for) and became the stuff of chivalric legends.

    Seriously, MM, did you read the piece? Joe didn’t write the “we good, you bad” piece you seem to imagine. He just wrote about the differences between the crusades and jihad, and in doing so brought the historical facts to bear. (If you have an objection to historical facts, well…)

    I think it’s also worth expanding on Joe’s point about the crusader capture of Jerusalem being sadly typical of the sack of cities at that time (and long before and after). Nearly six hundred years later, the assumptions were similar when Shakespeare wrote Henry’s speech demanding surrender of Harfluer in Henry V:

    If I begin the battery once again,
    I will not leave the half-achieved Harfleur
    Till in her ashes she lie buried.
    The gates of mercy shall be all shut up,
    And the flesh’d soldier, rough and hard of heart,
    In liberty of bloody hand shall range
    With conscience wide as hell, mowing like grass
    Your fresh-fair virgins and your flowering infants.
    What is it then to me, if impious war,
    Array’d in flames like to the prince of fiends,
    Do, with his smirch’d complexion, all fell feats
    Enlink’d to waste and desolation?
    What is’t to me, when you yourselves are cause,
    If your pure maidens fall into the hand
    Of hot and forcing violation?
    What rein can hold licentious wickedness
    When down the hill he holds his fierce career?
    We may as bootless spend our vain command
    Upon the enraged soldiers in their spoil
    As send precepts to the leviathan
    To come ashore. Therefore, you men of Harfleur,
    Take pity of your town and of your people,
    Whiles yet my soldiers are in my command;
    Whiles yet the cool and temperate wind of grace
    O’erblows the filthy and contagious clouds
    Of heady murder, spoil and villany.
    If not, why, in a moment look to see
    The blind and bloody soldier with foul hand
    Defile the locks of your shrill-shrieking daughters;
    Your fathers taken by the silver beards,
    And their most reverend heads dash’d to the walls,
    Your naked infants spitted upon pikes,
    Whiles the mad mothers with their howls confused
    Do break the clouds, as did the wives of Jewry
    At Herod’s bloody-hunting slaughtermen.

  • It’s also worth noting that the claim that “Western aggression” in the form of the crusades served to radicalize Islam and lead by a long road to where we find ourselves today with Al Qaeda is pretty unhistorical. As Bernard Lewis, among others, has pointed out, the crusades pretty much faded from the Arab consciousness between the 14th century and the 19th. Islam had, after all, won. And the big news in the history of the Middle East during that period was the coming and continued dominance of the Ottoman Turks.

    The crusaders were virtually undiscussed in the region the Enlightenment Era West imposed itself on the region as an imperial power, bringing with it stories of the crusades to which they assigned their own meanings. As the Middle East struggled against the imperial dominance of modern European powers, the crusades provided a convenient back-narrative of how this was an “age old conflict”, and one which the Middle East had conveniently won.

    It was not, actually, unlike the way in which Herodotus grounds the conflict between Greece and Persia in the Trojan War, painting a state of constant conflict between East and Wast — and conveniently coming up with an example in which Greece was victorious.

  • Minion,

    I could write a thousand-page book and you would still insist that “You haven’t responded to my fundamental points.”

    I responded to almost every sentence you wrote. There’s a difference between responding to you, and agreeing with you.

    “To claim that the crusades were part of this general Christian defense is akin to modern Americans claiming that Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq was defensive.”

    Because you say so, right? All you’re doing now is speculating on motives. There are the reasons the Papacy clearly gave for the crusades – defense of the Eastern Church, protection of Christians in/traveling to the Levant, or what Morning’s Minion speculates is the “real” reason. I’ll go with the former, if you don’t mind.

    “Your history is rather unsophisticated. You forget that Balian and Saladin were involved in delicate negotiations for the surrender of Jerusalem, and both were skilled negotiators.”

    Unsophisticated? If that’s the worst thing you can accuse me of, I’ll consider this debate well-won.

    What does their skill, or delicacy, have to do with the basic fact? You seem to think that “sophistication” lies in piling on irrelevant and ultimately subjective opinions. The objective situation is that the crusaders had 5,000 Muslim prisoners to bargain with.

    Your last paragraph has nothing to do with anything I wrote, so I’ll leave it be.

  • I have no doubt, Joe, that your could fill a thousand page book with your ranting and ravings! I, on the other hand, will stick with Christopher Tyerman’s thousand page book, thank you very much…

    You did not respond to most fundamental claim that the crusades unleashed evils that were disproportionate to what they were trying to achieve. After all, Islam had been around for centuries. Muslim rule of Jerusalem began in 638. There is nothing in Christianity says Jerusalem must stay under Christian control – if so, we must all oppose secular Israel! Of course, the fortunes of Christians ebbed and flowed over the centuries, but the period as a whole was reasonably tolerant. (that continues today, by the way, as the freedom of Christians to worship in Jerusalem is once again under threat by the odious Netanyahu regime). As much as I would like Jerusalem to be taken out of Israeli hands and made an international protectorate, I do not this realistic, and I most certainly would not encourage any violence on any side relating to the status of Jerusalem.

    So yes, I would argue that a swing of the pendulum toward the more insular and intolerant Seljuks did not warrant the massively disproportionate response known as the crusades. I would even argue that this was Byzantine territory, and they wanted to help, the Latins could merely have aided the Constantinople, as indeed was the original request. But no, not only did they seize Roman territory, they established an alien occupation in Outremer. Again, this is Bush and Iraq – even if the motives were good, the consequences were disastrous. Darwin claims that the crusades were largely forgotten in the east – this does not jive with the islamic history I have read. I believe the mamluks (far worse than the Seljuks) were a direct outcome. And I stand with Steven Runciman in holding that the Roman empire was fatally wounded, leading straight to the catastrophe of 1453.

    What about the motives? Clearly, they were religious – Tyerman is right on the mark here. Until the crusades, the Christian approach to war was very complicated. The early Church fathers saw war as forbidden to Christians, while Augustine’s accommodation was very restrictive and grudging. The theology of the holy war that underpinned the crusades changed everything. Instead of a last resort in a tragic sinful world, war could now be a holy venture, as a way to achieve have the punishment for one’s sins remitted. This is not exactly the theology of lesser jihad, but it is damned close, too close for comfort. I believe this was a fatal error for the Church, one that it is still not fully recovered from.

  • Actually, Darwin, Joe does paint with a canvass of light and darkness. He insists that he can quite random passages of Islamic holy texts and derive a clear and unambiguously nefarious intent. That does not jive with historical developments, where different groups and different times adopted radically different theological positions on war and violence. That continues today. The most annoying tenet of then know nothing anti-islamic right (Republican types in the US, Geert Wilders types in Europe) is that they directly feed the prejudices of the most extreme elements. It is our role as Catholic Christians to follow Lumen Gentium and embrace of Muslim brothers, and to follow Dignitatis Humanae in seeing religious freedom and tolerance as an unmitigated good, and so not dependent on reciprocal obligations.

    A couple of points bring this to light. Joe argued that the New Testament does not support war and violence, while islamic scriptures do. I pointed out that while I believe this about the NT, many Christians past and present have not seen it that way – just look at fundamentalist theology and Revelation. If you want pick random texts from the bible to support violence, it is quite easy to do. I know my Muslim friends get annoyed when untrained people like Joe to the same with the Qu’ran.

    A minor point, but then there is his insistence that Saladin’s favorable treatment of the people in Jerusalem was only because Balian threatened massacre. The problem is that this was not time consistent – Saladin could have done whatever he wished when he took over. As Darwin notes, Saladin was deeply respected in Europe, and he and Richard seemed to have a mutual admiration for each other. This is not to paint a “saint Saladin” but to simply invoke history, as Joe claims he is doing.

  • Joe, the Catholic Church has always taught that murder is intrinsically evil. Further, the Church teaches that all intentional killing–whether direct or indirect–constitutes murder:

    2307 The fifth commandment forbids the intentional destruction of human life

    2268 The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful.

    2269 The fifth commandment forbids doing anything with the intention of indirectly bringing about a person’s death.

    We all have to apply that as we understand it. I understand it to mean that we may coincidentally kill another in self-defense. Coincidentally, I am a pacifist.

    God bless.

  • MAc,

    Thanks, but that excellent video of the Harfleur speech flew about a mile above the mental capacities of certain marxoholic intellects hereabouts.

    Illegitimi non carborundum.

  • I am no historian, and so have no idea whether MM or Joe is more accurate in their history. However, I do think MM’s point about the need to consider the outcomes is appropriate, as I believe consideration of the results is an important factor in the just war calculus. That said, since Joe’s post was more about jihad and the Crusades, it would be remiss not to point out the jihad has led to terrible results for most Muslims, including the reciprocal wars in Iraq & Afghanistan and the continued suffering of the Palestinians who have lost much hope of help from America, the only country that has the ability to pressure Israel into a peaceful settlement.

  • “I do think MM’s point about the need to consider the outcomes is appropriate”

    Yes, and he is just as shaky in his analysis as in his grasp of the relevant history. Without the efforts of the Crusades sponsored by the Church, and those efforts continued into the Seventeenth Century, I have absolutely no doubt that Islam would have conquered Europe, and Tony would now be squatting in a village in Ireland and explaining to all and sundry as to how they should be content with their Dhimmi status. I loved his throw away line regarding Netanyahu. For Tony the real villains are always the Israelis.

  • Minion,

    At no point did you state that this was your “fundamental claim”:

    “You did not respond to most fundamental claim that the crusades unleashed evils that were disproportionate to what they were trying to achieve”

    I respond to things that are actually said, not the hidden meanings you weave into your words. Since you’ve said this now, I will address it.

    My response, naturally, is that I disagree. In fact, I see the crusades as a regrettably minor hiccup in what was otherwise a nearly unimpeded ascendancy of the Turkish Muslims, eventually culminating in the Ottoman Empire.

    As Darwin points out, the crusades were all but forgotten until the 18th or 19th century. And I’ll add that, once again, Muslim aggression against Christianity was present from the very beginning. You have nearly 5 centuries of conquest that precede the crusades – and roughly another 5 that followed them. The evils were as bad before as they were after. I don’t the crusades changed much at all – it simply slowed down the advance of Islam. And I find that fact to be regrettable.

    “So yes, I would argue that a swing of the pendulum toward the more insular and intolerant Seljuks did not warrant the massively disproportionate response known as the crusades”

    How do you judge disproportionality? What would you have done, sent the Sultan a polite letter to cease and desist? What do you think happened at the Battle of Manzikert? It was the end of the Byzantine military buffer. Without significant armed forces to replace it, the expansion of the Islamo-Turks would have continued unabated. Constantinople may have fallen in 1153 instead of 1453. Even if the Greeks would have preferred the Sultanate, in their obstinacy, to reconciliation with the Papacy, it wasn’t just about them, as the Hungarians and the Austrians and everyone else in Eastern Europe learned over the next five hundred years.

    ” Again, this is Bush and Iraq – even if the motives were good, the consequences were disastrous.”

    So you admit that the motives were good, then? That’s fine, because that’s really the point here anyway; to defend the Crusades as morally against people who think they were unjustified in themselves, and on the same level as unprovoked jihads carried out in the name of religion. If you want to debate consequences, that’s fine – I think even the failure of the crusades were better than no crusades at all, since it gave Christendom breathing space.

    But in any case, to compare this to Bush in Iraq is just absurd, for many reasons. The US is the most advanced nation on earth, and it unleashed total death and destruction upon millions of people for no good reason I can discern. The crusades were waged by an arguably less advanced, less developed culture against a foe that had threatened its borders for five centuries, in Spain, at Tours, in Sicily, and so on.

    This is just pure hatred of the West, and if we’re honest, more white self-hatred. As a Maronite Lebanese, I absolve you of your sins against the brown peoples of the world. Go, and falsify history to assuage your guilt no more.

    ” The theology of the holy war that underpinned the crusades changed everything.”

    I don’t think it changed that much at all. But name some historical events you think were the direct result of this “change of everything”, if you like.

    I must stress once again, though, that the “holiness” of the crusades were secondary – possibly even tertiary – to the goal of mere self-defense and aiding a strategic ally. In fact, had Europe NOT been Christian, but say, adhered to the paganism of the Teutons or the Vikings, the outcome may have been far far worse for the conquered people of the East.

  • “Joe does paint with a canvass of light and darkness. ”

    That’s fine. I still believe in childish concepts such as good and evil.

  • Yeah, I’m kind of unclear what MM is trying to argue here.

    Joe wrote what is, I think, a very solid brief discussion of the crusades (primarily the first crusade), which is well in keeping with the history I’ve read on the topic (Runciman, Madden). He did so primarily to refute the claim that Christianity and Islam both have similar ‘holy war’ traditions, with the only difference being that Christianity recovered from its first.

    MM seems on the one hand to be arguing that Pope Urban did invent a holy war tradition, and that Christianity is even now not fully recovered from this.

    On the other hand, he seems to be insisting that Islam does not in fact have a holy war (jihad) tradition.

    Which is it? Is he trying to claim that Christianity and Islam are in fact the same in both having holy war traditions, both of which he thinks are wrong? Or is he claiming that Islam does not have a holy war tradition while Christianity does? Or what, exactly?

    Further, this claim seems off:

    The theology of the holy war that underpinned the crusades changed everything. Instead of a last resort in a tragic sinful world, war could now be a holy venture, as a way to achieve have the punishment for one’s sins remitted.

    While the crusades were the first occasion, to my knowledge, that a pope specifically offered an indulgence for those who participated in a military endeavor (and I could agree that this was an idea that didn’t go well in some ways and was abused in later centuries) this was not fully a new thing. In the East, of course, caesaro-papism had been a force for a long time. In the West you had Charles Martel and Charlemagne’s fights against Muslim invasion of mainland Europe. You had Charlemagne’s less than gentle attempts to convert the Saxons. You had the blessing of the Norman invasion of Britain.

    Heck, even the legalization of Christianity was entwined with Constantine’s belief that he was given the kai ro as a symbol of strength before… a battle.

    The idea that Christianity was uniformly pacifist up until the crusades is as incorrect as the claim that the crusades marked an endorsement of ‘holy war’ in the same sense as the lesser jihad as been throughout most of Islamic history.

  • Oh, and by the way Darwin – that Henry V speech was on my mind as well!

    I was going to quote it myself :)

  • Thank you Mr. H. I am sick to death of hearing about the alleged sins of the Catholic Church over the centuries. Especially from a culture that to this very day is still enslaving blacks and killing people in the name of their religion. Without the Church, Europe would still be living in mud huts and fighting tribal wars like most of Africa and Asia today. The civilized parts of the rest of world owe their civilization to the Catholic church and owe her a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.

  • Henry V has most of what you need in regards to thought about war. The bard saw the highs and the lows.

  • Have any of you here read Christopher Tyerman? I’m beginning to think not. While I certainly admire Runciman, the academic consensus today leans toward Tyerman – his scholarship is as important as Duffy’ s and MacCullach’s. Tyerman makes a few essential points – the crusades were complicated endeavors and not a case of hairy western barbarians destroyed a peaceable eastern culture, and second, the crusades were motivated by religious concerns through the very new concept of holy war. You might like the first, but probably not then second conclusion. In essence, the newish holy war theology was not that far from the theology of minor jihadism (and I never said it was not in, I said it has been interpreted by differently by different people at different times in Islamic history).

    I do not understand Darwin’s swipe at caeseropapism, which anyway reflects more western prejudices than an accurate categorization of the eastern empire. Yes, the Byzantines invoked God in battle and interpreted loss as punishment, and indeed, the whole rise of iconoclasm can be traced to such a reaction. But I do not think they had the equivalent of the holy war theology.

    And you still all downplay the damage done to the Roman empire by the latin occupation of Constantinople. They had fought Muslims for centuries, and could practically see the Turkish principality across the water, but the latin occupation weakened the empires structure by turning the empire into a number of independent duchies (Trezibond, Thessaloniki etc). When the Palailogans arrived, they barely controlled anything beyond Constantinople. This, by the way is the thesis of Runciman.

    My final point – the beauty of the just war conditions is that they apply in all times and circumstances. Ask yourselves if the crusades were just. And it’s not the Muslims did bad things any more than Saddam Hussein did bad things. Was it a true last resort? Were there reasonable chances of success? Did it thrown up disproportionate evils? I have not seen you address any of these questions.

    Final final point – the Netanyahu issue is relevant as he is just the latest in a long line of non Christian rulers who control access to the Christian holy sites. Over the past 1500 years or so, some have been more tolerant than others. And Netanyahu, by blocking access to Palestinian Christians and by going against centuries of tradition by forcing the Holy Sepulchre to pay for water, is rapidly becoming one if the more intolerant ones. But he’s not a Muslim, so he won’t get much criticism here.

  • “Have any of you here read Christopher Tyerman?”

    Yes, and most other current works in English on the Crusades. Tyerman is one in a line of revisionist Crusade historians, a movement I support. Runicman wrote the Crusades off as simple bigotry and intolerance and was hopelessly biased towards the Byzantines. One of the founding fathers of a movement to see the Crusades in what I perceive to be a more accurate light is Jonathan Riley-Smith:

    http://www.crusades-encyclopedia.com/jonathanrileysmith.html

    “through the very new concept of holy war.”
    Tyerman is not as clear cut as that sentence implies. If I recall correctly he recognizes that the view of a holy war in Catholic theology predates the Crusades by several centuries, although he correctly sees rapid development of the concept during the Crusades.

    “But I do not think they had the equivalent of the holy war theology.”

    I would disagree with that. The Byzantines used different terms, but the concepts were similiar.
    A good examination of this topic is in Byzantium and the Crusades.

    http://www.amazon.com/Byzantium-Crusades-Crusader-Worlds-Jonathan/dp/1852855010

    “And you still all downplay the damage done to the Roman empire by the latin occupation of Constantinople.”

    Byzantium was finished as a major military power by 1204. If anything, the new Latin Empire served as a bulwark for a half century. The overthrow of the Latins by the Greeks led to a short-lived revival of Byzantine military strength, before the long death in life for the Byzantine mummified state of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

    “My final point – the beauty of the just war conditions is that they apply in all times and circumstances. Ask yourselves if the crusades were just.”

    Actually how the Church has formulated the just war conditions has changed over time. Here is how Saint Thomas Aquinas formulated them:

    “I answer that, In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign by whose command the war is to be waged. For it is not the business of a private individual to declare war, because he can seek for redress of his rights from the tribunal of his superior. Moreover it is not the business of a private individual to summon together the people, which has to be done in wartime. And as the care of the common weal is committed to those who are in authority, it is their business to watch over the common weal of the city, kingdom or province subject to them. And just as it is lawful for them to have recourse to the sword in defending that common weal against internal disturbances, when they punish evil-doers, according to the words of the Apostle (Romans 13:4): “He beareth not the sword in vain: for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil”; so too, it is their business to have recourse to the sword of war in defending the common weal against external enemies. Hence it is said to those who are in authority (Psalm 81:4): “Rescue the poor: and deliver the needy out of the hand of the sinner”; and for this reason Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 75): “The natural order conducive to peace among mortals demands that the power to declare and counsel war should be in the hands of those who hold the supreme authority.”

    Secondly, a just cause is required, namely that those who are attacked, should be attacked because they deserve it on account of some fault. Wherefore Augustine says (QQ. in Hept., qu. x, super Jos.): “A just war is wont to be described as one that avenges wrongs, when a nation or state has to be punished, for refusing to make amends for the wrongs inflicted by its subjects, or to restore what it has seized unjustly.”

    Thirdly, it is necessary that the belligerents should have a rightful intention, so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil. Hence Augustine says (De Verb. Dom. [The words quoted are to be found not in St. Augustine’s works, but Can. Apud. Caus. xxiii, qu. 1): “True religion looks upon as peaceful those wars that are waged not for motives of aggrandizement, or cruelty, but with the object of securing peace, of punishing evil-doers, and of uplifting the good.” For it may happen that the war is declared by the legitimate authority, and for a just cause, and yet be rendered unlawful through a wicked intention. Hence Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 74): “The passion for inflicting harm, the cruel thirst for vengeance, an unpacific and relentless spirit, the fever of revolt, the lust of power, and such like things, all these are rightly condemned in war.”

    Under any formulation of the requirements of a just war, the Crusades were clearly just wars. Evil acts were committed during these wars, just as good acts have been committed during unjust wars, but the wars were clearly just wars against an expansionist Islam.

    “And Netanyahu, by blocking access to Palestinian Christians and by going against centuries of tradition by forcing the Holy Sepulchre to pay for water, is rapidly becoming one if the more intolerant ones.”

    Actually, Tony, the Jihadis are the ones who make life a living hell throughout the Middle East for all Arab Christians, and this includes Palestinian Christians.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB10001424052748704304504574610022765965390.html

  • Minion,

    I’m sure you will dismiss me as an anti-intellectual barbarian, but really I’m not interested in SUBJECTIVE opinions dressed up as “scholarship.” Give me the facts, and just the facts – my values, rooted in my faith and moral convictions, will determine how I interpret and judge those facts. I don’t share the spiritual and moral values of 90% of academia (and I do have a post-graduate degree in political philosophy, so I have been there), and I don’t need their biases determining what facts I get and what perspectives I see.

    You don’t make arguments, at any rate. You just look for opportunities to show off things you know.

    “you still all downplay the damage done to the Roman empire by the latin occupation of Constantinople”

    I don’t know what more you want me to say about it. I’m not attempting to “downplay” anything. I have a limited number of things I want to address. That’s all.

    “Ask yourselves if the crusades were just. And it’s not the Muslims did bad things any more than Saddam Hussein did bad things. Was it a true last resort?”

    Saddam Hussein? Are you serious? You still don’t get it, do you? If Iraq were an empire that surrounded the United States, had built itself on the conquered ruins of former American territories, made repeated raids and excursions deep into its territory, conquered territories on its periphery, and wiped out a military ally that served as a check on its growth – then the comparison might be valid.

    Since Iraq was virtually the opposite of all those things under Saddam, the situations are completely different. You really just don’t understand. I wish I could understand why you don’t understand, but it will always remain a mystery to me.

    “Were there reasonable chances of success?”

    Of course there were. They had all of the resources of the Papacy at their disposal. It was a unified effort of several peoples from across Europe. And, um, it did succeed, initially at least.

    “Did it thrown up disproportionate evils?”

    Eh? Yeah, I guess. Don’t know what you mean by “thrown up”.

    “I have not seen you address any of these questions.”

    Now you have. See? All you need do is ask.

  • Clearly winding down, but a couple minor items:

    - No, I have not as yet read Tyerman’s book, though he’s not atypical of the new school of scholarship in regards to the Crusades which has predominated over the last 20 years with the view, “Gosh, you know, religion actually was a pretty major motivation for those who went on crusade after all.” I’ve read Madden’s work on the crusades, which is also of the new school and widely respected. I’ve also read Runciman’s work (which though aged and biased I still have affection for because of its style and because it’s the first I read) and while in college I read a fair amount of what was coming out in the journals on the subject, as it was a fascination of one of my mentors. However, unless Tyerman is a major outlier in the new school, the basic thesis is not that the crusades involved the “invention” of a theology of “holy war” but rather that the crusades were in fact religiously motivated. Madden did some good statistical analysis (drawing on various other published works as well) refusing the long held claim that the crusades were an essentially economic expansionist endeavour in which younger sons sought glory abroad. In fact, a larger number of those who already had significant property in Europe went on crusade, and it generally cost them money rather than making them money. The reason is clear, they actually believed that it was a just, honorable and holy thing to do.

    - Not only would I argue that the crusades were a just war (certainly given the knowledge that Urban had about the situation at the time) but I would suggest that any formulation of just war which clearly rules out the crusades is one that we should think twice about.

    - When you talk about the crusades producing disproportionate evils, I think it’s only reasonable to look primarily at the disproportionate evils that Urban could even vaguely have forseen — and which we can make any clear claim would not have occurred anyway. I don’t see how we can claim that new dynasties would clearly not have risen to power in the Islamic would had the crusades not have happened. It’s also a pretty tenuous counterfactual to speculate as to how the Byzantine empire would have done had the crusades not occurred. It’s impossible to say at this point if it would have fallen earlier or later — though it is factual to point out that the crusading orders and institutions lasted into the 16th century and were not inconsequential players in setting what eventually became the maximum bounds of Turkish expansion.

    - Before questioning whether the crusades had any real chance of success, it’s worth noting that they were in fact successful for rather longer than the life expectancy of people at the time. The Kingdom of Jerusalem stood for 90 years, and other crusader kingdoms stood even longer. The Knights of St. John withstood the Siege of Malta in 1565 for goodness sake. (After having held onto Rhodes until 1522.) It’s all very well to look back from this point in time and say that the crusades had only a brief moment of success, but they crusader kingdoms lasted longer than most countries in existence today have existed thus far. From the point of view of the 11th century, the first crusade was 100% successful in liberating the Holy Land and creating a Christian kingdom there.

  • Nativism is the dark underbelly of the American assimilation experience. Islam, Muslim immigrants, and the Cordoba Mosque are this year’s scarecrows in the perpetual American cycle of discrimination before integration. Remember, just two generations ago evangelical Christians bitterly railed against Catholics and Catholicism. Now the Catholic Church is a pillar of American socio-religious conservatism. Fifty years from now most Americans will look back on this flavor of hysteria as just another absurd blip in American history.

    Why bother wasting time with mirror games over the Crusades? The American scare over Islam and Muslims won’t last forever. Don’t prostitute history for short term FUD and political convenience.

    We’ll never listen to Santayana. Then again, he was an apostate. Apostates never speak the Truth, even when simple logic trumps convolutions of history.

  • I agree with MM that the essay underestimates the horrific impact of the Fourth Crusade. The Latin Empire was a hollow shell from the start, and with the exception of the reign of the second Latin Emperor, Henry, the edifice had no life whatsoever. It spent almost no time fighting the Turks, that’s for sure.

    The Byzantine Empire was not a wreck in 1204, and was starting to show some signs of stabilizing and reasserting itself after a generation of less-than rulers. Theodore Laskaris, the son-in-law of the then-reigning Emperor Alexios III, was a very capable leader who founded the Empire of Nicaea. He and his heirs held off the Turks with a fraction of the resources. Moreover, when the Byzantines recovered Constantinople, they broke themselves financially fending off guys like Charles of Anjou.

    Without the Fourth Crusade, I don’t think the Turks get into Europe, or not as early as they did.

    And I’ll also agree with MM that the nightmarish butchery in Jerusalem in 1099 was outside even the looser norms for warfare at the time. It shocked the Muslims, and they used it effectively as propaganda when they started to roll up the Crusader principalities in the 12th Century.

  • I have to respectfully disagree with you Dale. Byzantium was in steep military decline before 1204. After a revival of strength in the 12th century, the decline started again after the defeat of the Byzantine army by the Seljuk Turks at Myriokephalon in 1176, a defeat that the reigning emperor likened to Manzikert. The decline sped up under the Angeloi dynasty 1185-1204. The military impotence of the Empire is demonstrated by the fact that in 1204 the Byzantines had 30,000 troops to the 20,000 besiegers, and still couldn’t hold on to Constantinople, one of the more heavily fortified cities on Earth at the time. The Greeks were fortunate in the thirteenth century due to the defeat of the Seljuk Turks by the Mongols and the fragmentation of the Sultanate of Rum as a result. After the Turks found unity under Osman and his successors in the fourteenth century, the Greeks were powerless to stop them, and largely survived as long as they did due to Western mercenaries and the naval power of the various Italian city states.

  • Myriokephalon stopped the Byzantines from retaking Konya, but did almost as much damage to Seljuks as it did to the Byzantines. Sultan Kilij Arslan II sent out desperate feelers to the Holy Roman Emperor (really) after the battle, hinting at the possibility of conversion. Moreover, Manuel I didn’t abide by the treaty imposed on him, keeping one of the cities. When Kilij sent a retaliatory invasion force in 1177, the Byzantines destroyed it.

    While it’s true that Manuel I likened it to Manzikert, it was nowhere near as devastating, even in the short term. And really, Manzikert wasn’t the devastating defeat it’s portrayed to be. Most of the Byzantine army managed to survive. It was the decade of infighting in Anatolia afterwards that made it decisive.

    One for one, I don’t dispute that the Westerners were better than the Byzantine garrison troops (Varangians aside). The city itself was divided and it had turned into the Emperor-of-the-Month Club at the worst possible time. The fact remains, the Niceans were able to defeat the Latin soldiery more often than not during the run-up to liberating the city in 1261. They had also stood off the Seljuks quite well, with Theodore I killing the Sultan in single combat in 1211, securing the Nicean state. The talent was right there to revive the state, but the Crusade made it impossible.

    The main problem the Byzantines had post-restoration was that Michael VIII was unpopular (rightfully so, he blinded the boy Emperor John IV) with the Anatolian nobles, and his battles stripped the eastern frontier of troops and resources. He had to spend gold like he had it to preserve the empire from Western would-be conquerors. Also, Andronicus II was a penny-pinching idiot who disbanded his fleet–unwisely so.

  • Dale,

    “I agree with MM that the essay underestimates the horrific impact of the Fourth Crusade.”

    It wasn’t my aim to write about the impact of the Fourth Crusade. I guess I’m disappointed that you’re taking up Minion’s irrelevant gripes. I don’t deny the impact – it was just besides the point. Oh well.

    “And I’ll also agree with MM that the nightmarish butchery in Jerusalem in 1099 was outside even the looser norms for warfare at the time.”

    I don’t think even argued that. He just made the case for Saint Saladin, “ignoring” the fact that he was virtually forced to negotiate.

  • Dale, you are correct as to your rendition of the immediate aftermath of Myriokephalon, however I still contend it was a turning point. Never again did the Byzantines attempt to regain the central Anatolian plain from the Turks. After Emperor Manuel Comnenus died in 1180, Kilij Arslan II conquered most of the Southern Coast of Anatolia. But for the fact that he had nine sons who fought each other in fratricidal wars, and the distraction of the Third Crusade, I think he would have kicked the Byzantines out of almost all of Anatolia. By 1204 the Greeks had been militarily impotent for a quarter of a century. The wars against the Latins, (the Greeks always seemed to have much more enthusiasm in fighting against invaders from the West than from the East), did lead to a transient increase in military capability for the Byzantines, aided by the Mongol defeat of the Seljuks in the 1240′s and the fragmentation of the Sultanate of Rum into small feuding successor states, until the Ottomans welded the Turks into a formidable empire in the Fourteenth Century.

  • I don’t have time to read all the walls of text, but I wanted to zero on two of Morning’s Minion’s points:
    “But let’s face it, many Christians converted because they were either Miaphysite or Dyophysite Christians, who were often treated worse by their Chalcedonian co-religionists than the Muslims.”
    Excuse me, but don’t you mean Miaphysite and Dyophysite *heretics*? Calling the early Heresies “Christians” is like calling Mormons “Christians.” Belief in the twin natures of Christ and the Trinity are prerequisite to being “Christian.”

    “You paint with contours of dark dualism, contrasting orc-life muslims with noble Christians who simply lived by the (regrettably brutal) standards of the times.”
    Well, let’s see. Islam is a false religion. Mohammed is one of the greatest of False Prophets. His followers will burn in Hell for all eternity for believing a false religion, except perhaps for a small number of the so-called “moderate peaceful Muslims’ who follow a very liberal interpretation of the Koran that permits them in the hopes of trying to reach out to the one True God.

    Or do you not believe that Jesus Christ is the only savior? Speaking of which,

    “Then as now, the fruits of religious intolerance are evil fruits.”
    No, the fruits of religious “tolerance” are evil: lots of people going to Hell for being allowed to worship false Gods like the God of Mohammed.

    To those who say “Allah” is the same as the “God” or “Allah” of Abraham, since “Allah” is the Arabaic word for “deity,” does that mean that ZEUS is the same God as the God of Abraham, since the Ancient Greeks called Zeus Theos?

  • Anti-Catholic bigots will always be anti-Catholic bigots and will revise and distort history about subjects like the Crusades because most of us are ignorant about History and it works. If you can follow “the money,” you will find that that anyone condoning Islamic Socio-Cultural-Political aggression has an economic or ideological stake in the overthrow and enslavement of western society and then the entire world. Jihad is the greatest threat to Human Freedom on the planet–not Crusading Christians. Anyone who says otherwise is either a liar and an idiotand probably both!

  • Excuse me folks. Obviously I need another cup of coffee. I meant “liar or and idiot and probably both!”

  • “You downplay the masscare of Jerusalem that forever marked the first crusade,”

    It was not until the the middle of the 12th century that you find Muslim writers claiming the conquest of Jerusalem was some type of extraordinary event. This propaganda, which is the source of the preposterous claim that 70,000 people were killed, was in support of a Jihad to drive Christians from what was once Muslim land.

    “and ignore the fact that Saladin did not reply in kind (wasn’t that the standard of the time??).”

    Saladin’s goal was to drive the Christians from the Holy Land permanently. He especially had to make sure he took the great coastal cities so there would be no port of entry for them to return. He still had cities to take after Jerusalem, so a massacre of the Christians there would have guaranteed that every one of those cities fought to the death. Remember, this is the man who following the Battle of Hattin beheaded all of his prisoners who belonged to the military orders. Beheading prisoners, where have I heard of that going on recently?

    “And, like so many modern Americans, you display a frightening myopia when it comes to the long-term consquences of bellicose military adventurism. You fail to note that the crusades forever changed the relationship of the latin west not only with Islam, but with Byzantium.”

    You mean the Muslims discovered that the Christians had now obtained the ability to strike back at the Muslim heartland after centuries of being on the receiving end of Muslim aggression? I think that is a good thing.

    With regard to the Byzantines, do you mean when the Crusaders discovered the Byzantines could not be trusted, and were always interested in short-term political advantage over long term success? It is unfortunate Alexius didn’t have more foresight.

    “after this, Byzantium became closer to their Muslim neighbors than ever before (“better the Turkish turban than the papal tiara”).”

    And how is that working out for them?

    “You seem equally oblivious to the use of the crusades to justify a more insular, violent, and fundamentalist form of anti-western Islam, from the Mamluks all the way through Al Qaeda.”

    So those four-hundred years of attacks and invasions of Christian lands (including an attack on Rome in 846) were what exactly? The reason Al-Qaeda mentions the Crusades is because they realize there are many hand-wringing, misinformed people in the West who will look to blame anyone but the real aggressors.

  • Well, let’s see. Islam is a false religion. Mohammed is one of the greatest of False Prophets. His followers will burn in Hell for all eternity for believing a false religion,

    Your conclusion does not necessarily follow from your premise.

  • Hello everyone. Its brave of Joe to open a discussion about the crusades. Muslims call the crusade christian. Those were not christians, even though they called themselves christian. Joe mentioned that the vatican didnt condone attacks on Jews. He forgot the spanish inquisition was mainly directed at Jews. Then it spread to anyone. Muslims, crusaders, just people being led by a false and wicked religion. No difference

  • So Kristof, in the name of what creed or doctrine do we justify the shocking brutality in the region these days? Does the fact we are killing from a distance make it less bloody for you? Compare the demographics – we kill more noncombatants now as a percentage of the total body count and we justify the anonymous slaughter of innocents as a way to get to ‘persons of interest’ or terrorists or insurgents or whatever you want to call folks who were our allies against the Russians or the Iranians in the last outing. What a disgrace to attempt to dignify this debacle with any discourse.

  • Bozo,

    “He forgot the spanish inquisition was mainly directed at Jews.”

    No, it was mainly directed at Jews and Muslims who were suspected of converting to Christianity under false pretenses – i.e. to spy for the Muslim rulers of Grenada, the last stronghold of Islam on the Iberian peninsula.

  • Speaking of Madden, an excellent synopsis:

    http://www.thearma.org/essays/Crusades.htm

  • Thanks for the article and putting all that together succinctly.
    I have read that the crusaders had strict rules of engagement that they were not allowed to retreat unless the odds against them were something like 4 to 1 (although I am relying on memory here).
    They had a different concept of martyrdom – not hoping to get 72 virgins – but becoming martyrs for Christ and eternal life.
    Also, perhaps someone can comment upon the Battle of Lepanto and how the rosary was said to defeat the Moorish fleet.

  • Joe Coffman:

    It was the Knights Templar, the military order that was created after the First Crusade to protect pilgrims to the Holy Land, who had the rule about how badly they had to be outnumbered before they could retreat. I think it was 3-1, but I am also just going by memory. Piers Paul Read wrote an excellent book about them called The Templars that you might want to take a look at.

    It was the Ottoman Turks who were defeated at Lepanto in 1571. I highly recommend Niccolo Capponi’s book on the battle, Victory of the West. In it, he refers to the connection of the rosary to the battle: “More significant was [Pius V's] decision to dedicate 7 October, the feast of St. Justine, to Our Lady of Victory. Later, his successor, Gregory XIII would change the dedication to Our Lady of the Rosary, thus recognizing the role played by this devotion in the Christians’ success.” (Pages 293-294).

  • It was depressing reading in your very first sentence “the violence of Islam”. I lived in Saudi Arabia for half a decade and met many Muslims from many countries. I concluded that Islam was a very peaceful religion. Your statement is prejudiced. The only reason a few extremist jihadists have come to the fore in the past few decades is because moderate Muslims have been impotent in getting the land back. If you ask America’s closest ally in the Arab world, King Hussein of Jordan, if he has ever agreed to Israel having Jerusalem, he will tell you, “No, I have never agreed to that – that land is stolen from us”. Until the question of sovereignty of the lands currently called “Israel”, “the West Bank”, “Jerusalem”, “Gaza”, and “the Golan Heights” is resolved, we should expect more Muslims to be attracted to what the extremists are saying. But Islam itself is not violent – I know that – I lived there.

  • So Islam is a religion of peace, until the adherents do not get what they want?

    As for Saudi Arabia, it has been the scene of numerous terrorist incidents:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_Saudi_Arabia

    Of course Saudi money has been the main source of funding for Islamic jihadis.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2008/apr/02/nation/na-terror2

  • Yes, Saudi Arabia HAS been the scene for a number of terrorist attacks – and for a reason – the Saudis are stuck with a crooked and illegitimate royal family regime which creams off the country’s oil revenues, while if you go the country’s Eastern province (over by the Persian Gulf, where most of the oil is), you will still find Saudis living in mud huts. These people living in mud huts know that the country is fantastically wealthy. The country needs reform (read, “regime change”) – the problem is that moderates are not listened to (moderates don’t even dare open their mouths for fear of being put in prison for questioning the rule of the Al-Saud family), so, yes, some of the country’s citizens are turning to the extremists – and we should expect more of this. America’s reputation in Saudi Arabia stinks for various reasons, but one of them is the fact that every time the bogus Al-Saud family regime is on the verge of being overthrown, America intervenes and stops it. This happened when the hated Shah of Iran was overthrown – Ronald Reagan said he would “draw the line at the border of Saudi Arabia” – and this angered many many Saudis (what right was it of an American president to determine who ran Saudi Arabia – it should be the SAUDIS THEMSELVES that make that choice), and then again when America intervened militarily to kick the Iraqi army out of Kuwait (they would have continued on into Saudi Arabia to the applause of the Saudis, and the Egyptian public were praying that after rolling through Saudi Arabia that the Iraqis would roll into Egypt and take out the hated President Mubarak (an American stooge if there ever was one). And what sort of regime did America install after kicking the Iraqis out of Kuwait??? – did we install a democracy??? (as American presidents are so fond of saying, “We support democracy in the Middle East!!!” – why, no, we re-installed the hated al-Sabah royal family and the illegitimate three-tier citizenship system they have always had – I gather from your knowledge of the Middle East that you didn’t even know about this – it is literally stamped in their passports – 1st class citizenship is reserved for royalty (members of the al-Sabah family – you get lots of free money if you are in this group) – 2nd class citizenship for Arabs who have been there since about the 1920′s, and you get the right to vote if you are in this class (albeit for a “Consultative Assembly” which the King doesn’t have to obey) – and lastly the 3rd class citizens, and these are the majority of Kuwaiti’s citizens by the way, and you don’t even get the right to vote for the bogus “Consultative Assembly”, in fact you don’t get much at all, and the people in this class know that – that’s why a large chunk of them cheered the Iraqi on when they invaded Kuwait.

    Oh, and by the way, the hated Shah of Iran was put into power by a CIA coup – we overthrew the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Mossadegh and installed the hated Shah in his place. It is no wonder we are hated over there, and we should expect more moderate Muslims to turn to the extremists since America has no intention in letting the citizens of those countries govern themselves. A good example today is Egypt – the only reason Hosni Mubarak is able to stay in power is because of the Egyptian military – normally an army’s primary mission is to protect a country from hostile foreign countries, but in Egypt, the army’s primary mission is to protect the Mubarak regime from the Egyptian public. And who pays the salaries of the Egyptian military? America. Under the Camp David “Peace” Accords, we pay approximately $3 billion a year to both Israel and Egypt (Israel under Menachem Began demanded the money before he would sign the peace treaty, and when Anwar Sadat heard about it, he told Jimmy Carter that he couldn’t go back to Egypt with Israel getting money and not Egypt – and that money all goes to the Egyptian military). If it weren’t for the money that America sends to Egypt’s military each year, the Egyptian military would collapse and the Egyptians would be able to overthrow Mubarek. It’s understandable why the Egyptians hate us (and you probably didn’t even know that – when 9/11 occurred, you were treated to Mubarek getting up on world TV and condemning the attacks, while if you had been in Cairo you would have seen the Egyptians pour out onto the streets in a day of national celebration, with Egyptians driving up and down the main boulevards honking their horns and flying huge Egyptian flags out the passenger windows.

    Oh, by the way, while you think about the above, you might think about why America had to shoulder the annual payments to Israel and Egypt (they go one for in perpetuity, by the way) – I mean, why doesn’t Canada or Europe or Japan shoulder part of the burden if it is such a good thing? Well, can you imagine asking, say, the Europeans or the Japanese – their response would be the diplomatic equivalent of a series of four-letter words (“What? Pay MONEY???, to the JEWS????, to sign a PEACE TREATY?????????”). Of course, any peace treaty that has to be paid for isn’t worth the paper it is written on. It’s a whore’s agreement. But in America, the Camp David “Peace” Accords are considered to be a great accomplishment.

    Stink.

  • “But Islam itself is not violent – I know that – I lived there.”

    How do you explain the centuries of Islamic violence against Christians that preceded the Crusades? The slaughter of Hindus in the East was probably even worse.

    And by the way, I take it that when you lived in Saudi Arabia you never went to Mecca or Medina and announced you were a non-Muslim. If you had done that you would have seen some violence.

  • One minor correction/typo – I should have said that 2nd class citizenship in Kuwait is allowed to those residents whose families have been living there since BEFORE circa 1920′s, not after. If your family arrived after that date, you only get 3rd class citizenship – and you get very little (certainly no vote) and you are considered to be a dog.

  • Brian, I am not saying anything about what happened centuries before our time – all I know is that I lived in a very muslim country for half a decade, and I found muslims to be particularly peaceful people. They just want us out of their countries (but, of course, we are not going to leave).

  • Brian, I forgot to address whether I have been to Mecca or Medina. Actually, I did go to Mecca once – but only on the outskirts – the company I worked for had a camp/compound about 100 yards from one of the road/entrance gates to Mecca. Non-Muslims are not allowed into Mecca. I did not consider that offensive. I suppose you would have taken your American attitude and said, “Why should I not be allowed into their city!!???” and been indignant about it. I wasn’t. I knew I couldn’t go into Mecca before I got there. I mean, non-Mormons are not allowed into Mormon temples – are you upset about that??? – that happens right there in the good old USA and also elsewhere around the world wherever there are Mormon temples. Does that upset me??? No. Why? Well, because the Mormons own those temples, not me. I mean, would you get violent if somebody came into the house you own??? No. I say the Saudis have the right to restrict Mecca and Medina to Muslims. I would say that you have an ego problem if you aren’t willing to accept that.

  • AlanM:

    I regard myself as being second to no man in my level of contempt for the Saudi government. However, do you actually believe the people of Saudi Arabia would be better-off if Al Qaeda ran the country?

    Similarly, Mubarak is a thug, but Egypt being run by the Muslim Brotherhood would be a very bad thing.

    In Iran, the Mossadegh overthrow took place in 1953. A lot has happened since then, and I think the recent protests there have shown that any resentment towards America is dwarfed by hatred of the mullahs.

  • “No. I say the Saudis have the right to restrict Mecca and Medina to Muslims. I would say that you have an ego problem if you aren’t willing to accept that.”

    Actually, it is the Saudis, and any Muslims who agree with them on this issue, who have the ego problem. Do you know why non-Muslims are not allowed in Mecca and Medina? It is because they are considered unclean. You think that might explain why the Saudi’s and most other Muslim-majority countries have such intolerant views of other religions?

    Would you be fine with it if the Vatican and the Italian government decided that non-Catholics would no longer be allowed in Rome? Why would that be any different?

    What other Saudi practices are you fine with? Bibles and crosses cannot be brought into the country. Are you okay with that? How about the ban on non-Muslim houses of worship. Are you fine with that too?

  • “I mean, non-Mormons are not allowed into Mormon temples – are you upset about that???”

    Are non-Mormons allowed in Salt Lake City?

  • Wow. It appears I have hit a raw nerve here. Brian, IMO, you are being extremely argumentative here. I posed the question, “Are non-Mormons allowed in Salt Lake City?” Well, I would counter that with such questions as, “Are Muslims allowed into Jerusalem to pray at the Al-Aksar Mosque???”, and “Are the million or so Palestinians in the squalid refugee camps just south of Beirut allowed to visit their former family homes in Israel???”. Well, the answer is “No”. And who has had played a large role in this???, why, it’s America. For example, in 1983, 241 American servicemen lost their lives in a car bomb attack on their military barracks. But what were American troops doing there in the first place!? (of all countries, America should not have been there simply because of our previous meddling in that region of the world) – well, the U.S. referred to these American military personnel as “peacekeepers” – while the muslim world viewed them as being there to keep the status quo, i.e. to prevent the Palestinians from getting the upper hand to where they might be able to get their homes/land back from Israel. This is an example of why Europeans have the saying, “The Jews get other people to fight their wars for them”. I am in Europe, and the Europeans view Americans as suckers/pawns in this long-running religious war. I mean, why fight your own war when you get some stupid sucker to fight it (and pay for it) for you?

    The amount of aid you give Israel is considerable (you even guarantee their national debt against default – why? – so that Israel can obtain the same low interest rate that America pays on its national debt – of course, what isn’t pointed out is that if Israel ever DOES default on its debt, then the primary beneficiaries of the American guarantee will be . . . . . Jews – why? – because they are basically the only ones who by Israeli government bonds – thus, if Israel defaults, the average American taxpayer will be forced to pay billions to rich Jews around the world (poor Jews do not buy Israeli government bonds). Go figure.

    Stink.

  • I also find it amusing to read in the American media that the Palestinians living in the Gaza strip should be thankful that they are allowed into Israel to work at various menial jobs. Of course, what is no longer being reported – and what the American public does not know – is that Gaza is not the home of many of these Palestinians – well if Gaza is not their home, then where IS it??? – well, their homes are in what is now called Israel – that is where they fled from when Israel was born in war. And who created Israel??? America. Go figure.

    Stink.

  • “And who created Israel??? America. Go figure.”
    Untrue. It was a UN Resolution that created Israel. The Arabs would not accept the partition and the armies of Lebananon, Jordan, Egypt, Syra and an expeditionary force from Iraq invaded Israel, thinking the Jews would be easy pickings. Surprise! The only aid Israel received at its birth was diplomatic recognition from the US, along with the Soviet Union and most other non-Arab nations of the world. Israel received zero military assistance from the US government during its war for independence.

  • Hey, here’s one for you – a primer on Middle East history that I bet you didn’t know. Do you remember the Munich Olympics massacre??? It was “masterminded” by one “Abu Nidal”. I’ll bet you don’t know who Abu Nidal was (he is now deceased) – other than being a “terrorist”. Well, his father was considered to be the richest man in all of Palestine – said to export 10% of all the fruit shipped to Europe. His father was on very good terms with the Jews – and knew Chaim Hertzog personally (do you even know who he is???). Well, abu Nidal lost everything when Israel was created:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Nidal

    Is it any wonder that abu Nidal decided to start killing Jews??? I mean, I wouldn’t have done it, but it’s not surprising. He went from being a Rockefeller to being a refugee. But is this ever mentioned in the American press. No. You should ask yourself why.

    Stink.

  • Donald McClarey,

    You wrote, “It was a UN Resolution that created Israel”. That betrays a stunning ignorance of world affairs. As the rest of the world knows, the U.N. is a joke – the votes are all bought. After WWII, America controlled the purse strings for a vast number of countries and we controlled their UN votes (also, remember, the UN was an American creation). This declined over time until we got to the point in the early 1970′s where the UN passed a resolution stating that “Zionism was racism”. Then the Jewish lobby got into gear and changed all that – these days, UN votes are all bought again. When El Salvador votes on a UN resolution, the first thing the Salvadorean UN ambassador does is NOT call home and ask “How should I vote?” – no, he walks over to the American desk and asks the same question – why? – because El Salvador doesn’t want to lose American economic aid. That is also why you Americans believe that there is a “coalition” that supports you in these wars. There is no coalition – there never was one. True, you have about two dozen countries with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan – but the citizens of those countries do not support you. And the troop levels are a joke. There are about 300 El Salvadorean troops in the two wars – and NONE of them are on the front line – why? – because if it got reported in El Salvador that Salvadorean troops were getting killed, there would huge political problems in El Salvador if not riots. You think that is an exaggeration??? Then just look at Spain. Spain was supposedly one of your “coalition” partners – and then home-grown Muslims blew up the Madrid transit system, killing 191 and injuring over 2,000. And what did the Spaniards do??? They took to the streets . . . . . in massive numbers – a third of the entire country took to the streets. And were they protesting against the Muslim bombers??? No, they were protesting against their government for taking them into a war that over 90% of the public was against in the first place. And did the bogus Spanish government back down??? No. (Actually, they first lied and blamed it on Basque separatists without ANY evidence whatsoever.) And then what happened??? The Spaniards took to the streets for a second day – because the government refused to obey the public – and then the protests started to turn violent – Spaniards will assassinate their public officials if they do not obey them – and it was only when the protests started to turn violent – when the protesters (the country, actually – a third of the country was on the streets – and when you take into account the old and the children that had to stay home, it was a vast majority that supported the protests), it was only at that point – at the point of violence – that the government backed down and obeyed the wishes of the Spanish public.

    Conclusion??? The Spanish government does not do the bidding of the Spanish public – it does the bidding of foreigners (there are only two countries in the world whose citizens support these wars in Muslim countries). Spain was shocked to find out that it was little different from a banana republic, i.e. a government that does not obey it’s citizens (unless threatened with violence – normally, that is called a “civil war” – well, America pushed Spain towards that).

    Donald, I’m sure you’re a nice guy, but for you to bring up the “UN resolution” for Israel – that is a joke – Europe was on its back immediately after WWII – America held all the cards.

    And, hey, even if there WAS a legitimate worldwide vote on the creation of Israel (which, if there WAS one, Israel would lose hands down), there is the point that I have heard many Palestinians voice to me, to wit: “Since it has often been said that Israel was created out of the guilt over what happened to the Jews in WWII, then why not give the Jews the state of Bavaria in Germany???, or the state of Florida or Illinois in America??? – if you feel guilty about it, then give them YOUR land, don’t just decide to give the Jews OUR land. Bloody cheek.”

  • Refreshing to see a bit of light shined upon a misunderstood stretch of the past. Many ill-informed talking heads today (or ill-meaning) invoke the Crusades as if the event arose from a vacuum. The interplay between all nations at the time was brutish and regularly defiled the spirit of the religions they wrapped themselves in. Having said that, the Crusades have to be viewed in the context of the ceaseless depradations of Islamic Holy warriors who ranged through the entire Mediterranean for centuries.

    AlanM’s simplistic comment above, apropo of nothing, reflects this debating without histrical context. The Arabs who fled to Gaza were refugees, but no different that the nearly 1 million Jews who fled Arab lands at the same time (both before and after 1948) because of rising tensions. Or the 14 million (!!!!) displaced from India/Pakistan at their creation in 1947.
    Go figure, AlanM.
    Both were the culmination of decades of conflict between two competing national aspirations. The single-minded obsession by too many in the West with the “plight” of the Palestinians has darker causes if only those devoted to this Religion searched their own motives. Are any of the 14 million Indians and Pakistanis still sequestered refugees in their lands of asylum? Are any of the 2-3 million Greeks driven from Asia Minor in the early 1920′s still languishing in camps?
    Go figure, AlanM.

  • Donald,

    In short, your suggestion that the UN resolution that “created” Israel was legitimate, is a joke.

    Also, the truth be told, that was just the paperwork – the physical realities is that Israel was created by America – if it had not been recognised, it would have failed. America was the first country to recognise Israel – 20 minutes after the Jews claimed their state.

    I mean, think about it – would YOU like to be a Christian living in America and suddenly be told that you are now living in a Muslim state, or a Hindu state, or a Shintu state??? No. Well then, why would you think that Muslims would agree to suddenly be in a Jewish state??? Doesn’t make sense. But of course, you never thought about this because your media never presents this point of view, and your entire education on this subject comes from you watching your TV.

  • Why should there be a “legitimate worldwide vote” on whether any given country should exist? The fact is, there was a significant population of Jews living in Palestine who had been seeking to have their own state since before the turn of the century. Why they should have less of a right to that than others living in the area is beyond me.

    Though really, if AlanM wants to make himself the public face here of opposing Israel’s existence in our comment boxes, he seems like a pretty good example of the sort of piece of work that feels that way.

  • UN resolutions are generally fluffy words. People on the ground enact facts. As far as your comments, “would you as a Christian living in America suddenyl be told you are now living in a Muslim or Hindu State”? that is PRECISELY what happened to Hindus in what became Pakistan and Greeks who lived in Asia Minor. Picking a pet-refugee problem speaks more about your bigotries than political events.

  • AlanM,

    would YOU like to be a Christian living in America and suddenly be told that you are now living in a Muslim state, or a Hindu state, or a Shintu state???

    Kind of like what the Muslims did to the Christians in the Middle East when Muhammad’s genocidal armies conquered the Christian kingdoms in the 7th and 8th centuries and suddenly announced that they were living in a Muslim state.

  • Amen, Tito Edwards.

    AlanM’s historical worldview and too many of those who vociforously wrap themselves in “Palestine”, extend back as far as their awareness of the proximate event, it would seem and no furher.

  • Ed,

    I would be the first to say that my above explanation is “simplistic” – it would take volumes to go through all the details that led to the current situation. I had to condense things to a couple of paragraphs. Tough to do. But there ARE two sides to this, and the average American doesn’t know this.

    And there is another thing that 99.9% of Americans don’t know (and which I completely left out) – is that the Palestinians are Jews – well, okay, they are not currently Jews, but they WERE Jews – unknown to most Americans, every Palestinian is a descendant of Abraham, thus all Palestinians are Semites (they may not be Jews today, but they are still Semites). Thus, if you believe this stuff about the Jews being chosen, etc, then the Palestinians have every right to live in what is Israel today.

    And I have left out other things – I hope I don’t have to remind people that Islam only came about circa 800 A.D. And that Jesus is in the Koran (I have a college friend of mine – she has a master degree from an Ivy League college, who is a born-again Christian, who is a Bible-thumper and has built her life around Christianity for the last 30 years, and when I told her that Jesus was in the Koran, it just floored her – she couldn’t believe it – and she said, “Well, if they know he is the Son of God, then why aren’t they Christians?”, and I had to explain to her that in Islam, Jesus is a prophet. In Judaism, Jesus was a fraud, in Islam he is a prophet, and in Christianity, he is the Son of God.

  • “America was the first country to recognise Israel – 20 minutes after the Jews claimed their state.” Followed almost immediately by the Soviet Union. America did not create Israel, Alan, contrary to Arab propaganda. Israel was a creation of the Yishuv, the Jewish people in Palestine, as the culmination of the Zionist movement. Your contention that America did this is not supported by any historical facts.

    The UN partition plan created both a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews accepted the partition plan and the Arabs did not, thinking they could win a war against the Jews. A misjudgment of Biblical proportions on the part of the Arabs.

  • Though really, if AlanM wants to make himself the public face here of opposing Israel’s existence in our comment boxes, he seems like a pretty good example of the sort of piece of work that feels that way.

    Dunno. Maclin Horton’s blogging partner is much more obstreperous and verbose. The two men manifest quite different sensibilities and it is difficult to discern how their common projects could be sustainable.

  • “And I have left out other things – I hope I don’t have to remind people that Islam only came about circa 800 A.D.”

    Islam actually came about in 610 AD

    “And that Jesus is in the Koran”

    As the son of Miriam. He is considered a great prophet although not the Son of God. According to the Koran Jesus will come in the last days to condemn the Christians who worship him as God.

  • Qur’an 4:171-173 Surah An-Nisaa (The Women)

    O people of the Book! commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of Allah aught but truth. Christ (Maseeh) Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an Apostle of Allah and His Word which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His Apostles. Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is One Allah: glory be to him: (for Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.
    Christ (Maseeh) disdaineth not to serve and worship Allah nor do the angels those nearest (to Allah): those who disdain His worship and are arrogant He will gather them all together unto himself to (answer).

    But to those who believe and do deeds of righteousness He will give their (due) rewards and more out of His bounty: but those who are disdainful and arrogant He will punish with a grievous penalty; nor will they find besides Allah any to protect or help them.

  • “Palestinian” as an identity is a modern creation. The area referred as such with its specific borders was a creation of the Anglo-French committees that drew them after the First World War. Self-identities of Arab communities during the Ottoman times were more related to the location of residence and were fluid depending upon economic conditions. They are Arabs, descended from the initial invading hordes out of Arabia or subsequent migrants looking for fertile land to posess.

    The fact that Jesus appears in the Qur’an is a reflection of Muhammed’s willful co-opting, in an ahistorical fashion, the traditions of the Jews and Christians in whose midst he lived. Nothing more. The Qur’an also views the Jewish and Christian bibles as corrupted and incomplete and claims the personages of the Bible as Muslims rather than Jews and Christians. The life of Arabs, their history and literary traditions before Muhammed (referred to as the “jaihillya” or benighted period) is wiped clean and this new narrative sourced to Abraham, manufactured for the new Muslim masses.

  • Dunno. Maclin Horton’s blogging partner is much more obstreperous and verbose.

    Which one is he?

  • “I posed the question, “Are non-Mormons allowed in Salt Lake City?”

    Actually, I posed that question in response to your bizarre attempt to equate non-Mormons being excluded from Mormon Temples with non-Muslims being excluded from the cities of Mecca and Medina. There are all kinds of establishments in this country I cannot go to if I am not a member or do not pay an admission fee. There are no cities that I cannot enter because of my religion.

    “This is an example of why Europeans have the saying, “The Jews get other people to fight their wars for them”. I am in Europe, and the Europeans view Americans as suckers/pawns in this long-running religious war. I mean, why fight your own war when you get some stupid sucker to fight it (and pay for it) for you?”

    The Europeans have plenty of sayings about Jews which, like this one, have no basis in reality. The Israelis have done plenty of their own fighting.

    “The amount of aid you give Israel is considerable”

    The amount of aid we give to various Muslim countries is even more considerable.

  • “(I have a college friend of mine – she has a master degree from an Ivy League college, who is a born-again Christian, who is a Bible-thumper and has built her life around Christianity for the last 30 years, and when I told her that Jesus was in the Koran, it just floored her – she couldn’t believe it – and she said, “Well, if they know he is the Son of God, then why aren’t they Christians?”, and I had to explain to her that in Islam, Jesus is a prophet. In Judaism, Jesus was a fraud, in Islam he is a prophet, and in Christianity, he is the Son of God.”

    All that money doesn’t buy much of an education apparently.

  • DarwinCatholic, you wrote:

    “Why should there be a ‘legitimate worldwide vote’ on whether any given country should exist?”

    ANSWER: Precisely my point – what is a “legitimate vote”??? But surely not what the UN is, no? (ruled by a “Security Council” . . . . . that set it up in the first place!!!

    “The fact is, there was a significant population of Jews living in Palestine who had been seeking to have their own state since before the turn of the century.”

    ANSWER: Now you are getting to the crux of the matter. The truth is, the vast majority of the population before the twentieth century used to be Palestinians (that’s why the British called it “Palestine”). But then the Jews started coming back after centuries of being away. This sparked riots – and I’ll bet most of the people reading this don’t know that (because it is not taught in American schools and American TV doesn’t mention it – but here is a beginning references:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1936%E2%80%931939_Arab_revolt_in_Palestine

    Just read the first sentence of that entry.

    The Jews were a MINORITY until they started emigrating to Palestine around the turn of the century.

    The problem involves Britain, which controlled Palestine. One of the biggest problems is the Balfour Declaration:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balfour_Declaration_of_1917

    Why did Britain do that, and why was that written to Lord Rothschild??? Because World War One had started, and Britain – like many countries – was broke – back then, entire governments and countries depended on bankers willing to finance them, and Britain was afraid that the Rothschilds (by far the richest family in Europe) might finance Germany, so Britain bought the backing of the Rothschilds by agreeing to a Jewish state. Lovely for everyone, for all around . . . . except if you happened to be a Muslim Palestinian living in Palestine. That is where a huge part of the stink occurred.

    As for the rest of your comment – hey, look, I’m laughing – YOU are the one that is entangled in these religious wars – YOU are the one that has been bankrupted by them. I mean, just ask yourself this one question – if America is so in the “right” on this, then why did the Dutch pull completely out two weeks ago? – why are Canadians offended by their very limited role in these wars? – why did the Spaniards take to the streets to protest their own government rather than the people that blew up the Madrid transit system? – why is German involvement in these wars causing so many political problems in Germany? – why can’t you get the Russians to send any troops to help fight your wars? – why can’t you get the Chinese to send any troops to fight your wars? – why can’t you get any Indians to send any troops to fight your wars? – why did Britain’s involvement in the invasion of Iraq trigger the biggest mass demonstration in Europe since World War Two??? – why are your “coalition allies” largely third-world banana republics who only send a couple of hundred troops and are never on the front line????

  • AlanM,

    You haven’t addressed my response.

    The Middle East was overwhelmingly Christian before the Muslim’s invaded and imposed their religion and declared the area a Muslim state.

    Will you be the torch-bearer for the Christians in the Middle East so that they can get their territories back?

  • “Because World War One had started, and Britain – like many countries – was broke – back then, entire governments and countries depended on bankers willing to finance them, and Britain was afraid that the Rothschilds (by far the richest family in Europe) might finance Germany, so Britain bought the backing of the Rothschilds by agreeing to a Jewish state.”

    That is ludicrous. All the Rothschild assets would not have made a minor dent in the national debt Britain was accruing during World War I. The declaration was made on November 2, 1917, more than three years after the start of the war. Baron Rothschild, to whom the declaration was issued, was a leader of the Jewish community in Great Britain. The declaration was a way of obtaining the loyalty of the Jews in Palestine against the Turks. Similar promises were made to nationalist Arabs in Arabia and Syria, that the Brits would support creation of Arab states.

  • AlanM’s insistance about “Palestine” containing a majority of Arabs misses the point that there WAS NO SUCH PLACE AS A DEFINED OR INDEPENDENT POLITY besides roughly drawn Ottoman provinces. In fact, fewer than 150,000 souls inhabited the land in 1869 when Mark Twain visited and Muslims, though the larger of the three religious groups, were not a majority. But AlanM again misses the point. Muslims flooding the landscape does not suddenly negate historical occupants.
    The majority of inhabitants of Salonika were Jews by the end of the 19th century. So what? The majority in the Indian Kashmir are Muslims? I don’t see AlanM ranting about that. AlanM is busy with his pet-refugee obsession.

  • Donald R. McClarey,

    You wrote:

    “Islam actually came about in 610 AD”

    Oh, wow, you really scored a point there. In case you didn’t notice, I said “circa” precisely because I don’t remember the exact date (I am not a scholar on the Koran). But I’m sure you think you have scored a debating point. But just ask yourself this question, “If America is in the right, then why has it been widely reported that Europe has lost sympathy for America over 9/11???” I am going to guess that you are going to instantly say, “I dunno”. Duh.

    Donald, you are petty nitpicker – I said “circa” because I didn’t know the exact date off the top of my head, but you jumped on it. Twit. Your response reveals who you are, as a person.

    Anyway, you are paying for it. We in Europe are doing quite well (aside from Iceland, Ireland, and Greece). From what we read in the newspapers, America is not doing so well at the moment. It reminds me of something Osama bin Laden said about 6 months after 9/11 – he said something to the effect that the way he would defeat America would be by bankrupting it. And to this, I would have to agree. You are paying an EXTRAORDINARY cost for these wars. Japan isn’t. China isn’t (China is buying Iran’s oil and thus short-circuiting your attempted strangle of Iran). Russia isn’t. Brazil isn’t. Mexico isn’t (on the contrary, rather than paying a dime towards your wars, they are eating you alive). And Israel isn’t (on the contrary, they are MAKING money out of their relationship with America, starting with the payments they receive for signing the Camp David “Peace” Accords to the subsidization/guarantee of their national debt, to the soft loans to buy American F-16 Falcons, to the forgiveness of soft loans.

    Anyway, we’re doing quite well over her in Europe at the moment. London house prices are at record highs, German unemployment is two full percentage points below America. Go figure.

    Live and learn.

  • The truth is, the vast majority of the population before the twentieth century used to be Palestinians (that’s why the British called it “Palestine”)

    The designation ‘Mandate of Palestine’ referred not to the local Arab population but to the Roman province of that name. The territory was a collection of Ottoman sanjaks and its specific boundaries were defined only in 1922. During the mandatory period, use of the term ‘Palestine’ was characteristic of the Jewish population therein, not the Arab population. The political authority governing the Jewish population was the Jewish Agency for Palestine, the principal newspaper the Palestine Post, and so forth. A collective self-concept among Arabs who had some association with mandatory Palestine tied to that particular territory (as opposed to understanding themselves as Syrians, or Arabs, or members of one or another tribal group) does not pre-date 1922 and was not all that general before about 1968.

    Again, the colonization of the coastal plain and the valley of Jezreel was voluntary, constructive, and economically beneficial to the resident Arab population and Arabs migrating from Egypt and other parts of the Levant. The thing is, a political entity composed of a mixed population was, by 1947, a non-viable proposition. By 1967, over 90% of the population of Sephardic and Oriental Jews had settled in Israel, so if you would like to dispose of the Jewish state, you will have to come up with a plan as to where to put these people (among many others).

  • “Oh, wow, you really scored a point there.”

    Actually no Alan, since you are obviously completely ignorant about all the issues under discussion. You are a Jew hater who believes in simple minded conspiracy theories. What is amazing is that someone as factually challenged as you are thinks that you score any points debating issues in a combox with people who realize that all you have to offer is hardcore bigotry and raw ignorance.

  • I am in Europe, and the Europeans view Americans as suckers/pawns in this long-running religious war. I mean, why fight your own war when you get some stupid sucker to fight it (and pay for it) for you?

    Perhaps some or many, I don’t know. Maybe it’s true, after all, those very people know they would probably be living under the Third Reich if it weren’t for the US being a sucker. An even bigger sucker for pumping money and resources to rebuild the continent. A monumental sucker for defending the continent for 50 years during the Cold War. So be it, they were the right things to do and if we’re viewed as suckers for it it only reflects on the character of the accusers.

  • Tito, you wrote:

    “The Middle East was overwhelmingly Christian before the Muslim’s invaded and imposed their religion and declared the area a Muslim state. Will you be the torch-bearer for the Christians in the Middle East so that they can get their territories back?”

    ANSWER: The Middle East was WHO, and controlled by WHAT religion???? Depends on what time period you are talking about, I suppose:

    http://www.mapsofwar.com/images/EMPIRE17.swf

  • You are paying an EXTRAORDINARY cost for these wars.

    Public expenditure on the military increased after 2001 from 3.5% of domestic product to 5% of domestic product. There’s your extraordinary cost. I cannot figure the causal relationship between the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and all the property-holders in Las Vegas underwater on their mortgages, but I have not had the benefits of a superior European education.

  • Art, I am an investment banker (well, I WAS one – I was a mortgage-backed securities guy . . . . until the credit crisis hit), and I’ve read differing costs of these wars. I’ve read where they have cost $3 trillion dollars (and that doesn’t include interest costs). I DO know that the cost is grossly undercounted. For example, the cost of the “Department of Homeland Security” – that department was entirely formed due to the 9/11 attacks (well, as we would say, the “9/11 counter-attacks”). And then you’ve got the cost of all those FBI agents (reported to be over half of them) that have been pulled off traditional crime cases like chasing the mafia, and are now chasing home-grown muslim “terrorists” – the point being that the FBI is under the Justice Dept, thus does not show up as a Defense Dept cost. And that doesn’t even begin to include the cost to America of allowing the mafia and other criminals to flourish because of lack of FBI surveillance, and then you have the cost of all those Federal prosecutors who are no longer prosecuting mafia guys but are after the home-grown muslim “terrorists”, and then you’ve got the cost of the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) who have similarly been told to re-tool and go after home-grown Muslim terrorists (ATF is under Treasury), and then you’ve got this cost of all the Federal debt that has been run up because of these wars (the 1992 Gulf War alone cost $1 trillion – which America did not have so had to borrow it). And then you’ve got all the state costs (every state has a “Office of Homeland Security”, and you’ve got a multitude of other costs – federal buildings all have to be built to bomb-proof specifications these days (this is only being done in America – this is not being done in, say, Helsinki – why? – because the Finns know that they are never going to be a target of “Muslim terrorists” – why? – because the Finns never sent their troops to the Middle East, and the Finns never sent any of their money to prop up bogus Middle East regimes like Hosni Mubarek. Only America did that. Even your neighbor to the north, Canada, didn’t do that (hell, Canada gave refuge to American citizens trying to escape the bogus war in Vietnam – and that was your CLOSEST NEIGHBOR that did that (!). Go figure.

    Doesn’t take a genius to figure out what America thinks, and what the rest of the world thinks (and why the rest of the world has no sympathy left for America over 9/11 – after all, America did nothing to solve the underlying problem (how could America do that – America caused it).

  • To all:

    To figure this thing out, all you have to do is ask yourself a couple of very simple questions: (1) Who in their right mind would pay money to someone to sign a peace treaty???, and (2) If paying money to Israel (and Egypt) to sign the peace treaty was such a good idea, then why was America unable to get any other country – not even ONE – to help pay the cost???

    It is really no surprise that the majority of the 9/11 hijackers were Egyptians and Saudis? The two big questions that you should be asking yourselves are: (1) Why did we attack Iraq since NONE of the hijackers were Iraqis, and (2) Why do the Europeans (and the Japanese, and the Chinese, and the Russians, et al) not back us???? (and the correlated question, “Why has the American media not reported the message that none of our allies support us???)

  • Let’s all make AlanM, our European friend feel at home: the Jews, of course and the Elders of Zion who have manipulated everyone without them knowing!

    Sleep tight, AlanM for I am certain that the coming Islamic majority in Britain will give you a pass for your dutiful service.

  • Art,

    All said and done, it was a MIXED population, both Muslim and Jew. So don’t you think that the best and most obvious solution would have been a non-sectarian state??? I have no idea how it might have been structured – who knows – maybe along the lines of post-war Berlin, where you might have Russian, American, European and Chinese people running the government, telling the Jews and Muslims how to obey the non-religious laws.

    Personally, given the mixed population, I think a Islamic or Jewish state is ridiculous, and you should expect failure. I think it stinks. I can only see a non-sectarian/multi-cultural state. But the Jews wanted a religious state (just as the Muslims want). I think they deserve each other. Let them go fight it out – but the big problem is that America doesn’t want that – America wants to be involved in the fighting at a ground level – so don’t complain when things go bad!

  • Ed,

    Oh, I am aware of that – that Britain will go Muslim within 50 years. I don’t have any kids (and I’m not going to have any), so I don’t really care. In fact, I think it is funny that Britain has let in all these Muslims, and now they are breeding FAST – so fast that, as you say, they will be a majority shortly. I think it’s hilarious – it will teach the lesson of a lifetime to the Brits who sat idly by and let this happen. And do you know who it happened??? Well, what happened is, after WWII, the textile manufacturers in the British Midlands did not want to pay competitive wages (believe it or not, back then, there was a SHORTAGE of labour – no one knew “unemployment” – and so the textile factory owners got Parliament to let in low-wage Pakistani workers – the problem is that the liberal upper-class let them have citizenship – and so now, cities like Bradford are 98% Muslim – but fast forward 50 years – now the textile factories are uneconomic due to the rise of India and China, so the textile owners have sold the factories to the Asians and the factories have been cut up with acetylene torches and shipped to India and China . . . . . but the Pakistanis in Britain remain. HILARIOUS!!! What a bunch of idiots. But I don’t care – I don’t have any children.

    You shall reap as you sow.

  • AlanM,

    So why are you agitating for the faux-state of Palestine? Israel is just another nation that has re-emerged on the scene?

  • Art Deco, AlanM, Ed, RL,

    What not get a gravatar for your WP ID?

    Go here:

    http://en.gravatar.com/

  • Nice post Joe, my Levantine friend.

    I just want to get something clear, are some people actually claiming to be Catholic and then stating that the Crusades are a war of aggression?

    I don’t get it. Did Crusaders do bad things? Of course they did. Does that make the Crusades themselves bad? Of course not! The Catholic Church is the one, Holy Church established by Jesus Christ Himself. Can anyone professing to be Catholic dispute that the Church is impeccable? Wouldn’t that dispute render one excommunicated? The Catholic Church is perfect, after all she is the Mystical Body of Christ, right? Yet, the constituent parts of the Church, namely us, are far from perfect. If one was to judge the entire Church by my behavior then the Church may deserve to be destroyed. Condemning an institution through the acts of its members is deceitful.

    Crusaders did some terrible things, but the Crusades themselves were just, at least called for just reasons.

    Who attacked first? Hmm, let us take a look.

    In 570 AD a pagan Arab by the name of Mohammad was born in the Hijaz. What was that part of the world like. It had many Arab Jews, Arab Christians and Arab pagans. A royal inscription (in Himyar (Yemen)) dating from about 542 reads, “In the power of the All-Merciful, and His Messiah and the Holy Ghost.” That is clearly not pagan or Jewish and way too early to be Muslim. in 523 Dhu Nawas massacred 4-20K Christians. How did a pagan/Jewish king massacre so many Crusaders in Arabia five centuries before the Pope called the Crusades? Did they have a flux capacitor?

    The Ka’ba is a meteorite that was worshiped by pagan pilgrims on their pilgrimage (Haj) to Mecca, one of the pagan Arab practices adopted by Islam. Yet, not too far, in fact, an easier journey for most Arabs was another pilgrimage site. The Cathedral at Sana’a, which was built by the Christian King Abramos to lead Arabs to Christ and away from an alien rock and paganism. It worked so well that the wealth and status of the guardians of the Ka’ba was threatened. Those guardians were the Quaraish tribe, the very same tribe Mohammad was born into. Could he have fabricated the Moslem heresy in order to avenge his clan?

    Since there is strong evidence of Christianity (Catholic and heretical – Arian, Nestorian, etc.) in Arabia for centuries before Mohammad was even born, how can anyone logically and cogently claim that the Crusades were foreign adventurism and wars of aggression against a peaceful religion? Not to mention the Crusades had no designs on Mecca, rather it was liberating Jerusalem, the city that Christ won by shedding His own Blood. Are there any churches in Saudia today? What happened to the Churches? Did the peaceful Moslems take such good care of their Christian neighbors? I suppose that depends on the meaning of ‘take care of’ huh?

    Seriously, the argument that Islam is peaceful and the Crusades are an aggressive military war of conquest is preposterous. Mohammadism is only peaceful when it has conquered the world and eradicated all other religions – that is not the kind of peace any sane person wants.

    Pax Domini.

  • AlanM,

    The Department of Homeland Security is an assemblage of agencies that were extant prior to 2002. If you wish to assess ‘costs’, look at the budget for those agencies in FY 2000, compare said budgets to the current budgets, and then deflate the sum by the growth in nominal domestic product over the last decade. Generally, we devote a higher proportion of available resources to law enforcement than was the case a generation ago (as late as 1985, about 2% of New York’s domestic product was devoted to the police, courts, and prisons). However, 89% of the cost of domestic law enforcement is borne by state and local administrations. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is responsible for federal policing not assigned to agencies with specialized mandates, employs about 30,000 people. You are not going to bankrupt America with expenditures on federal law enforcement. (One might also note that revitalized efforts to control the border and hunt down terrorists were in response to external initiatives).

    With regard to military expenditures, the accounting you are doing is highly dubious. Again, the wars are being fought largely by redeployment of extant forces, with some increase in over-all expenditures, of the dimensions noted. Again, no one is quite sure why Israel is being held (by you) responsible for this.

    All said and done, it was a MIXED population, both Muslim and Jew. So don’t you think that the best and most obvious solution would have been a non-sectarian state???

    No. Bi-national and multi-national entities are commonly tense and require a political class willing and able to engage in tedious negotiation to defuse omnipresent communal tensions. It is a cumbersome arrangement in the best of circumstances and would have required of Haj Amin el-Husseini a disposition he did not possess and which the political leadership of the Arab population typically does not. In any case, much of the Arab population left the country in 1947 and 1948 to clear the decks for an invasion of massed Arab armies. The Jewish population from Turkey and various Arab countries replaced them over the succeeding twenty years. What is the point of another round of mixing things up? There are 18 sovereign states politically dominated by Arabs, all but 3 or 4 of which are demographically dominated by Arabs as well. There are two states dominated by speakers of the Levantine vernacular and a third where the Levantine vernacular is modal. You propose to add a fourth state where the Levantine vernacular will be modal and put the Jews at the mercy of an Arab population whose leadership has had as a consistent object of running an ethnic cleansing extravaganza. I take it you also peddled mortgage-backed securities. You have a nose for destructive arrangements.

  • Thanks for the link. I had no idea how to get one before.

    I chose that one because it goes with my handle and I am hoping it upsets liberals. I’m not too sure how Moslems will feel about it, but perhaps it will inspire a nice dialogue. One in which people can be properly educated about Someone called Truth, you know the One Who is, Who was and Who will always be.

  • American Knight,

    HEY!!! Thanks for that. You know something, I had never really looked into the Ka’ba:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ka%27ba

    Hilarious!!! Oh sh!t – a METEORITE!!!

    You can’t see me, but I have fallen out of my chair laughing. I mean, I gave the Muslims their due – as well I should have – but this is hilarious – not that I take anything away from them – if worshipping a meteorite is anything better than any other humans have done, please tell me.

    But thanks for posting that. WHAT A LAUGH!!!!

    Best,

    AlanM

  • But the Jews wanted a religious state

    Er, no, the Jews who founded the State of Israel were a pretty secular, socialist bunch. If the Jewish state was a theocracy in the same sense Iran is you wouldn’t have gay bars in Tel Aviv, would you?

    The reason Israel exists is because certain Europeans demonstrated time and time again that the Jews were considered alien and subhuman no matter how matter what Jews did or didn’t do. The Nazis drew no distinctions whatsoever between the devoutly Orthodox, Yiddish-speaking Jews of Eastern Europe and the secular, sophisticated Jews of Berlin and Paris.

    Oh, I am aware of that – that Britain will go Muslim within 50 years. I don’t have any kids (and I’m not going to have any), so I don’t really care.

    And clearly, you also have no relatives or friends with children either, I suppose. And not enough patriotism or sense of national pride to mourn the passing of what was once a great nation.

    Yes, a country filled with persons who think like you is certainly doomed.

  • Donna V, you are dumber than box of rocks. You wrote:

    “The reason Israel exists is because certain Europeans demonstrated time and time again that the Jews were considered alien and subhuman no matter how matter what Jews did or didn’t do.”

    Well . . . DUHHH. Thus what is your response to the Muslims who agree wholeheartedly with you??? – their response is that EUROPE (mainly Germany, but that may be simply because that is where most of the Jews were) should provide land for the Jews. I mean, if you were a Palestinian, why should YOU provide land for the Jews because of what the Germans did???? DUH!!!!

    Donna, I’ll say it again – you’re as dumb as a box of rocks.

  • Alan,

    If you can’t have a discussion without crude insults, you won’t have one here at all.

    I got Donna’s back, yo’.

  • That in spite of the fact that I actually see the reasonableness of your argument – I don’t think it is fair that the people living in that region were seen as expendable pawns, when the Germans were responsible for the Holocaust.

    But plenty of blame for the Palestinian plight belongs with the surrounding Arab regimes.

  • Oh, and can somebody please explain to me how Charles de Gaulle, who one would have thought would have been a natural ally of the Jews (both were against the Nazis), described the Jews during the outbreak of the 1967 after the Six Day War:

    “this elite people, sure of themselves and domineering”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_de_Gaulle#Six-Day_War

    That is why the Germans got sick of them. No, the average German did not know that the Jews were being carted off to death – but they did not complain when the Jews were taken away. I mean, you either have to figure that the Germans (and the French) were human monsters, or . . . . . they had something against the Jews. Certainly de Gaulle did – heck, he had the courage to say it in front of the world.

  • I guess what de Gaulle was saying, was, he didn’t want France to be bossed around by the Jews. What he was saying was, “Why should France be told what to do by the Jews??? – where do they get off assuming that they are in command???”

  • De Gaulle stood up to Jewish imperiousness. And that imperiousness is surprising – you would have thought that a race that had just been subjected to a holocaust (a third of them got wiped off the face of the Earth) would be the meekest race in the world . . . . but it didn’t turn out that way – no, it turned out that the surviving Jews were just as bossy as the previous generations – if not more so. And within 20 years, the Jews’ erstwhile ally, de Gaulle, not only turned against them but actually spoke in PUBLIC against them (can you imagine a politician doing that TODAY????!!!!). Go figure.

    Stink.

  • Wow. Ok. So you start of complaining about Islamophobia, and you end up a raving anti-Semite.

    You’re done here.

  • Thanks, Joe, but I can handle this guy :-)

    You can say “dumber than a box of rocks” and DUH! (such sparkling repartee!) as much as you like, Alan. It doesn’t change the fact that you mistakenly said the Jews wanted a religious state, when it is pretty obvious that Israel is not a theocracy.

    I mean, if you were a Palestinian, why should YOU provide land for the Jews because of what the Germans did???? DUH!!!!

    Er, my first post did not address the views of the Palestinians at all. I didn’t even mention them. My point was that Zionism was a secular response to European anti-Semitism. Theodor Herzel wrote “The Jewish State” after witnessing the hatred directed at Alfred Dreyfus, who was clearly innocent. Herzel guessed, quite correctly as it turned out, that if even a thoroughly assimilated Jew like Dreyfus could arouse such bigotry in modern France the future for European Jews was not promising.

    Yes, the point that Arabs should not pay for European crimes is a valid one. However, what interests me is the outsized and (usually entirely one-sided) interest Europeans take in the Arab-Israeli conflict, because I doubt it’s really based on sympathy for the Arabs as much as it is about antipathy toward the Jews.

    The Israeli novelist Amoz Oz has said that during the 1930′s, his father saw graffiti scrawled on European walls which said “Jews, go to Palestine.” Now he reads European graffiti which says “Zionists out of Palestine.”

    So don’t be here and don’t be there, says Oz. In other words: Don’t be.

    Oh, and Charles DeGaulle calling someone else “sure of themselves and domineering” is a bit like Paris Hilton calling someone else a tramp. DeGaulle also did not think much of the US or Anglo-Saxons in general, as I recall. I would hardly call airing prejudices against Jews, the Brits or the US acts of marvelous courage for a French politician.

    No, the average German did not know that the Jews were being carted off to death – but they did not complain when the Jews were taken away.

    Alan informs us that it was not because of bigotry, moral indifference, cowardice and fear on the part of the Germans – no, if the Jews were persecuted, it’s because they brought it on themselves. Oh, I see. Anne Frank had it coming. Gotcha.

    Well, as Mark Steyn has noted, in the Islamic Europe of the future, the Europeans will be the Jews. And if Europeans like Alan don’t care, I certainly am finding it difficult to summon up any sympathy for people bent on self-destruction. Perhaps the antipathy directed at the US and Israel (the most intense passions modern Europeans can seem to summon up) is at least partly due to hatred of those who still have spines and a survival instinct.

  • Joe wrote:
    So you start of complaining about Islamophobia, and you end up a raving anti-Semite.

    Yeah, Alan unwittingly provides evidence for my point:

    However, what interests me is the outsized and (usually entirely one-sided) interest Europeans take in the Arab-Israeli conflict, because I doubt it’s really based on sympathy for the Arabs as much as it is about antipathy toward the Jews.

  • Thanks Joe for an excellent article. I’ve waded through all the comments too – whew!! And I’ve learned a lot.
    Your info needs to get out, and I will share on FB and send to friends. We need to be informed of the facts of history!
    As for me, I do believe Europe was long-suffering before the Crusades began, and thankfully Islam never made it past the gates of Vienna!! We have the Knights Templier to thank. Now I am speaking from the little I know, and intend to research the links here more!
    God bless you, fellow Christian!

  • A tremendous article. Thank you for espousing what I knew to be true and for articulating it better than I could.

    This should be required reading for all Americans.

  • What Catholic revisionist nonsense. 200 hail mary’s for you boy!

  • [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OL52EHy6GzQ&fs=1&hl=en_US]

  • was that alan m a catholic or even a christian? i was born and lived most of my lifeine ngland to irish immigrants and have been living in ireland for four years but though i love ireland its destroyed( another story) and i long to go home to england where i have great friends. yes its flawed and living in coventry a few years ago i started to feellike a foriegner nad was sick ofthe way the imans with their little groups of accolytes would look at me as i took my childto the park to play. but what alan m said has really annoyed and offended me! sogenerations of britons deserve to be oppressedby islam do they and u domt care! what an attitude! imon the bus jack ring the bell! how sickening.britain committed terrible atrocities against the irish.my nan remembered the black and tans.but most 1st and 2nd generation irih in britain do NOT condone terrorism and murder. the irish in britain NEVER tried to impose their culture and religion on britain. all 2nd generation irish/english people are dual citizens and ilove both countries for different reasons. i would fight for britains freedom and the freedom of not just my child but every child to have the freedomto choose christ. i would have hoped ireland would ireland would have been safer from this insidious moslem invasion but they are here and spreading.i saw awoman in an hijhab walk down the main street of our local town the other week and i had a heavy heart.having seen the heavy influx of moslam “asylum seekers” of different nationalities into an already mainly asian area in coventry and how as a non moslem i felt judged and outnumbered idonot want irish people tofeellike that in their own country and you should care more about your country. american christians are right to challenge islam and voice their concerns. in my experience the concerns are well founded

  • Ello ello it is I richard. Not king richard although part of me feels there is a king and a warrior in me still. I am an english white guy and I have converted to islaam! And I say islaam is the truth. And I wana fite jihad. Brrrrrrraaappppppzzzzzzzz brrrrrraaaaaaapppppppzzzzzzzz. Wot? Stuff all u kaafirs. Haha yeah! Wot u gona do? Don’t give a dee. Islaam till I die haha stuff ya!

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