Saturday, February 10, 2007

Crusades - Christian In Name, But Not In Truth

Crusades – A Definition
The Crusades were a series of military missions, usually organized and promoted by the Pope and/or Roman Catholic Church. The crusades took place through the 11th and 13th centuries A.D. The original intent of the crusades was to recapture “Christian” lands that had been invaded by Muslims.


The Crusaders used the Christian cross as their symbol. They believed that the symbol of the cross made them invincible against the armies of the Muslims. The word "Crusade" came from the Latin word for “cloth cross.” Eventually, the word "crusade" was used to describe the entire journey from Europe to the Holy Land.

Crusades - Why were the Crusades launched?
The Crusade were responses to Muslim invasions on what was once land occupied primarily by Christians. From approximately 200 A.D. to approximately 900 A.D. the land of Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, etc. was inhabited primarily by Christians. Between 900 and 1075 A.D., Muslims invaded these lands and brutally oppressed, enslaved, deported, and even murdered the Christians living in those lands. In response, the Roman Catholic Church and "Christian" kings/emperors from Europe ordered the crusades to reclaim the land the Muslims had taken. As the crusades progressed, they became far more focused on establishing kingdoms than on reclaiming lands that had once belonged to Christians.

Crusades - Overview of Main Crusades
First Crusade: The first crusade was launched by Pope Urban II after the Council of Clermont in 1095 A.D. The Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople sent a letter to Pope Urban II, asking for his assistance against the progressing Muslim invaders. Urban gave a call to Christians throughout Europe to recapture the Holy Land, and especially Jerusalem, from the Muslims. The crusaders of the First Crusade departed in 1096 and eventually recaptured Jerusalem in 1099. On the way to Jerusalem, the crusaders established “kingdoms” for themselves in various cites in the middle east.

Second Crusade: Shortly after the First Crusade, the Muslims counter-attacked and captured the city of Edessa in 1144 A.D. St. Bernard of Clairvaux traveled throughout Europe, encouraging people to “take up the cross” and push the Muslims back from what they had retaken. Lacking a clear and persuasive goal, and marked by incompetence in leadership, the Second Crusade was an utter failure.

Third Crusade: The Third Crusade was launched in 1189 A.D. In 1187 A.D., the Muslim armies, led by Saladin, had re-conquered Jerusalem. Although at first a huge army was amassed, the Third Crusade was ultimately unsuccessful. The Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick I Barbarossa of Germany, drowned, under uncertain circumstances, on the way to the Holy Land. Richard the Lionheart of England was able to recapture several coastal cities, but did not attempt to retake Jerusalem due to a lack of resources. Lionheart did negotiate a peace treaty with Saladin, allowing for Christian pilgrims to enter Jerusalem without danger.

Fourth Crusade: The Fourth Crusade began in 1202 A.D. Lacking clear direction and strong leadership, the fourth crusade eventually resulted in a battle between Catholic and Orthodox Christians and the conquering of Constantinople by the Christian armies. The conflict destroyed any unity that remained between Catholic and Orthodox Christians.

Fifth Crusade: The Fifth Crusade took place in 1217 A.D., and was led by Andrew II of Hungary and Leopold VI of Austria. The Fifth Crusade was successful in capturing the city of Damietta, but could not hold it for long, especially after a crushing defeat at the Battle of Al-Mansura. Leopold and Andrew were actually offered control of Jerusalem and other Christian sites in the Holy Land in exchange for the return of Damietta to Muslim control. However, in his misplaced arrogance, Cardinal Pelagius refused the offer, turning a victory into an utter defeat.

Sixth Crusade: The Sixth Crusade was launched in 1228 A.D., and was led by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. The Sixth Crusade ended with a peace treaty that gave Christians authority over several important Christian sites, including Jerusalem.

Seventh and Eighth Crusades: The Seventh and Eight Crusades were led by King Louis IX of France. Both were complete disasters. In the Seventh Crusade, Louis recaptured Damietta, but later had his army routed. In 1270 A.D., Louis died before he was able to reach the goal of the Eighth Crusade.

The Ninth Crusade: The Ninth Crusade was Led by King Edward I of England in 1271 A.D. It was an attempt to defeat the Mamluk sultan of Baibers. The crusade failed, and Edward returned home to England upon learning of the death of his father, Henry III.

Crusades - Christian in name, but not in truth
The violence and barbarism of the Crusaders gave Christianity a bad name. While it can be debated whether going to war against the Muslim invaders to re-capture Jerusalem and the Holy Land can be justified, in no manner can the deplorable actions of the Crusaders be justified. The Crusades may have been undertaken by those claiming the name of Christ, but they most definitely did not follow Christ's example.

Part of the problem with the Crusades was the identity of many of the Crusaders. The majority of the Crusaders were essentially "the scum of the earth," the "lowest of the low." They were those who had nothing to lose, and supposedly everything to gain. Even during the trips through Europe on the way to the Holy Land, pillaging, burning, rape, plunder, and other deplorable acts were commonplace. The frenzy of the First Crusade even resulted in the slaughter of Jews in the Rhineland. The Crusaders justified the murdering of Jews by claiming it as revenge for the Jews killing Jesus. Thousands of innocent Jews were murdered and tortured.

When the Crusader army was finally asble to conquer Jerusalem, the slaughter was unimaginable. The Crusaders killed everyone inside Jerusalem, whether Muslim, Jew, or even Christian. By that point, the First Crusade was entirely about conquering lands for personal wealth, not for reclaiming the Holy Land for the Church.

Crusades - Unbiblical, unethical, and un-Christ-like
While the crusades were ordered and led by men who claimed to be Christian, in no sense should the crusades be referred to "Christian." It is highly unlikely that many of the participants in the crusades truly knew Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The true purpose of “Christian” was twisted, corrupted, and humiliated by the evil actions of many of the crusaders.

The crusades were brutal and evil. Many people were forced to "convert" to Christianity. If they refused, they were put to death. This is blatantly unbiblical. . .and perhaps that is the best summary of the issue. The concept of conquering land in the Name of Jesus Christ is completely unbiblical. Jesus Christ nowhere advocates war and violence. The crusades may have been done by so-called Christians. . .but the actions that took place in the crusades were absolutely opposite to all that the Christian faith stands for.


Starrider said...

Last night I had a conversation with one of my mates that covered this subject. He made the comment that all one had to do to pre- figure what might ensue the invasion of Iraq was Google the Crusades and read. There one might learn from history lessons that could be applied today. The pattern was for the armies of the West to achieve great success in the field of battle and then be picked to pieces by "insurgency" while trying to hold and/or control what they had "conquered". I added that the British had followed the same pattern in their occupation of Iraq in the 1920's.

The shame of it is that our country's leaders and the general population do not know much history besides the jingoism that is presented in their school- days "education". The truth, the good, pithy stuff is simply not covered or is only given cursory attention.
Thus, our people are ignorant- not stupid- ignorant as in not having been presented with historical truth and interpretation. Thus, they, "we", do not benefit from the lessons of history. What we have instead is a population, media and government that is generally cowed to "authority", that does not ask enough questions, that does not challenge conventional wisdom or authority and accepts just about anything as true as long as it paints their culture in grand, heroic strokes and stokes their sense of patriotism- affirming their membership on the "winning team". Needless to say this unfamiliarity with history and absorption of propaganda does not lead to very wise decision making and often does lead to catastrophe.

The propagandizing of the public is as shameful as it has been effective. The very idea that if one criticizes a government policy or action that they are "un-American" is absolutely ludicrous. If one, for instance, questions the wisdom of our country's invasion of Iraq, the idea that they hate America, support terror, don't support the troops, want the enemy to win, are lily livered cowards and weak kneed pansies is completely absurd.

Another tragedy is that people imagine that there are only two ways to deal with conflict- either passivity (doing nothing) or warfare- either covert or full on. The more creative and wise ways of conflict resolution are often abandoned after initial setbacks or stay on the shelf completely.

This is untenable especially from a Christian point of view where CHRIST clearly set forth a model for dealing with enemies. My message throughout this blog has been that if we would actually ATTEMPT to follow those teachings- many of these conflicts would simmer down. If you find that idea outrageous or unrealistic- take it up with God because its his material and his plan- not mine.

Starrider said...

In another recent conversation I was challenged on my assertion that the whole "conservative/liberal" debate was pointless in terms of theology.
I had asserted that by the definition they were using Jesus would be considered a liberal- because he stood for other than conquering enemies by force, building empires, engaging in the self sustaining cycle of violence and revenge, the paradox of participating in evil to defeat evil or the "destroy them before they destroy us attitude"... all ideas that "Liberals" are accused of as examples of their weakness and lack of reason by so-called conservatives. They did not get this. So I reminded them that in Bible school if they attended, or else in purely historical terms they were most likely taught that perhaps the greatest reason the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah was that they were expecting a fiery, militaristic, leader- by- the- sword, to come and enforce their rightful rule over the world and to establish justice by force. That is clearly not what they got.
Instead they got a Messiah that preached peace, forgiveness, meekness, humbleness, self sacrifice, the renouncing of materialist values, the love of neighbors and enemies and the freedom from fear of earthly domination and death. So I asked then and ask now- if it was not in Christ's plan then to rule the world by strength and force- what makes it ok to transform his message to one of domination and the rule of the sword now- to attach his name to the cause and call it "conservatism" and associate it with the term Christian (as in followers of Christ)now? Oddly, the conversation went dormant right there.


Starrider said...

Bonus article:
Iraq, 1917
By Robert Fisk
Independent U.K.

Thursday 17 June 2004

They came as liberators but were met by fierce resistance outside Baghdad. Humiliating treatment of prisoners and heavy-handed action in Najaf and Fallujah further alienated the local population. A planned handover of power proved unworkable. Britain's 1917 occupation of Iraq holds uncanny parallels with today - and if we want to know what will happen there next, we need only turn to our history books...

On the eve of our "handover" of "full sovereignty" to Iraq, this is a story of tragedy and folly and of dark foreboding. It is about the past-made-present, and our ability to copy blindly and to the very letter the lies and follies of our ancestors. It is about that admonition of antiquity: that if we don't learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. For Iraq 1917, read Iraq 2003. For Iraq 1920, read Iraq 2004 or 2005.

Yes, we are preparing to give "full sovereignty" to Iraq. That's also what the British falsely claimed more than 80 years ago. Come, then, and confront the looking glass of history, and see what America and Britain will do in the next 12 terrible months in Iraq.

Our story begins in March 1917 as 22-year-old Private 11072 Charles Dickens of the Cheshire Regiment peels a poster off a wall in the newly captured city of Baghdad. It is a turning point in his life. He has survived the hopeless Gallipoli campaign, attacking the Ottoman empire only 150 miles from its capital, Constantinople. He has then marched the length of Mesopotamia, fighting the Turks yet again for possession of the ancient caliphate, and enduring the grim battle for Baghdad. The British invasion army of 600,000 soldiers was led by Lieutenant-General Sir Stanley Maude, and the sheet of paper that caught Private Dickens's attention was Maude's official "Proclamation" to the people of Baghdad, printed in English and Arabic.

That same 11in by 18in poster, now framed in black and gold, hangs on the wall a few feet from my desk as I write this story of empire and dark prophecy. Long ago, the paper was stained with damp - "foxed", as booksellers say - which may have been Private Dickens's perspiration in the long hot Iraqi summer of 1917. It has been folded many times; witness, as his daughter Hilda would recall 86 years later, to its presence in his army knapsack over many months.

In a letter to me, she called this "his precious document", and I can see why. It is filled with noble aspirations and presentiments of future tragedy; with the false promises of the world's greatest empire, commitments and good intentions; and with words of honour that were to be repeated in the same city of Baghdad by the next great empire more than two decades after Dickens's death. It reads now like a funeral dirge:

"Proclamation... Our military operations have as their object, the defeat of the enemy and the driving of him from these territories. In order to complete this task I am charged with absolute and supreme control of all regions in which British troops operate; but our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators... Your citizens have been subject to the tyranny of strangers... and your fathers and yourselves have groaned in bondage. Your sons have been carried off to wars not of your seeking, your wealth has been stripped from you by unjust men and squandered in different places. It is the wish not only of my King and his peoples, but it is also the wish of the great Nations with whom he is in alliance, that you should prosper even as in the past when your lands were fertile... But you, people of Baghdad... are not to understand that it is the wish of the British Government to impose upon you alien institutions. It is the hope of the British Government that the aspirations of your philosophers and writers shall be realised once again, that the people of Baghdad shall flourish, and shall enjoy their wealth and substance under institutions which are in consonance with their sacred laws and with their racial ideals... It is the hope and desire of the British people... that the Arab race may rise once more to greatness and renown amongst the peoples of the Earth... Therefore I am commanded to invite you, through your Nobles and Elders and Representatives, to participate in the management of your civil affairs in collaboration with the Political Representative of Great Britain... so that you may unite with your kinsmen in the North, East, South and West, in realising the aspirations of your Race.

(signed) F.S. Maude, Lieutenant-General, Commanding the British Forces in Iraq."

Private Dickens spent the First World War fighting Muslims, first the Turks at Suvla Bay at Gallipoli and then the Turkish army - which included Iraqi soldiers - in Mesopotamia. He spoke "often and admirably," his daughter would recall, of one of his commanders, General Sir Charles Munro, who at 55 had fought in the last months of the Gallipoli campaign and then landed at Basra in southern Iraq at the start of the British invasion.

But Munro's leadership did not save Dickens's sister's nephew, Samuel Martin, who was killed by the Turks at Basra. Hilda remembers: "My father told of how killing a Turk, he thought it was in revenge for the death of his 'nephew'. I don't know if they were in the same battalion, but they were a similar age, 22 years."

In all, Britain lost 40,000 men in the Mesopotamian campaign. The British had been proud of their initial occupation of Basra. More than 80 years later, Shameem Bhatia, a British Muslim whose family came from Pakistan, would send me an amused letter, along with a series of 12 very old postcards, which were printed by The Times of India in Bombay on behalf of the Indian YMCA. One of them showed British artillery amid the Basra date palms; another a soldier in a pith helmet, turning towards the camera as his comrades tether horses behind him; others the crew of a British gunboat on the Shatt al-Arab river, and the Turkish-held town of Kurna, one of its buildings shattered by British shellfire, shortly before its surrender. The ruins then looked, of course, identical to the Iraqi ruins of today. There are only so many ways in which a shell can smash through a home.

As long ago as 1914, a senior British official was told by "local [Arab] notables" that "we should be received in Baghdad with the same cordiality [as in southern Iraq] and that the Turkish troops would offer little if any opposition". But the British invasion of Iraq had originally failed. When Major-General Charles Townshend took 13,000 men up the banks of the Tigris towards Baghdad, he was surrounded and defeated by Turkish forces at Kut al-Amara. His surrender was the most comprehensive of military disasters, ending in a death march to Turkey for those British troops who had not been killed in battle.

The graves of 500 of them in the Kut War Cemetery sank into sewage during the period of United Nations sanctions that followed Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, when spare parts for the pumps needed to keep sewage from the graves were not supplied to Iraq. Visiting the cemetery in 1998, my colleague Patrick Cockburn found "tombstones... still just visible above the slimy green water. A broken cement cross sticks out of a reed bed... A quagmire in which thousands of little green frogs swarm like cockroaches as they feed on garbage."

Baghdad looked much the same when Private Dickens arrived in 1917. Less than two years earlier, a visitor had described a city whose streets "gaped emptily. The shops were mostly closed... In the Christian cemetery east of the high road leading to Persia, coffins and half-mouldering skeletons were floating. On account of the Cholera which was ravaging the town [three hundred people were dying of it every day] the Christian dead were now being buried on the new embankment of the high road, so that people walking and riding not only had to pass by but even to make their way among and over the graves... There was no longer any life in the town."

The British occupation was dark with historical precedent. There was, of course, no "cordial" reception of British troops in Baghdad. Indeed, Iraqi troops who had been serving with the Turkish army but who "always entertained friendly ideas towards the English" were jailed - not in Abu Ghraib, but in India - and found that while in prison there they were "insulted and humiliated in every way". These same prisoners wanted to know if the British would hand Iraq over to Sherif Hussein of the Hejaz - to whom the British had made fulsome and ultimately mendacious promises of "independence" for the Arab world if he fought alongside the Allies against the Turks - on the grounds that "some of the Holy Moslem Shrines are located in Mesopotamia".

British officials believed that control of Mesopotamia would safeguard British oil interests in Persia (the initial occupation of Basra was ostensibly designed to do that) and that "clearly it is our right and duty, if we sacrifice so much for the peace of the world, that we should see to it we have compensation, or we may defeat our end" - which was not how Lt-Gen Maude expressed Britain's ambitions in his famous proclamation in 1917.

Earl Asquith was to write in his memoirs that he and Sir Edward Grey, the British foreign secretary, agreed in 1915 that "taking Mesopotamia... means spending millions in irrigation and development". Which is precisely what President George Bush was forced to do only months after his illegal invasion in 2003.

Those who want to wallow in even more ghastly historical parallels should turn to the magnificent research of the Iraqi scholar Ghassan Attiyah, whose volume on the British occupation was published in Beirut long before Saddam's regime took over Iraq, at a time when Iraqi as well as British archives of the period were still available. Attiyah's Iraq, 1902-1921: A Socio-Political Study, written 30 years before the Anglo-American invasion, should be read by all Western "statesmen" planning to occupy Arab countries.

As Attiyah discovered, the British, once they were installed in Baghdad, decided in the winter of 1917 that Iraq would have to be governed and reconstructed by a "council" formed partly of British advisers "and partly of representative non-official members from among the inhabitants". The copycat 2003 version of this "council" was, of course, the Interim Governing Council, supposedly the brainchild of Maude's American successor, Paul Bremer.

Later, the British thought they would like "a cabinet half of natives and half of British officials, behind which might be an administrative council, or some advisory body consisting entirely of prominent natives". The traveller and scholar Gertrude Bell, who became "oriental secretary" to the British military occupation authority, had no doubts about Iraqi public opinion: "The stronger the hold we are able to keep here the better the inhabitants will be pleased... They can't conceive an independent Arab government. Nor, I confess, can I. There is no one here who could run it."

Again, this was far from the noble aspirations of Maude's proclamation issued * * 11 months earlier. Nor would the Iraqis have been surprised had they been told (which, of course, they were not) that Maude strongly opposed the very proclamation that appeared over his name, and which in fact had been written by Sir Mark Sykes - the very same Sykes who had drawn up the secret 1916 agreement with F Georges-Picot for French and British control over much of the post-war Middle East.

But, by September 1919, even journalists were beginning to grasp that Britain's plans for Iraq were founded upon illusions. "I imagine," the correspondent for The Times wrote on 23 September, "that the view held by many English people about Mesopotamia is that the local inhabitants will welcome us because we have saved them from the Turks, and that the country only needs developing to repay a large expenditure of English lives and English money. Neither of these ideals will bear much examination... From the political point of view we are asking the Arab to exchange his pride and independence for a little Western civilisation, the profits of which must be largely absorbed by the expenses of administration."

Within six months, Britain was fighting a military insurrection in Iraq and David Lloyd George, the prime minister, was facing calls for a military withdrawal. "Is it not for the benefit of the people of that country that it should be governed so as to enable them to develop this land which has been withered and shrivelled up by oppression? What would happen if we withdrew?" Lloyd George would not abandon Iraq to "anarchy and confusion". By this stage, British officials in Baghdad were blaming the violence on "local political agitation, originated outside Iraq", suggesting that Syria might be involved.

Come again? Could history repeat itself so perfectly? For Lloyd George's "anarchy", read any statement from the American occupation power warning of "civil war" in the event of a Western withdrawal. For Syria - well, read Syria.

AT Wilson, the senior British official in Iraq in 1920, took a predictable line. "We cannot maintain our position... by a policy of conciliation of extremists. Having set our hand to the task of regenerating Mesopotamia, we must be prepared to furnish men and money... We must be prepared... to go very slowly with constitutional and democratic institutions."

There was fighting in the Shia town of Kufa and a British siege of Najaf after a British official was murdered. The British demanded "the unconditional surrender of the murderers and others concerned in the plot", and the leading Shia divine, Sayed Khadum Yazdi, abstained from supporting the rebellion and shut himself up in his house. Eleven of the insurgents were executed. A local sheikh, Badr al-Rumaydh, became a target. "Badr must be killed or captured, and a relentless pursuit of the man till this object is obtained should be carried out," a British political officer wrote.

The British now realised that they had made one big political mistake. They had alienated a major political group in Iraq - the ex-Turkish Iraqi officials and officers. The ranks of the disaffected swelled. For Kufa 1920, read Kufa 2004. For Najaf 1920, read Najaf 2004. For Yazdi, read Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. For Badr, read Muqtada al-Sadr.

In 1920, another insurgency broke out in the area of Fallujah, where Sheikh Dhari killed a British officer, Colonel Leachman, and cut rail traffic between Fallujah and Baghdad. The British advanced towards Fallujah and inflicted "heavy punishment" on the tribe. For Fallujah, of course, read Fallujah. And the location of the heavy punishment? Today it is known as Khan Dari - and it was the scene of the first killing of a US soldier by a roadside bomb in 2003.

In desperation, the British needed "to complete the façade of the Arab government". And so, with Winston Churchill's enthusiastic support, the British gave the throne of Iraq to the Hashemite King Faisal, the son of Sherif Hussein, a consolation prize for the man the French had just thrown out of Damascus. Paris was having no kings in its own mandated territory of Syria. Henceforth, the British government - deprived of reconstruction funds by an international recession, and confronted by an increasingly unwilling soldiery, which had fought during the 1914-18 war and was waiting for demobilisation - would rely on air power to impose its wishes.

There are no kings to impose on Iraq today (the former Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan pulled his hat out of the ring just before the invasion), so we have installed Iyad Allawi, the former CIA "asset", as prime minister in the hope that he can provide the same sovereign wallpaper as Faisal once did. Our soldiers can hide out in the desert, hopefully unattacked, unless they are needed to shore up the tottering power of our present-day "Faisal".

And so we come to the immediate future of Iraq. How are we to "control" Iraq while claiming that we have handed over "full sovereignty"? Again, the archives come to our rescue. The Royal Air Force, again with Churchill's support, bombed rebellious villages and dissident tribesmen in Iraq. Churchill urged the employment of mustard gas, which had been used against Shia rebels in 1920.

Squadron Leader Arthur Harris, later Marshal of the Royal Air Force and the man who perfected the firestorm destruction of Hamburg, Dresden and other great German cities in the Second World War, was employed to refine the bombing of Iraqi insurgents. The RAF found, he wrote much later, "that by burning down their reed-hutted villages, after we'd warned them to get out, we put them to the maximum amount of inconvenience, without physical hurt [sic], and they soon stopped their raiding and looting..."

This was what, in its emasculation of the English language, the Pentagon would now call "war lite". But the bombing was not as surgical as Harris's official biographer would suggest. In 1924, he had admitted that "they [the Arabs and Kurds] now know what real bombing means, in casualties and damage; they know that within 45 minutes a full-sized village can be practically wiped out and a third of its inhabitants killed or injured".

TE Lawrence - Lawrence of Arabia - remarked in a 1920 letter to The Observer that "it is odd that we do not use poison gas on these occasions". Air Commodore Lionel Charlton was so appalled at the casualties inflicted on innocent villagers that he resigned his post as Senior Air Staff Officer Iraq because he could no longer "maintain the policy of intimidation by bomb". He had visited an Iraqi hospital to find it full of wounded tribesmen. After the RAF had bombed the Kurdish rebel city of Sulaymaniyah, Charlton "knew the crowded life of these settlements and pictured with horror the arrival of a bomb, without warning, in the midst of a market gathering or in the bazaar quarter. Men, women and children would suffer equally."

Already, we have seen the use of almost indiscriminate air power by the American forces in Iraq: the destruction of homes in "dissident" villages, the bombing of mosques where weapons are allegedly concealed, the slaughter-by-air-strike of "terrorists" near the Syrian border, who turned out to be a wedding party. Much the same policy has been adopted in the already abandoned "democracy" of Afghanistan.

As for the soldiers, we couldn't ship our corpses home in the heat of the Middle East 80 years ago, so we buried them in the great North Wall Cemetery in Baghdad, where they lie to this day, most of them in their late teens and twenties. We didn't hide their coffins. Their last resting place is still there for all to see today, opposite the ruins of the suicide-bombed Turkish embassy.

As for the gravestone of Samuel Martin, it stood for years in the British war cemetery in Basra with the following inscription: "In Memory of Private Samuel Martin 24384, 8th Bn, Cheshire Regiment who died on Sunday 9 April 1916. Private Martin, son of George and Sarah Martin, of the Beech Tree Inn, Barnton, Northwich, Cheshire."

In the gales of shellfire that swept Basra during the 1980-88 war with Iran, the cemetery was destroyed and looted and many gravestones shattered beyond repair. When I visited the cemetery in the chaotic months after the Anglo-American invasion of 2003, I found wild dogs roaming between the broken headstones. Even the brass fittings of the central memorial had been stolen. Sic transit gloria.
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maxx8it said...


The Crusades are much in the news of late. President Bush made the mistake of referring to the war against terrorism as a "crusade" and was roundly criticized for uttering a word both offensive and hurtful to the world’s Muslims. If it is painful, then it is remarkable indeed how often the Arabs themselves make use of the word. Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar have repeatedly referred to Americans as "crusaders" and the present war as a "crusade against Islam." For decades now Americans have been routinely referred to as "crusaders" or "cowboys" among Arabs in the Middle East. Clearly the crusades are very much alive in the Muslim world.

They are not forgotten in the West either. Actually, despite the many differences between the East and West, most people in both cultures are in agreement about the Crusades. It is commonly accepted that the Crusades are a black mark on the history of Western civilization generally and the Catholic Church in particular. Anyone eager to bash Catholics will not long tarry before brandishing the Crusades and the Inquisition. The Crusades are often used as a classic example of the evil that organized religion can do. Your average man on the street in both New York and Cairo would agree that the Crusades were an insidious, cynical, and unprovoked attack by religious zealots against a peaceful, prosperous, and sophisticated Muslim world.

It was not always so. During the Middle Ages you could not find a Christian in Europe who did not believe that the Crusades were an act of highest good. Even the Muslims respected the ideals of the Crusades and the piety of the men who fought them. But that all changed with the Protestant Reformation. For Martin Luther, who had already jettisoned the Christian doctrines of papal authority and indulgences, the Crusades were nothing more than a ploy by a power-hungry papacy. Indeed, he argued that to fight the Muslims was to fight Christ himself, for it was he who had sent the Turks to punish Christendom for its faithlessness. When Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and his armies began to invade Austria, Luther changed his mind about the need to fight, but he stuck to his condemnation of the Crusades. During the next two centuries people tended to view the Crusades through a confessional lens: Protestants demonized them, Catholics extolled them. As for Suleiman and his successors, they were just glad to be rid of them.

It was in the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century that the current view of the Crusades was born. Most of the philosophes, like Voltaire, believed that medieval Christianity was a vile superstition. For them the Crusades were a migration of barbarians led by fanaticism, greed, and lust. Since then, the Enlightenment take on the Crusades has gone in and out of fashion. The Crusades received good press as wars of nobility (although not religion) during the Romantic period and the early twentieth century. After the Second World War, however, opinion again turned decisively against the Crusades. In the wake of Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin, historians found war of ideology–any ideology –distasteful. This sentiment was summed up by Sir Steven Runciman in his three-volume work, A History of the Crusades (1951-54). For Runciman, the Crusades were morally repugnant acts of intolerance in the name of God. The medieval men who took the cross and marched to the Middle East were either cynically evil, rapaciously greedy, or naively gullible. This beautifully written history soon became the standard. Almost single-handedly Runciman managed to define the modern popular view of the Crusades.

Since the 1970s the Crusades have attracted many hundreds of scholars who have meticulously poked, prodded, and examined them. As a result, much more is known about Christianity’s holy wars than ever before. Yet the fruits of decades of scholarship have been slow to enter the popular mind. In part this is the fault of professional historians, who tend to publish studies that, by necessity, are technical and therefore not easily accessible outside of the academy. But it is also due to a clear reluctance among modern elites to let go of Runciman’s vision of the Crusades. And so modern popular books on the Crusades–desiring, after all, to be popular–tend to parrot Runciman. The same is true for other media, like the multi-part television documentary, The Crusades (1995), produced by BBC/A&E and starring Terry Jones of Monty Python fame. To give the latter an air of authority the producers spliced in a number of distinguished Crusade historians who gave their views on events. The problem was that the historians would not go along with Runciman’s ideas. No matter. The producers simply edited the taped interviews cleverly enough that the historians seemed to be agreeing with Runciman. As Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith quite vehemently told me, "They made me appear to say things that I do not believe!"

So, what is the real story of the Crusades? As you might imagine, it is a long story. But there are good histories, written in the last twenty years, that lay much of it out. For the moment, given the barrage of coverage that the Crusades are getting nowadays, it might be best to consider just what the Crusades were not. Here, then, are some of the most common myths and why they are wrong.

Myth 1: The Crusades were wars of unprovoked aggression against a peaceful Muslim world.

This is as wrong as wrong can be. From the time of Mohammed, Muslims had sought to conquer the Christian world. They did a pretty good job of it, too. After a few centuries of steady conquests, Muslim armies had taken all of North Africa, the Middle East, Asia Minor, and most of Spain. In other words, by the end of the eleventh century the forces of Islam had captured two-thirds of the Christian world. Palestine, the home of Jesus Christ; Egypt, the birthplace of Christian monasticism; Asia Minor, where St. Paul planted the seeds of the first Christian communities: These were not the periphery of Christianity but its very core. And the Muslim empires were not finished yet. They continued to press westward toward Constantinople, ultimately passing it and entering Europe itself. As far as unprovoked aggression goes, it was all on the Muslim side. At some point what was left of the Christian world would have to defend itself or simply succumb to Islamic conquest. The First Crusade was called by Pope Urban II in 1095 in response to an urgent plea for help from the Byzantine emperor in Constantinople. Urban called the knights of Christendom to come to the aid of their eastern brethren. It was to be an errand of mercy, liberating the Christians of the East from their Muslim conquerors. In other words, the Crusades were from the beginning a defensive war. The entire history of the eastern Crusades is one of response to Muslim aggression.

Myth 2: The Crusaders wore crosses, but they were really only interested in capturing booty and land. Their pious platitudes were just a cover for rapacious greed.

Historians used to believe that a rise in Europe’s population led to a crisis of too many noble "second sons," those who were trained in chivalric warfare but who had no feudal lands to inherit. The Crusades, therefore, were seen as a safety valve, sending these belligerent men far from Europe where they could carve out lands for themselves at someone else’s expense. Modern scholarship, assisted by the advent of computer databases, has exploded this myth. We now know that it was the "first sons" of Europe that answered the pope’s call in 1095, as well as in subsequent Crusades. Crusading was an enormously expensive operation. Lords were forced to sell off or mortgage their lands to gather the necessary funds. They were also not interested in an overseas kingdom. Much like a soldier today, the medieval Crusader was proud to do his duty but longed to return home. After the spectacular successes of the First Crusade, with Jerusalem and much of Palestine in Crusader hands, virtually all of the Crusaders went home. Only a tiny handful remained behind to consolidate and govern the newly won territories. Booty was also scarce. In fact, although Crusaders no doubt dreamed of vast wealth in opulent Eastern cities, virtually none of them ever even recouped their expenses. But money and land were not the reasons that they went on Crusade in the first place. They went to atone for their sins and to win salvation by doing good works in a faraway land.

Myth 3: When the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099 they massacred every man, woman, and child in the city until the streets ran ankle deep with the blood.

This is a favorite used to demonstrate the evil nature of the Crusades. Most recently, Bill Clinton in a speech at Georgetown cited this as one reason the United States is a victim of Muslim terrorism. (Although Mr. Clinton brought the blood up to knee level for effect.) It is certainly true that many people in Jerusalem were killed after the Crusaders captured the city. But this must be understood in historical context. The accepted moral standard in all pre-modern European and Asian civilizations was that a city that resisted capture and was taken by force belonged to the victorious forces. That included not just the buildings and goods, but the people as well. That is why every city or fortress had to weigh carefully whether it could hold out against besiegers. If not, it was wise to negotiate terms of surrender. In the case of Jerusalem, the defenders had resisted right up to the end. They calculated that the formidable walls of the city would keep the Crusaders at bay until a relief force in Egypt could arrive. They were wrong. When the city fell, therefore, it was put to the sack. Many were killed, yet many others were ransomed or allowed to go free. By modern standards this may seem brutal. Yet a medieval knight would point out that many more innocent men, women, and children are killed in modern bombing warfare than could possibly be put to the sword in one or two days. It is worth noting that in those Muslim cities that surrendered to the Crusaders the people were left unmolested, retained their property, and allowed to worship freely. As for those streets of blood, no historian accepts them as anything other than a literary convention. Jerusalem is a big town. The amount of blood necessary to fill the streets to a continuous and running three-inch depth would require many more people than lived in the region, let alone the city.

Myth 4: The Crusades were just medieval colonialism dressed up in religious finery.

It is important to remember that in the Middle Ages the West was not a powerful, dominant culture venturing into a primitive or backward region. It was the Muslim East that was powerful, wealthy, and opulent. Europe was the third world. The Crusader States, founded in the wake of the First Crusade, were not new plantations of Catholics in a Muslim world akin to the British colonization of America. Catholic presence in the Crusader States was always tiny, easily less than ten percent of the population. These were the rulers and magistrates, as well as Italian merchants and members of the military orders. The overwhelming majority of the population in the Crusader States was Muslim. They were not colonies, therefore, in the sense of plantations or even factories, as in the case of India. They were outposts. The ultimate purpose of the Crusader States was to defend the Holy Places in Palestine, especially Jerusalem, and to provide a safe environment for Christian pilgrims to visit those places. There was no mother country with which the Crusader States had an economic relationship, nor did Europeans economically benefit from them. Quite the contrary, the expense of Crusades to maintain the Latin East was a serious drain on European resources. As an outpost, the Crusader States kept a military focus. While the Muslims warred against each other the Crusader States were safe, but once united the Muslims were able to dismantle the strongholds, capture the cities, and in 1291 expel the Christians completely.

Myth 5: The Crusades were also waged against the Jews.

No pope ever called a Crusade against Jews. During the First Crusade a large band of riffraff, not associated with the main army, descended on the towns of the Rhineland and decided to rob and kill the Jews they found there. In part this was pure greed. In part it also stemmed from the incorrect belief that the Jews, as the crucifiers of Christ, were legitimate targets of the war. Pope Urban II and subsequent popes strongly condemned these attacks on Jews. Local bishops and other clergy and laity attempted to defend the Jews, although with limited success. Similarly, during the opening phase of the Second Crusade a group of renegades killed many Jews in Germany before St. Bernard was able to catch up to them and put a stop to it. These misfires of the movement were an unfortunate byproduct of Crusade enthusiasm. But they were not the purpose of the Crusades. To use a modern analogy, during the Second World War some American soldiers committed crimes while overseas. They were arrested and punished for those crimes. But the purpose of the Second World War was not to commit crimes.

Myth 6: The Crusades were so corrupt and vile that they even had a Children’s Crusade.

The so-called "Children’s Crusade" of 1212 was neither a Crusade nor an army of children. It was a particularly large eruption of popular religious enthusiasm in Germany that led some young people, mostly adolescents, to proclaim themselves Crusaders and begin marching to the sea. Along the way they gathered plenty of popular support and not a few brigands, robbers, and beggars as well. The movement splintered in Italy and finally ended when the Mediterranean failed to dry up for them to cross. Pope Innocent III did not call this "Crusade." Indeed, he repeatedly urged non-combatants to stay at home, helping the war effort through fasting, prayer, and alms. In this case, he praised the zeal of the young who had marched so far, and then told them to go home.

Myth 7: Pope John Paul II apologized for the Crusades.

This is an odd myth, given that the pope was so roundly criticized for failing to apologize directly for the Crusades when he asked forgiveness from all those that Christians had unjustly harmed. It is true that John Paul recently apologized to the Greeks for the Fourth Crusade’s sack of Constantinople in 1204. But the pope at the time, Innocent III, expressed similar regret. That, too, was a tragic misfire that Innocent had done everything he could to avoid.

Myth 8: Muslims, who remember the Crusades vividly, have good reason to hate the West.

Actually, the Muslim world remembers the Crusades about as well as the West–in other words, incorrectly. That should not be surprising. Muslims get their information about the Crusades from the same rotten histories that the West relies on. The Muslim world used to celebrate the Crusades as a great victory for them. They did, after all, win. But western authors, fretting about the legacy of modern imperialism, have recast the Crusades as wars of aggression and the Muslims as placid sufferers. In so doing they have rescinded centuries of Muslim triumphs, offering in their stead only the consolation of victimhood.

(Thomas F. Madden is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History at Saint Louis University. He is author of A Concise History of the Crusades and co-author of The Fourth Crusade.)

maxx8it said...

Amazon gives it 4 of 5 star rating

here is a review:

Just one of the strong points of this book is the contrast drawn in detail between the Bible and the Koran, that said, the chapter headings really do the review for me--

CONTENTS (slightly adapted)

Chapter 1: founder of Islam
Raider - war leader - assassin - mindset of looking for opportunity to take offence at `persecution' even if no grievance exists - PC Myth: we can negotiate with these people

Ch. 2: the book of Islam
Counsels of war - PC Myth: teaches tolerance and peace - PC Myth: teaches believers take up arms in self-defence only - tolerant verses cancelled - PC Myth: bible is equally violent

Ch. 3: Islam: a religion of war
PC Myth: war teachings only a tiny part of the religion - three choices - not just opinion, it's the law - PC Myth: religion of peace hijacked by a few extremists - moderate Muslims?

Ch. 4: Islam: religion of intolerance
PC Myth: Islam is tolerant - the dhimma - PC Myth: historically dhimma was not so bad - taxpayer woes - PC Myth: Jews better off under Muslims than Christians - PC Myth: dhimmitude thing of the past - PC Myth: Islam values pre-Islamic cultures in Muslim countries

Ch. 5: Islam oppresses women
PC Myth: Islam respects women - child marriage - wife-beating - don't go out alone - temporary husbands/wives - rape: 4 witnesses required - mutilation

Ch. 6: Islamic law: lie, steal, and kill
Lying-wrong, except when it isn't - theft-depends who you steal from - murder-depends who you kill - PC Myth: Islam forbids killing innocent

Ch. 7: How they killed science
Art and music? - PC Myth: Islam once foundation of great culture and science - Golden Age? - killing science

Ch. 8: The Lure of Islamic Paradise
The joy of sex - how to get into Paradise - assassins and Paradise

Ch. 9: Islam: spread by the sword? You bet.
PC Myth: Early Muslims had no bellicose designs on neighbouring lands - PC Myth: Christians of Middle East and North Africa welcomed Muslims as liberators - PC Myth: early jihadists were merely defending Muslim lands from non-Muslim neighbours - west and east - PC Myth: Christianity and Islam spread in pretty much the same way

Ch. 10: Why Crusades were called
PC Myth: Crusades were unprovoked - PC Myth: Crusades were early imperialism - PC Myth: Crusades were for greedy gain - PC Myth: Crusades fought to convert Muslims by force

Ch. 11: The Crusades: Myth and Reality
PC Myth: Crusaders established Euro. colonies - PC Myth: capture of Jerusalem was unique and caused Muslim distrust - PC Myth: Saladin was more merciful than Crusaders - Crusades were against Jews as well - Crusades were bloodier than jihads - DID the Pope apologise for Crusades? [no]

Ch. 12: What Crusades accomplished - and didn't
Making deals with the Mongols - Making deals with the Muslims - Jihad in eastern Europe

Ch. 13: What if Crusades had never happened?
PC Myth: Crusades accomplished nothing - case study: Zoroastrians - case study: Assyrians

Ch. 14: Islam and Christianity: equivalent traditions?
Whitewash of film, `The Kingdom of Heaven' - PC Myth: world's problem is religious fundamentalism - surely you're not saying Islam is the problem? - That makes sense. Why is it so hard for people to accept? - recovering pride in Western civilisation - why the truth must be told

Ch.15 : The Jihad Continues
What are they fighting for? - caliphate dreams in Britain-and the USA - Kohmeini in Dearborn and Dallas - a tiny minority of extremists? - restoration of Muslim unity

Ch.16: `Islamophobia' and today's ideological jihad
At the UN: political manipulation - Universal declaration of human rights and Islamic response - what is Islamophobia? [the normal sensible reaction] - `Islamophobia' as a weapon of jihad - reform or denial - Islam as Muslims live it is false - misrepresenting Islam - dhimmitude in media and officials

Ch.17: Criticizing Islam may be hazardous to your health
Chilling of free speech in America: FOX's24 and CAIR - dealing with the devil - death knell for the west? - a predetermined outcome - to criticize is not to incite - murder of Theo van Gogh - van Gogh was not the first - cost of maintaining the PC myths - living in fear of being a Christian in Falls Church, Virginia - if you leave Islam, you must die - the law looks the other way

Ch.18: The Crusade we must fight today
The Islamization of Europe - what is to be done? - defeating the jihad internationally - defeating the jihad domestically

Probably Robert Spencer's greatest strength is his easy style, making alien thought modes and terms comprehensible to the average westerner while keeping the Arabic terms accurate. Close on the heels of this is the depth of research, with a huge range (for a non-academic tome) of highly revealing `further reading' references, written by authors ancient and modern, both Islamic and non-Islamic. (If you already know a reasonable span of history the titles for further reading are probably the biggest benefit of this book.) Not to be missed are the sagaciously chosen quotations revealing the radical contrast between the New Testament and the words of Islam on the subjects touched on. The Crusades are explained well. (For an easy-read novel try `Knight With Armour' by Alfred Duggan.)

For a book which seeks to set the Crusades in their defensive context, the first century of Islam, the jihad rampage out of Arabia to Persia (AD630s) and west to France (by AD730s) is treated with a light touch. The crucial Battle of Tours/Poitiers (AD732) won by the Christian hero Charles Martel against the jihad in mid-France is skimmed. (Best short military treatment I know of Tours/Poitiers is in Edward S. Creasy's `Fifteen Decisive Battles of History'. For a general light history of the Crusades try `The Story of the Crusades' by Alfred Duggan.)

References in the book bear repetition here:
`An Introduction to Islamic Law' by Joseph Schacht (1982). Scholarly and devastating.
`The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam', by Bat Ye'or (1985). Strips off the whitewash.
`Voices Behind the Veil: the world of Islam through the eyes of women', ed. by Ergun Mehmet Caner (2004)
`Jihad in the West: Muslim Conquests from the 7th to the 21st centuries', by Paul Fregosi (1998). Hostility to Islam is historically quite normal.

maxx8it said...

Scott, I don't know where you got your information but, perhaps there is some reason for hope in the scholarly community's reaction to the recent Ridley Scott's film Kingdom of Heaven.

This subject seems to be a hot topic for you. I suggest a close read of the site below and maybe the book I referenced earlier.


Myths, Misunderstandings, and Controversies

Starrider said...

My intent was not to engage in the controversy of interpretations,mythmaking, justifications for or against the Crusades - but simply to note their failures and the reasons for them (incompetent leadership being chiefest)and their ultimate outcomes (failure). It was also to point out the lack of education on the subject. Most folks are completely unaware of the things either of us have said here. Much of what you are saying here is true and relevant- but not to my intended points. The main point being that people limit their imaginations to only two tactics for dealing with conflict- doing nothing- or warfare. This is an extreme limitation on human creativity and potential.

It should be readily apparent that I have no interest in PC one way or the other. I am interested in BC (Biblical correctness. This is not a barb at you or this good information you have supplied by any means- but it is more representative of PC than the line of thinking I am working with. The line I am working from is not PC or widely believed or accepted at all.

Starrider said...

The first paragraph in the original post does denote the "defensive" posture of those who promoted the Crusades;

"Crusades – A Definition
The Crusades were a series of military missions, usually organized and promoted by the Pope and/or Roman Catholic Church. The crusades took place through the 11th and 13th centuries A.D. The original intent of the crusades was to recapture “Christian” lands that had been invaded by Muslims."

That "defensive" posture still stands today.

That "defensive" posture IS the PC view that downplays all the other nuances and motivators for this conflict- like economics and the balance of power- money and power- the most ancient of narratives.

Visit the posts concerning Robert Gates, the secret wars of the CIA and so forth. There are the true appeasers.

Read the link provided about Britain's occupation of the 1920's.

I would not dispute their reasoning for engaging in the conflict- but take note of the results. When our leaders failed to recognize the potential and probability of extended resistance and planned for glorious victory parades instead of making plans for occupation control and the insurgency they failed to learn from history. That was my point in short.

maxx8it said...

Scott, I scanned these articles below all of which had been well written. Then I came to the one by Vittorio Messori and it made me think. I did my own little research based on his observation check it out.

Truth is the First Victim

Kingdom of Heaven has got it dramatically wrong, according to a professor of Ecclesiastical History at Cambridge
By Jonathan Riley-Smith

see also:
Crusade Propaganda
The abuse of Christianity’s holy wars.

Vincent Ryan: Not Conspiracies But Mistakes Catholic World News-February, 2005

William Urban: Rethinking the Crusades Perspectives-American Historical Association October, 1998.

Robert P. Lockwood: The Battle Over the Crusades- Catholic League- July 2001

Zenit News Service: The Crusades: Separating Myth from Reality- Reprinted in A.D. 2000: The Journal of Religious Opinion

Vittorio Messori, the same journalist who interviewed John Paul II in Crossing the Threshold of Hope, which I bought you to read.

He had the interesting observation :

Messori pointed out, in a recent article in the respected Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, that it was the Enlightenment that first cast a "black legend" shadow on the Crusades, using it as a weapon in its psychological war against the Roman Catholic Church ... In order to complete the work of the Reformation, it was 18th century Europe that began the chain of 'Roman infamies' that have become dogma."

Media bias, propaganda, and politics in the 15 16th centuries? Say it ain't so? lol

Scott, curious about Messori's observation I checked what the Catholic encyclpedia said: Among the first thing I noted was a vast difference in the time periods for these "crusades" that you listed. Namely that if they ended in 1271 it would hardly support Messori's invocation of politics. I learned quite a bit I didn't know.

For instance , a century before 1271 Christian states formed an extensive and unbroken territory between the Euphrates and the Egyptian frontier, and included four almost independent principalities: the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Countship of Tripoli, the Principality of Antioch, and the Countship of Rohez (Edessa). .

The politics the crusades endured for centuries and so did the battles.

There was a 14th century crusade and plans for a 15th century crusade.

In March, 1453, the armed forces of Mohammed II, numbering 160,000, completely surrounded Constantinople, the Greeks had only 5000 soldiers and 2000 Western knights, commanded by Giustiniani of Genoa. Notwithstanding this serious disadvantage, the city held out against the enemy for two months, but on the night of 28 May, 1453, Mohammed II ordered a general assault, and after a desperate conflict, in which Emperor Constantine XII perished, the Turks entered the city from all sides and perpetrated a frightful slaughter. Mohammed II rode over heaps of corpses to the church of St. Sophia, entered it on horseback, and turned it into a mosque.

At the time of Charles VIII's expedition into Italy (1492) there was again talk of a crusade; according to the plans of the King of France, the conquest of Naples was to be followed by that of Constantinople and the East.

Which brings us to the time of Luther.

I also googled these terms: propaganda "the Reformation".

The first link listed was called "The history of Printing". you have to click this link. First paragraph: "The Reformation was the first revolutionary mass movement, in part because took advantage of printed propaganda. "


First paragraph: "It's not what people are saying that's troublesome, but how it is they are saying it." At this time the majority of literate Europe was educated by The Church representing only 3-5% of the population. The Vulgate Bible was written in Latin. Luther recognizes this and makes his assault on the Church largely through the uneducated masses by the use of printed pictures.

Consider images like this: depicting The Torgau Altar, 1509. The Holy Kinship. How many political messages are sent through this one picture and to whom is it directed?

[The reformation movement is later furthered through translating the Latin Vulgate Bible to French, German, etc. and so on with some convenient interpretations/translations, including one regarding divorce to further the cause. see also; Steven Ozment, "The Reformation in the Cities: The Appeal of Protestantism to Sixteenth-Century Germany and Switzerland" (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1975)-how the great theological debates fueled and were fueled by popular sentiment.]

Reminds me of the of the famous Joseph Goebbels quote about what happens when you tell a lie long enough.

“In politics stupidity is not a handicap.” Napoleon Bonaparte

"Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber" Plato

"Make a lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it" Adolf Hitler

“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”
Joseph Goebbels

maxx8it said...

I didn't realize you were commenting on my info yet. So I'll comment on them here. I agree with you about the limitations of people to two tactics for dealing with conflict.

I posted much of the information for you, in considering the west's dark view of the crusades (now) and to place them in historical accuracy as opposed to the inaccurate history often cited by the general public, movies, and political commentary.

The failure to place these wars in the of historical context furthers the propaganda model. From the earliest of times the Western Christians made pilgramages to the holy sites. The hardships they endured are what pre-dated the wars. They are well documented long before what is considered to be the first crusade. They are also imortant to understand in the context of muslim aggression towards Christians and Jews alike.

Starrider said...

Just remember that I don't necessarily disagree with the information. I was just on a different point.
That being chiefly that fighting fire with fire, so to speak, has a poor track record for success aside from the moral dilemmas.

Scott Starr said...

Most of what you have offered here is from the Zionist school of thought and is itself shot through with propaganda.