Discussion:
A history lesson for Anti-American liberals & Muslims
(too old to reply)
LibsDontGetIt
2006-07-24 15:57:20 UTC
Permalink
Crusade Propaganda
The abuse of Christianity's holy wars.

By Thomas F. Madden, the author of A Concise History of the Crusades
and coauthor of The Fourth Crusade, is associate professor and chair of the
Department of History at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.
November 2, 2001 8:00 a.m.


ince September 11 the crusades are news. When President Bush used the
term "crusade" as it is commonly used, to denote a grand enterprise with a
moral dimension, the media pelted him for insensitivity to Muslims.
(Nevermind that the media used the term in precisely the same way before the
"gaff.") Attempting to capitalize on this indignation, the leader of the
Taliban, Mullah Omar, crowed "President Bush has told the truth that this is
a crusade against Islam." Yet clearly the crusades were much on the minds of
our enemies long before Bush brought them to their attention. In a 1998
manifesto, cosigned by the leaders of Islamist groups in Egypt, Pakistan,
and Bangladesh, Osama bin Laden declared war against the "Jews and the
Crusaders." If you didn't guess, the Americans are the crusaders here. On
the day the U.S. strikes on Afghanistan began, in a live-from-a-cave
address, bin Laden declared Bush to be "the leader of the infidels" in a
worldwide war against Islam. He previously warned that "crusader" Bush would
lead the infidel forces into Afghanistan "under the banner of the cross."

So, what do the medieval crusades have to do with all this? After all,
doesn't the Muslim world have a right to be upset about the legacy of the
crusades? Nothing and no.

The crusades are quite possibly the most misunderstood event in
European history. Ask a random American about them and you are likely to see
a face wrinkle in disgust, or just the blank stare that is usually evoked by
events older than six weeks. After all, weren't the crusaders just a bunch
of religious nuts carrying fire and sword to the land of the Prince of
Peace? Weren't they cynical imperialists seeking to carve out colonies for
themselves in faraway lands with the blessings of the Catholic Church? A
couch potato watching the BBC/A&E documentary on the crusades (hosted by
Terry Jones of Monty Python fame no less) would learn in roughly four hours
of frivolous tsk-tsk-ing that the peaceful Muslim world actually learned to
be warlike from the barbaric western crusaders. No wonder, then, that Pope
John Paul II was excoriated for his refusal to apologize for the crusades in
1999. No wonder that a year ago Wheaton College in Illinois dropped their
Crusader mascot of 70 years. No wonder that hundreds of Americans and
Europeans recently marched across Europe and the Middle East begging
forgiveness for the crusades from any Muslim or Jew who would listen. No
wonder.

Now put this down in your notebook, because it will be on the test:
The crusades were in every way a defensive war. They were the West's belated
response to the Muslim conquest of fully two-thirds of the Christian world.
While the Arabs were busy in the seventh through the tenth centuries winning
an opulent and sophisticated empire, Europe was defending itself against
outside invaders and then digging out from the mess they left behind. Only
in the eleventh century were Europeans able to take much notice of the East.
The event that led to the crusades was the Turkish conquest of most of
Christian Asia Minor (modern Turkey). The Christian emperor in
Constantinople, faced with the loss of half of his empire, appealed for help
to the rude but energetic Europeans. He got it. More than he wanted, in
fact.

Pope Urban II called the First Crusade in 1095. Despite modern laments
about medieval colonialism, the crusade's real purpose was to turn back
Muslim conquests and restore formerly Christian lands to Christian control.
The entire history of the crusades is one of Western reaction to Muslim
advances. The crusades were no more offensive than was the American invasion
of Normandy. As it happened, the First Crusade was amazingly, almost
miraculously, successful. The crusaders marched hundreds of miles deep into
enemy territory and recaptured not only the lost cities of Nicaea and
Antioch, but in 1099 Jerusalem itself.

The Muslim response was a call for jihad, although internal divisions
put that off for almost fifty years. With great leaders like Nur ed-Din and
Saladin on the Muslim side and Richard the Lionheart and St. Louis IX on the
Christian side, holy war was energetically waged in the Middle East for the
next century and a half. The warriors on both sides believed, and by the
tenets of their respective religions were justified in believing, that they
were doing God's work. History, though, was on the side of Islam. Muslim
rulers were becoming more, not less powerful. Their jihads grew in strength
and effectiveness until, in 1291, the last remnants of the crusaders in
Palestine and Syria were wiped out forever.

But that was not the end of the crusades, nor of jihad. Islamic states
like Mamluk Egypt continued to expand in size and power. It was the Ottoman
Turks, though, that built the largest and most awesome state in Muslim
history. At its peak in the sixteenth century, the Ottoman Empire
encompassed all of North Africa, the Near East, Arabia, and Asia Minor and
had plunged deep into Europe, claiming Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Hungary,
Croatia, and Serbia. Under Suleiman the Magnificent the Turks came within a
hair's breadth of capturing Vienna, which would have left all of Germany at
their mercy. At that point crusades were no longer waged to rescue
Jerusalem, but Europe itself. Christendom had been shrinking for centuries.
The smart money was all on Islam as the wave of the future.

Of course, that is not how it turned out. But surprisingly the rise of
the West was not the result of any military victory against Muslims. Indeed,
the Ottoman Empire survived largely intact until the end of World War I.
Instead, something completely new and totally unpredictable was happening in
Europe. A new civilization, built on the old to be sure, was forming around
ideas like individualism and capitalism. Europeans expanded on a global
scale, leaving behind the Mediterranean world, seeking to understand and
explore the entire planet. Great wealth in a commercial economy led to a
fundamental change in almost every aspect of Western life, culminating in
industrialization. The Enlightenment turned Western attention away from
Heaven and toward the things of this world. Soon religion in the West became
simply a matter of personal preference. Crusades became unthinkable - a
foolishness of a civilization's childhood.

As for the Islamic world, it was left behind. Even today Muslim
countries struggle to catch up. It is a difficult task, for they are seeking
to reconcile their own culture with modern concepts that are uniquely
western. Invariably this tension has led to charges among Muslims that their
religion and their world is being sold out. Those Muslim leaders who have
dealt with the West have been labeled apostates and sometimes targeted by
jihad warriors. Indeed, the vast majority of Islamist terrorism over the
last century has been aimed at other Muslims. The division, starkly put, is
between those who wish to adopt the benefits of Western culture while
retaining a devotion to Islam and those who consider any concession to the
West to be an abjuration of faith. In short, it is a division between the
medieval and the modern worlds.

Which brings us back to the crusades. If the Muslims won the crusades
(and they did), why the anger now? Shouldn't they celebrate the crusades as
a great victory? Until the nineteenth century that is precisely what they
did. It was the West that taught the Middle East to hate the crusades.
During the peak of European colonialism, historians began extolling the
medieval crusades as Europe's first colonial venture. By the 20th century,
when imperialism was discredited, so too were the crusades. They haven't
been the same since. In other words, Muslims in the Middle East - including
bin Laden and his creatures - know as little about the real crusades as
Americans do. Both view them in the context of the modern, rather than the
medieval world. The truth is that the crusades had nothing to do with
colonialism or unprovoked aggression. They were a desperate and largely
unsuccessful attempt to defend against a powerful enemy.

That's the thing about bin Laden, he is a troublesome mix of the
modern and the medieval. He and his lieutenants regularly fulminate about
the "nation," a reference to a Muslim political unity that died in the
seventh century. They evoke an image of the crusades colored with the legacy
of modern imperialism. And they call for jihad, demanding that every Muslim
in the world take part. In short, they live in a dream world, a desert
cloister where the last thousand years only partially happened.



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k***@gmail.com
2006-07-24 16:09:34 UTC
Permalink
"The media" does not consist of one person nor one entity. "The
media" consists of leftists, right wingers, mainstream and other
categories. Some member of "the media" is always saying something that
some other member of "the media" refutes, so it is pointless to say
that "the media" pelted Bush for insensity to Muslims after using the
term prior to the time that Bush used the term, "crusades".

The crusades was not a defensive war. Christian Europe attacked
Islamic-held Jeruseluem in different periods that lasted over almost
300 years. It was a totally aggessive war because Islam permitted the
practice of other religions in Jerseluem. They tolerated, at that
time, both the Jews and the Christians. There is no defense for the
European powers at all because Turkey wasn't a part of Europe. It was
an invasion by European powers defending the emperialism of the Eastern
European empire.

Are you aware that one of the Crusades sent an army of CHILDREN who
were completely destroyed under the theory that God would protect the
innocent? It just show how totally insane the whole proposition was
and how insulting Bush's ignorance was/is.
Post by LibsDontGetIt
Crusade Propaganda
The abuse of Christianity's holy wars.
By Thomas F. Madden, the author of A Concise History of the Crusades
and coauthor of The Fourth Crusade, is associate professor and chair of the
Department of History at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.
November 2, 2001 8:00 a.m.
ince September 11 the crusades are news. When President Bush used the
term "crusade" as it is commonly used, to denote a grand enterprise with a
moral dimension, the media pelted him for insensitivity to Muslims.
(Nevermind that the media used the term in precisely the same way before the
"gaff.") Attempting to capitalize on this indignation, the leader of the
Taliban, Mullah Omar, crowed "President Bush has told the truth that this is
a crusade against Islam." Yet clearly the crusades were much on the minds of
our enemies long before Bush brought them to their attention. In a 1998
manifesto, cosigned by the leaders of Islamist groups in Egypt, Pakistan,
and Bangladesh, Osama bin Laden declared war against the "Jews and the
Crusaders." If you didn't guess, the Americans are the crusaders here. On
the day the U.S. strikes on Afghanistan began, in a live-from-a-cave
address, bin Laden declared Bush to be "the leader of the infidels" in a
worldwide war against Islam. He previously warned that "crusader" Bush would
lead the infidel forces into Afghanistan "under the banner of the cross."
So, what do the medieval crusades have to do with all this? After all,
doesn't the Muslim world have a right to be upset about the legacy of the
crusades? Nothing and no.
The crusades are quite possibly the most misunderstood event in
European history. Ask a random American about them and you are likely to see
a face wrinkle in disgust, or just the blank stare that is usually evoked by
events older than six weeks. After all, weren't the crusaders just a bunch
of religious nuts carrying fire and sword to the land of the Prince of
Peace? Weren't they cynical imperialists seeking to carve out colonies for
themselves in faraway lands with the blessings of the Catholic Church? A
couch potato watching the BBC/A&E documentary on the crusades (hosted by
Terry Jones of Monty Python fame no less) would learn in roughly four hours
of frivolous tsk-tsk-ing that the peaceful Muslim world actually learned to
be warlike from the barbaric western crusaders. No wonder, then, that Pope
John Paul II was excoriated for his refusal to apologize for the crusades in
1999. No wonder that a year ago Wheaton College in Illinois dropped their
Crusader mascot of 70 years. No wonder that hundreds of Americans and
Europeans recently marched across Europe and the Middle East begging
forgiveness for the crusades from any Muslim or Jew who would listen. No
wonder.
The crusades were in every way a defensive war. They were the West's belated
response to the Muslim conquest of fully two-thirds of the Christian world.
While the Arabs were busy in the seventh through the tenth centuries winning
an opulent and sophisticated empire, Europe was defending itself against
outside invaders and then digging out from the mess they left behind. Only
in the eleventh century were Europeans able to take much notice of the East.
The event that led to the crusades was the Turkish conquest of most of
Christian Asia Minor (modern Turkey). The Christian emperor in
Constantinople, faced with the loss of half of his empire, appealed for help
to the rude but energetic Europeans. He got it. More than he wanted, in
fact.
Pope Urban II called the First Crusade in 1095. Despite modern laments
about medieval colonialism, the crusade's real purpose was to turn back
Muslim conquests and restore formerly Christian lands to Christian control.
The entire history of the crusades is one of Western reaction to Muslim
advances. The crusades were no more offensive than was the American invasion
of Normandy. As it happened, the First Crusade was amazingly, almost
miraculously, successful. The crusaders marched hundreds of miles deep into
enemy territory and recaptured not only the lost cities of Nicaea and
Antioch, but in 1099 Jerusalem itself.
The Muslim response was a call for jihad, although internal divisions
put that off for almost fifty years. With great leaders like Nur ed-Din and
Saladin on the Muslim side and Richard the Lionheart and St. Louis IX on the
Christian side, holy war was energetically waged in the Middle East for the
next century and a half. The warriors on both sides believed, and by the
tenets of their respective religions were justified in believing, that they
were doing God's work. History, though, was on the side of Islam. Muslim
rulers were becoming more, not less powerful. Their jihads grew in strength
and effectiveness until, in 1291, the last remnants of the crusaders in
Palestine and Syria were wiped out forever.
But that was not the end of the crusades, nor of jihad. Islamic states
like Mamluk Egypt continued to expand in size and power. It was the Ottoman
Turks, though, that built the largest and most awesome state in Muslim
history. At its peak in the sixteenth century, the Ottoman Empire
encompassed all of North Africa, the Near East, Arabia, and Asia Minor and
had plunged deep into Europe, claiming Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Hungary,
Croatia, and Serbia. Under Suleiman the Magnificent the Turks came within a
hair's breadth of capturing Vienna, which would have left all of Germany at
their mercy. At that point crusades were no longer waged to rescue
Jerusalem, but Europe itself. Christendom had been shrinking for centuries.
The smart money was all on Islam as the wave of the future.
Of course, that is not how it turned out. But surprisingly the rise of
the West was not the result of any military victory against Muslims. Indeed,
the Ottoman Empire survived largely intact until the end of World War I.
Instead, something completely new and totally unpredictable was happening in
Europe. A new civilization, built on the old to be sure, was forming around
ideas like individualism and capitalism. Europeans expanded on a global
scale, leaving behind the Mediterranean world, seeking to understand and
explore the entire planet. Great wealth in a commercial economy led to a
fundamental change in almost every aspect of Western life, culminating in
industrialization. The Enlightenment turned Western attention away from
Heaven and toward the things of this world. Soon religion in the West became
simply a matter of personal preference. Crusades became unthinkable - a
foolishness of a civilization's childhood.
As for the Islamic world, it was left behind. Even today Muslim
countries struggle to catch up. It is a difficult task, for they are seeking
to reconcile their own culture with modern concepts that are uniquely
western. Invariably this tension has led to charges among Muslims that their
religion and their world is being sold out. Those Muslim leaders who have
dealt with the West have been labeled apostates and sometimes targeted by
jihad warriors. Indeed, the vast majority of Islamist terrorism over the
last century has been aimed at other Muslims. The division, starkly put, is
between those who wish to adopt the benefits of Western culture while
retaining a devotion to Islam and those who consider any concession to the
West to be an abjuration of faith. In short, it is a division between the
medieval and the modern worlds.
Which brings us back to the crusades. If the Muslims won the crusades
(and they did), why the anger now? Shouldn't they celebrate the crusades as
a great victory? Until the nineteenth century that is precisely what they
did. It was the West that taught the Middle East to hate the crusades.
During the peak of European colonialism, historians began extolling the
medieval crusades as Europe's first colonial venture. By the 20th century,
when imperialism was discredited, so too were the crusades. They haven't
been the same since. In other words, Muslims in the Middle East - including
bin Laden and his creatures - know as little about the real crusades as
Americans do. Both view them in the context of the modern, rather than the
medieval world. The truth is that the crusades had nothing to do with
colonialism or unprovoked aggression. They were a desperate and largely
unsuccessful attempt to defend against a powerful enemy.
That's the thing about bin Laden, he is a troublesome mix of the
modern and the medieval. He and his lieutenants regularly fulminate about
the "nation," a reference to a Muslim political unity that died in the
seventh century. They evoke an image of the crusades colored with the legacy
of modern imperialism. And they call for jihad, demanding that every Muslim
in the world take part. In short, they live in a dream world, a desert
cloister where the last thousand years only partially happened.
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end
g***@bayou.com
2006-07-24 16:20:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by LibsDontGetIt
Crusade Propaganda
The abuse of Christianity's holy wars.
By Thomas F. Madden, the author of A Concise History of the Crusades
and coauthor of The Fourth Crusade, is associate professor and chair of the
Department of History at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.
November 2, 2001 8:00 a.m.
I do not find any liberals in that post. As I am sane, I do not think
of Muslims as being liberal. Thomas F. Madden seems to have some
mental weakness that makes him think Muslims are liberal. It was the
Bush administration that made the decision for the Pentagon not to
purchase "The Crusader" artillery.

<snip>
g***@bayou.com
2006-07-24 16:28:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by g***@bayou.com
Post by LibsDontGetIt
Crusade Propaganda
The abuse of Christianity's holy wars.
By Thomas F. Madden, the author of A Concise History of the Crusades
and coauthor of The Fourth Crusade, is associate professor and chair of the
Department of History at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.
November 2, 2001 8:00 a.m.
I do not find any liberals in that post. As I am sane, I do not think
of Muslims as being liberal. Thomas F. Madden seems to have some
mental weakness that makes him think Muslims are liberal. It was the
Bush administration that made the decision for the Pentagon not to
purchase "The Crusader" artillery.
<snip>
For more information see army-technology.com which has more than this:

"CRUSADER 155MM SELF PROPELLED HOWITZER, USA

The Crusader self-propelled howitzer was being developed for the US
Army as a replacement for the Paladin and the US Army requirement was
expected to be for over 800 vehicles. In May 2002, the Crusader program
was officially terminated by the Department of Defense because it was
not considered sufficiently mobile or precise for the evolving security
needs of the 21st century. In August 2002, United Defense received the
formal termination which ends all further work on the program."
o***@aol.com
2006-07-24 17:34:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by g***@bayou.com
Post by LibsDontGetIt
Crusade Propaganda
The abuse of Christianity's holy wars.
By Thomas F. Madden, the author of A Concise History of the Crusades
and coauthor of The Fourth Crusade, is associate professor and chair of the
Department of History at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.
November 2, 2001 8:00 a.m.
I do not find any liberals in that post. As I am sane, I do not think
of Muslims as being liberal. Thomas F. Madden seems to have some
mental weakness that makes him think Muslims are liberal.
An understandable mistake considering that Muslimes' biggest
cheerleaders are liberal douches.

It was the
Post by g***@bayou.com
Bush administration that made the decision for the Pentagon not to
purchase "The Crusader" artillery.
<snip>
t1gercat
2006-07-24 17:51:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by o***@aol.com
Post by g***@bayou.com
Post by LibsDontGetIt
Crusade Propaganda
The abuse of Christianity's holy wars.
By Thomas F. Madden, the author of A Concise History of the Crusades
and coauthor of The Fourth Crusade, is associate professor and chair of the
Department of History at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.
November 2, 2001 8:00 a.m.
I do not find any liberals in that post. As I am sane, I do not think
of Muslims as being liberal. Thomas F. Madden seems to have some
mental weakness that makes him think Muslims are liberal.
Interesting
Post by o***@aol.com
An understandable mistake considering that Muslimes' biggest
cheerleaders are liberal douches.
Liberals cheerling for Muslims??? Is Bush a Liberal? It seems to me
I've seen pictures of him holding hands with a Saudi Prince. It seems
to me that the Bushies were the ones who made special provisions to
allow the Bin Laden family to flee to Arabia when planes were grounded
after 9/11. Isn't it Bush who called Islam, "one of the world's great
religions?" Isn't it Bush who cultivated the votes of the Michigan
Moslems when he ran in 2000 and 2004? Funny, I didn't know Bush was a
Liberal.


Wexford
"" <>
2006-07-24 16:27:27 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 24 Jul 2006 11:57:20 -0400, "LibsDontGetIt"
Post by LibsDontGetIt
Crusade Propaganda
The abuse of Christianity's holy wars.
By Thomas F. Madden, the author of A Concise History of the Crusades
and coauthor of The Fourth Crusade, is associate professor and chair of the
Department of History at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.
November 2, 2001 8:00 a.m.
Historical revisionism

Main articles: Historical revisionism and Historical revisionism
(negationism)

The term historical revisionism has a respectable meaning among
historians and journalists as, illustrated in the Washington Post
article "History In The Remaking: Reagan's Story Doesn't End Here"
[1]. Historical revisionism also has a more specific meaning when it
is used as a label to describe the views of historians who publish
articles that deliberately misrepresent and manipulate historical
evidence. An example of this secondary usage is reported in another
Washington Post article, "Conservatives Celebrate Winning One for the
Gipper" [2]:

People for the American Way saw it in a different light [...] Our
primary concern is continued right-wing intimidation against the
expressions of opposing points of view, whether attacks on dissent,
intimidation of scientific researchers, or a demand for historical
revisionism – or historical cleansing – regarding Ronald Reagan.
(emphasis added).

This second common usage has occurred because some authors who publish
articles that deliberately misrepresent and manipulate historical
evidence (such as David Irving, a proponent of Holocaust denial), have
called themselves "historical revisionists"[3], and this label has
been used by others as a pejorative to describe them when criticising
their work.

Another example of historical revisionism is as a result of political
intent. In particular, one can examine the aggressive efforts of some
governments to censor school textbooks and online sources. By
intentionally omitting or censoring some information, such governments
can pursue a nationalistic agenda. Even delays of public information
can misconstrue the orginal events. Current examples would include:

* The Chinese government for censoring criticism of how the CPC
dealt with the civil protests such as Tiananmen Square Protests.
* Japanese school textbooks tend to whitewash acts of aggression
and atrocities by Japan during WWII Japanese war crimes
Post by LibsDontGetIt
ince September 11 the crusades are news. When President Bush used the
term "crusade" as it is commonly used, to denote a grand enterprise with a
moral dimension, the media pelted him for insensitivity to Muslims.
(Nevermind that the media used the term in precisely the same way before the
"gaff.") Attempting to capitalize on this indignation, the leader of the
Taliban, Mullah Omar, crowed "President Bush has told the truth that this is
a crusade against Islam." Yet clearly the crusades were much on the minds of
our enemies long before Bush brought them to their attention. In a 1998
manifesto, cosigned by the leaders of Islamist groups in Egypt, Pakistan,
and Bangladesh, Osama bin Laden declared war against the "Jews and the
Crusaders." If you didn't guess, the Americans are the crusaders here. On
the day the U.S. strikes on Afghanistan began, in a live-from-a-cave
address, bin Laden declared Bush to be "the leader of the infidels" in a
worldwide war against Islam. He previously warned that "crusader" Bush would
lead the infidel forces into Afghanistan "under the banner of the cross."
So, what do the medieval crusades have to do with all this? After all,
doesn't the Muslim world have a right to be upset about the legacy of the
crusades? Nothing and no.
The crusades are quite possibly the most misunderstood event in
European history. Ask a random American about them and you are likely to see
a face wrinkle in disgust, or just the blank stare that is usually evoked by
events older than six weeks. After all, weren't the crusaders just a bunch
of religious nuts carrying fire and sword to the land of the Prince of
Peace? Weren't they cynical imperialists seeking to carve out colonies for
themselves in faraway lands with the blessings of the Catholic Church? A
couch potato watching the BBC/A&E documentary on the crusades (hosted by
Terry Jones of Monty Python fame no less) would learn in roughly four hours
of frivolous tsk-tsk-ing that the peaceful Muslim world actually learned to
be warlike from the barbaric western crusaders. No wonder, then, that Pope
John Paul II was excoriated for his refusal to apologize for the crusades in
1999. No wonder that a year ago Wheaton College in Illinois dropped their
Crusader mascot of 70 years. No wonder that hundreds of Americans and
Europeans recently marched across Europe and the Middle East begging
forgiveness for the crusades from any Muslim or Jew who would listen. No
wonder.
The crusades were in every way a defensive war. They were the West's belated
response to the Muslim conquest of fully two-thirds of the Christian world.
While the Arabs were busy in the seventh through the tenth centuries winning
an opulent and sophisticated empire, Europe was defending itself against
outside invaders and then digging out from the mess they left behind. Only
in the eleventh century were Europeans able to take much notice of the East.
The event that led to the crusades was the Turkish conquest of most of
Christian Asia Minor (modern Turkey). The Christian emperor in
Constantinople, faced with the loss of half of his empire, appealed for help
to the rude but energetic Europeans. He got it. More than he wanted, in
fact.
Pope Urban II called the First Crusade in 1095. Despite modern laments
about medieval colonialism, the crusade's real purpose was to turn back
Muslim conquests and restore formerly Christian lands to Christian control.
The entire history of the crusades is one of Western reaction to Muslim
advances. The crusades were no more offensive than was the American invasion
of Normandy. As it happened, the First Crusade was amazingly, almost
miraculously, successful. The crusaders marched hundreds of miles deep into
enemy territory and recaptured not only the lost cities of Nicaea and
Antioch, but in 1099 Jerusalem itself.
The Muslim response was a call for jihad, although internal divisions
put that off for almost fifty years. With great leaders like Nur ed-Din and
Saladin on the Muslim side and Richard the Lionheart and St. Louis IX on the
Christian side, holy war was energetically waged in the Middle East for the
next century and a half. The warriors on both sides believed, and by the
tenets of their respective religions were justified in believing, that they
were doing God's work. History, though, was on the side of Islam. Muslim
rulers were becoming more, not less powerful. Their jihads grew in strength
and effectiveness until, in 1291, the last remnants of the crusaders in
Palestine and Syria were wiped out forever.
But that was not the end of the crusades, nor of jihad. Islamic states
like Mamluk Egypt continued to expand in size and power. It was the Ottoman
Turks, though, that built the largest and most awesome state in Muslim
history. At its peak in the sixteenth century, the Ottoman Empire
encompassed all of North Africa, the Near East, Arabia, and Asia Minor and
had plunged deep into Europe, claiming Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Hungary,
Croatia, and Serbia. Under Suleiman the Magnificent the Turks came within a
hair's breadth of capturing Vienna, which would have left all of Germany at
their mercy. At that point crusades were no longer waged to rescue
Jerusalem, but Europe itself. Christendom had been shrinking for centuries.
The smart money was all on Islam as the wave of the future.
Of course, that is not how it turned out. But surprisingly the rise of
the West was not the result of any military victory against Muslims. Indeed,
the Ottoman Empire survived largely intact until the end of World War I.
Instead, something completely new and totally unpredictable was happening in
Europe. A new civilization, built on the old to be sure, was forming around
ideas like individualism and capitalism. Europeans expanded on a global
scale, leaving behind the Mediterranean world, seeking to understand and
explore the entire planet. Great wealth in a commercial economy led to a
fundamental change in almost every aspect of Western life, culminating in
industrialization. The Enlightenment turned Western attention away from
Heaven and toward the things of this world. Soon religion in the West became
simply a matter of personal preference. Crusades became unthinkable - a
foolishness of a civilization's childhood.
As for the Islamic world, it was left behind. Even today Muslim
countries struggle to catch up. It is a difficult task, for they are seeking
to reconcile their own culture with modern concepts that are uniquely
western. Invariably this tension has led to charges among Muslims that their
religion and their world is being sold out. Those Muslim leaders who have
dealt with the West have been labeled apostates and sometimes targeted by
jihad warriors. Indeed, the vast majority of Islamist terrorism over the
last century has been aimed at other Muslims. The division, starkly put, is
between those who wish to adopt the benefits of Western culture while
retaining a devotion to Islam and those who consider any concession to the
West to be an abjuration of faith. In short, it is a division between the
medieval and the modern worlds.
Which brings us back to the crusades. If the Muslims won the crusades
(and they did), why the anger now? Shouldn't they celebrate the crusades as
a great victory? Until the nineteenth century that is precisely what they
did. It was the West that taught the Middle East to hate the crusades.
During the peak of European colonialism, historians began extolling the
medieval crusades as Europe's first colonial venture. By the 20th century,
when imperialism was discredited, so too were the crusades. They haven't
been the same since. In other words, Muslims in the Middle East - including
bin Laden and his creatures - know as little about the real crusades as
Americans do. Both view them in the context of the modern, rather than the
medieval world. The truth is that the crusades had nothing to do with
colonialism or unprovoked aggression. They were a desperate and largely
unsuccessful attempt to defend against a powerful enemy.
That's the thing about bin Laden, he is a troublesome mix of the
modern and the medieval. He and his lieutenants regularly fulminate about
the "nation," a reference to a Muslim political unity that died in the
seventh century. They evoke an image of the crusades colored with the legacy
of modern imperialism. And they call for jihad, demanding that every Muslim
in the world take part. In short, they live in a dream world, a desert
cloister where the last thousand years only partially happened.
t1gercat
2006-07-24 18:35:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by LibsDontGetIt
Crusade Propaganda
The abuse of Christianity's holy wars.
By Thomas F. Madden, the author of A Concise History of the Crusades
and coauthor of The Fourth Crusade, is associate professor and chair of the
Department of History at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.
November 2, 2001 8:00 a.m.
Propaganda and drivel snipped.

The author neatly omits the inconvenient fact that the Crusaders of the
1st Crusade (1095) murdered most of the population of Jersulem when
they conquered it. They not only murdered Moslems; they also murdered
Greek Orthodox Christians by the thousands. In fact, Crusaders had a
special proclivity toward murdering Greek Christians. A century later,
on their way to the Holy Land during the Fourth Crusade (1204), tens of
thousands of knights and common soldiers invaded the very Christian
city of Constantinople, then pillaged, raped, and murdered the
inhabitants. On an earlier Crusade, the valiant Crusaders paused in
Germany to burn helpless Jews. For the most part, the Crusaders were
thugs. There were a few zealots among them, but the rank and file were
pretty awful folk.

It is true that the defense of Europe required a strong stand and the
West eventually had to either repel the Ottomans or suffer under their
control. That was centuries after the First Crusade, however. Pope
Urban II, in starting the 1st Crusade, was hardly a saintly and
tolerant man. He formented outrage among Christians by enlisting an
army of priest propagandists who traveled Europe spreading outrageous
lies about the Moslem control of the Holy Land, the alleged desecration
of Churches, and the rape, torture and enslavement of Christains. None
of this was true. In fact, the Moslem rulers had been fairly tolerant
of Christians. Since the Moslems had no interest in Christian divisions
of faith and belief, they let all types of Christians (Orthodox,
Monotheists, etc.), live in peace and even promoted Christians to high
office in Moslem governments. In contrast, under the old Byzantine
Empire, only Christian Orthodoxy was tolerated, and straying Christians
were often persecuted. As a result, some Christian groups actually
welcomed the Moslems and eventually many converted to Islam.

The author's argument, that the Crusades were somehow necessary and
that the rise of the Ottoman Turks somehow vindicated the Crusades, is
specious. It was certainly necessary to stop the spread of the
Ottomans, and that was done at Vienna and at the final Battle of
Lepanto (1571) which broke the Ottoman fleet and kept them from
expanding in the Mediterranian. The Crusades had ended centuries
before, however, (the Fourth Crusade ened in 1204) and their
relationship to either Sulieman's failed Seige of Vienna (1526) or the
Battle of Vienna (1683) is not only questionable, it is ridiculous.

Wexford

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