Abolishing America (contd.): The Crusade Against The Crusades

One further casualty of the Sept. 11 attacks may be
the word and even the concept “crusade,” which seems
well on the way to the same graveyard of perfectly
good expressions like “Dutch
<![if !supportNestedAnchors]><![endif]>” and
,” among others. Lots of Muslims don`t like
the term because it calls up unpleasant associations.
Therefore, if they don`t like it,

we can`t use it.

The West (that term too is probably objectionable;
after all, where exactly is the “West”?) became aware of
just how offensive the word “crusade” is to Muslims
right after Sept. 11, when President Bush made the
blunder of using it in his description of the American
war on terrorism. “This crusade, this war on terrorism,”
the president

, “is going to take a while.” “Muslims,”
The Washington Post


this week, “were stung.” [“The Crusaders` Giant
Footprints”, Washington Post, Oct 23, 2001]

Only a thousand years ago, you see, “the West,” which
then consisted of little more than a few gangs of
mounted and armored bandits who had given themselves
fancy titles, decided to
invade the Middle East,
which was under the control
of the Muslims. The Westerners launched the invasion as
a religious war, to reclaim the

lands of the infidels
(the Muslims) and protect

holy places i
n the region, and therefore the wars
were called “crusades” because of the cross the medieval
knights wore and fought for. The Muslims, as the Post
is most careful to explain, did not care for that.

“To them,” the Post`s story assures us,
“`crusade,` even uncapitalized, is a profoundly loaded
term. It evokes not just a war against their people, who
were hacked apart, man and child, 1,000 years ago, until
the streets of Jerusalem and other cities ran deep in
blood. It evokes an unprovoked war against their
religion and their every way of life—a war they see
mirrored today in the steady corrosion of Islamic values
by a globalizing Western culture they believe undermines
their families, trivializes learning and profanes their

Only deep into the story does the Post
mention, while expounding on how tolerant Islam was,
that “Islam spread north and westward from Arabia into
the crumbling remnants of the old Roman Empire.” Indeed.
And just how did Islam “spread,” do you suppose? Well,
now, actually, as the Post finally notes in passing,
“Midway through the 8th century, Arab forces had
conquered most of the Middle East and were

on their way to Spain
.” Just so.

The point is that (a) the Arabic Muslims, energized
by their
new faith
, embarked on a jihad (that term might be

offensive to Westerners
as “crusade” is to Muslims,
but that`s OK) to conquer everything in sight, and (b)
most of the lands they conquered—in the Middle East and
North Africa—were or had been provinces of the Roman and

Empires and were Christian. The Muslims
might have sat around wondering, 300 years later, why
the dickens these “Westerners” were invading “their”
territory, but someone should have explained to them
that it was largely because they conquered the lands
from Christians.

Also, as the Post notes, Muslim rulers by the
11th century had started mistreating Christians under
their power, attacking Christian pilgrims and
desecrating Christian holy places. Much of the rest of
the Post`s story is devoted to explaining how civilized
the Muslims were compared to “Western Christendom …
sunk in the Dark Ages of violence, ignorance and

Well, maybe so, depending on whether you think
Christianity is more ignorant and superstitious than
Islam, but the point is that the West, through the
Crusades themselves, was beginning to lift itself out of
the centuries-long aftermath of the collapse of the
Roman Empire and the barbarian invasions. The Crusades
were in fact one of the first efforts of Western Man to
expand beyond the narrow borders in which he was born.
They were indeed often brutal, as most wars eventually
are, but so far from being a period for the West to deny
and be ashamed of, they ought to be a source of pride.

In the end (or at least up until now), the West
surpassed the Muslim civilization, but it ought to tell
us something about the state of the West today that no
sooner did Muslims start kicking back on Sept. 11, than
the West started apologizing for what it did a thousand
years ago. The Crusades as a historical episode are now
on the same moral plane as

and the

discovery of America
, and without understanding
what`s happening or why, Western leaders are happy to
abandon every legacy of their race and civilization if
only no Non-Westerners are

If the modern West has no more
confidence in itself and its historic achievements than
that, then the “West” really should be buried because
it`s already dead.


October 25, 2001