By Patrick J. Buchanan – November 27, 2001
Five days after declaring war on terrorism, the president urged Americans to be patient: “This crusade … is going to take awhile.” Immediately, the cry arose, “How could he be so cruelly insensitive!”
Bush was scourged and admonished that he had insulted the Islamic world. Did he not know the Crusades were wars of criminal Christian aggression marked by pillage and massacre? The president apologized, and no one has since embraced the dreaded term.
At Georgetown, Bill Clinton suggested Sept. 11 may even be payback. “Those of us who come from various European lineages are not blameless,” said the paragon of the Woodstock generation. “In the First Crusade, when the Christian soldiers took Jerusalem, they first burned a synagogue with 300 Jews in it, and proceeded to kill every woman and child who was Muslim on the temple mount. The contemporaneous descriptions of the event describe soldiers walking on the temple mount, a holy place to Christians, with blood running up to their knees. I can tell you that story is still being told today in the Middle East, and we are still paying for it.”
But why Americans, whose first president was a Mason who did not take office until 1789, should be slaughtered in 2001 because of a crusade preached by a pope in 1095, Clinton left unexplained.
A little history. In 600 A.D., the Mediterranean basin was largely Christian. But within a century of the death of Mohammed in 632, armies of Islam had conquered Syria and Palestine, swept over North Africa, and overrun Spain, only to be defeated at Poitiers by Charles Martel. Had they triumphed, Christianity might have died in Europe, as it would in the cities of Augustine and Athanasius.
“The common assumption that the Crusades were an act of unprovoked Christian aggression” is false, writes Warren Carroll, the historian of Christendom. Before 1095, “all the aggression had been Muslim. The Muslims were the original and continuing attackers and conquerors of Christian territory.” Only after centuries living in fear of the hosts of Islam did Urban II preach the First Crusade.
The goal that animated the Crusaders was Jerusalem. “Those who deride this as a Christian objective have lived too long in books and under lamps,” writes Carroll. “Real men and women, as distinct from scholarly abstractions, have homes which they love. Jesus Christ was a real man. He had a home. He loved it. His followers [and] worshipers who came after Him loved the land and places He had loved and trod, simply because He had loved and trodden them. Utterly convinced that He is God, they could not believe it right that any people not recognizing Him as God should rule His homeland.”
A majority in Palestine was probably still Christian in 1095, writes Carroll, “They had … as much right to their land as the Muslim conquerors.” If Mecca were overrun by heathen armies, would not Muslim peoples be justified in launching a “jihad” to liberate their holy city? Would they apologize or be ashamed of having done so?
The Crusader armies, led by Godfrey of Bouillon and Raymond of Toulouse, captured Jerusalem in 1099, where a massacre did occur. But that same evil befell the knights, and their wives and children, when the last Crusader castle, Acre, fell to the Mameluks in 1291. Have we heard any apologies for the slaughter at Acre?
Offered the title King of Jerusalem, Raymond and Godfrey both refused to wear a crown of gold in the city where Christ had worn a crown of thorns. It was an age of faith. The First Crusade, writes Carroll, was “a just war conducted for a deeply spiritual purpose, though often seriously flawed in its execution.” As was World War II.
After that Good War in which British Air Marshal “Bomber” Harris incinerated thousands of refugee women and children in Dresden, Dwight Eisenhower titled his memoir “Crusade in Europe.” If he was not ashamed of the term, why are we?
Because this generation has been indoctrinated in a pack of lies by the moral sappers of the 1960s nesting in our schools. To them, Western Civilization is an abomination. The greatest explorers, like Columbus, are genocidal racists. Our founding fathers were slave-owning hypocrites. The soldier-statesmen of Western empires were brutal imperialists. Now, we must also be ashamed of crusades launched to recapture, in the name of our Lord, the Holy Land seized from Christendom by the armies of Islam.
The great enemies of the West today are its over-privileged children who are undermining this greatest civilization the world has ever seen. If we should be ashamed of anything, it is for having twice elected one of them as president. Bill Clinton could not carry the sandals, let alone the sword, of Godfrey of Bouillon.