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Western Civilisation

Until the advent of materialism and 19th c. dogma, Western Civilisation was  superior to anything Islam had developed.  Islam has not aided in the development of the modern world; in fact civilisation has only been created in spite of Islam.  Proof of this resides in the 'modern' world and the unending political-economic and spiritual poverty of Muslim states and regions.  Squatting on richer civilisations is not 'progress'.  Islam is pagan, totalitarian, and irrational.   

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

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Why the Crusades were a success.

They helped to save civilization.

by Ferdinand III

Don't confront Iran. Iraq was not worth it. Turkey is our friend. The Arabs in 'Palestine' are under 'occupation'. The Saudi's and Gulf Arabs are major allies. Islam is peaceful. Most Muslims are worthy and honest etc. When listening to mad ravings of the Marxist-Liberal chattering class, or sundry vote-buying compassionate 'conservatives', one can't help but fondly reflect on the self-confident energy and faith which galvanized 7 crusades in the early modern period, over a vast distance, to save Europe and Christendom. Contrary to most reports, the Crusades were anything but a failure – they in effect saved Europe from the Muslim hordes. Without them the world would be a different and far sorrier place.

They did of course end in a 'failure' of sorts and in some sense they were bloody – but no more than any other war during that period. Historians or commentators never put that so-called 'failure' into perspective. From 1099 to about 1290 the Crusaders – always small in number, lacking resources and politically divided – were able to mount serious operations far from Europe and wrest control of large swathes of Syria and the Levant from Islamic control for more than 150 years. A rather prodigious feat.

That they succeeded for so long, building some of the most impressive fortifications in the world at that time, is testimony to a high level of skill, organisation and resolve. It gives lie to the oft-repeated claim that medieval Europe was some sort of dung infested ant heap of poverty and stupidity. It wasn't.

Why are the Crusades then important, when we are constantly told by Muslim apologists and Marxist professors that they were an unmitigated failure?

Many good books exist on the Crusades and the most interesting ignore politically-correct gibberish and present the incursions into the Holy Land as valid replies to centuries of Muslim aggression and violence. When the first Crusade was called in 1095 by Pope Urban II, the fate of Byzantium or Eastern Christendom was in doubt. The Emperor at Constantinople appealed to the Pope and Western emperors for help. Crushed in 1071 at the battle of Manzikert the Byzantium empire was but a shadow of its former self.

The Arabs defeating the Eastern Christians in 637 A.D. in the south had stripped vital and prosperous property and trade routes from the Byzantines. The Arabs tried, came close, but ultimately failed to take the weakened Byzantium state. The Seljuk Turks however, came to finish off what the Arabs could not do. Seljuk power had taken over much of the Levant, Syria, Iraq and modern day Turkey. By 1095 A.D. they were poised to finish off the Eastern Christian state. By this time Byzantium was a shrunken, poorer state, hanging on to lands in the Balkans, Asia Minor and some islands in the eastern Mediterranean. It appeared that without Western aid, the Eastern Church and millions of Jews and Christians would be destroyed by the Muslim Turks. Hence out went the call from East to West for immediate aid.

Along with the fate of Eastern brothers, Pope Urban and the Western leadership could point out some other facts. Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land were being constantly harassed by the Turks. The Levant and Jerusalem were under Turkish control, and many stories reached Europe about Christians being slaughtered; taxed; subject to huge fees and generally harassed on holy pilgrimages. Given the obsessive nature of the medieval mind towards the Holy Land, such violations were sure to arouse a ferocious Christian response.

Pope Urban was able to galvanize the First Crusade and convince the nobles of Europe to participate not just because of concern for Constantinople's survival, but out of self-interest. Crusaders were exempt from Church taxation on income [which could be quite high up to 25%]. Assets and families were to be guaranteed protection by the Church. Perhaps most importantly the souls of those who participated would be saved and 'indulgences' granted to family members as well. Even better might be the loot and riches in the Holy Land, which awaited a victorious campaign.  It would be wrong however to view the Crusades as anything other than what they really were - an attack against Islam attempting to reverse 400 years of Muslim jihad; and a spiritual calling to remove the heathens from the holiest sites of what had long been Christian territory.

The only downside for the Crusading Christian was that he had to pay for the trip, the equipment, the food, the horses and the appurtenances of war, himself. It was a rather expensive deal. Due to costs involved most of the Crusading armies - which never numbered more than 30.000 -- were composed of the upper classes.  Contrary to myth, there never was a Crusade of poor people or the refuse of society.  There is no possibility that they could have afforded the long and dangerous journey, never mind the armor, food and pack animals which were necessary for warring.  Many indigent did trudge after the professional armies of course, but these were not the fighting men who retook the Holy Land. 

The most remarkable crusade was probably the first professional one. This was a gigantic success. Marching down through Turkey the small crusading army comprising most probably 15.000 professional infantrymen from France and Germany, and most likely 2.000 heavily armored Knights, destroyed Turkish resistance taking the major city of Antioch in present day Syria [at that time a far larger and more important center than Jerusalem], before in mid 1099 taking the Holy City itself. It was a remarkable achievement.

But as with all subsequent Crusades it was the lack of resources, manpower and political unity, which would doom the project in Outremer [or Over the Sea]. After Jerusalem was taken a Muslim Egyptian force attacked in the autumn of 1099 and was wiped out. Instead of consolidating their military victories and marching to Cairo and or Damascus to eliminate the Muslim threat, most of the Crusaders simply went home. Their thinking was simple. We took Jerusalem, we slaughtered a lot of Muslims, we have our indulgences and money, and now it is time to go. King Baldwin, French born leader of the First Crusade was thus left with about 300 heavy cavalry and 1000 or so regular infantry. Such a paltry force could never hope to retain, in the long-term, such vast possessions so recently conquered.

And so it went with all 7 Crusades. The Muslims, even despite their varied internal differences and civil wars, could always mount huge armies, supported by extensive resources, supplies and logistical support. They were after all fighting in their own backyard so to speak. The fractious Europeans, riven by jealously, political ambition, greed, and rivalry, had to contend with limited man-power, tenuous supply bases and the constant threat of Turkish encirclement.

It is rather astonishing that the Crusaders were able to keep even a portion of their First Crusade victories for so long. Jerusalem only fell to Saladin in 1187 – after the Kurdish commander had slaughtered and beheaded 1000 Knights who had surrendered to the vastly superior Turkish forces at the battle of Hattin. This was followed by more massacres and raising of Christian settlements – giving lie to the calumny that only the Crusaders engaged in bloody attacks on civilians. The Muslims were just as keen, if not keener, in wanton pillage and destruction.

Even the nadir of the Crusades and the 1204 destruction of the 'Second Rome', and display of crude barbarism and lust for Orthodox riches can only be viewed as a pay back for Greek perfidy.  The Greeks who had demanded Western help in fighting the Muslim or Saracen, never sent an army to aid the Crusaders. They ensured the entire destruction of the second Crusade by luring the Christians into a Turkish night-time ambush and destruction.  By 1150 the Byzantines were even in open alliance with the Muslims. Of course the Latin's would take their revenge.  Why wouldn't they?

In reality the 1204 sack of Byzantium's capital still pales to the unmitigated extermination which took place in Constantinople as it fell to the Turks in 1453. Constantinople's streets literally ran with rivers of blood as the Turks butchered the population and desecrated the holiest of Christian shrines and churches. All men were killed, and women and children sold as sex slaves or chattel. No mercy was shown. So much for the piety that Muslims were civilized and the Christians Dark Age savages. 

Other significant benefits also accrued from the Crusades. Trade, ideas, a sense of Christendom and European-ness flowed from the struggle with the Seljuk Turks and Arabs. These were positives as is the base fact that for the first time since the Islamic onslaught in the mid-7th century, the Christians were taking the struggle to the Muslims. No longer were Western Christian states and the Church willing to allow the Turks and Arabs a free reign of terror along the European littoral.

Centuries of Arab and Turkic warring against Christendom had finally engendered a military response. It is not an exaggeration to state there is a direct line between 1099, the naval victory over the Muslims in 1571 at Lepanto, and the Christian defeat of the Turks in 1683 at the gates of Vienna. The Crusades were Europe's fractious yet effective means of taking the war to the enemy.

They proved that even a small tithe of Europe's resources were enough to defeat the pagan Turks and Muslims. Undermanned, under-resourced and never unified, the Crusades destroyed the myth of Muslim superiority and fighting prowess. There is no doubt that if there had been a unified command, using the vast resources of Europe and its professional soldiery and heavy cavalry, that the Europeans would easily have conquered not only the Levant, but also Egypt and Mesopotamia. How different and more positive might world history now been if that had taken place.

This not so 'pre-emptive' attack by the Christians against pagan Muslims is of course the only way to win a struggle against a robustly fascistic ideology. Especially one which had been warring on Europe for 400 years before the first stirrings of a European counter-attack were formed. Waiting to be conquered and slaughtered is a rather inadvisable strategy - something the moralizers and anti-war philosophers of today fail to recognize. We can learn a lot from the Crusades – the faith, the feat of logistics and engineering, the self-confidence, and indeed the avaricious greed of conquest and blood – in stimulating a grand enterprise.

Even despite its iniquities the Crusades were and are certainly superior to the alternative, namely the banal claims of pacifist stupor, and ignominious slavery. In almost all respects they were a success, not a failure. But that is something that will never be taught in a post-modern, post-reality world.

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