Bury my heart at the Battle of Yarmouk by mattsteinglass
August 31, 2010, 2:14 pm
Filed under: Conservatism

It’s unbelievable, the stuff you can read in the National Review. Dennis Prager:

Even if we do compare the Crusades with contemporary Islamic jihadism, there is little moral equivalence. The Crusades were waged in order to recapture lands that had been Christian for centuries until Muslim armies attacked them. (Some Crusaders also massacred whole Jewish communities in Germany on the way to the Holy Land, and that was a grotesque evil — which Church officials condemned at the time.) As the dean of Western Islamic scholars, Princeton professor Bernard Lewis, has written, “The Crusades could more accurately be described as a limited, belated and, in the last analysis, ineffectual response to the jihad — a failed attempt to recover by a Christian holy war what had been lost to a Muslim holy war.”

The Byzantine provinces of Palaestina I and II fell to the armies of Islam in a series of battles and sieges between 636 and 642 C.E. The First Crusade was launched in 1095 C.E. It’s an interval of 453 years.

Some military campaigns Dennis Prager would apparently consider legitimate efforts to “recapture lands” that had been seized by the enemy:

1. All Native American military campaigns to retake territory from the United States government, anywhere in the United States.

2. A Mexican invasion of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.

3. An Irish blitzkrieg to recapture Northern Ireland.

4. A Jordanian assault on Israel aimed at recapturing the West Bank and Jerusalem.

5. The Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939.

A case could be made for a joint Spanish-Belgian expedition against the Netherlands to retake Rotterdam for the Catholic Church. And we could go on, but really, what’s the point?


7 Comments so far
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In #2 you left out California. California is Alta California to many people in Mexico. They have a point.

Comment by Bett

I’m busy planning my own personal invasion of Fiji, if you have to conquer somewhere, it might as well be a tropical paradise.

Comment by FOARP

Your response kind of amounts to “this guy is trying to find a moral basis for conquest when really no such thing exists.”

But your citing examples of what Prager ought also to believe if consistent leaves something to be desired. If he is consistent and believes that those invasions you mention can’t be morally impeached because they’re attempts to retake what was once the invader’s (and Hitler excepted, they’re all at least colorable arguments), it doesn’t have any effect on other reasons Prager might have to support or oppose those invasions. I don’t see that your examples do anything but clarify his core belief.

Comment by handworn

Not only that, Prager’s comments leave out the sheer brutality of the Crusades. Amin Malouf’s hair raising account of the horrors of the First Crusade should be required reading to anyone who thinks of the term Crusade in a positive light. And Byzantium’s claim to large portions of the Levant was based on conquest in the first place.

Comment by Matthew Cushing

This wouldn’t be Matthew Cushing of Beverly, MA, would it?

Comment by mattsteinglass

Nope, now of Boulder, CO, but the same Matthew Cushing you met many years ago. Love your stuff.

Comment by Matthew Cushing

And guess who this is? Liz Potter … From Lionel B, also all those many years ago. Weirdly stumbled into Jody’s posting on your blog. What are the odds. Am on a bus and saw a Matt st. Doppelgänger …. And wondered how you are!

Comment by Liz

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