Thursday, February 24, 2011

Running against history, Rick Santorum defends the Crusades


Rick Santorum is insane. And he doesn't know anything about history either:

Rick Santorum launched into a scathing attack on the left, charging during an appearance in South Carolina that the history of the Crusades has been corrupted by "the American left who hates Christendom."

"The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical," Santorum said in Spartanburg on Tuesday. "And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom."

He added, "They hate Western civilization at the core. That's the problem."

After asserting that Christianity had not shown any "aggression" to the Muslim world, the former Pennsylvania senator — who is considering a 2012 run for the White House — argued that American intervention in the Middle East helps promote "core American values."

So he's defending the Crusades and directly linking them, a bloodthirsty, rapacious, avaricious assault on the "Holy Land" and on Islam generally, to the Iraq War and other warmongering interventions (i.e., invasions) in the Middle East?

It's like he's trying to out-Palin Palin. Which of course he is. He's dropping hints about running, he's making high-profile appearances in early-primary states like South Carolina, and he's evidently trying to capture the right-wing Republican base that loves Palin in order to succeed against the likes of Romney and Pawlenty -- the former who has yet to win over conservatives (and who never will) and who will only win moderates and perhaps business-oriented conservatives, the latter who is trying desperately to come across as a hardcore social conservative but who is a dull midwestern governor who may only win establishment Republicans, if anyone at all. Should Palin not run, there will be room in the race for a far-righter. It may not be Huckabee, who's a bit of a renegade anyway, and it won't be Pence, and it's not Rubio's time yet, and no doubt most of the smarter Republicans realize it's a long shot to beat Obama in any event, so maybe it'll be Santorum who fills the void.

Makes sense, even if Santorum himself does not.

I would just note, getting back to the Crusades, that it's not really a "scathing" attack if it's completely crazy and utterly ill-founded.

And it doesn't mean you hate Christianity, and certainly not "Western Civilization," when you point out that the Crusades were pretty bloody violent and that the Christians who went on them were not entirely motivated by those noble and supposedly "Christian" ideals of peace, love, and understanding. They were about conquering the Holy Land, yes, but also about raping and plundering and making off with as much booty as possible, and the targets were not just Muslims but Jews and others as well, including other, non-Roman Catholic Christians (Santorum, by the way, is Roman Catholic), and of course domestic politics played into them as well. (It was all quite complicated, much more complicated than Santorum's ignorantly superficial revisionism suggests.)

To anyone who actually cares about, and seeks to understand, history, Santorum's claim is simply ridiculous. But of course he's appealing not to those who care about history, nor to those who live in reality and seek to deal with reality as is, but to the Republican base, to those who live deeply embedded in ignorance, delusion, and deception, willfully or otherwise.

It's too early to say how well he's doing, but he's sure going for it.

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4 Comments:

  • He's likely overlooking the sack of Constantinople in 1204 as well.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:48 PM  

  • Hi. I think you have to look at the history of the Crusades a bit differently. You see, by the time of the 1st Crusade in 1096, Europeans of all religions and some with no religion, had been fighting muslims for almost 400 years, beginning in 711 when muslims first invaded Spain. The fighting involved major battles as well as guerrilla warfare. This armed taking back of muslim held Europe, which included Spain, Sicily, Sardinia and parts of southern Italy, was called the Reconquista, and wasn't completed until 1249. Interestingly, during the entire time span of the Crusades, Europeans were fighing on European soil to take back their homelands from invading muslims, and if they weren't stopped during the battle of Tours, muslim armies would have occupied France and then set their sights on lands further north and west. If you study this topic, you will soon come to learn that the Crusades were, in large part, an extension of the Reconquista. However, you almost never hear this history from people who speak of the Crusades only as a time of Christian violence against innocent muslims, who were just minding their own business until some nutjob Crusader started swinging his broadsword at them. I assure you, it was a little more involved than that.

    By Anonymous SalemSteve, at 10:12 PM  

  • Thank you, Salem Steve. You are correct that the Crusades were a response to the encroachings and attacks of muslims into Europe and to their taking of the Holy Land for themselves to the exclusion of others for whom it is religiously holy (like muslim Mecca).
    Those muslim encroachments were as violent and bloody as muslims needed them to be, to achieve their aim. Sometimes, their target just gave up and submitted to muslim dhimmitude; but if they resisted, the muslim mandate and practice was to slaughter them.
    Rick Santorum is correct.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:35 PM  

  • guys i am surprised that these comments are still here maybe you didnt know you shouldnt confuse liberals with the facts but anyways you are correct.thats prolly why there are no other comments after you guys lol

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:16 AM  

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