Just when you think it cannot get battier, National Review chooses this moment in time to defend the Crusades. Of course, murdering Muslims is fine and dandy, but, er ...:
Of course there were attacks on several Jewish communities along the Rhine associated with the First Crusade. However, these were not committed by one of the main groups, but by several bands of German stragglers. It is significant that local bishops risked their lives to defend the Jews. These incidents are covered fully in God’s Battalions.
No, you cannot make this up. Then we get this classic archived gem from Derb:
If we are to have the Crusades thrown at us by the likes of Osama bin Laden, let us at least not abjure them.
It is true that we can barely recognize anything of ourselves in the Crusaders. They were coarse and unwashed. Most of them were illiterate. Of the physical world, they were ignorant beyond our imagining, believing the earth to be flat and the sky a crystal dome. Such medicine as they had was far more likely to kill than to heal Richard Lionheart and Amalric, sixth king of Jerusalem, were both killed by the ministrations of their surgeons. Their honor was often truculent, their loyalty sometimes fickle, their piety was barnacled with the grossest kinds of superstition.
We turn in disgust from the spectacle of them wading through blood to the Holy Sepulchre of Christ, and wonder if we would not have found their enemies the silk-clad viziers of Islam, or the suave, scented courtiers of Constantinople more to our liking. Well, perhaps we would; but let us at least acknowledge that these rough soldiers carried with them to the East the germ-seeds of modern civil society. Palestine proved to be stony ground: but that is the East's loss, as the eventual flowering of those seeds elsewhere was all of humanity's immeasurable gain. In spirit and in values, though at an immense distance, the Crusaders were our kin. While not forgetting their many transgressions, we should weep for what they lost and remember with pride their few astonishing victories. Ville gagnée!
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