Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Who would lead the last crusade?

It is an oft-stated meme in certain circles that Western Civilization is currently engaged in a great religious war -- without being willing to admit the fact. There is, I think, I certain degree of truth to this, though it's often vastly overstated. It's true that the roots of the 'war on terror' are religious more than they are political. And certainly, that's a fact that no Western leader wants to admit out loud, assuming they understand it in the first place.

What I'm less clear on is whether there lies in the hearts of Islamist leaders a desire to overtly attack Western religion as well as Western secular culture. Certainly, historically there had. If there isn't now, it's probably not because of any desire for ecumentical dialogue so much as out of a belief that Western religion has curled up and quietly died in the face of the 'great satan' of secular culture.

The other day a friend was worring out loud that an Islamist assassination attempt against Benedict XVI might not be far off. I pray not. But if it happened, I can't help wondering what would follow. (Harry Turtledove, call your office.)

I remember sitting up at 2am local time watching the inauguration mass of Benedict XVI, seeing so many world leaders assembled in St. Peter's Square and wondering: Does some fanatic out there have access to ballistic missiles that work better than the ones North Korea has to sell? What would happen to the world if fire rained down on St. Peter's square, taking the pope, nearly all the cardinals, and a wide assortment of world leaders off the face of the earth in one fell swoop. (It seems like I read somewhere that before 9-11 one of the various ideas that was discussed by Al Qaeda was destroying the Vatican.)

Nothing happened, of course. But I can't help wondering what would happen if it did. Or if some Al Qaeda-affiliated group assassinated the pope in less spectacular fashion. However many thousands of millions of us were willing to sign up, would any major country be willing to take that as a pretext for a war? And, even if so, whom would we wage war against -- in a Middle Eastern political landscape where all real governments carefully maintain plausible deniability about such things, however much they may approve of them.

One prays we'll never find out.

But in the meantime I've got a copy of An Introduction to Persian lurking in my Amazon cart, and try to keep my physical fitness up to enlistmen standards... As the boy scouts always told us, it never hurts to be prepared. Maybe the Knight of Malta will become a military order again before all is said and done...


Fidei Defensor said...

rdPending Turtledove's comments I'll step up to the plate.

I have thought about this one to. A major attack on the Vatican, what happens next...?

You are going to hear lots of liberals within the Church and without saying this is the time for forgivness. Ala Richard Gear after 9-11.

In fact, sadly many American Catholics would hear this in the Homilys the next Sunday. That Islam really is the religion of Peace and that what happend to the Pope was tragic but 1000's die every day from AIDS or something like that.

In the Muslim world there would be dancing in the streets.

Still there would be an uproar as Catholics around the world (and probably a good number of Orthodox, Protestants, and Jews) demand that something be done.

In the US you might see some vandalism and "hate crimes" against Mosques. These incidents would be few and far-in-between but the media would report on them as if was some kind of American Holocoust.

By virtue of Geography, Italy might be compelled to take some kind of action. There would probably be some arrests (I am guessing in Milan or Turin, big time Muslim areas of Italy.) Of course inevitably evidence would turn up that the terrorists had links to some other country.

Many people around the world would start saying that this is the start of the new crusade, the start of the epic battle of civilizations, World War III.

Still I think in the west for the time being, cooler heads would prevail. Yet it would be constantly getting harder considering every response of grief and anger to the Pope's death would actually provoke more anger from Muslims along the lines of riots and church bombings.

The wild-card here is what Bush and Blair would do, probably speak about how cowardly and evil the attack was and for the first time ever, not go out of their way in speeches to say that Islam really is the religion of peace.

The ball would then really be in the hands of the new Pope. Would he addopt an agressive stance towards Islam and try to rally the west, or simply seek peace and forgiveness?

In the next wave of European elections you would see more right-leaning parties take power, especailly on the issue of immigration, hopefully Europeans would start seeing the need to defend their culture.

A terrorist attack on the Vatican would not be the next Crusade, but it would take the world to the brink. One more attack and then...

Anyway just for fun, which countries would support it? Well prior to 1975 I'd say Franco's Spain, but not these days.

Portugal, it is worth noting has used Navy Crusisers to deter abortion ships before.

Malta is a small nation but a deeply Catholic one.

Poland has something like 86% Mass attendance, and a decent Army.

The Pope has gotten support from the Chancellor of his Native Germany.

Kiwi Nomad said...

There is an interesting article in The Australian today, reprinted from The Times.,20867,20436604-2703,00.html
In it the author basically says that the Pope has done Islam a favour by opening up the issue of verses in the Koran about violence towards infidels. He quotes a book stating that Osama bin Laden uses these verses and ignores their context - and that more moderate Muslims need to discuss these issues.

Anonymous said...

I am 17 years old.I think that within my lifetime I will see a great war between the west and the islamic terrorist groups.That day is not far away when this huge bloodshed will occur.That will be a war for defending their own lives, civilization, leadership and to destroy their opponent forever.