Today’s Fin ReView section (alas, subscription only) has a great article by Peter Manning, reviewing Ridley Scott’s film Kingdom of Heaven but also spelling out what a terrible crime the Crusades were, and how they are still affecting both the West and the Islamic world after nearly a thousand years. Manning is particularly good on the issue of just war doctrine, and the relationship between jihad and crusade.
Among the few good things to come out of our current trials is the fact that the word “crusade” is finally getting the evil connotations it deserves. A few years ago, George Bush was using the term “crusade” to describe the struggle against terrorism, and the US was about to build an artillery system called the Crusader. Now, just about the only time you hear the term is pejoratively, from bin Laden and like-minded jihadists.
Whether you call it crusade or jihad (or, for that matter, revolutionary communism), holy war is the worst of evils.