Pope Benedict XVI this week quoted from a book recounting a conversation between 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and a Persian scholar on the truths of Christianity and Islam.
"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the pope said. "He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"According to Salih Kapusuz, a deputy leader of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party, the Pope “…is going down in history in the same category as leaders such as (Adolf) Hitler and (Benito) Mussolini." Muslims are outraged and their leaders are demanding an apology.
George Bush and Tony Blair have attempted many times since 9/11 to warn of the Islamist peril and to prepare their nations for the long commitment towards defeating a 7th century ideology. For their efforts, Fallaci, Bush, Blair, and the Pope have suffered the blows and arrows of mockery and scorn. Sadly, their enemies have been not only the Islamist jihadis around the world but also their own people.
The decadent west only wants to hear that which tickles its' ears and will probably ignore Pat Buchanan’s latest warning:
“Every American must hope that Bush's goals, an Afghanistan and an Iraq that are democratic, pro-American and enlisted in the cause of fighting terror, are attained. But we have reached a point where rhetoric must be set aside and realities faced: We face a real prospect of defeat in both wars.”Buchanan warns us that a premature US withdrawal form Iraq potentially could result in:
“The breakup of Iraq, a Shia-Sunni bloodbath spreading across the Middle East, the massacre of the men and women who cast their lot with America, a Turkish invasion of Kurdistan, an Islamic perception the United States had been routed and a Shia-dominated Iraq under the influence of Iran. This would be a strategic disaster that would demoralize our few remaining friends in the region and embolden our enemies. It would be a victory for bin Laden, al-Qaida and Islamists greater than the expulsion of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan.”He writes that come November, with regard to Iraq and Afghanistan, we must decide among three options:
“Put in more U.S. troops and go all-out for the victory of which President Bush speaks. Stay the course, which holds no promise of victory or of any early end to either war. Begin the withdrawal of U.S. forces, and accept the consequences, which could well be what the president warns -- calamitous.”In fairness, this is not the kind of news that anyone, other than the terrorists, wants to hear. Nor do we want to hear Buchanan’s foreshadowing words,
“The decision is up to Bush and the new Congress, but also to us. No matter which decision we make, Americans are headed for a long, dark night of recriminations not unlike the Truman-McCarthy era.”We are in for a long dark night of nightmares and surreal days when our only choices will be between the bad and the horrid. And yet, we mock and scorn our secular, political and religious leaders who try to guide us through the maelstrom.
To what end?
And in those days, there was no King and every man did what was right in his own eyes.