blogenlust
11.08.2004

They're Baaaaaack


The Crusades:
NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq, Nov 6 (AFP) - With US forces massing outside Fallujah, 35 marines swayed to Christian rock music and asked Jesus Christ to protect them in what could be the biggest battle since American troops invaded Iraq last year. Men with buzzcuts and clad in their camouflage waved their hands in the air, M-16 assault rifles laying beside them, and chanted heavy metal-flavoured lyrics in praise of Christ late Friday in a yellow-brick chapel. They counted among thousands of troops surrounding the city of Fallujah, seeking solace as they awaited Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's decision on whether or not to invade Fallujah. "You are the sovereign. You're name is holy. You are the pure spotless lamb," a female voice cried out on the loudspeakers as the marines clapped their hands and closed their eyes, reflecting on what lay ahead for them. [...] One spoke of their Old Testament hero, a shepherd who would become Israel's king, battling the Philistines some 3,000 years ago. "Thus David prevailed over the Philistines," the marine said, reading from scripture, and the marines shouted back "Hoorah, King David," using their signature grunt of approval. The marines drew parallels from the verse with their present situation, where they perceive themselves as warriors fighting barbaric men opposed to all that is good in the world. "Victory belongs to the Lord," another young marine read.
Yes, it is Drudge, but still, this is a little unsettling. And in the event I get blasted for this, no, it is not because they are religious. Certainly I am in no position to judge how people cope with the stress of combat. Nevertheless, it is unsettling to me that people are casting this as a religious crusade (it's not just the troops), and I think it is most disturbing that Drudge would even write about it. Of course, I also find it distressingly similar to this:
We praise God, seek His help, and ask for His forgiveness. We seek refuge in God from the evils of our souls and our bad deeds. A person who is guided by God will never be misguided by anyone and a person who is misguided by God can never be guided by anyone. I bear witness that there is no God but Allah alone, Who has no partner. [...] These battles cannot be viewed in any case whatsoever as isolated battles, but rather, as part of a chain of the long, fierce, and ugly crusader war. Every Muslim must stand under the banner of There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is God's Prophet.
Thus spoke bin Laden. Again, I don't think that casting the seige of Fallujah, the war in Iraq, or the war on terrorism in religious rhetoric is a very smart thing to do. The percentage of Muslims who support bin Laden and feel that we are in the midst of a holy war with Islam is pretty small. We don't need to start giving people excuses to change their minds, though.