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I’ll See Your Jihad, and Raise You One Crusade

22 April 2012 General 10 Comments Email This Post Email This Post
Eric Prince, Modern-Day Crusader and founder of Xe, formerly known as Blackwater

Eric Prince, Modern-Day Crusader and founder of Xe, formerly known as Blackwater

by Ilisha

“I’ll See Your Jihad, and Raise You One Crusade” is a popular refrain among loons convinced they’re modern-day crusaders locked in an epic battle with Islam. Unfortunately, their apocalyptic visions are not confined to the lunatic fringe. Eric Prince, the reclusive co-founder of Blackwater “private military company” used to outsource US wars fancies himself a modern-day crusader, and he’s not alone.

Blackwater is infamous for its brutality, belligerence, and reckless disregard for the lives of Iraqi and Afghan civilians. This month, Harper’s Magazine featured an exposé, “The Warrior Class”: The Blackwater Videos, by Charles Glass on the rise of private “security contractors” in the years since 9/11. Video clips featured in the article are reminiscent of scenes  from George Miller’s 1979 dystopian action film, Mad Max, but for Iraqis, this was real life–and all too often, death.

In one of the most disturbing clips, a Blackwater vehicle struck down a veiled pedestrian and never bothered to stop, or even to pause. Subsequent vehicles in the convoy also barreled past with total disregard for the victim, apart from making the effort to capture the monstrous crime on video:  (H/T: Saladin)

Video of Blackwater Contractors Driving Over Iraqi Woman

In 2007, Blackwater mercenaries massacred 17 innocent Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square, including 9-year-old Ali Kinani. In January of this year, the “private military contractor” reached a wrongful death “settlement” with the victim’s families and survivors, though criminal charges were dropped, allowing the perpetrators to escape accountability.

Ali Kinani

9-year old Ali Kinani

In 2009, Blackwater re-branded itself as Xe (pronounced “Zee”), apparently to escape its well-deserved image as a gang of ruthless thugs or hire.

What’s missing from the Harper’s Magazine article, and much of the coverage surrounding Xe, is that Erik Prince is a fundamentalist Christian who built his military empire around the notion of Christian Dominionism. An exclusive video featured on Democracy Now revealed previously undisclosed details regarding the companies methods and motives.

The Economist provided more shocking details in an article entitled, “Erik Prince and the last crusade,” : (H/T: MasterQ)

In an affidavit lodged with a court in Virginia, one of the witnesses said that Mr Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe.” The statement continues:

To that end, Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.

Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. For example, Mr. Prince’s executives would openly speak about going over to Iraq to “lay Hajiis out on cardboard.” Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game. Mr. Prince’s employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms for Iraqis and other Arabs, such as “ragheads” or “hajiis.”

Mr Prince is further accused of trying to cover up Blackwater’s misdeeds, which allegedly include profiteering and arms smuggling, by killing employees who tried to blow the whistle on the company….

Sending Christian crusaders to a Muslim country where you’re trying to restore peace is what I would call a very bad idea. Perhaps that wasn’t the case, but sending freelance soldiers into a country unbound by any laws is still a terrible strategy. It breeds a shoot first, ask questions later mentality. And for Blackwater, at times, it was more like shoot first, drive on. The latest allegations are shocking, but much of the story is not surprising at all.”

No, modern-day crusader themes and utter contempt for the lives of innocent Iraqis shouldn’t be surprising at all, and it isn’t confined to private “security” contractors like Xe. Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik also fancied himself as a modern-day crusader who sought to restore the medieval Knights Templar, though he certainly wasn’t alone in this peculiar brand of madness.

It seems Christian-themed holy wars have captured the imaginations of prominent US politicians, journalists, and military leaders. In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, then President George Bush  referred to the so-called “War on Terror” as a “crusade,” sparking widespread criticism in the Islamic world, and even in Europe. Four years later, the BBC reported that Bush told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq:

“President Bush said to all of us: ‘I’m driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, “George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.” And I did, and then God would tell me, “George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq .” And I did.”

A “born again” dry drunk, Bush appealed to millions of conservative Christians, some of the biggest backers of the Iraq war and endless conflict in the Middle East to fulfill their apocalyptic visions:

This is the dark side to their religious world view. Their fantasy is often sung to uplifting gospel music of a soon-to-come Paradise. Its concomitant message (not openly discussed) is that God will then (brutally) kill the entire human race except for Christians (for many meaning “born again” Christians). The Left Behind book series dwells on how God will eviscerate, torture and kill all non-Christians. Why so many of them dwell on this is not clear.  Perhaps it gives meaning to their lives.  Or instilling fear is a way to keep them in line under their preachers’ domination. In any case they are cleverly used by the Israeli lobby, imperial neoconservatives and (more profitably) by the military industrial complex.

The Book of Revelation is the integral passion of their foreign policy, their belief that the founding of Israel foretells the imminent Second Coming, conversion or death for Jews and eternal happiness for themselves in Heaven. In their view America, as God’s instrument, should encourage wars and chaos in the Middle East in order to “hurry up” God and His agenda. One of their leaders is John Hagee, founder of Christians United for Israel. Senator Liebermanis a friend and favored speaker at his events. I have described The Strangest Alliance in History about how each side thinks it is using the other for its own ends.

Also in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, “conservative” journalist  Anne “All Terrorists Look Alike” Coulter said in her “battle cry”  for Washington:

“We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”

Her sentiment was echoed in subsequent statements by prominent Christian war monger Ellis Washington, in an article featured in the far right WorldNetDaily. Such statements weren’t merely confined to the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, and in fact, persist into the present day, according to an article in the Huffington Post, Newt and the Loony Religious Fringe That Now Runs the Republican Party:

America needlessly went to war in Iraq because neoconservative war mongers — who laugh at the “those rubes,” as they think of earnest Evangelical Christian Zionists, and whose own sons and daughters seem notably absent from our armed services — used the religious passion and dedication of conservative Evangelicals to provide political means and cover for the neoconservatives’ commitment to America’s military dominance of the world. In other words the Evangelicals provided the votes to put foolish warmongers like George W Bush in power. And now Gingrich wants their votes.

Gingrich shares a crowded stage with other prominent Republicans who also court the religious right, including Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachman, and Herman Cain.

Not surprisingly, the US military also is also plagued with Blackwater-like perversity and religious extremism. Gen. Tommy Franks, who directed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, callously dismissed concerns over the number of innocent civilians killed in Iraq saying, “We don’t do body counts.” Not to be outdone, Democracy Now has revealed the Pentagon refers to the victims as “Bugsplat,” the name of a computer program that estimates how many civilians will be killed in US-led bombing raids.

Adding perhaps the most infamous religious twist to this madness is Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin. An outspoken Evangelical Christian, Boykin claimed Muslims hate America, “because we’re a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian … and the enemy is a guy named Satan.”

Referring to a battle in Somalia, Boykin also said, “I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol,” and later he said, “We in the army of God, in the house of God, kingdom of God have been raised for such a time as this.” Boykin also claimed God put George Bush in office, and continued to frame the so-called “War on Terror” as a religious conflict, even as George Bush tried to assure the world the US was not at war with Islam.

Should these remarks be dismissed as the rantings of a lone loon?

Last January, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist  Seymour Hersh said key branches of the US military are being run by “crusaders,” According to a Huffington Post article:

“What I’m really talking about is how eight or nine neoconservative, radicals if you will, overthrew the American government. Took it over,” Hersh said.

He said that the attitude that “pervades” a large portion of the Joint Special Operations Command, which is part of the military’s special forces branch and which has carried out secret missions to kill American targets, is one that supports “[changing] mosques into cathedrals.”

Hersh also said that Stanley McChrystal, who headed JSOC before his tenure as the top general in Afghanistan, as well as his successor and many other JSOC members, “are all members of, or at least supporters of, Knights of Malta.” Blake Hounsell, the reporter for Foreign Policy, speculated that Hersh may have been referring to the Sovereign Order of Malta, a Catholic organization.

“Many of them are members of Opus Dei,” Hersh said. “They do see what they’re doing…it’s a crusade, literally. They see themselves as the protectors of the Christians. They’re protecting them from the Muslims [as in] the 13th century. And this is their function.

While the world focused myopically on “Islamic” terrorists, it seems the crusader mentality that germinated in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks has flourished and permeated not only the lunatic fringe, but high-ranking officials within the US establishment. Apparently extremists on both sides of the so-called Clash of Civilizations are inspired to play their respective roles, equally hellbent on hurtling the rest of humanity ever closer to Armageddon.

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10 Comments »

  1. Crusade is not equivalent to Jihad. Crusade’s intention was “holy” war (originally intended to get Jerusalem, which is not theirs, that caused the lives of thousands of Jews and Muslims) while Jihad is struggle of a Muslim to his faith. As far as history goes, Muslims and Jews were not really enemies, there maybe some differences in the belief. The issue now of Israel and Muslims originated in the occupation of Palestine by the now, Israel. It was the Crusaders, I mean the British who gave this British “property” to the Jews. It was also the British who gave Sabah to Malaysia, which the Philippines is claiming to be theirs.

    Please excuse this posting and rest assured that this is not in anyway against the Jews or the British people. It is about occupying what is not theirs and giving it to somebody else while we are prohibited by law to purchase stolen goods.

  2. Eric Prince is enjoying much his job. He not only doing a favor to his god, he also earns good amount of money and have the pleasure of killing Muslims (people). Perhaps in his faith, only Christians are considered people, oops so how about the Hindus, Buddhist, Jews and people of other faith?

  3. “it seems the crusader mentality that germinated in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks has flourished” i guess you have to blame bin laden on the new crusades then. lol

  4. “Crusade is not equivalent to Jihad. Crusade’s intention was “holy” war (originally intended to get Jerusalem, which is not theirs, that caused the lives of thousands of Jews and Muslims) while Jihad is struggle of a Muslim to his faith.” i quess you never heard of jihad of the sword?

    is not the point of islam that allah’s religion should dominate the world? so what is “theirs”????

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Holy_Sepulchre

    “This building was damaged by fire in 614 when the Persians, under Khosrau II, invaded Jerusalem and captured the Cross. In 630, Emperor Heraclius marched triumphantly into Jerusalem and restored the True Cross to the rebuilt Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Under the Muslims it remained a Christian church. The early Muslim rulers protected the city’s Christian sites, prohibiting their destruction and their use as living quarters. In 966 the doors and roof were burnt during a riot.

    On October 18, 1009, Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah ordered the complete destruction of the church. It is believed that Al-Hakim “was aggrieved by the scale of the Easter pilgrimage to Jerusalem, which was caused specially by the annual miracle of the Holy Fire within the Sepulchre.[13] The measures against the church were part of a more general campaign against Christian places of worship in Palestine and Egypt, which involved a great deal of other damage: Adhemar of Chabannes recorded that the church of St George at Lydda ‘with many other churches of the saints’ had been attacked, and the ‘basilica of the Lord’s Sepulchre destroyed down to the ground’. …The Christian writer Yahya ibn Sa’id reported that everything was razed ‘except those parts which were impossible to destroy or would have been too difficult to carry away’.”[14] The Church’s foundations were hacked down to bedrock. The Edicule and the east and west walls and the roof of the cut-rock tomb it encased were destroyed or damaged (contemporary accounts vary), but the north and south walls were likely protected by rubble from further damage. The “mighty pillars resisted destruction up to the height of the gallery pavement, and are now effectively the only remnant of the fourth-century buildings.”[14] Some minor repairs were done to the section believed to be the tomb of Jesus almost immediately after 1009, but a true attempt at restoration would have to wait for decades.[14]

    European reaction was of shock and dismay, with far-reaching and intense consequences. For example, Cluniac monk Rodulfus Glaber blamed the Jews, with the result that Jews were expelled from Limoges and other French towns. Ultimately, this destruction provided an impetus to the later Crusades.[15]”

  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jihad

    “According to the authoritative Dictionary of Islam jihad is defined as: “A religious war with those who are unbelievers in the mission of Muhammad … enjoined especially for the purpose of advancing Islam and repelling evil from Muslims.”

    “In western societies the term jihad is often translated by non-Muslims as “holy war”.”

    “Jihad of the heart (jihad bil qalb/nafs) is concerned with combatting the devil and in the attempt to escape his persuasion to evil. This type of Jihad was regarded as the greater jihad (al-jihad al-akbar).
    Jihad by the tongue (jihad bil lisan) is concerned with speaking the truth and spreading the word of Islam with one’s tongue.
    Jihad by the hand (jihad bil yad) refers to choosing to do what is right and to combat injustice and what is wrong with action.
    Jihad by the sword (jihad bis saif) refers to qital fi sabilillah (armed fighting in the way of God, or holy war), the most common usage by Salafi Muslims and offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

  6. @mike

    Thank you for providing the link. However it could have been more appreciated if you included the rest. I was clear that Jihad is not holy war. A Muslim must at all times KEEP the Jihad or struggle during a war. No amount of good explanation will make a non- believer understand. My respond to your posting is not directly intended for you. Its for Muslims and, for non-Muslims who are sincere in their quest to understand Islam.

    My early understanding of Islam WAS not much different from you. All I thought was that behind the teachings of Islam is to kill. I was “all wet” to realize my own misconception. Again we can copy and paste all we want how we want to portray Islam but one needs to be very sincere to understand Islam. In fact not all who called themselves Muslims understand its deeper meaning, so hoe much more can we expect from non-Muslims. Let’s go back to the very meaning of Islam as a starter. I know you can copy it again from somewhere and give your fair opinion about it.

  7. marcelo,

    the rest of what? the history of the crusades? that could fill a library. or the rest of the meaning of jihad? you sincerely confuse me.

    “I was clear that Jihad is not holy war” you are clear that you believe jihad doesn’t mean holy war, but you are wrong. it does. amoung other things. yes the root is “to struggle”? but it has many applications. as seems to be prevalent with god’s chosen language, arabic. it appears the word used in 4:34 has 27 meanings. go figure god’s infinte wisdom is to make his final divine revelation in such a confusing language?
    “A Muslim must at all times KEEP the Jihad or struggle during a war.” you truly have an interesting interpretation. do you also say that the people enslaved under muslims were really house servants and not slaves. do you also find nothing inherently “wrong” with marrying children?

    “My early understanding of Islam WAS not much different from you.” really? i doubt that. i acctually understand words for their defined meanings.
    “All I thought was that behind the teachings of Islam is to kill.” well i never said anything close to that. there are books on menstration, dietary laws, alot of praying, bad inheritance laws, etc. etc. there are several huhud where allah shows mercy and only lashes you or cuts off your hand. no killing.

    “one needs to be very sincere to understand Islam”. what? i don’t have a clue as to what that means. to understand what you read you have to know the definitions of the words. maybe you mean that to be sincere you must be able to change their meanings in your head? do i have to be sincere to understand one plus one equals 2. facts are facts, you know kinda like a fatawa is a fatawa. lol.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jihad

  8. sorry forgot to give my opinion on what it is to submit to god’s will. i guess that depends on what it is your god calls on you to do? if your god calls you to fight the disbelievers, myself being one, i would consider your submition to be worrisome to me. if your god says live land let live, then i would welcome your submition. if your god says die fighting is the best way to paradise i would think that your god favors the violent.

    you should go to faithinallah.org and read some of the hadiths on jihad. doesn’t muhammad smile several times when waking from dreams of seeing his companions die while making jihad. i think one of his wives is picking lice from his hair at the time? another bad example, to celebrate death of allah. don’t you think?

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