January 13, 2007

Caedite eos! Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius:


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In War? -- What War? Victor Davis Hanson puts forward this proposition:

Killer teams that poison the water supply of Los Angeles or blow themselves up in the Mall of America, defy an easy response. Do we hit the Saudis whose charities funded them? The Syrians who gave them the weapons? The Iranians who trained them? Or the Pakistanis who offered them space? All such governments would immediately "deplore" such attacks, offer their condolences, and claim they had no influence over their cheering crowds...
The surmised confusion over who to hit assumes the survival of the "politic response" over the "realpolitick response." It assumes that "We" would never be as savage and heedless of innocent lives as our enemy (AKA by the children in the media and government as "The Bad Guys" as if we were playing at Cops and Robbers). And while it is true that what passes for our "leadership" on both sides of the aisle has consistently underestimated the ruthlessness of our enemy, they too can make the same mistake. Hubris is an equal opportunity human flaw.

During one of the lesser known religious wars of Europe, the Albigensian Crusade, a similar situation arose and left us with the only popular quote from that ancient religious war:

According to the Cistercian writer Caesar of Heisterbach, one of the leaders of the Crusader army, the Papal legate Arnaud-Amaury, was asked by a Crusader how they might distinguish the Cathars, their enemies, from other citizens. He answered: Caedite eos! Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius" -- "Kill them [all]! Surely the Lord discerns which [ones] are his."
Of course, cooler heads will say, "We would never do something like that!" To which the survivors and descendants of Hiroshima, Tokyo, Nagasaki and Dresden would answer in the parlance of our day, "You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' "

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Posted by Vanderleun at January 13, 2007 10:26 AM | TrackBack
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