19 November 2003

Oleum indigeat!

In 1095, Pope Urban II assembled a council of bishops and abbots, with a sprinkling of important knights, and gave at Clermont in Auvergne ( France ) the speech of his life. Vividly, he told the gathering how the Seljuk Turks had desecrated and polluted the altars of the Church, circumcised Christians and cut open their bellies, with an endless litany of loathsome practices. The inspiration for the crusades was at that moment born with the battle cry of Deus vult! (God wills it!).

Nine centuries later, President Bush II, without the eloquence of Urban, is also granted by Congress the power to conduct a 'holy war,' a war against Iraq , a rogue nation; a vertex in a triangle of evil; a menace to its neighbors and the US ; a country led by a ruler despised by his dad. The battle cry this time was Novem undecim! ( Nine eleven !) � although many cynical critics prefer the battle cry of Oleum indigeat! (Oil requires it!)

The start of the crusades finds all Europe inebriated with naive Christianity and ready to follow the lead of the pope blindly and trustfully, rendering the close of the 11th century in Europe as a time of ignorant and confiding men without an iota of skepticism. With an unquestioning following, and a request for help from Alexis Comnenus, the emperor of Byzantium, Urban was ready to give his blessing to the first expedition against the Moslem world, not a menacing force to Christianity but a scapegoat for the papacy.

Nine centuries later, President Bush rallies Americans around the flag with lie after lie (let's stop politely calling them exaggerations!) until Americans had surrendered the essence of civilized men: their ability to question and reason. With an unquestioning citizenry, and an ongoing helping hand for Ariel Sharon, the 'other Judeo-Christian emperor,' Bush gave his blessing to the invasion of Iraq , not a menacing force to its neighbors or the US , but a nation ruled by a cruel dictator that could easily become America's scapegoat.

Gosh... Latin-speaking snark...

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