I was having coffee with a friend recently, a rare social outing for me nowadays, and we got to talking about the war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He was telling me that he can't make out why these "crazies" won't accept us being there, that we are there to help them out, and look at all that we've brought to them, the peace, the prosperity, the rebuilding, the medicine, and so on.
He was saying how he doesn't understand why the Muslims have to turn everything into a "holy war," why it's always Jihad this and Jihad that.
He was sick of them constantly crying "Crusades" every time our soldiers deployed into their countries, usually to help these oppressed people (with their WMD problems, and so on).
I tried to explain it to him what the significance of religion seems to be here, but he dismissed my reasons as lacking factual merit, and that those people just need to get over the Crusades, for cryin' out loud!
I wanted to show him some articles that would back what I was saying, but my stupid iPhone wasn't working properly, and he laughed at me and said, "That's what I thought."
Whatever our reasons are for being there, the Muslim natives see Americans as Crusaders, there to convert them to Christianity, make them stray from their own faith and belief.
But why? Here are a few reasons:
Our top level Generals have said that the American god is bigger than their god, that the American god is a real god, and theirs is an idol, and that our god will win in the end of this battle with them, and this is a war against Satan.
Our soldiers gather in clandestine meetings in Muslim countries and plan missions to go hunting souls for Jesus. They print Bibles in native languages and conspire to find ways to convert these Satanic people (if you go by what their generals like Boykin tell them) to Christianity.
American soldiers kill these native Muslims with machine guns that have Bible passage inscriptions secretly carved into them, the light of god, Jesus is the way. It's not difficult to imagine Crusaders of long ago brandishing swords with similar inscriptions.
And this fuels their insurgency, gives them numbers, and puts our soldiers at greater risk. This has to be an obvious logical conclusion to people.
I suppose it's no use to present this to my friend. I think he was probably aware of these articles, he probably thought they are no big deal, they are only isolated incidents that don't accurately speak to what the rest of our soldiers are doing.
And I, being ex-Army, agree with him.
But, try telling that to the bad guys.
They run with this stuff!
Like a small spark in a car piston, a tiny atom that ignites entire cities, the bad guys use these "isolated" incidents to get something like a mechanical advantage, like a pulley-system, maximizing energy consumption, torque and leverage, and these "nothings" become fodder for their propaganda machines.
And all the while, they cry Crusades, we can't understand why they cry Crusades, and our soldiers pay the price with the increased risk.