For the Love of Christ
James Reston Jr.
Armies of Heaven:
The First Crusade and the Quest for Apocalypse
by Jay Rubenstein
$29.99 List Price
The word crusade has coursed through American political debate from the beginning, with all manner of leaders—Thomas Jefferson to William Lloyd Garrison, John Brown to Wendell Willkie and FDR, Dwight Eisenhower to John McCain—adopting it as a de facto slogan. And it seems that each time a political figure characterizes a new reform as a crusade, the word’s meaning grows more tepid, more distorted, and more palatable, suggesting only an intense campaign rooted in moral righteousness. Perhaps this common usage is what sparked George W. Bush’s terrible gaffe on September 16, 2001, only five days after 9/11, when he proclaimed that the struggle against jihadist terror was also a crusade.
Bush’s simple utterance that day had a devastating effect on the next ten years. It was Bush’s greatest gift to Osama
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