Monday, October 07, 2002

Dale: Lepanto and Afghanistan: "Don Juan of Austria has loosed the cannonade!"

Two dates in history, and I believe they are related.

One year ago, our nation began to strike back against Al Qaeda and its national sponsor, the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Four hundred and thirty one years ago, a combined Spanish-Venetian fleet inflicted a crushing defeat on the Ottoman Turks--the first defeat the Turks had ever suffered at sea. Here are two accounts: the first by Chesterton, and the second a somewhat more sober telling.

Is it coincidence that our attack was launched on the anniversary of the sledgehammer defeat of the most powerful Muslim state to ever exist? Not likely. Consider this: if you recall, the U.S. was under some pressure to give diplomacy a little longer, and the difference of a day or two would not have been significant. Except in the historical sense...

Second, and directly related, we are dealing with people who remember every real or perceived slight ever suffered by a Muslim since the Seventh Century A.D., right down to the failure to receive exact change. Al Qaeda members are acutely sensitive to history, and do not forget defeat (hence bin Laden's droning on and on about the loss of the Spanish Muslim state of Andalusia in 1492).

In short, they remember Lepanto. Well, those who are still alive today do...

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