Through the magic of hyperlinks I found myself on the personal blog of David Perry. I read what I came to read, and then just before I clicked away I saw a “Crusaders in Iraq” link floating off to the right. While I’ve focused my efforts on continuously exploring and unpacking the self-identifying ‘infidel’ movement in the military, there is another corollary which revolves around “crusader” imagery.
I clicked the link.
It’s interesting to see other folks who have also caught glimpse of this trend and find themselves troubled by it.
Like I’ve written before, the strangest part of it is the legacy it’s leaving behind. As we extract ourselves from Iraq(?) and Afghanistan, there is still a large swath of both the military and civilian population that self-identifies as infidels and crusaders through imagery, social media, or by brandishing knives forged in pigs blood. Of course, there is a growing number of businesses that have stepped up to fill the space and provide an ever-growing supply of infidel and crusader-inspired gear for a demanding public.
While free speech is protected, military members who fall under the Uniform Code of Military Justice come dangerously close to falling into the “extremist organization” orbit when they brandish these things.
I continue to think that the esoteric nature of understanding the crusades and the Arabic required to really know what the hell you’re talking about when it comes to defining what an ‘infidel’ is and how that may or may not be a helpful term, is the reason there isn’t a more hard-line on managing the phenomenon within the military.