New -- 11 November 2010
A Holy War is a religious war caused by religious differences -- or rather, justified and/or rationalized by said differences. It can involve one nation with an established religion against another nation with a different religion or religions. Or the war can occur between different sects within the same religion (possibly for reasons of variations in philosophy, or more likely, in a battle for control of the religion. One can also have a religiously motivated group attempting to spread its faith by violence... or... to suppress another group because of its religious beliefs/practices. 
There are just so many ways that one can go to war because of one's beliefs... or someone else's.
As such, your average, relatively mundane (i.e., worldly) Holy War includes such stalwarts as:
And, of course, by any other name -- and smelling pretty much the same -- there is Jihad. Or... apparently... nearly so. Maybe... Actually, it all depends upon... interpretation... aka, the bane of religion.
According to Wikipedia, Jihad is considered to be a religious duty of Muslims... and in fact when translated from Arabic into English Jihad becomes “struggle.” Similarly, a person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; whereas more than one person is called the mujahideen. The problem arises when one considers the rather wide range of opinions about the exact meaning of the word, Jihad, and/or the religious duty assumed thereby.
On the one hand, “Muslims use the word in a religious context to refer to three types of struggles: an internal struggle to maintain faith, the struggle to improve the Muslim society, or the struggle in a holy war.” Assumptions about the prevailing definition range from always implying warfare, to lodging a valid protest, and/or “to command what is right and forbid wrong conduct". While the term is often translated by Western societies simply as "holy war", Muslim authors tend to reject infidel interpretations -- well... they would, wouldn't they? Instead, the Muslims tend to stress the non-militant connotations of the word.
Well... maybe not... all Muslims.
Recently, a holy site in Ayodhya, India was partitioned by India's Supreme Court, giving the Hindus two-thirds of the site, while the Muslims received one-third. Of course, both sides planned to appeal... so we may have to stay tuned. However, the background leading up tot his decision is interesting.
The conflict had stemmed from Hindu extremists in 1992, tearing down a 16th Century mosque built on the site the Hindus claim as the birthplace of the god, Ram, an action which had caused deadly riots. After the verdict in October 2010 partitioning the site, there were no riots. According to Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram , "India has moved on, young people have moved on."
Now wouldn't that be fantastic?
This could be construed as a precedent for Moslems building on sacred Jewish sites in Jerusalem... and vice versa... to the point where there are now "deadly" confrontations. On the other hand, probably not. Differences in philosophical outlook might not be as amenable to compromise as in this 400 hundred year old conflict. And just to demonstrate the nature of the extremes:
On a more serious note,
And yet, within the definition emphasized above, the recent strong effort by Muslim nations to pass a UN Binding Resolution for all nations being required to pass laws prohibiting criticism of religions (including Islam), constitutes jihad. Such laws would be "against unbelievers, apostates, rebels, highway robbers and dissenters renouncing the authority of Islam." The latter covers about everyone other than true Muslims.
Significantly, whether the Qur'an sanctions defensive warfare only, OR commands an all out war against non-Muslims depends on the interpretation of the relevant passages.
Ah, yes... it's always that bit about interpretation!
Let us assume for a moment... however brief... that Jihad is only about defense. But... even in this case, would a defensive Jihad be any more comforting, when on the near horizon there appears to be on mainstream agendas, the very real possibilities of new and improved versions of the Crusades?
Gerald Celente, writing in The Trends Journal , has noted that:
And yet, in basic training, American Soldiers are being force-molded into Onward Christian Soldiers. The reports of this shows up in such articles as: “Military Evangelism Deeper, Wider Than First Thought” and “US soldiers punished for not attending Christian rock concert”.
World War II taught the military that emphasizing discipline was not enough to ensure that young men would be willing to callously kill others... even under the strictest of orders. Amazingly, a majority of men in WWII simply shot over the heads of the enemy, and thereby avoided court martial while simultaneously adhering to their own personal moral code. It was under this revelation that the military shifted gears and began the primary emphasis of instilling within each and every soldier the idea that killing the enemy was in order to save their buddies from the enemy killing them. It became more of a team sport, where the team is everything. You simply cannot fail to support your gang member... it just isn't done.
But now... just in time for the new, improved crusades... American soldiers are being taught that instead of merely killing the enemy in order to save one's buddies... or to avoid court martial... the new rule is to kill the enemy in order to avoid going to hell... as well as perhaps guaranteeing a ticket to heaven. In other words, What Would Jesus Do, if not kill anyone not believing in "the Savior".
The problem of course is that when the Christians are finished killing the Moslems... then they might turn their attention to the Jews ("Christ killers"), Buddhists (and anyone practicing the black art of "yoga"), Secularists ("heretics") and any kids reading Harry Potter. After that there is either the Catholics or the Protestants that need killing (depending upon your Chaplain's orientation). Of course, there is no reason to assume that there might not be some serious conflicts between various sects of the victorious mob.
As for the new emphasis on a fundamentalist Christian-led U. S. Military... how is this not a gross violation of the Constitutional's First Amendment restriction on establishing a religion? And how are such violations being treated by the press? Well other than the occasional article in such local news outlets noted above, it's pretty much business as usual for the national media. That is to say, find out what the people want in their news, and spoon feed it to them... while avoiding like the plague, any subjects that might be slightly unpleasant and/or controversial (that is, controversial among the 80% Milgram majority). People don't like to pay for bad news... directly or indirectly.
When it comes to the media... the epitome of irresponsibility authorities... things can only get worse. Instead of national coverage of the brain-washing going on in basic training, all the emphasis is about small time pastors with minimal followings who decide to bring back some good old fashioned book burning... only in this case with special emphasis on the other religion's holiest book.
As Celente  writes:
But like all properly constituted crusades, there was the need to include all of Christendom. Again, Celente says it best:
Celente makes no bones about where this is leading:
The biggest problem with Crusades are the Crusaders, the latter who strongly tend to be religious fanatics. After all, who else would willingly volunteer for a war and thereby risk their life (limb, sanity, and so forth and so on)... purely because of having a different philosophy of life and how to live it? Doesn't that sound just a bit insane?
It might appear to anyone without an ax to grind, improvised incendiary device to strap on, or nuclear warhead to drop, that it might well be advantageous to have all of the religious fanatics squaring off and killing each other... sort of like the Shiite Iranians spending years killing and being killed by Sunni Iraqi. However... the problem that inevitably arises is after the religious fanatics have developed some real skills in murder, maiming, and mayhem, these same nuts are now in possession of the weapons of mass and individualized destruction, and will have then returned home (or abroad) to impose their views on others. Even worse yet, this would be after they have had their righteousness allegedly validated by a deity... i.e., we won! There's nothing like winning... or just surviving... to convince someone of their having made precisely the correct decision in matters of philosophy and religion.
Part of the real horror is the manner in which any Crusader thinks... and/or rationalizes. Within the mind set, the paradigm, of any and all Crusaders -- on all sides of any chosen Holy war -- is the assumption on their part that the Crusaders can do absolutely anything, and still be forgiven by their god. Such forgiveness and motivation is granted on the basis that they were defending the faith. This is a form of Dominionism, where all things are rationalized, and where there can be no sin (or punishment) for the religiously-inspired prosecutors (and/or defenders) of their faith. This is likewise the mind set of radical religious sects just as Opus Dei  of the Roman Catholic's version of Onward Christian Soldiers and/or Fanatics, and various sects of Islam, all of whom might happily war among themselves in order to inflict their narrower religious views. And then, of course, there's the ultra-orthodox adherents of Judaism, some of whom have actually tried to build walls inside their schools in order to prevent any cross-fertilization from their slightly less orthodox Jewish brethren.
Crusaders are seldom curious, thoughtful, or open to new ideas. They are fanatics. There's not much else to say in their defense.
What about the "moderates", that ever-increasingly rare breed, that act more in the form of being a "Cafeteria Christian," those who choose which parts of a religion to adopt, and which to leave aside as an artifact of several centuries ago. Can one not hope that these moderates might prevent the real fanatics from going ballistic? (pardon the pun)
The problem with so-called religious moderates, be they of the style of Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, Republicanism, and any other strange orders... the problem stems from something we've already alluded to, i.e., the Milgram Effect.
The bottom line of those experiments that verified and supported the initial research is that roughly 80% of the populace will deal out punishment and pain to their fellow man (not necessarily those who happen to have opposing religious views)... but inflict pain and suffering on strangers purely on the basis of being instructed to do so by authority figures. From the perspective of humanity, this is horrifying! There is, in fact, very little humanity among humans. People who are supposedly kind and gentle to their fellow man, will turn on that same fellow man and inflict serious pain simply because some one they have assumed to be a legitimate authority has told them to do so.
When the Nazi's were on trial in Nuremberg after WWII, the inevitable defense by high ranking members of the German society (judges, generals, et al) was that they were just following orders. This defense was found wholly unacceptable at the time. But now, apparently 80% of human adults would likely cop the same plea. Under no circumstances, would this change the fundamental wrongness of the action... but many would still hide under the cover of just following orders... even when we're talking about civilians obeying the dictates of various authorities. Seldom mentioned in this notably weak legal defense was the more plausible excuse that they were too scared to disobey orders... for fear of what might happen to them! Very few soldiers or even non-combatants are likely to say, "I'm sorry, but your order is wrong. It is morally and ethically contrary to my beliefs. I cannot follow such orders." Many people have been shot or executed for far less, so one should perhaps hesitate to condemn such defenses.
What all of this implies, then, is from whence the real horror of Holy War derives... i.e., there are even less constraints on any combatants than might have ever been imagined by the Geneva Convention... particularly when it comes to religious crusades, jihads, and so forth. Furthermore, in the spirit of very possibly fighting fire with fire... there are simply no limits to the inhumanity that one human can apply to others. It's the Inverse Golden Rule: Do every imaginable horror to others, before they do as much to you.
In point of fact, such inhumanity is often if not inevitably rationalized by the insistence of the perpetrators that the enemy is either not human, has the wrong religion, or is merely the enemy. They're fascist dogs, infidels, heretics, gentiles, non-believers... and as such are not really human, have no human rights, and rank on the hierarchy of species, somewhere below scum and/or the bubonic plague.
And that is the nature of Holy War.
What gets a bit scarier are The Rules of Holy War.
 The Week, "The World at a Glance", October 15, 2010, page 11.
 The Week, "Only in America", October 8, 2010, page 8.
 Gerald Celente, The Trends Journal, Autumn 2010, page 15
 From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opus_Dei:
2003© Copyright Dan Sewell Ward, All Rights Reserved [Feedback]