Ordinarily, I accept your analyses without hesitation and on matters of history I know that to dispute what you say may be the equivalent of engaging a tank with a slingshot. However, I just can’t accept your conclusions regarding the impetus for the Crusades.
While I recognize that in all war there is a profit opportunity for some participants, the fact such opportunity exists does not necessarily define the underlying motivation for war in the first place. Your statements in this regard brought to mind a story my Mother used to tell about how her father had ejected from his shoe repair shop a customer who early in 1945 expressed a desire that the war continue for at least a year for the benefit of his business. At the time my Grandfather’s three sons were soldiers deployed in combat zones (two of whom already had been awarded, among other things, the Purple Heart). Neither my Grandfather nor I believe that the U.S. entered WWII for purposes of profit, notwithstanding many did profit from it.
If indeed, the Crusades were initiated for defensive purposes then why would it have been necessary to camouflage that purpose with religious symbolism? Countries of Europe had fought wars for centuries without needing to justifying them as divinely inspired. In either case, the point is I do not condemn modern day Christians for historical exploitation of religious doctrine, whether to advance divine or secular objectives, but I do hold modern day religious denominations of all casts responsible for harm inflicted upon others in the name of that religion, whether or not a secular reason lies beneath.
Employment of religion in this regard provides a false sense of morality, justifying what clearly is an atrocity absent such expression — “If God be for us, who could be against us.” Thus, if I am correct in my assessment of the Crusades, I hold them up only as an example of how unquestioning belief in even a seemingly benign mystical object can be manipulated to subjugate, oppress and kill and how no one should ever give over their free will in blind obedience to proselytizers of any faith-based belief system.