Not content with demonizing homosexuals and abandoning the church's post-Galileo reconciliation with science, Benedict XVI (or as I saw one blogger refer to him, Der Panzerpapen) has made his own small contribution to the clash of civilizations:
'In Tuesday's speech the Pope quoted a 14th Century Christian emperor who said the Prophet Muhammad had brought the world only "evil and inhuman" things.'
The fundamentalists on the other side, as they have a habit of doing, have now responded with bullets, not bulls:
In Gaza City, a group calling itself the Islamic Organization of the Swords of Righteousness claimed responsibility for unleashing a volley of gunfire on the oldest church in the city.
Since at least the mid-'90s, Al Qaeda's primary objective -- its purpose in life -- has to been to provoke a religious war, one that would polarize the Islamic world and force most Muslims to line up on the side of jihad. Or so bin Laden and company hope.
The entire concept of targeting the far enemy instead of the near is predicated on this belief. It is what the military gurus call Al Qaeda's "grand strategy." Anything that promotes or facilitates this grand strategy helps Al Qaeda win. Anything that inhibits it -- that prevents the Islamic world from polarizing into pro-Western and anti-Western camps -- helps defeat bin Laden.
This isn't to say every single step taken against the international jihadi movement must avoid alienating or offending Muslims at all costs. Some actions, such as the overthrow of the Taliban, may be necessary and worth the collateral damage they cause to the larger struggle (although subsequent events in Afghanistan have shown how easy it is to flip that equation completely).
But Ratzinger's little dissertation was all pain, no gain. It was totally gratuitous. It served no useful purpose, either for peace or war. As such, it amounted to a nice little windfall gift to Al Qaeda -- and was thus objectively pro-bin Laden...
And speaking of history, the farmer documents a little bit regarding the humanity of that 14th century Christian emperor der Panzerpapen regards so highly.