The enemy within

At the Gates

The armies of the invaders were gathered outside, tens of thousands strong. Within the walls, the defenders looked out on a plain swarming with enemies; there was no safe refuge to be found anywhere nearby. The city had been under siege for two long and terrible months; its destruction and conquest was at hand, and everyone knew it.

The defenders of the gateway to Europe knew that the future of not just their nation, but of all of the nations of Christendom, hinged upon the outcome of this battle. When the siege had begun, they had numbered perhaps 25,000 soldiers and volunteers- facing an army of 170,000 invaders. Their one and only advantage was their overwhelming superiority in terms of cannons and artillery- but that would not last long against the guns of the invaders, not in a prolonged siege.

The defenders knew what would happen if they allowed the invaders to win. Before the siege had begun- what seemed a lifetime ago to the 16,000 or so defenders left on the walls of Europe's gateway to the east- news had been received of the massacre of Perchtoldsdorf, a small town to the south. The people of that city had voluntarily surrendered- and were slaughtered wholesale.

The military leader of the city refused to surrender. He knew that the enemy's promises were not worth even the words taken to utter them.

For more than sixty days, the defenders of the city held out against their enemies- short on food, on sleep, on medicine, on everything but faith and desperation. They beat back wave after wave of attacks against the walls of their beloved city. They repeatedly countered their enemy's efforts to mine the city walls and dig tunnels under the fortifications.

Starving, bleeding, dying, they held out nonetheless. Their dead were left where they fell; there was no way to bring their fallen back into the city for a proper burial. Death stalked the city walls, and yet they held out. Their only choice was to fight, or to die.

When it became clear that the invaders were going to besiege the city, a desperate plea for help had been sent by the beleaguered defenders to the heart of a distant empire, begging for aid from any quarter. But Christendom at this time was deeply riven by religious and political divisions of all kinds; getting the Hungarians and the Polish and the Germans and the French to cooperate with each other was worse than herding cats. Their troops were some of the finest heavy cavalry and artillerymen and foot soldiers in the world- but their leaders were as likely to stab each other in the backs as they were to order their troops to fire in the same direction.

It was perhaps Christendom's darkest hour- worse than Lepanto- when all that the kingdoms of Christ stood for was at stake. And it was in that time of desperation that two great men heeded the call.

A king and an emperor of two rival nations and powers put aside their differences, knowing that if they did not, then all of Christendom would fall. The flags of their mortal enemies would fly high from St. Peter's Basilica; the very Throne of the Vicar of Christ would be overthrown. For the sake of all that they held dear, they knew that they had to fight.

Together they assembled a force of some 74,000 men with the express intent of relieving the siege and breaking the enemy's lines around the shattered city. The army arrived barely in time; another few days, and the city would surely have fallen, with all of its inhabitants slaughtered and the path to the conquest of Europe laid open.

The relief force was still outnumbered nearly two to one. They knew this. Yet they marched- for home and nation, for emperor and king, for faith and freedom, for God Himself.

The next day, with the coalition forces assembled on the slopes of the hills overlooking the city, the fateful order was given for a cavalry unit, whose name lives today in legend, to charge.

Around sunset, eighteen thousand of the world's finest heavy cavalry thundered down the hillside in the largest cavalry charge ever recorded in the history of war. Their banners flew furiously in the wind; the roar of their battle cry echoed across the field, striking terror into the hearts of their already faltering enemy on the plain; the wings on their backs gave them the appearance of avenging angels come down from on high.

Their king himself led his men into battle. The heavy troops smashed into enemy lines already wearied and harried from a full day of battle, on top of two months of brutal siege warfare. The city was saved- and with it, the future of Christendom itself.

The Day the World Ended

Those of you who know your history will know exactly where all of the above happened- and when. You know the significance of this day. You know what it means in the long and bloody history of Islam's war against Christianity- and, by extension, against all of Western civilisation.

The city in question was Vienna- at the time the guardian of the Eastern flank of Christianity against the Ottoman Empire's expansions into Europe.

The King in question was Jan III Sobieski of Poland- a great man, a legendary leader, whose exploits at Vienna alone ensured him a place in history. When he entered the city of Vienna as its liberator and saviour, he paraphrased another legendary military commander when he said: "Veni, vidi, deus vicit"- "I came, I saw, God conquered".

The Emperor in question was Leopold I of the Holy Roman Empire. History has been less laudatory of his role in that battle, as far as I can tell, but the fact is that without the Austrian and German troops of the Empire, the relief force would have been outnumbered seven to one and almost certainly would not have been able to break the lines of the besiegers.

And who were the besiegers? Well, they were the Ottoman Turks- returned to finish a job that they had failed to complete once before in 1529. This time, under the command of Kara Mustafa Pasha, they were back to ensure that the forces of the Caliph Mehmed IV would be able to push through into Europe to complete the subjugation of the infidel lands that had failed more than 900 years ago.

These were the same Ottomans who would take Christian boys by force from their families, convert them to Islam at the point of a sword, and condemn them to a life of indoctrination and blind obedience to the Caliphate as the much-feared Turkish janissaries.

To say that their way of life was a bit different from the West's would be an understatement for the ages.

As with Lepanto, over a century before, the West as we knew it then was faced with a mortal threat to its very existence. And just as He did then, the Lord Himself appeared to intercede at Vienna, saving not only the city but the lands of His own people.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to read the stories of what happened at the Battle of Vienna and yet deny that there was some kind of divine purpose at work that day.

The important aspect of this story, though, is not necessarily the actors within it. No- the important thing is the date on which the armies of what would become known as the Holy League would arrive to relieve the city of Vienna:

September 11th, 1683.

The Lessons of 9/11

Now let us fast forward 318 years. It is 8am on a Tuesday morning- the first day of a crisp and clear autumn is dawning, with the promise of cool weather after a searing summer. People are making their way into work, just as they always do, to downtown Manhattan. The country is in the grips of a recession, a new and largely untested President is in office, and political instability in both the Middle and Far East has kept the markets turbulent for weeks.

But these are all things that Americans have seen before. It is nothing new. All told, it is just another day, nothing to worry about.

Nobody in his right mind woke up that morning thinking that, within a few hours, three thousand people would be dead in the worst attack ever recorded upon the American homeland.

Not one of you needs to think about what you were doing that day. You know. You remember it as if it happened yesterday. The horror of that day is seared into your mind- the images of the jetliners slamming into the Twin Towers, the impossibly huge fireballs that blossomed from the sides of those monuments to American power and wealth, the soul-wrenching videos of men and women jumping from eighty stories up to avoid being burned alive in the infernos unleashed within the buildings themselves...

And those final, awful moments when first one tower, and then another, telescoped down into its own base, blowing out gigantic clouds of dust and debris that hung over the city for days, entombing the remains of thousands of civilians who had done nothing more than show up to work that day- along with the dozens of firefighters and policemen who had run toward, not away from, danger in order to carry out their duty.

These things are not easy for me to write. I was a teenager when the towers fell. I remember coming down from doing my homework upstairs in the study to find my parents transfixed to the television in the living room. On it was something that looked like some crazy Hollywood action film, complete with fake news reports from a fake CNN broadcast.

Except it wasn't fake. Those things I was watching on the screen were really happening. That was the day that many of my simple illusions about the world were shattered, though I didn't fully realise it then.

That day was a kick in the teeth to all of us who had, for so long, taken the primacy of Western civilisation for granted.

You know of what I speak. You remember it. We all do.

What you do not remember is the lesson that should have been learned from that day- the lesson that Christian Europe had to learn the hard way, more than three hundred years ago.

Then, as now, your enemies are at the gates. Then, as now, you cannot wish them away. And then, as now, the very fate of your civilisation hangs in the balance.

The Beast Within

There are more than a few differences, however. This time, there is no Holy League being assembled to ride to the desperate rescue of Western civilisation. And this time, the invaders aren't just outside the city walls- they are within it.

It has been fifteen years since 9/11 took place, and it has become absolutely clear that America took all the wrong lessons from that day.

September 11th, 2001, was a wake-up call for a nation that had gotten used to peace and prosperity. It was a reminder that the entire world does not conform to Western values- and that the threat of Islam has never gone away. When given the chance to strike back, that is precisely was the Islamists did, and they used one of the most powerful tools in their arsenal- terrorism- to bring the mightiest empire in the world to its knees.

Instead of recognising the threat of Islam for the existential crisis that it is, the nominally Christian- and increasingly less than nominal at that, nowadays- West decided to focus on the perceived external enemy while utterly ignoring the enemies within that have since done so much damage to the West's ability to sustain its own civilisation.

Western civilisation is under attack as never before- not by external forces that would seek to conquer it, for there are no military powers on this Earth that can fight with and defeat America on its own soil. (On other people's soil, that's a whole different matter, as America has found out to its all-too-high cost over the last decade of repeated failed wars in foreign lands.)

Instead, the West is under attack from within, on two different fronts.

On the one hand, you have Islam, which has entrenched itself firmly within the USA because America's politicians- and, let's face it, people as well- were too cowardly and weak to shut off ALL immigration from Islamic nations in the wake of an attack that was obviously carried out by Muslims. After all, shutting down immigration from nations that have historically been open enemies of Christendom, and by extension Western civilisation, would be racist. And we can't have that, now can we?

Never mind that Islam is a political ideology, not a race- facts don't matter to the political elites of the West, only politically convenient narratives do.

On the other hand, you have more than forty years of cultural Marxist indoctrination and infiltration of all of the major institutions of the West. Yes, I do mean all of them- including the Holy Church herself. I do not need to go into much detail about the tremendous harm that has caused; we can see the after-effects of that infiltration every day around us.

The combination is a lethal cocktail, and it will kill the host if nothing is done.

The fate of Western civilisation is probably already written in stone; I've stated several times that I believe that it cannot be saved. And the failure to preserve all that is good and right about it can be laid directly at the feet of conservatives.

Let me repeat this, so that I am not misunderstood: conservatives are DIRECTLY to blame for the current, parlous, state of Western civilisation.

I do not write this lightly, but the question remains: what, exactly, have you conserved?

To be absolutely clear, conservatives are not alone in shouldering the blame. The Left, which believes in progress for the sake of progress without ever stopping to think about the consequences of their folly, have been happy to destroy Western civilisation one small step at a time. They tried to transform the West overnight during the Progressive Era, starting from about 1870 through to 1940 or so. Other than the singular victories of the welfare state and social security, they largely failed- because the people would not accept such radical changes so quickly.

The Left learned from those failures, and adopted a "death by a thousand cuts" strategy. Instead of requiring huge sweeping changes that send the West rolling out of control straight into the jaws of Hell, they simply take things one small step at a time, playing the long game.

Mass immigration, especially from lands openly hostile to the ideas that founded and shaped America, is one such step. Limited immigration at first from Western nations- nothing wrong with that, surely. Then the opening of the floodgates in 1965 to all of the nations of the world- but of course, only specific nations were to be favoured. Then, step by step, the gradual dismantling of all of the sensible safeguards to immigration and the destruction of the American nation that previous generations had created.

And now, here we are today, where even to question Muslim immigration is seen as deeply racist and dangerous.

You conservatives had a chance to stop this madness. You had many chances, in fact. You FAILED. Every. Single. Time.

You failed because you really don't have an ideology to defend, merely a set of principles that amount to little more than "muh FEELZ" about the way the world works.

Those principles are, in fact, realistic, hard-headed, and quite correct- but principles alone won't defend the West.

Only blood and faith can defend it now- just as they defended it over three hundred years ago.

You hallow this day as the anniversary of the greatest tragedy in living memory, yet you ignore its clear lessons. You carry on useless Syracuse Expeditions in the Middle East that sap your military strength and drain your public fisc, and waste the infinitely precious fighting spirit of your troops; yet you refuse to even consider the possibility of mass expulsions of Muslims and the permanent ending of all immigration from Muslim nations.

And for what? For fear of being called "racists" and "bigots" by the racist, bigoted, ideologically intolerant Left? The very same Left that has never encountered a cultural convention or tradition that it wanted to leave alone? The same Godless Left that wants nothing so much as to cast down the last stone from the last Church upon the last priest?

This is beyond madness. It is suicide.

On this day, remember the difference between a strong and vibrant civilisation that wanted to live- and that fought, and bled, and sacrificed for that right to life, in 1683- and the dying embers of that same civilisation as it struggles to die with dignity.

Comments

  1. Beautifully said. I hadn't realized 9/11 was also the Vienna anniversary - though I had known of it, its significance, and of course the hussars. (There wasn't a YouTube video of the Sabaton song?)

    Fwiw coming up soon on my dead tree list is The Drawing of the Dark. If I recall from my middle school days some 30-odd years ago it was set in Vienna during said siege. Don't trust me on that one

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  2. Actually the SABATON song was kind of the reason why I wrote the post =).

    I was listening to it in the gym and I figured that, with the 15-year anniversary of 9/11 and the fact that Osama bin Laden himself stated that the Islamic defeat at Vienna was a major motivation for choosing that specific date for the attacks, it might be worth stringing the two together.

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