November 8, 2010
AND SOMETIME THE POWERS THAT BE MAKES A REALLY BAD DECISION DUE TO LACK OF FORESIGHT
Gillingham, John, Richard I (Yale English Monarchs) (New Haven & London: Yale U. Press, 1999) ("Richard himself summarized the events of 20 August in a letter of 1 October to the abbot of Clairvaux. 'The time limit expired and, as the treaty to which Saladin had agreed was entirely void, we quite properly had the Saracens that we had in custody--about 2,600 of them--put to death. A few more of the noble ones were spared, and we hope to recover the Cross and certain Christian captives in exchange for them.' . . . " "Of all Richard's deed this is the one most bitterly condemned by modern historians. It has been called both barbarous and stupid and has been cited to show that there were no depths to which he could not sink in a fit of anger or to relieve his supposed frustrations. . . . Could the crusaders afford to march away leaving only a garrison to guard nearly 3,000 Muslims? Merely to feed so many men would be difficult enough since, on Saladin's orders, the countryside around Acre had been thoroughly devastated. Presumably Richard could simply have freed them all in return for the payment of the first instalment, but in that case he would have lost the confidence of his army for allowing himself to be outmanoeuvred by Saladin. By the 20th the prisoners had become an embarrassment rather than an asset and it seems that Richard and his fellow-soldiers had no compunction in ridding themselves of them in a fashion that was brutally efficient." Id. at 169-170.).