January 2018 Readers’ Letters | HistoryNet MENU
Captured in 1483 during an ill-conceived raid near Córdoba, Emir Boabdil (at left) negotiated a truce with Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella and helped stoke a civil war of his own.

January 2018 Readers’ Letters

By HistoryNet Staff
11/7/2017 • Military History, MH Letters

Reconquista
I love Military History and just renewed my subscription. But your writers need to avoid the trap of politically correct shibboleths when writing about Islam. Steve Roberts, in his otherwise fine piece on the “Reconquista” [September 2017], writes, “It took the preaching of Crusade as part of the Reconquista, together with papal propaganda, to fully foment the forces of Muslim intolerance and fanaticism.”

This is completely wrong. Jihad as Islamic holy war to subjugate non-Muslims is not only enshrined in the Quran but also approved of by hadiths (sayings of Muhammad) and evinced in the military career of Islam’s founder himself. The very establishment of Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula was accomplished by jihad, and the fact that later rulers might have laid aside the sword did not nullify its validity. When the Almora-vids and then Almohads stormed into Iberia in the 10th through 13th centuries, it was not because they had been inflamed by Christians fighting back, but because those two dynasties thought their taifa cousins there had gone soft on the infidels.

“Muslim intolerance and fanaticism” are not due to Christians fighting back.

Timothy R. Furnish
Woodstock, Ga.

Jersey Brawl

[Re. “The French Are Coming!” by David T. Zabecki, November 2017:] After seeing a well-uniformed black soldier in two of the paintings related to this article and no explanation for his presence, I did some research to figure out who this man might be.

According to the Jersey Heritage website document entitled “1781—The Battle of Jersey”:

The figure wearing the rather flamboyant uniform of the Royal Ethiopian Regiment in Copley’s painting The Death of Major Peirson is sometimes referred to as Pompey. However, his true name has never been recorded. The man who is shown shooting Baron de Rullecourt, the leader of the French force, in the act of revenging his master was actually the servant of Captain Christie, who at the time of the battle was in Bath. Peirson seems to have taken him into service while his actual employer was out of the island.

Also according to the website, “The Royal Ethiopian Regiment was made up of black Loyalists, former or escaped slaves, who joined British colonial forces during the American Revolutionary War. They never actually served in Jersey.”

Eric K. Chandler
Chief Warrant Officer 2
(U.S. Army, Ret.)
Lakewood, Wash.

Khe Sanh
[Re. “Khe Sanh, Vietnam,” by Mark D. Van Ells, Hallowed Ground, September 2017:] The tank in the picture on P. 77 is an M48 Patton with a 90 mm gun, not an M60, which as far as I know used a 105. The bore evacuator on the 90 was at the end, whereas the one on the 105 was in the middle.

Early models of the M60 and the M48 both used a very similar, if not the same turret but their hulls were different. The clear giveaway, though, is that the M60 has three track support rollers, whereas the M48 has five, as does the tank in this picture.

Bob Frazier
San Diego, Calif.

MacArthur
Nice article on Douglas MacArthur [“Payoff in Tokyo Bay,” by Michael D. Hull, September 2017]. For further reading, rather than MacArthur’s Reminisces, which leave a lot out, I’d suggest Geoffrey Perret’s Old Soldiers Never Die or William Manchester’s American Caesar. Both are more comprehensive, less biased and better written than more recent books on Mac.

Al Peña
Redondo Beach, Calif.

Please note near the bottom of column one on P. 26 of your September issue a list of honored guests at the Japanese surrender includes “British Lt. Gens. Arthur F. Percival and Jonathan M. Wainwright.” Wainwright was the American officer who surrendered his troops in the Philippines to the Japanese (after a much longer resistance than Percival’s in Singapore).

Dick McConnell
Academy Admissions Partner
U.S. Coast Guard Academy
Downington, Pa.

 

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