In an interview disc from 1985, Sting said: "'Children's Crusade' is a fairly bitter song. The original children's crusade took place in the 11th century and two monks had the great idea of recruiting children from the streets of Europe and telling them that they were going to be an army to fight for Christ in Palestine, and to fight the Saracens. The intention all along was to sell them as slaves in Africa. And that's what they did; they recruited thousands of children and sold them as slaves. It seemed a very wonderful symbol of cynicism and the perversion of youthful idealism. Having thought about this for awhile, I realized this wasn't the only children's crusade in history - there have been many. So I look for examples. And the examples in the song I used are the first World War, where millions of young men, Germans, French, English, were killed for reasons that even today we don't understand. A whole generation was wiped out in a very foolish and cynical manner. And then I looked around today for an example of a children's crusade and I think the heroin industry is a good example, where businessmen are making vast fortunes by selling drugs to people who can't deal with them. In England for example, it's cheaper to buy heroin than it is to buy marijuana. They're giving heroin away to schoolchildren outside of the school gates, just to get them hooked. Or if you buy grass, sometimes in the grass there is heroin so you become an addict. This too is a children's crusade, and the same people who sold slaves in the 11th century, and the same people who sent young men to their deaths in the first World War are the same people selling these drugs. The song is really wishing them to hell."
Annabelle - Eugene, OR