Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

August 16, 2010

DON'T FOLLOW THE TERRORISTS' SCRIPT.... Michael Daly had a poignant item in the New York Daily News yesterday, reflecting on his friendship with five FDNY friends, four of whom perished on Sept. 11, 2001. The fifth, Tim Brown, somehow managed to survive after saving lives in the south tower, and filed suit to prevent the construction of the Cordoba House a couple of blocks away.

As much as Daly loves Brown, and wishes he did "not so strongly disagree with him," he concludes that Americans must not give in to "what the terrorists want." (via Peter Daou)

Nobody could sway me more than Tim when it comes to Ground Zero. But I cannot help feeling that if we block this mosque we will not only be doing what Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh want, we will also be doing exactly what Osama Bin Laden wants. [...]

We are only helping the bad guys if we declare that the religious freedom at the core of our democracy does not apply to a mosque too close to Ground Zero.

Maybe it is my own anger at the murder of my friends that gives me such a visceral reaction against doing what it seems clear the killers want us to do.

This observation is important, and I'm glad to see that it's coming up with increasing frequency. This morning, Mark McKinnon, a former strategist for George W. Bush, said of his own party, "Usually Republicans are forthright in defending the Constitution. And here we are, reinforcing al Qaeda's message that we're at war with Muslims.... I see a bad pattern where we're headed as a Republican Party."

Michael Gerson, Bush's former chief speechwriter, added today, "Those who want a president to assert that any mosque would defile the neighborhood near Ground Zero are asking him to undermine the war on terrorism."

William Saletan noted the ways in which leading Republicans have become allies of Osama bin Laden's propaganda campaign. Jeffrey Goldberg also explained two weeks ago: "I know Feisal Abdul Rauf; I've spoken with him at a public discussion at the 96th street mosque in New York about interfaith cooperation. He represents what Bin Laden fears most: a Muslim who believes that it is possible to remain true to the values of Islam and, at the same time, to be a loyal citizen of a Western, non-Muslim country."

Clearly, the vast majority of the GOP, and most of the American public, doesn't want to hear this. It's easier to believe that Muslim Americans are all dangerous (they're not) and now they're trying to build a mosque at Ground Zero (which isn't true, either).

But if critics would just pause to catch their breath and consider reason, they'd see there's no value in helping bin Laden's dangerous scheme.

Steve Benen 10:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (19)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Problem is, you're not going to see Michael Gerson or Mark McKinnon on Fox News expressing these sentiments. And if this wedge issue stirs up the mid-term GOP base, so be it. The Republican Party does not give a damn if they're doing Bin Laden's bidding. Its all about short term political gain.

Posted by: bmcchgo on August 16, 2010 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Where is George W. Bush in all this? Why haven't we heard from him?

Posted by: dscottsf on August 16, 2010 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

"But if critics would just pause to catch their breath and consider reason, they'd see there's no value in helping bin Laden's dangerous scheme."

In other words, "Do what we say, or the terrorists win!"

Posted by: Steve on August 16, 2010 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

But if critics would just pause to catch their breath and consider reason, they'd see there's no value in helping bin Laden's dangerous scheme.

Except for the value of winning elections in November and removing Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, two of the "25 Most Evil Americans in History."

Upholding core founding principles of our nation and society pale in comparison.

First Amendment, Schmirst Amendment.

Posted by: Winkandanod on August 16, 2010 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

I have been waiting for the issue that will make right wingers' heads explode due to the cognitive dissonance. Might be this one.

But I doubt it, even when a chorus of right-wingers such as Gerson and Goldberg and others say it. The capacity for self-delusion on the right is extraordinarily strong.

Posted by: terraformer on August 16, 2010 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, there's value in this, alright.
The value of the voter.
And Republicans see this, and immigration, as wedge issues to pry votes from the xenophobic haters.
They already HAVE that vote, these issues mean that they'll show up in November.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on August 16, 2010 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

1 - It's not a Mosque, its a cultural center that will include a small area for prayer.

2 - There is already a real Mosque four blocks from ground zero. It's been there for decades.

Posted by: thorin-1 on August 16, 2010 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Pyromania is fun as any 12 year-old boy can tell you. Its consequences, not so much.

Posted by: walt on August 16, 2010 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Good point, Steve. Modern movement conservatism is well known for its message discipline; it's notable that there's such divisions even among True Believers and stalwart proponents of the so-called "War on Terror."

Looking at the usual suspects -- Palin, Gingrich, Limbaugh -- I attribute the doubling down to the other movement conservative attribute of never, ever, ever admitting you're wrong.

Posted by: Gregory on August 16, 2010 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

This morning, Mark McKinnon, a former strategist for George W. Bush, said of his own party, "Usually Republicans are forthright in defending the Constitution. And here we are, reinforcing al Qaeda's message that we're at war with Muslims.... I see a bad pattern where we're headed as a Republican Party."

This guy's a little slow, it's not where they are headed, they arrived years ago. Abu Ghraib, torture, secession, illegal wiretapping, that's just with Bush. Go back to treasonous acts of selling arms to Iran and everything Nixon did, said, or thought of.

Republicans are nativists who yearn for autocracy, their lip service to the US Constitution is on the same level of a Cafeteria Catholic's commitment to birth control.

Or as John Mahoney's character in 'Shes the One' said when confronted with his non-belief in God, "That doesn't mean I'm not a good Catholic."

Republicans view the US Constitution as a quaint, anachronistic relic like the Shroud of Turin. It's holy, but is it real?

Posted by: LosGatosCA on August 16, 2010 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Hamaas has endorsed the Cordoba house now.

So the GOP will now play the predictable game which will begin in 3...2...1...

Posted by: Ohioan on August 16, 2010 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

I'm afraid I find this whole discussion absolutely surreal. A) 9-11 was NINE YEARS AGO. And the "hallowed ground" has been far more desecrated by the endless bickering among NYC real estate interests than any imaginable offense from Cordoba House. B) Anybody who knows anything about NYC knows that 2 blocks is a long way away. This "Ground Zero" crap is ridiculous. C) Osama Bin Laden, if he is alive, is an old sick man living in a perilous exile who can actually control directly maybe 50 people max.
D) The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights is ABSOLUTELY CLEAR on freedom of religion. I mean, we don't even TAX churches (which exasperates me, but at least I am free to be an atheist).
I worry that sites like yours fail to query the presuppositions I've tried to undercut in A-C, which make people think that there has to be some "pragmatic" solution.
What REALLY needs to be pushed is -- Osama Bin Laden is NOT the problem. What is the problem is millions and millions of Muslims all over the world whose attitudes about the U.S. range from dubious to outright disgust and hatred are reading about this and are even more convinced that we are dangerous hypocrites.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE???
I am increasingly convinced that very few people in public life were paying attention in either civics class or Sunday school.

Posted by: jhill on August 16, 2010 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

The brutal political calculation by those who run the Rethuglican party is that they win more elections if America is perceived to be under attack by a terrifying enemy. Before the Soviet Union collapsed it was the all-encompassing evil of international Communism. Now it's Islam. They needed a new enemy after the Soviets and 9/11 was just so darn convenient for them. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Posted by: dalloway on August 16, 2010 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

If we don't do what Hamas wants, the terrorists win.

Posted by: Jim Treacher on August 16, 2010 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

" [...] He represents what Bin Laden fears most: a Muslim who believes that it is possible to remain true to the values of Islam and, at the same time, to be a loyal citizen of a Western, non-Muslim country."

And that, frankly, is what the rightwing ranters fear the most. Such a Muslim is a threat to their whole world view and imperils a major justification for what was done vis a' vis Iraq the past 8 years they were in power. Plus it would deprive them of a political issue to leverage their base. It reminds me of the right's take on the issue of gay marriage. Marriage is sacred, allowing gay marriage will defile its sanctity. It contradicts our values & empowers the enemies of our culture & our national identity. Of course none of that is proving true, now that gay marriage has had a foothold in several states.

Posted by: fignaz on August 16, 2010 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

The interests of extreme radical Islam and extreme radical reactionaries are not only compatible. They are identical; to wit, a climate of fear and rage that makes reasoned debate impossible. Each can only succeed by diverting attention from the obviousness of their lies by distracting the people with fear of the Other. And each can serve that role for the other.

Bin Laden and the rabid right are joined at the hip.

Posted by: Bernard Gilroy on August 16, 2010 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

"Where is George W. Bush in all this? Why haven't we heard from him?"

That is an interesting question. If he weighed in, it would mean a lot. My guess is that he's waiting until after the election. Truth is, he does support the Cordoba House. I don't like George W Bush one bit, but I will say that he truly understands that we are not at war with Islam. For that, I will give him the credit he deserves.

Posted by: fostert on August 16, 2010 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

[Hate/fearmongering deleted. --Mod]

Posted by: Trencherbone on August 16, 2010 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Trencherbone, when OSB gains control of a modernized, economic super-power capable of defeating three or four countries simultaneously - THEN I'll panic.
Meanwhile, here's something that may help you: pre-soaking underwear in bleach and tepid water removes most stains.
No, no thanks are necessary...

Posted by: Doug on August 16, 2010 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly