Commentary Magazine


The Ultimate Culture War: the Left vs. the War on Terror

Talk about the culture wars. On the one hand, you have Obama pitching that a mega-mosque on “hallowed ground” (his words) is a matter of “religious freedom” and, on the other, you have a huge majority of Americans who correctly see that this isn’t about “religious freedom” but rather about the defense of our civilization, empathy for the loved (and still grieving) ones of our 3,000 dead, and the prevention of a propaganda coup for the radical Islamists.

A smart reader points out that Obama is up to his old straw-man arguments. Quoting Obama’s Friday night statement, he observes, “‘I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country.’ Big Duh! Nobody is saying otherwise.” Obama resorts to this sort of bait-and-switch argument because to articulate his rationale — he is more concerned with giving offense to the Muslim World than about providing them with a propaganda triumph — would expose the gulf between his views and those of his fellow citizens.

Conservatives have understandably gone ballistic. Sarah Palin once again gets to the heart of the matter, asking:

Mr. President, should they or should they not build a mosque steps away from where radical Islamists killed 3,000 people?

Please tell us your position.

We all know that they have the right to do it, but should they? And, no, this is not above your pay grade.

If those who wish to build this Ground Zero mosque are sincerely interested in encouraging positive “cross-cultural engagement” and dialogue to show a moderate and tolerant face of Islam, then why haven’t they recognized that the decision to build a mosque at this particular location is doing just the opposite?

In Obama we see exactly the same passive resignation in the face of Islamic extremism — he either supports the mosque or “won’t say” (if you buy the excuse that he was only offering legal analysis) — which is paving the road to doom in Europe. In another context, we can recognize how European elites have sent up the white flag, surrendering their societies without a shot:

An official from one of Germany’s four political foundations [was asked] what he planned to do about the Muslim Brotherhood, which desires that European Muslims see themselves not as British, or French, or Dutch but “as radical Muslims seeking to impose sharia.” The official replied, “Well, we are a democracy. If the majority vote for Muslim law that is what we will have.”

Here, Obama seems bent on a similar approach. We have to give KSM a trial (and a platform) in the name of “respect for the rule of law” ( thought the law provides for military tribunals). We have to give an imam with troubling ties and offensive views on 9/11 (our fault, you see) his mosque on the very spot where 3,000 died in the name of Islam because to do otherwise would defeat the liberal ideal that we are in no position to make moral — or religious — distinctions, or to come up with any solution (eminent domain, anyone?) to avoid a gross insult to America and a victory for the jihadists.

In contrast to Obama is Debra Burlingame, who embodies and articulates the sentiments of ordinary Americans:

Barack Obama has abandoned America at the place where America’s heart was broken nine years ago, and where her true values were on display for all to see. Since that dark day, Americans have been asked to bear the burden of defending those values, again and again and again. Now this president declares that the victims of  9/11 and their families must bear another burden. We must stand silent at the last place in America where 9/11 is still remembered with reverence or risk being called religious bigots.

Muslims have worshipped in New York without incident both before and after the attacks of 9/11. This controversy is not about religious freedom. 9/11 was more than a “deeply traumatic event,” it was an act of war. Building a 15-story mosque at Ground Zero is a deliberately provocative act that will precipitate more bloodshed in the name of Allah. Those who continue to target and kill American civilians and U.S. troops will see it as a symbol of their historic progress at the site of their most bloody victory.

How’s that for a front in the “culture wars”? Abortion, marriage, and the rest are piddling issues compared with the debate about whether and how we should defend our civilization. If nearly every reasoned step to defend ourselves against Islamic extremists flies in the face of liberal dogma, we are presented with a choice: take reasoned and legally defensible steps to defend ourselves (by cutting off the means by which radicals spread jihadism) or capitulate to the left’s dogma and let the consequences — and the American people — be damned. Obama has made his choice, and Americans should make theirs.

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