Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, & George W. Bush Central Speak Out: What Would George W. Bush Do?

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George_W._Bush_-_Islamic_Center_of_Washington_re-dedication.bmp.jpg
(President George W. Bush speaking at the 50th anniversary re-dedication of the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C.)
Slate‘s Dave Weigel has a nice clip quoting former Bush administration Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and current Director of the George W. Bush Institute James K. Glassman.
Weigel writes:

[James K.} Glassman, who served as undersecretary for public diplomacy under George W. Bush, also believes that the controversy over the planned Islamic community center will hurt the U.S. image among Muslims abroad.
And he believes that Obama’s task, like his predecessor’s, is to replace the conspiratorial narrative about a United States as an enemy of Islam with one in which a tolerant, freedom-loving country does right by Muslims.

Reading between the lines with Glassman as a proxy for the former President of the United States — the man who despite launching wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, who regularly met with and coordinated policies with Arab and Muslim leaders, and who did not allow the pugnacious, bomb-them-now wing of his White House prevail in the latter years of his presidency — would have offered no less support for the Cordoba Mosque near Ground Zero than New York Michael Bloomberg or President Obama at the White House Iftar dinner.
In my view, James Glassman is right on target, and I applaud his willingness to speak out on this from his perch at George W. Bush Central.
And now, speaking out as Arab American and Muslim American Republicans, a group of Washington notables has sent an open letter to their colleagues and friends in the Republican Party:

Dear Republican Colleague:
We are writing to you today as loyal Americans who are active members of the Republican Party. We also happen to be proud of our Arab American and Muslim American contributions to the Republican Party.
We are deeply concerned by the rhetoric of some leading members of our party surrounding the construction of the Muslim Community Center in downtown Manhattan. These comments are not only constitutionally unsound, they are also alienating millions of Arab American and Muslim American voters who believe, as we do, in the principles of our party – individual liberty, traditional values, and the rule of law.
As you know, our party has had a long history of inclusion – beginning with our great President Abraham Lincoln, whose leadership on the slavery issue was monumental, and continuing through President George W. Bush whose public statements and actions on the differentiation between Islam and the terrorists who attacked us on 9-11 were critically important. We are particularly proud to note that President Bush appointed more Arab Americans and Muslim Americans to his administration than any other president in U.S. history.
That being said, it perplexes us as to why some vocal members of our party have chosen to oppose the construction of a cultural and religious center on private grounds. Not only does the First Amendment to our Constitution protect the right of these private citizens to worship freely, it also prevents Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion. Our party and the leaders in our party should not be engaged in judgment issues of the location of a cultural center and a house of worship in direct contravention of the First Amendment.
While some in our party have recently conceded the constitutional argument, they are now arguing that it is insensitive, intolerant and unacceptable to locate the center at the present location: “Just because they have the right to do so – does not make it the right thing to do” they say. Many of these individuals are objecting to the location as being too close to the Ground Zero site and voicing the understandable pain and anguish of the 9-11 families who lost loved ones in this horrible tragedy. In expressing compassion and understanding for these families, we are asking ourselves the following: if two blocks is too close, is four blocks acceptable? or six blocks? or eight blocks? Does our party believe that one can only practice his/her religion in certain places within defined boundaries and away from the disapproving glances of some citizens? Should our party not be standing up and taking a leadership role- just like President Bush did after 9-11 – by making a clear distinction between Islam, one of the great three monotheistic faiths along with Judaism and Christianity, versus the terrorists who committed the atrocities on 9-11 and who are not only the true enemies of America but of Islam as well? President Bush struck the right balance in expressing sympathy for the families of the 9-11 victims while making it absolutely clear that the acts committed on 9-11 were not in the name of Islam. We are hoping that our party leaders can do the same now – especially at a time when it is greatly needed.
While we share the desire of all in our party to be successful in the November elections, we cannot support victory at the expense of the U.S. Constitution or the Arab and Muslim community in America. As President Lincoln so eloquently stated in his famous speech: “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”
As proud and patriotic Americans, we are grateful for all the rights our U.S. citizenship allows us, and we will always do our best to not only protect our rights but the rights of all others as well. May God Bless our nation, our freedoms, and our party.
David Ramadan
Vice Chair, Ethnic Coalitions, Republican Party of Virginia
Sherine El-Abd
President, New Jersey Federation of Republican Women
Randa Fahmy Hudome
Associate Deputy Secretary of Energy, Bush Administration
George Salem
Solicitor of Labor, Reagan Administration
Suhail Khan
Chairman, Conservative Inclusion Coalition
Samah A Norquist
Senior Advisor to Arab and Muslim Outreach, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Bush Administration

My late professor, mentor, and friend, Hans Baerwald, taught me that one never really knows the “norms” of a political system unless that system is observed under stress.
Today, we are seeing behaviors emerge in American political life that violate the basic social contract of what this country is about and seeing too much of a tilt towards the possibility of mob rule.
When George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Michael Bloomberg are all essentially on the same side of an issue and the mob out there is trying to lynch American values — it’s time for us to wake up and defend what is right in this country and speak out against what is wrong.
I hope this minority group of Republicans — including James Glassman as well as the Arab American Republicans and Muslim American Republicans listed above — eventually work back to hijack their party from those doing such harm to it today.
And Senator Harry Reid would be wise to also read this letter — as he no doubt will soon be hearing from Arab and Muslim Americans in his own constituency.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

164 comments on “Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, & George W. Bush Central Speak Out: What Would George W. Bush Do?

  1. Paul Norheim says:

    Put simple:
    The fact that a lot of conflicts – territorial, political, struggle for
    resources (water, oil, diamonds…), deforestation,
    environmental degradation etc. etc. – are currently filtered
    through a religious language, means that these conflicts will
    not be solved by simply intensifying a global clash of
    civilization until the last Muslim, the last Christian, or the last
    Christian is dead.
    Sure, there are religious conflicts and conflicts linked to
    different sorts of fundamentalism and dogmas. These conflicts
    can’t be explained away. But as Griswold shows, the actual
    conflicts take place in areas where the religious issues are
    intertwined with, or sometimes even obfuscate other very real
    issues that are different from region to region, even from
    province to province.

    Reply

  2. WigWag says:

    Actually Paul and Questions, there are two book reviews in the New York Times, one appeared on August 17, 2010 by Mark Oppenheimer; here’s the link,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/18/books/18book.html?scp=3&sq=Griswold&st=cse
    The second appeared in yesterday’s NYT Book Review by Linda Robinson. Here’s the link to that one,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/books/review/Robinson-t.html?scp=1&sq=Griswold&st=cse
    There’s also a discussion of Griswold’s book in the newspaper’s “Paper Cuts” blog.
    Having downloaded the book on my kindle last night and read about 1/3 of it, I can assure you that what Griswold describes would be viewed by anyone as a civilizational clash. She cites numerous examples that she personally witnessed where Muslim and Christian Africans engage in violent confrontations motivated by communal differences. Frequently these clashes are fights over natural resources like oil or arable land, but the communities each recognize members of their own tribes (Christian or Muslim) as allies and detest members of the opposing tribe both as individuals and as a group. The conflicts that Griswold mentions are violent, ugly and ubiquitous.
    Ironically, the fights are frequently between Christian and Muslim sects that we in the West tend to think of as relatively “liberal.” For example in Southern Sudan, African Anglicans and African Sufis detest each other and murder each other with frequency. In the United States and Europe, Anglicans (Episcopalians) and Sufi Muslims may be viewed as progressive but at least according to Griswold, they are anything but peaceful, tolerant and liberal in Africa.
    By the way, Griswold is no neoconservative; if anything, she is quite a progressive herself and she has a very progressive pedigree. Her father, Frank Griswold is a well-known liberal theologian who until 2006 was the head of the American Episcopal Church (one of the most liberal Christian denominations in the United States). He was (and is) sympathetic to gay commitment ceremonies in Episcopal churches and he supports the consecration to both female and gay Episcopal Bishops. Moreover, he supported the elevation of Katharine Jefferts Schori who is the first woman primate in the Anglican Communion. Elevating Jefferts Schori to this position infuriated many members of the Anglican hierarchy all over the world.
    Eliza Griswold doesn’t seek to lay blame at the feet of any particular religion or denomination but it is impossible to come away from reading her book without drawing the conclusion that on two continents, at least, Africa and Asia, there is an enormous violent conflict between Muslims and Christians that is only likely to get worse.
    Pretend that there isn

    Reply

  3. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions, just above the double dotted line intended to
    mark the end of the Oppenheimer quote, there are five lines
    from a sentence I wrote. I forgot to delete it in the paste
    and copying process – sorry for the confusion.

    Reply

  4. Paul Norheim says:

    And here is the link to the other Griswold article from the New York Times:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/18/books/18book.html?ref=review

    Reply

  5. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions,
    thanks for your comment, which gives me an opportunity
    to clarify and elaborate a bit. Clicking on WigWag’s link, it
    appears that I read another article at that time, Mark
    Oppenheimer’s Book-of-the-Times essay: “Where Muslims
    and Christians Drew Lines in the Sand” (18th August).
    Later, I read the review – and got them mixed up in my
    post above. Thanks for making the point. But some quotes
    from both NYT articles suggest that the author seems to
    see all sorts of “reasons”, also factors beyond religion, like
    desertification, struggle over valuable resources etc –
    complicating the issue; which is exactly why she is
    incapable of delivering a grand theory explaining it all.
    I’ll provide a link to the Oppenheimer article in my next
    post. But here is a quote:
    “Ms. Griswold never states her arguments as clearly as I
    would wish, but several emerge nonetheless.
    First, she believes that Muslim versus Christian fights in
    Africa and Asia have been amplified, even caused, by the
    West. Sometimes the legacy of colonialism is the culprit,
    as in Sudan, where the British governor-general of Sudan,
    Sir Reginald Wingate, first played the Arab Muslim
    northerners against the darker Africans in the south. In
    1905, she writes, he

    Reply

  6. questions says:

    Hi, Paul,
    Not sure how you get “view” from the NYT review of the Griswold book. I just read it and from what I can see it’s just a description of people and events, not any kind of explanation at all. The review ends with a suggestion that Griswold has no explanation at all for religiously motivated behavior.
    So not only can this book not provide support for a clash of civilizations, but also it cannot provide support for anything other than the observation that there are lots of Muslims outside the ME and sometimes they disagree with one another and sometimes the disagreements are violent.
    Still, nothing about race/class/gender/instigation/poverty/resource extraction/colonialism/power struggles and the rest of the things that are typically taken as movers of historical events.
    There’s a lot of space between “why can’t we all just get along” and the “clash of civilizations”.
    As for a regular book review –absolutely!
    I’d also love a regular “View from” piece that rotates between agencies and Congress and NGOs and whatever else is worthy of some words.

    Reply

  7. Paul Norheim says:

    I read the Griswold review at NYT while we were discussing this
    WigWag. She appears to have a much more nuanced view than
    you or Kotz on the issue.
    “Suggestion to Steve Clemons: the New America Foundation is
    involved with so many interesting books; how about providing
    book review posts from time to time?”
    That’s an excellent idea!

    Reply

  8. WigWag says:

    I see now that the New America Foundation actually supported Eliza Griswold’s book on the clash between Christian and Islamic Africans and that Steve Coll is one of the first people Ms Griswold acknowledges in her book. Other notables who she thanks include Reza Aslan, Walter Russell Mead (whose name is misspelled in the acknowledgement section of her book), Richard Holbrooke and Kati Marton.
    Suggestion to Steve Clemons: the New America Foundation is involved with so many interesting books; how about providing book review posts from time to time?

    Reply

  9. WigWag says:

    For those who may be interested, there is a new book that explores the clash of civilizations in Africa between Christians and Muslims. The book, “The Tenth Parallel” by Eliza Griswold chronicles her travels along the tenth parallel in Africa which happens to be the latitude where Christian and Muslim Africans live tightly packed together in nations that are amongst the fastest growing in the world. Griswold, who is a poet and journalist, has an interesting perspective because she happens to be the daughter of a well known and quite progressive Episcopal Bishop.
    A review from the New York Times can be found here,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/books/review/Robinson-t.html?ref=books
    An interesting book with a similar theme was written by Philip Jenkins in 2002. The book is entitled “The Next Christendom: The Coming Global Christianity.” Jenkins is a Professor of Histoy at Pennsylvania State University. A review from the New York Times book review can be found here,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/12/books/marching-as-to-war.html?scp=5&sq=Philip%20Jenkins&st=cse

    Reply

  10. bob h says:

    With Fox generating ratings share and profits from fuelling this phony controversy, the odds that it will escalate and get totally out of hand seem to be high.
    Bin Laden presumably is taking note of this incredible victory Rupert Murdoch is handing him, and undoubtedly will soon add fuel to the fire.
    If things degenerate further and engender more Muslim hatred of us, the issue of Ground Zero sites may become academic, as we are eventually faced with another smoking pile of rubble there.

    Reply

  11. Paul Norheim says:

    Well, Nadine, I have participated in plenty of discussions with you
    concerning the distinction between Islam and Islamism, so I have
    no idea why you’ve suspected me of thinking that Islamism is a
    fiction invented by the CIA and Mossad.
    Although I thought that was pretty obvious, I hereby also “admit”
    that the moon exists and exerts a certain influence on our planet.
    Yep, there I said it. THE MOON EXISTS.
    Thus I hope I’ve diminished the risk of being seen as some leftist
    fauxgressive multicultural “moon-denyer”. Or perhaps my latest
    admission lacks the sufficient emphasis, and will not pass your
    sincerity test?

    Reply

  12. nadine says:

    “I think that blogger had a point, Nadine, and that it will
    fade away the way Pan-Arabism etc. did. You can observe
    this tendency in Africa too during the 20th century: the
    continent picking up grand ideas that Europe or America
    more or less have already rejected.
    Personally, I really hope neo-conseratism will go out of
    fashion too, sooner rather than later, just like post-
    modernism, trotskism, maoism and all those -isms that
    demand our attention for a decade or so, and then
    become a matter for historians to reconstruct” (Paul Norheim)
    That’s an interesting comment, Paul, in that it’s the first time I’ve seen you admit that Islamism exists and is a mass movement.
    Yes, doubtless it will fall away in time. However, if it follows the pattern of the previous movements, it may take a generation.
    Neocon-ism will also fall away — however, inasmuch as it is grown from American nationalism and classic liberal values, very hardy forms of thought, I would expect it to be replaced by another variant of the same ideas.

    Reply

  13. nadine says:

    OMG foreign lobbyists worked with journalists in the 1960s! Who would have ever suspsected that lobbyists would work with jouralists! And the connection with Jeffrey Goldberg was that 50 years ago, some of the journalists worked for The Atlantic! OMG OMG! Stop the presses! The Atlantic! That proves it!
    POS, you have no idea how you display your stupidity with every comment.

    Reply

  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Zionist Lobby Paid Off U.S. Journalists To Sell Israeli Foreign Policy
    Declassified documents take on deeper significance in light of Jeffrey Goldberg and The Atlantic Monthly

    Reply

  15. questions says:

    “Soc. Then as he is not here, never mind him, and do you tell me: By the gods, Meno, be generous, and tell me what you say that virtue is; for I shall be truly delighted to find that I have been mistaken, and that you and Gorgias do really have this knowledge; although I have been just saying that I have never found anybody who had.
    Men. There will be no difficulty, Socrates, in answering your question. Let us take first the virtue of a man-he should know how to administer the state, and in the administration of it to benefit his friends and harm his enemies; and he must also be careful not to suffer harm himself. A woman’s virtue, if you wish to know about that, may also be easily described: her duty is to order her house, and keep what is indoors, and obey her husband. Every age, every condition of life, young or old, male or female, bond or free, has a different virtue: there are virtues numberless, and no lack of definitions of them; for virtue is relative to the actions and ages of each of us in all that we do. And the same may be said of vice, Socrates.
    Soc. How fortunate I am, Meno! When I ask you for one virtue, you present me with a swarm of them, which are in your keeping. Suppose that I carry on the figure of the swarm, and ask of you, What is the nature of the bee? and you answer that there are many kinds of bees, and I reply: But do bees differ as bees, because there are many and different kinds of them; or are they not rather to be distinguished by some other quality, as for example beauty, size, or shape? How would you answer me?
    Men. I should answer that bees do not differ from one another, as bees.
    Soc. And if I went on to say: That is what I desire to know, Meno; tell me what is the quality in which they do not differ, but are all alike;-would you be able to answer?
    Men. I should.
    Soc. And so of the virtues, however many and different they may be, they have all a common nature which makes them virtues; and on this he who would answer the question, “What is virtue?” would do well to have his eye fixed: Do you understand?
    Men. I am beginning to understand; but I do not as yet take hold of the question as I could wish.
    Soc. When you say, Meno, that there is one virtue of a man, another of a woman, another of a child, and so on, does this apply only to virtue, or would you say the same of health, and size, and strength? Or is the nature of health always the same, whether in man or woman?
    Men. I should say that health is the same, both in man and woman. ”
    http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/meno.html
    In the spirit of the conversation in The Meno,
    don’t provide a list of seeming civilizational clashes, but rather say what such a clash IS.
    Note that to a hammer, everything looks like a nail. To a clash-of-civilizations seer, everything looks like a clash.
    Sometimes it’s good to get local and try to figure out what’s attractive to a particular person about conservative religiosity — it might not be clash-ishness at all. It might be a local rational response to a particular set of conditions.
    I use this same explanatory mechanism to deal with the mortgage meltdown — irrational outcomes from individual rational actions within a system can lead to some awful consequences — and there isn’t one iota of conspiracy or coordination or civilizational clashing needed to create the same outcome.
    *************
    Add to this Franklin Graham’s newest line about the Muslim “seed” lurking in Obama’s, ummm, wherever the “seed” gland is…. And tell me what the hell we are doing with our political system over this insanity.
    Read about how many New Yorkers think the rest of the country is a little bonkers over this, read about how it’s a 100,000,000 dollar building project and they only have a few thousand together for it thus far, read about how the dead storefront actually already is hosting prayer services, read about how the nearby Sufi mosque is too crowded for the number of people who go there, read about the desire for a swimming pool Muslim women can use w/o covering as much (and before you blow up about this, think about ultra orthodox Jewish women and the modesty issue, please!)…..
    And while I’m at it, latest CNN poll on health care — 56% of us don’t like it, but 13% of us dislike it because it doesn’t go far enough in providing coverage. So that’s a distinct minority (in the 40s) who dislike it because it’s too intrusive or too democratic or whatever.
    Could we just go back to the summer of shark attacks? That was a lot more fun as an issue to follow….

    Reply

  16. JohnH says:

    While I generally agree with Dan Kervick that it is important to provide real information to counter Nadine’s hasbara and Wigwag’s convoluted and tortured “logic,” there is also a time to call out a person’s point of view and their disingenuous methods. That gives a reader the proper lens with which to view certain people’s positions.
    Shockingly, Nadine (of all people) agrees that real information is good. But then she reverts to her true Jewish Supremacist form, assailing “all the ad hominem invective, anti-Semitic slurs, and conspiracy mongering that pass for argument around here.”
    Now there’s a true supporter of real information and reasoned debate!

    Reply

  17. PissedOffAmerican says:

    This one is for that wishy-washy academic Gumbi, “questions”…..
    http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/08/declassified-massive-israeli-manipulation-of-us-media-exposed/
    Declassified: Massive Israeli manipulation of US media exposed
    – 20. Aug, 2010 in Commentary/Analysis, Iran, Iraq, Middle east, News/Politics, Palestine, U.S. Foreign Policy, War –
    Russia Today interviews Grant F. Smith, Director of Institute for Research on Middle Eastern Policy
    Files declassified in America have revealed covert public relations and lobbying activities of Israel in the U.S. The National Archive made the documents public following a Senate investigation. They suggest Israel has been trying to shape media coverage of issues it regards as important. You can download the files from the web-site of the Institute for Research on Middle Eastern policy. And we can cross to Washington now and talk to Grant F. Smith who is a director at that Institute.

    Reply

  18. Paul Norheim says:

    Nadine said: “I remember some blogger (can’t remember
    who at this point) had a post a few years back called
    “Falling in Love with a Perfectly Stupid Idea”, who pointed
    out that the Arab world had adopted or modified a number
    of political ideas from the West already in the last 80
    years: first Nazism, then Socialism, then Pan-Arabism, and
    now Islamism (which is totalitarianism wrapped in the
    green flag of Islam), and that we were just going to have
    to cope with this new wave until it wore itself out as the
    others had before it.”
    I think that blogger had a point, Nadine, and that it will
    fade away the way Pan-Arabism etc. did. You can observe
    this tendency in Africa too during the 20th century: the
    continent picking up grand ideas that Europe or America
    more or less have already rejected.
    Personally, I really hope neo-conseratism will go out of
    fashion too, sooner rather than later, just like post-
    modernism, trotskism, maoism and all those -isms that
    demand our attention for a decade or so, and then
    become a matter for historians to reconstruct. These grand
    ideas seem to provide a new expression, some total
    explanation of, and even the “right” solution for some of
    the big contradictions of their time, and then people
    realize that they are just as imperfect and lousy as the
    former ideas.
    At the end of the decade we are entering, I’m sure we’ll
    fervently discuss some new ism not yet arisen on the
    horizon.

    Reply

  19. rc says:

    “creating needless civil unrest…” — what just like Martin Luther King?

    Reply

  20. Cee says:

    Rauf is feared because he IS a moderate.
    I know Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, and I know him to be a moderate, forward-leaning Muslim — yes, it is true he has said things with which I disagree, but I have never expected him to function as a member of the Zionist Organization of America.
    In 2003, Imam Rauf was invited to speak at a memorial service for Daniel Pearl, the journalist murdered by Islamist terrorists in Pakistan. The service was held at B’nai Jeshurun, a prominent synagogue in Manhattan, and in the audience was Judea Pearl, Daniel Pearl’s father. In his remarks, Rauf identified absolutely with Pearl, and identified himself absolutely with the ethical tradition of Judaism. “I am a Jew,” he said.
    There are those who would argue that these represent mere words, chosen carefully to appease a postentially suspicious audience. I would argue something different: That any Muslim imam who stands before a Jewish congregation and says, “I am a Jew,” is placing his life in danger. Remember, Islamists hate the people they consider apostates even more than they hate Christians and Jews. In other words, the man many commentators on the right assert is a terrorist-sympathizer placed himself in mortal peril in order to identify himself with Christians and Jews, and specifically with the most famous Jewish victim of Islamism. You can read the full text of his remarks on the B’nai Jeshurun website, but here is an especially relevant portion:
    We are here to assert the Islamic conviction of the moral equivalency of our Abrahamic
    faiths. If to be a Jew means to say with all one’s heart, mind and soul Shma` Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ahad; hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One, not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one, Mr. Pearl.
    If to be a Christian is to love the Lord our God with all of my heart, mind and soul, and to
    love for my fellow human being what I love for myself, then not only am I a Christian, but I
    have always been one Mr. Pearl.
    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/08/ground-zero-imam-i-am-a-jew-i-have-always-been-one/61761/

    Reply

  21. nadine says:

    “You’ve got me thinking, Nadine. We know that Islamofascists are Muslim, but certainly not all Muslims are Islamofascists, right? In the same way that all Catholics are Christians, but not all Christians are Catholic. And if that’s the case, isn’t the pressure being brought to bear on the proximate-to-Ground-Zero Community Center misguided? Again, in the same way that you wouldn’t picket a Lutheran church for the something the Vatican had done.” (Maw)
    Yes, Maw, absolutely not all Muslims are Islamofascists. Not even most of them.
    Now, the question is, is Imam Rauf really a anti-Islamofascist Muslim seeking to build bridges and promote healing?
    If I thought he were, I would merely tell him, as many others have done, that he is making a big mistake choosing a Ground Zero site, since that does not promote healing or build bridges.
    But I think Imam Rauf knows exactly what he is doing. I think that he is more of an apologist for Islamofacism, than a true opponent of it. I would point out his slippery statements on Hamas not being terrorists and the promotion of Sharia inside a democracy as evidence. Supporting fake moderates like that only harms the real moderates.
    BTW Gallup polled on Obama’s mosque statements (whether just the first one, or the three followups, I’m not sure): 20% approve, 37% disapprove, 43% don’t know/no opinion. Can’t accuse Obama of taking the stand for popularity, but if it was a principled stand, why did he back off it so fast?

    Reply

  22. S Brennan says:

    From my Facebook
    Since I have been critical of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf for touting his $300,000,000.00 Mosque’s proximity to the 911 site as creating needless civil unrest, let me take moment to criticize another member of the cloth for the same offense. Now I am sure those who rush to defend the Iman’s actions will also rush to defend this guy too. Yes, they both have the right and I am sure you will call me an un-American facist for being critical, but I think Terry Jones is out of line too.
    http://cbs4.com/local/burning.quran.outreach.2.1867754.html.

    Reply

  23. nadine says:

    “I never discount Nadine’s posts and WigWag’s posts, DonS. I argue against them.” (Dan Kervick)
    Thanks for that rather lonely defense of reason, Dan, the midst of all the ad hominem (ad feminam, I should say) invective, anti-Semitic slurs, and conspiracy mongering that pass for argument around here.

    Reply

  24. nadine says:


    After all, the gloomy, paranoid, and provincial reality of
    Israel anno 2010 certainly does not live up to the shiny
    dreams and hopes invested in the Jewish nation Israel in
    WigWag’s and other people’s youth.” (Paul Norheim)
    Actually, Israel is one of the happier countries in the world, with 62% reporting themselves as thriving. Not quite up to your Norwegian standards of 69%, but right up there in the Top 20, according to Forbes:
    http://www.forbes.com/2010/07/14/world-happiest-countries-lifestyle-realestate-gallup_slide_12.html

    Reply

  25. nadine says:

    “But regardless of the fact that no one will be better off as a result of a struggle that could easily last decades, that doesn’t mean that this struggle isn’t on the horizon and it doesn’t mean that the battle can be avoided. I’ve cited numerous examples of the Islamic world, led by its most militant, recalcitrant and backwards elements coming into conflict with Christian,” (Wigwag)
    A great deal of Dan Kervick’s, Paul Norheim’s, and questions’ arguments turn on discounting the notion that there is a real Islamist struggle raging within the Muslim world. Instead, they work to shoot the messenger, sure that there is no problem that we didn’t cause or we can’t correct by ‘engagement’ or modifying our foreign policies.
    Would it were so simple. We can’t make the side we’d prefer win this Muslim civil war. In this sense, it’s a clash within a civilization as much as between civilizations.
    I remember some blogger (can’t remember who at this point) had a post a few years back called “Falling in Love with a Perfectly Stupid Idea”, who pointed out that the Arab world had adopted or modified a number of political ideas from the West already in the last 80 years: first Nazism, then Socialism, then Pan-Arabism, and now Islamism (which is totalitarianism wrapped in the green flag of Islam), and that we were just going to have to cope with this new wave until it wore itself out as the others had before it.
    Islamism is even worse at delivering just rule than the other bad ideas, and large numbers of Muslims now see that what it mainly produces is dead Muslims in large number, so are turning against it. Nothing cures the wish for Islamist rule like getting a taste of it, as the polls coming out of Gaza now confirm.

    Reply

  26. Carroll says:

    Conversation on Eden Abergil’s Facebook. Abergil is the jewsish IDF girl that did the Lindy England thing posing with dead and blindfolded and bound up Palestine prisoners, the pictures of which are now on the internet.
    The jewish IDF girl says…
    Eden Abergil: No honey they didn

    Reply

  27. Carroll says:

    Israel and the anti-Muslim blow-up
    By MJ Rosenberg
    Post-9/11 Islamophobia continues to grow within Jewish communities in the US [Gallo/Getty]
    I don’t know why I am at all surprised that the American Right – including the Republican Party – has decided that scapegoating Muslims is the ticket to success. After all, it’s nothing new.
    I remember right after 9/11 when the columnist Charles Krauthammer, now one of the most vocal anti-Muslim demagogues, almost literally flipped out in my Chevy Chase, Maryland synagogue when the rabbi said something about the importance of not associating the terrorist attacks with Muslims in general.
    It was on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, but that did not stop Krauthammer from bellowing out his disagreement with the rabbi. Krauthammer’s point: Israel and America are at war with Muslims and that war must be won.
    It was shocking, not only because Krauthammer’s outburst was so utterly out of place but also because the man was actually chastising the rabbi for not spouting hate against all Muslims – on the Day of Atonement.
    The following year, the visiting rabbi from Israel gave a sermon about the intifada that was then raging in Israel and the West Bank.
    A sermon with a twist
    The sermon was a nutty affair that tearfully made the transition from intifada to Holocaust and back again.
    I remember thinking, “this guy is actually blaming the Palestinians for the suffering of his parents during the Holocaust.” I thought I had missed something because it was so ridiculous.
    Then came the sermon’s ending which was unforgettable. The rabbi concluded with the words from Ecclesiastes.
    “To everything there is a season. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap … A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…”
    He then looked up and said: “Now is the time to hate.”
    At first, I thought I had not heard him correctly. He could not be calling on the congregation to hate. There were dozens of children in the room. It wasn’t possible.
    But it was. To their credit, many of the congregants I spoke with as we left the sanctuary were appalled. Even the right-wingers were uncomfortable with endorsing hate as a virtue.
    Yet, the rabbi was unrepentant. I emailed him to complain and he told me that he said what he believed. Nice.
    One could ask what the Middle East has to do with the vicious outbreak of Islamophobia (actually Islamo-hatred) that has seemingly seized segments of this country.
    US Islamophobia’s origins
    The answer is everything. Although the hate is directed at Arab-Americans (which makes it worse) it is justified by invoking 9/11, an attack by Muslims from the Middle East.
    This hate is buttressed by the hatred of Muslims and Arabs that has been routinely uttered (or shouted from the rooftops) in the name of defending Israel for decades
    Just watch what goes on in congress, where liberals from New York, Florida, California and elsewhere never miss an opportunityto explain that no matter what Israel does, it is right, and no matter what Muslims do, they are wrong.
    Can anyone possibly argue that such insidious rhetoric has no impact on public opinion?
    At the very least, it gives anti-Arab and/or anti-Muslim bias a legitimacy that other forms of hate no longer have. Bigots who hate African-Americans or Jews, for instance, feel that they must claim that they don’t. That is not the case with Muslims who can be despised with impunity.
    And here the liberals are worse than the conservatives because liberals exempt Muslims and Arabs (and now Turks) from the humanitarian instincts that inform their views of all other groups.
    Conservatives combine their Arab-bashing with a general xenophobia, as is evidenced by their views on immigration.
    Illiberal Liberalism?
    Liberals, on the other hand, single out Muslims for contempt.
    They do it actively – i.e., by defending every single Israeli action against Arabs with vehement enthusiasm. And they do it passively, by refusing to evince an iota of sympathy for Muslims who suffer and die at the hands of Israelis – like the 432 Palestinian children killed in the 2008 Gaza war.
    Liberals join conservatives in rushing to the floor of the House of Representatives and Senate to defend the Israelis against any accusation (remember how they robotically attacked the Goldstone report on Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, not caring at about the horrors Goldstone described).
    And then they read their AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee lobby)talking points, enumerating all the terrible things Arabs have done while Israel has, Gandhi-like, consistently offered the hand of friendship. It would be laughable if the effect of all this was not so ugly.
    Why wouldn’t all this hatred affect the perception of Arab-Americans too? Hate invariably overflows its containers, just like hatred of Israel sometimes crosses over into pure old-fashioned anti-Semitism.
    Bottom line: it’s a witches’ brew that is being stirred up, and it is one that will no doubt produce violence. But the witches are not all on the right. Just as many liberals are stirring the pot to please some of their donors.
    I’m not saying you should not blame Fox News’ Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh for all this hate. But don’t forget to blame your favorite liberal and progressive politicians. With a few (very few) exceptions, they are just as bad.
    MJ Rosenberg is a Senior Foreign Policy Fellow at Media Matters Action Network. The above article first appeared in Foreign Policy Matters, a part of the Media Matters Action Network.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Maybe that ‘clash of civilization war’ the neos and zios want will be here in the USA instead of the ME. Suits me, we need a airing out of all our dirty laundry.

    Reply

  28. WigWag says:

    Well Paul, I have both an I-PAD and a Kindle. I absolutely hate the I-Pad for reading; it’s far inferior to the Kindle but the I-PAD is quite good for watching videos and posting comments at the Washington Note.
    I have read Mark Twain’s “Innocents Abroad” and am not inclined to pick it up again.
    As for what I’m reading now, I am in the middle of four books: I’m re-reading Dumas’ “Count of Monte Cristo;” it’s a real page turner.
    I’m reading a brand new biography of Walt Whtiman by C.K. Williams called “On Whitman;” I’ve read several Whitman biographies and this one is really bad, but I’m more than half way through the book and I paid for it, so I figure I might as well finish it.
    I’m reading a book recommended by Dan Kervick in one of his comments about a year ago called “Salonica: City of Ghosts” by Mark Mazower. During one of the debates on a Ben Katcher post about Turkey, Dan recommended the book and I downloaded on my Kindle but never got to it. I am enjoying reading it now; it’s quite good.
    Finally, I’m reading a book that I downloaded from the Gutenberg Project called “The Reign of Mary Tudor.” The book by James Anthony describes the short reign of Henry VIII’s first daughter; it’s quite well written and interesting.

    Reply

  29. Dan Kervick says:

    “What one forgets is that each and every post, argument, indeed word, written by wig wag, and of course nadine, cannot be simply taken in a logical way, but must include the filter of Zionist hasbara. Hence, the attack on Dan Kervick’s lucid post(s) above, by wigwag, sadly, must be discounted due to her laser focus on advancing the Likudist zealotry.”
    I never discount Nadine’s posts and WigWag’s posts, DonS. I argue against them. Somebody’s got to do it, since no matter how many thousands of times people respond to Nadine’s and WigWag’s posts with nothing more effective than a lame “Nadine and WigWag are zionist bitches,” nobody with half an ounce of intelligence is going to be persuaded by those kinds of soggy and pathetic retorts.
    I have no idea who Nadine and WigWag are. But as I have tried to argue several times here, whether Nadine and WigWag are just two independent individuals arguing on behalf of the causes in which they happen believe, or whether they are duly appointed agents of Israeli propaganda, who coordinate their messages every morning in a conference call from Jerusalem, *makes no difference whatsoever*.
    The traditional criticisms of ad hominem argumentation aren’t just some bits of pedantic lore devised by logicians to entertain themselves. The criticisms instead reflect the rational recognition that who people are, and what their motives are for what they are saying, are in most cases evidentially irrelevant to the truth value of the assertions they are putting forth and the cogency of the arguments they are making. Canny mercenaries can sometimes produce good arguments; dyed-in-the-wool ideologues can sometimes make accurate statements; and sincere and decent people can sometimes produce inaccurate statements and bungled arguments.
    Imagine some defendant who, taking the stand in his own trial and asked to respond to the prosecutor’s assertions and arguments, simply states, “I discount the prosecutor’s arguments because he is a paid representative of the United States government who routinely and single-mindedly pushes the US government’s line.” We would laugh at such a fool. He can discount arguments all he wants, but he’ll be discounting them all the way to a jail cell. Whether the prosecutor is a committed true believer or a cynical hired gun, the ones who are good at what they do are those who are successful at marshaling evidence and arguments sufficient to persuade a jury that their case is the stronger one. If you want to win your case against the prosecutorial onslaught, you need to rebut the arguments, not just disdain and discount them.
    If Israel launches an attack on Lebanon, do you think their opponents on the ground will just say, “I discount those guns, for they are the guns bought and paid for by the global zionist movement.” No, of course not. They will instead try to obtain the best guns they can themselves, and then shoot back with them.
    It also doesn’t matter whether Nadine and/or WigWag are themselves susceptible to persuasion. I argue against them so that someone who might happen to be reading their comments, and who thinks, “Hmmm … that’s interesting, and sounds right to me,” will be exposed to at least one serious contrary argument.

    Reply

  30. Paul Norheim says:

    Not now, WigWag, I’m going to sleep. It’s actually 3.25.AM,
    Saturday morning, here in Bergen. BTW, I think Friday was
    the last day of summer here, sunny and hot. Perhaps I’ll
    write more tomorrow, when it’s raining outside.
    In the meanwhile, allow me to suggest that you download
    some Mark Twain (his Middle East travelogue?), or perhaps
    the Pickwick papers by Dickens, from Amazon – for your
    mental health. I’ve downloaded a whole, quite decent library
    of classics, all for free, from the Gutenberg project, in the
    eBooks application on my new iPad that my brother recently
    bought to me in Chicago. He sticks to the Kindle – it was
    especially valuable while he worked as a doctor in southern
    Ethiopia last winter.

    Reply

  31. JohnH says:

    Yes, indeed. Much Jewish support of Israel is vanishing. Peter Beinhart cited the polls of young, secular American Jews, who could care less. The remaining American supporters tend to be older, Orthodox, or excessively wealthy and fanatic.
    Now the more secular, more humane elements of Israeli society are being targeted. Yesterday I read a piece about how Israeli right wingers are drawing up lists of Israeli professors deemed hostile to Zionism.
    “Religious nationalist,” supremacist elements have become dominant. They have no use for Geneva Conventions, international law, or Western democratic values. And they feel no obligation to behave in a humane or kind way, even to friends like Jordan and the United States. They just don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves.
    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_ID=10&article_ID=118325&categ_id=17#axzz0x6RvEPLw
    The more that supremacists take over, the that Israeli hasbara gets out of synch with the reality. The more the Israeli mind gets closed, the more Israel gets recognized as a pariah state.
    The original Zionist promise was never a humane one. But it had a more Western veneer, less rough around the edges, gave a damn about what the world thought, and was incredibly successful at promoting the myth.
    Given their extreme militarism, intransigence and intolerance, I don’t see how this ends well…

    Reply

  32. WigWag says:

    “Would you think that the Jewish nation, situated in the Middle East, would become a safer place as an outcome of such a war? That synagogues in America and Europe and elsewhere would be safer places for worship? That secular Jews all over the world would perhaps be safer?” (Paul Norheim)
    I am sure that you are right, Paul. Israel won’t be better off if the conflagration between the Christian and secular world and the Islamic World gets hotter and hotter. Neither will the Arab nations, the Persian nation, the African and Asian nations or the United States, Europe or Australia (which has little choice but to cast a wary eye on Indonesia).
    But regardless of the fact that no one will be better off as a result of a struggle that could easily last decades, that doesn’t mean that this struggle isn’t on the horizon and it doesn’t mean that the battle can be avoided. I’ve cited numerous examples of the Islamic world, led by its most militant, recalcitrant and backwards elements coming into conflict with Christian, Hindu, Animist and secular communities all over the world; you haven’t refuted any of it; if this isn’t evidence of an incipient struggle between the Muslim world and much of the rest of the planet, why don’t you tell us what it is?
    Questions, in her response to my earlier post, suggests that the problem really isn’t that bad; she reminds us that the numerator in the equation only looks terrible until you compare it to the denominator. But with all due respect, Questions is wrong. Whole nations have been destroyed by Islamic radicals; Somalia is the perfect example. The whole female gender has been virtually enslaved in other Islamic nations like Afghanistan; fortunately Afghan women were rescued by the American army and marines which is only right because an American President (Carter) and an American National Security Advisor (Brzezinski) empowered the Taliban. Whole communities live in fear of pogroms by radical Islamists; the Copts come to mind immediately as do the animists living in Darfur. I’m not sure that Questions dissertation on fractions really captures the horror of all of this.
    Does appealing to moderate Muslims to reject the notions of their more extreme brethren really provide an antidote these problems? I doubt it. I think it

    Reply

  33. DonS says:

    Paul, perhaps you are correct. Certainly the promise of a humane Israel, given it’s origins, seems dead. I, in my youth, was impressed by it’s prospects.
    But the fact is that ongoing, maybe dying, legacy of Zionist myth and influence is as very strong in the US and, sad to say, that still skews the deck against a value neutral approach to foreign policy. Zionism has become a burden, a negative factor continually detracting from getting the US ship of state sailing on course to meet the challenges of radicalism that a great nation should be able to confront. Instead we are hamstrung by a political knot that binds clear thinking and honest decision making.

    Reply

  34. Paul Norheim says:

    “What one forgets is that each and every post, argument,
    indeed word, written by wig wag, and of course nadine,
    cannot be simply taken in a logical way, but must include
    the filter of Zionist hasbara.” (DonS)
    Perhaps, Don, but I tend to think that there is one tiny part
    of… well at least WigWag’s brain, that is still capable of
    receiving and processing logical arguments separately.
    I also have a suspicion that this global war on Islam is way
    beyond the Zionist project in scale and drama, and that
    the fascination for this scenario may even rival and
    undermine the fascination with, and defense of the Zionist
    project in the minds of some people.
    After all, the gloomy, paranoid, and provincial reality of
    Israel anno 2010 certainly does not live up to the shiny
    dreams and hopes invested in the Jewish nation Israel in
    WigWag’s and other people’s youth.
    There is no Moshe Dayan there any more. No Kibbutz
    pioneers. No desert-transformed-to-oasis miracle. No Six
    Days war. No Entebbe raid or brilliant stunts from Mossad.
    Just status quo, moral outrage from the outside world, and
    different constellations in the Knesset; all of them creating
    a stalemate.
    I won’t talk for WigWag, but I assume that some loyal
    supporters of Israel are becoming exhausted, impatient
    and bored due to decades of status quo and endless
    negotiations with no outcome. I imagine that they must
    feel a bit like those who hoped for a Beatles reunion
    during the 1970’s, resulting in a fabulous record or two –
    a dream they clung to even after John Lennon was shot.
    There is a limit for how long you can live on the hopes of
    your youth.
    A drama of world historic proportions may perhaps be
    more stimulating for those who’ve slowly come to terms
    with the fact that John Lennon is dead and the dream is
    over – not only for the Beatles, Flower Power, and
    Communism, but also for the Zionist project: the anti-
    Utopian State of Israel – now almost as old and
    unattractive as the Soviet Union before the collapse.

    Reply

  35. rc says:

    There is a long way to go … two snap-shots of the US today:
    1. “One in four Americans wrongly believe Barack Obama is Muslim. An increasing number of Americans wrongly believe that President Barack Obama is a Muslim, with nearly one in four saying he is a follower of Islam, according to a new poll….”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/7954923/One-in-four-Americans-wrongly-believe-Barack-Obama-is-Muslim.html)
    2. “Most US students think Beethoven is a dog
    WASHINGTON

    Reply

  36. rc says:

    Paul Norheim, Aug 19 2010, 7:08PM — “… primitive, almost sub-cerebral bipolar trap?”
    As I’ve indicated above, the ‘solution’ is lithium carbonate in the water supply (and car batteries).
    Complex systems wise, the underlying social anxiety is related to the deep subconscious knowledge that the Christian-Judaic compound is inherently unstable — as much of European history confirms (e.g. following the fall of Moslem Spain).
    Historically, Jews have usually done better in Moslem lands. This is well known by those with some grasp of world history (unfortunately not a large percentage in the US it seems).
    Therefore, demonizing Moslems and maintaining puppet criminal regimes keeps the unstable Christian-Judaic combo effectively bound — the enemy of my enemy is a ‘friend’ type logic.
    I suspect much of the existential anxiety today is not about something coming crashing down on the heads, but rather the floor falling away from under the feet.
    Less cocaine and more lithium would make the US a more stable and safer place imo. But who wants peace when ‘drama’ is the viable lubricant for the expanding military industrial complex.

    Reply

  37. Maw of America says:

    You’ve got me thinking, Nadine. We know that Islamofascists are Muslim, but certainly not all Muslims are Islamofascists, right? In the same way that all Catholics are Christians, but not all Christians are Catholic. And if that’s the case, isn’t the pressure being brought to bear on the proximate-to-Ground-Zero Community Center misguided? Again, in the same way that you wouldn’t picket a Lutheran church for the something the Vatican had done.
    Phew, this gets complicated trying to hate the right group!

    Reply

  38. DonS says:

    “And what puzzles me is the simple observation that this global war mongering is not in the interest of Israel, nor in the interest of Jews” (paul)
    What one forgets is that each and every post, argument, indeed word, written by wig wag, and of course nadine, cannot be simply taken in a logical way, but must include the filter of Zionist hasbara. Hence, the attack on Dan Kervick’s lucid post(s) above, by wigwag, sadly, must be discounted due to her laser focus on advancing the Likudist zealotry.

    Reply

  39. Paul Norheim says:

    Well, WigWag, I’m happy to report that things are quite fine
    not only in New Hampshire and in my “home away from
    home”, Ethiopia, as you confirmed, but also in my home
    here in Norway.
    I’m not so familiar with the situation in Denmark, but
    according to my sister-in-law, a teacher who also is
    involved in writing school-books about the world
    religions, one of the reasons why things are rotten in the
    state of Denmark is that they allowed some extremist
    groups to develop, especially in a particular mosque. At
    the same time, many of the usually jovial, tolerant and
    relaxed Danes suddenly transformed into rather
    chauvinistic and xenophobic Danes, partly under a
    rightwing/populistic anti-immigrant Prime Minister – a bit
    similar to what happened in Holland (where the Muslim
    population is much larger).
    Fortunately, this hasn’t happened in Norway – yet. And
    one of the reasons is that there has been a strong,
    deliberate, and well organized cooperation between the
    Muslim Mosques, and several Christian Churches. Some
    prominent politicians from the Christian People Party
    (Christian Democrats, moderately conservative) have been
    heavily engaged in these interactions, and the ongoing
    dialogue among religious leaders.
    This dialogue was also important in Ethiopia. Ten years
    ago, during the Ethiopian-Eritrean war, a Norwegian friend
    of mine from the school days in Addis in the 70s who was
    a leader of the Norwegian Church Relief there at that time
    (1999), assisted in these dialogues between the Muslim
    community and the Ethiopian orthodox Church on the
    highest level. Now he is working in Asia, currently in
    Pakistan.
    I mention this, because this is the other side of the coin in
    this clash-of-civilization talk.
    In general, it is my impression that devoted Muslims
    respect Christians (and orthodox Jews for that sake) more
    than they respect atheists. Thus my mother, a
    “fundamentalist” (in her own words) Evangelical Christian
    was more credible as a bridge between Muslims from
    Bosnia, Iran, Eritrea, and other places when she still
    worked as a teacher in Norway in the 90’s, than I would
    have been. I think she saw herself as an interpreter
    between a rather secular Norwegian society (containing
    certain aspects that she in her heart abhorred and found
    immoral) and Muslims coming from completely different
    traditions; and my impression is that these Muslims from
    foreign countries respected and liked her more than I, the
    rebel and the black sheep in the family, liked or respected
    her.
    I have no intimate knowledge of the American context in
    this regard, but to the extent that there is an ongoing
    dialogue and discussions between the churches, the
    synagogues, and the mosques and other religious
    communities in the United States, both among the leaders
    and on a grassroot level, I think this interaction should not
    be underestimated. For people on the outside (and I
    consider myself among them), this may probably sound
    like kumbaya talk, but I think it’s far more significant than
    that.
    Clash of Civilization? A threat to Western Civilization?
    But why go to Newt Gingrich for guidance, when our own
    homespun incarnation of Napoleon/Nietzsche/Captain
    Ahab/Kurtz – the apocalyptic polemicist Kotzabasis from
    the land of the eucalyptus three – has argued along those
    lines for years now? Why not appoint him as your chief
    strategist in the ruthless global war against Islam?
    Would you, WigWag and Nadine and Pearlman and other
    Jews here, think that such a strategy (a war against Islam,
    with Napoleonic gestures generously blurring the lines
    between moderates and extremists), could possibly result
    in a safer world for the Jews?
    A war between, on one side, secular modernists and the
    charming (but not-so-modern) Pentecostal Armageddon
    believers – and more than one billion moderate and
    extremist Muslims on the other side?
    Would you think that the Jewish nation, situated in the
    Middle East, would become a safer place as an outcome of
    such a war? That synagogues in America and Europe and
    elsewhere would be safer places for worship? That secular
    Jews all over the world would perhaps be safer?
    I doubt so. And if you thought this through, I think you
    would agree. Even the most fanatical Zionist would in
    sober moments realize that this would probably make life
    more difficult and dangerous for Jews everywhere.
    And this is the reason why I am so puzzled by your
    demonization and alarmist rhetoric against Muslims en
    bloc. It runs against Israel’s interest. It runs against all
    your pro-Israe propaganda. It also runs against America’s
    interests. Which leads me to ask if there is perhaps a
    source of fear, or a hypersensitive, feverish sense of world
    historic destiny and drama on a grand scale, that runs
    even deeper than your enthusiasm for Zionism and Israel?
    And since neither of you apparently are religious, perhaps
    this historic drama provides you with something that make
    some sense of all of this, on a very basic level? Why else
    even consider something as destructive – and self-
    destructive – as a war between Christianity/secular
    modernism and moderate/extremist Muslims on a
    planetary scale?
    Because you’ve done much more than just suggesting that
    Huntington has the correct analysis. Both of you, as well
    as Kotzabasis, have consistently encouraged the clash, the
    hostility, the suspicion and the fear as long as I have been
    visiting this blog. There is a consistent strategy of
    demonizing Muslims and Islam through most of what
    you’ve written here for years – the exceptions just
    confirming the general line.
    And what puzzles me is the simple observation that this
    global war mongering is not in the interest of Israel, nor in
    the interest of Jews. By suggesting an indiscriminate global
    war against Islam, you’re actually undermining the safety
    of Israel and Jews, secular as well as religious.
    So why falling into this primitive, almost sub-cerebral
    bipolar trap? I don’t get it.

    Reply

  40. DonS says:

    “Look, questions, I know the left wants to deny that Islamist terror is a real problem. Before 9/11 they denied it existed.”
    Look, Questions, I know the right wants to deny that neocon terror is a real problem. Before Iraq they denied it existed.
    They still do, eh?

    Reply

  41. nadine says:

    “The problem is, Are Muslim fanatics MUSLIM fanatics, or are they fanatics who happen to be Muslim” (questions)
    They are MUSLIM fanatics, questions. There is no question about this because they get to declare their cause, which they have. They are doing it for Allah in defense of the ummah.
    The estimates of their ideological supporters run into the hundreds of millions, of which the violent ones are a tiny fraction, but still tens or hundreds of thousands. 80,000 went through the Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan; since then we have seen literally thousands of suicide bombings in Afpak, in Iraq, in Jordan and Egypt, in Israel, all over.
    Look, questions, I know the left wants to deny that Islamist terror is a real problem. Before 9/11 they denied it existed. After 9/11 they tried desperately to confine it to 19 Al Qaeda guys, as if the rest of Al Qaeda & the other networks and thousands of other attacks had nothing to do with it. It won’t wash. It’s supported by a major sect of Islam, funded by Saudi money.

    Reply

  42. John Waring says:

    Maw of America,
    It’s even more disheartening when you think of how much in common the three monotheistic religions do have.
    Go up this thread and get both my link to William Dalrymple’s NYT editorial, and my link to his web site. His erudition on the subject of the commonality of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is extraordinary.
    Although some are bound and determined to have their religious war, I for one would rather skip it.

    Reply

  43. questions says:

    Regarding “clash of civilizations” and “ghoul” — two overly generalized explanatory frameworks that fail to show much of anything at all.
    They feel good to utter (for whatever reason) but they leave out so much and highlight all the wrong stuff.
    As long as POA can emit “ghoul” when he feels like it, he’s relieved of the duty to analyze arguments and show failures or provide competing frameworks.
    If you just say “clash” every time there’s any tension between Muslims and non-Muslims, then you are relieved of the duty to see the local causes, the particularities, the non-overarching nature of the generalized terms we use.
    Plato worries this issue and comes up with the theory of Forms to explain how all the things we call X have some real property, “X-ness” or “partaking of the Form of X” to explain this relationship. But we can just as easily say that we call these things X because we do.
    We could be wrong about our use of the term. Maybe they have nothing in common at all.
    And I would suggest the distinct possibility that Muslim on non-Muslim violence isn’t really “Muslim” or “Islamic”, but rather is a regular form of violence.
    Invoking “Islam” isn’t the same as Islam’s being the cause.
    One more metaphor — people who are stressed can get stomach ulcers and for years and years and years it was assumed that the stress caused the ulcers, and not the other way around. Then some guy thinks, hey, bacterial infection. He drinks a beaker full of h. pylori and gets ulcers. Ugh. Remind me to avoid medical research in my next life….. Sure enough, it’s a bacterial infection.
    This ulcer example is a lovely instance of the problem with taking correlation and making it causation, of suggesting that we always know what we’re talking about, that we know what makes things happen.
    So no, I’m not at all convinced that clashes are civilizational. In fact, I’m downright denialist!
    Sorry I didn’t reply to this point before. It gets difficult to catch everything.

    Reply

  44. questions says:

    The problem is, Are Muslim fanatics MUSLIM fanatics, or are they fanatics who happen to be Muslim, OR is the issue not Islam, but religious difference, OR is the issue a class and exploitation issue, OR is it a gender issue, OR is it something about gestures and language differences…..
    The frame matters. The metaphor matters. The denominator matters, too, which is the point that David Laitin makes.
    Given the number of POSSIBLE instances of ethnic violence, how much violence is there?
    How do you choose a denominator to generate your fraction and convert it into a decimal and show the commonness of ethnic or religious fanaticism.
    If you take the denominator as 1.5 billion Muslims, how many of them actually engage in violence?
    Well, for airplane crashing, we got, like, 19.
    So that’s 19/1,500,000,000 — do the division.
    For fighters, come up with an estimate and use that 1.5 billion as the denominator.
    If you think the denominator is too high because of, say, old people and babies, then subtract them. If you think there are some people who don’t have opportunities to explode, then subtract them…..
    When you get down to it, though, there are a LOT of potential explosions that don’t explode because there are a lot of adherents to Islam who aren’t into the explosion thing, the militancy thing, or even the screaming thing.
    So you really have to be careful about what you mean when you talk about widespread Islamo-violence or whatever.
    You might not actually know what you’re talking about.
    Again, it’s a framing issue, or a perspicacious notation issue. The terms you use to express things will indeed highlight AND mask important issues.
    You are HIGHLIGHTING the violence and masking the basic rarity.
    You can list vast quantities of incidents, and they will be just that — incidents. Not a rule, not a pattern, not necessarily caused by what you think they are caused by.
    The causation/correlation issues hold here, as does concern about the frame or the metaphor you use to explain the information.

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  45. nadine says:

    “I wasn’t going into fault about 9/11 or the whys(I go with the old adage “it takes 2 to Tango”) just the fact that Muslim fanatics of the al qaeda ilk are a big problem for America-prior to 9/11 saying this might be hysterics but that day totally convinced me of this…I remain convinced even 9 years later” (karenk)
    I was convinced even before 9/11 and remain convinced now…but you can see that people like Dan Kervick are not convinced at all; they keep telling us that Muslim fanatics are a tiny problem and one of our own creation, why there are no attacks in New Hampshire right now.
    Of course, the reason that the planned follow-on attacks to 9/11 never materialized had to do with the Bush administration’s actions in the War on Terror, all of which Dan Kervick disapproved of.

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  46. WigWag says:

    By the way, Questions, when mentioning the tension and violence erupting between Christians and Muslims all over Africa, I foolishly neglected to mention Paul Norheim’s home away from home, Ethiopia.
    From what I’ve read, relations between Christians (about 62 percent of the Ethiopian population) and Muslims (about 32 percent of the population) are quite good. In fact, Ethiopia is in certain ways a model for how the two religions can live side by side in Africa.
    But the story doesn’t end there; Eritrea, which broke away from Ethiopia, is a majority Muslim nation and it has been accused by the Obama Administration of promoting terrorism. Hillary Clinton personally criticized the Eritrean Government for being a state sponsor of terrorism. Ethiopia and Eritrea have a highly problematic relationship.
    Somalia, which also borders Ethiopia, has literally been destroyed by radical Islamic terrorists despite the Ethiopian invasion of the country in the attempt to restore at least a semblance of decency. The tiny Christian minority has been almost completely destroyed by Islamic forces. Djibouti is also a Muslim country (94 percent of the population is Sunni Muslim) that has strong ties to terrorism; Al Qaeda planned to bombing of the USS Cole from its base in Djibouti. While its relationship with Djibouti isn’t quite as bad as its relationship with Somalia or Eritrea, Ethiopia’s relationship with this Islamic nation is also strained, at least some of the time.
    Ethiopia also borders Sudan; the Muslims in Sudan have butchered, starved and tortured Christian and animist Sudanese. Most of the rest of the world considers the behavior of the Muslim government in Darfur to be genocide, but that can’t possibly be true; Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey has reminded us that “Muslims can’t commit genocide.”
    God bless the Ethiopians; they live in a pretty bad neighborhood. They should be commended for doing as well as they do in the tolerance department. But war between Christians and Muslims exploding all over Africa and its only likely to get worse. It’s important to remember that many of the African nations are experiencing the fastest population growth rates in the world; Pentecostal Christianity (as well as other forms of Christianity including Roman Catholicism and the Anglican Church) are making enormous strides in converting the 10-20 percent of the African population that isn’t already Christian.
    Much of the Christian world in Africa looks to the United States as a role model and will undoubtedly expect the United States to provide them with increasing economic and military support in their conflict with African Muslims. Many of the majority Muslim nations in Africa are firmly part of the larger Islamic world and many of the Muslim organizations in those nations have significant ties to militant Islamic organizations.
    Whether or not the United States chooses to ally itself with the Christian groups that seek its support in opposition to African Muslim forces will be one of the most consequential decisions that future Presidents will need to make. One thing is sure; there will be enormous pressure by political groups in the United States to insist that our government support the Christian side in the coming civil war between African Christians and African Muslims.
    The best approach for the United States to take isn’t obvious, but one thing is clear; just because things are fine in Dan Kervick’s New Hampshire doesn’t mean that a terrible conflict between Christians and Muslims isn’t brewing all over the world; especially in Africa. You don’t have to like it to realize that averting your eyes accomplishes nothing.

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  47. questions says:

    Probably I’ve too much lurking Marxism in the back of my brain to think that “civilization” clashes and not class or other material interests.
    Clashes there are for sure. And lots of those clashes seem to be related far more to resource availability disguised as other forms of disagreement.
    In the US, we have pretty thoroughly racialized class and so when we have class conflict we call it “race wars” or “race cards”. But the race marker isn’t, in this view, the most fundamental.
    “Islam” is a multifarious construct. It means many different things to many different people, and just as Jewish people pick and choose which practices and beliefs to adhere to, so do Muslims and Christians and just about everyone else.
    We practice syncretism, so there are significant regional variations. We practice a fair amount of assimilation into dominant cultures, so there is individual variation. We, all around the world, identify multiply and pick and choose.
    Out of this mass of pretty individual religious practice, I personally cannot construct broad conspiracies of religion any more than I can think that several hundred government officials joined together to create the 9/11 bombings. There were individuals whose unfortunate individual choices coalesced in a tragedy for several thousand immediate victims, and countless distal victims as well.
    Religious difference does the same basic thing. We’re not lockstep by any stretch of the imagination.
    See, I’m not even a good Marxist, because the class issues have the same problem as the religious issues! There isn’t really an overarching narrative that holds us all in groups and pushes us to clash with one another.
    There are local, individual decisions of practice, advantage, cooperation, dilemma, coalescence and fracture. These quite local moments occasional form broader patterns and look a good deal like conspiracies, or like civilizational clashes, or like some other overarching story, but really they are faces in clouds — it just looks that way.
    You read tons of history, that is clear. I don’t know how much meta-history you’ve read, but you might find some interesting meta-level readings that deal with what history really is, what it means to choose a level of interpretation, why some levels “feel” better or more powerful than others, but why, still, it’s a choice of level that will make some things seem more compelling than they might seem with a different level.
    The system in which one expresses things really does make some things clearer or less clear. Think about the difference between the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales (boiling and freezing are clearer in Celsius, but the range between degrees is much bigger –almost 2-1, actually), or Roman and Arabic numerals (easy to see before and after, very difficult to add and subtract), or the choice of one of the three in the holy triumvirate or raceclassgender (each discourse masks the effects of the other characteristics. And so the various adherents write angry screeds at one another for missing OBVIOUS truths.)
    The explanatory mechanism will make some things clearer and others more murky.
    I have chosen a model that emphasizes individual choice, systemic correction after disaster, and a lot of bumbling along. I’m sure it blinds me to some patterns, but it keeps me from the CT side of things! So I have a strong preference for this view.
    So, regarding Gingrich and Huntington, I find myself simply rejecting at the outset any notion that civilizational factors are at issue. Gingrich’s goal, as an individual, is to push his fundamental “insight” that running to the right is politically smarter than ambling towards the center. I give him a lot of credit for this idea, and for his single minded devotion to his private foibles and public stances and the distance between them. He’s made a kind of crazed imaging quite popular! If there’s a clash, it’s in Gingrich’s head.
    Huntington’s book I haven’t read, though years and years ago I read something by him on political order. Wasn’t really in love with that and so I haven’t bothered to pursue his specific arguments. Feel free to summarize a few key points and I’ll think of something to attack him for!!
    (Re Gingrich, again, it’s an individual with a head case making speeches and coming up with an institutional vision that turns out to coalesce with the fantasies and power trips and anxieties of a bunch of other people. The coalescence will last a while and it will fade.)
    The more radical reading, which I’m guessing could be argued for even if I’m not equipped to do so, is that there is no “Islam” or “Christendom” or “Judeo-Christendom”. Rather, there are people who at various levels struggle for recognition, for resource control, for some vague notion of purity of identity. In that struggle, there tend to be these coalescing forces that work for a while.
    But in the end, we all burn out from identity-itis and we want to go home, put our feet up or hang out in downward facing dog, one leg up in the air, transitioning into wild thing, back into dog, and then plank, down, cobra, dog, hop noiselessly to forward bend, and up! Ta-da!sana…. (a little yoga practice at the end of a long post. ahhh.)

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  48. rc says:

    Cee, Aug 19 2010, 10:45AM — your link is a good read.
    I note (among many quotable sentences): “The mosque controversy is not really about a mosque at all; it

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  49. WigWag says:

    “WigWag’s “clash of civilizations” is of the same class as POA’s “ghoul” comments.” (Questions)
    Maybe, Questions, you could explain the equivalency between the two.
    You’ve mischaracterized what I’ve said, Questions. If you go back and read my comments on this thread, all I have ever said is that Newt Gingrich’s suggestion that a clash between the Muslim and Christian/secular world has already begun is worth thinking about. I haven’t endorsed Gingrich’s theory about all of this because I am not sure he’s right; but I do think that Gingrich makes some interesting points.
    I also think that there is considerable circumstantial evidence that the clash of civilization thesis articulated by Huntington several years ago might now be in the process of coming true.
    In my last comment I made the point that the Muslim world and the Christian/secular world of the West have actually been “clashing” on and off for more than a thousand years. To be fair, internecine strife in both the Christian and Muslim worlds has also been a prominent feature of world history for many centuries so it is possible that the historical conflicts between the Christian and Muslim worlds aren’t all that meaningful.
    I also made the point that right now, Christian and secular people are clashing with Muslims literally all over the world; there are violent conflicts taking place between Christians and secularists on one side and Muslims on the other in North America (the two World Trade Center attacks and a number of smaller incidents); Europe (political conflict is breaking out between secular Europeans and Muslims almost everywhere in Europe and numerous terrorist incidents have been perpetrated by violent Muslim extremists); Asia (including conflicts in China and the Philippines); the Russian Federation (violence in Chechnya has been horrifying); India (the Indians have been the subject of constant terrorist attacks from the most barbaric Islamic extremists) and Africa (Nigeria, Cameroon, the Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone have experienced numerous violent clashes between Christians and Islamists and let

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  50. Cee says:

    Two things. One can be addressed by Zaheerul.
    NEW YORK — OFFICIALS at instant-messaging firm Odigo confirmed today that two employees received text messages warning of an attack on the World Trade Center two hours before terrorists crashed planes into the New York landmarks. Citing a pending investigation by law enforcement, the company declined to reveal the exact contents of the message or to identify the sender.
    But Alex Diamandis, vice president of sales and marketing, confirmed that workers in Odigo’s research and development and international sales office in Israel received a warning from another Odigo user approximately two hours prior to the first attack.
    Soon after the terrorist attacks on New York, the Odigo employees notified their management, who contacted Israeli security services. In turn, the FBI was informed of the instant message warning. FBI officials were not immediately available for comment today. The Odigo service includes a feature called People Finder that allows users to seek out and contact others based on certain interests or demographics.
    ————————————————–
    My late husband worked from home on 9-11 and when he heard some of the conversation that I was listening to on talk radio he went upstairs and shaved his beard off.
    Today I read that people are concerned that the end of Ramadan is on 9-11 and they are asking for police protection.
    OUTRAGEOUS!
    Panic in the Streets
    In the panicked wake of 9/11, revenge attacks on Muslims (and dark-skinned people mistaken for Muslims) swept the country. Hundreds of beatings and even some random reprisal killings were reported coast to coast.
    Waiting for the Demagogue
    Here we come to the real source of unease over what

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  51. karenk says:

    nadine. thanx for that but I wasn’t going into fault about 9/11 or the whys(I go with the old adage “it takes 2 to Tango”) just the fact that Muslim fanatics of the al qaeda ilk are a big problem for America-prior to 9/11 saying this might be hysterics but that day totally convinced me of this…I remain convinced even 9 years later. There are many things we can do to find peace with Muslims everywhere..the most important of which is to protect ourselves from these fanatics. Just sayin…lets not lose sight of whats most important..

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  52. Cee says:

    Even more humor
    As president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Dr. Richard Land is an influential opponent of the Cordoba House project in New York. But when he’s not speaking on behalf of one of the most powerful religious bodies in the country, Land has a second — some would say ironic — ecumenical role: member of the federally created United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
    In his role as a commissioner, Land’s job is to press for a U.S. foreign policy that advances religious freedoms around the world. Reached by phone today, Land maintained that there is no contradiction between his service on the Commission and his efforts to see the Cordoba House Islamic cultural center project moved farther north in Manhattan.
    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/08/influential-mosque-opponent-promotes-religious-freedom-abroad-for-us-government.php?ref=fpa

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  53. Cee says:

    Hold it Zaheerul Hassan
    That is a myth. The “Jews didn’t go to work” rumor started because the Israeli consulate sent out an email ( I received one)saying that 4,000 weren’t accounted for.

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  54. Dan Kervick says:

    “Nobody is objecting to the mosques per se.”
    Yeah, you guys keep saying this. And yet I posted three quotes earlier from people who were indeed objecting to mosques per se. One of those quotes was from a far right shock jock, but two of those three quotes were from mainstream Republican politicians. Peter King said that there are already too many mosques in America; Newt Gingrich said there should be no mosques *at all* in lower Manhattan.
    And you know very well that the choirs these rabble-rousers are preaching to have many members with even more rabidly eradicationist sentiments. Since you already visit the right wing web sites, I know I don’t have to familiarize you with what is going on out there.
    What some of us lefties get misty-eyed about is the First Amendment, and the idea that it is not just a pious statement of abstract rights on paper that can be abrogated in practice and canceled by the political agitation of the many, but an affirmation of living principles and respected traditions.
    We also understand the need to protect our own personal freedom and security in American society. As an agnostic, I know that if the religious majorities can succeed in blackballing Muslims and running their places of worship off their own property, just by kicking up a national media fuss, they can turn around and do the same thing to me and my fellow agnostics.
    “That’s because while the American people are exceptionally decent, they also don’t react well to people who piss on their leg and tell them it’s raining.”
    You keep describing the Cordoba House developers as pissing on your leg, offending you, sticking a finger in your eye, taking a victory lap, etc. And yet to defend this position you are required to make up views about Imam Rauf and his motivations, views which don’t just run contrary to his actual personal record of words and actions, but are also in conflict with the testimonials of those who know him best.
    You know that Rauf is trying to defend Muslim dignity, rebuild the reputation of Islam and suppress and cancel the role of extremism in the American Muslim community. And you know that he is trying to establish the point that the mainstream of American Muslims are entitled to a role in the restoration of the Ground Zero neighborhood, just like all other Americans of good will. And you are *positively terrified* that he will succeed in this effort.
    You and WigWag have already made it clear that you oppose the Cordoba House because you think the social tolerance of any positive Muslim association whatsoever with the restoration of Ground Zero is bad tactics in the global war against Islam, a global war that you have never before made any effort to hide. You think it should be the fixed and resolved opinion of all Americans that there is an essential and ineliminable conflict between the entire religion of Islam and respect for the 9/11 dead. And you are quite desperate to make sure that nobody does anything to change this outlook, since that might diminish the ferocity you are trying inspire in your war against the Global Islamic Peril.
    WigWag talks openly of respecting the religious exercise of fellow Americans as “appeasing moderate Muslims”, as though we are at war with our own people.
    Oh, but now it’s a lot of “nobody objects to …”
    I would add that the language you use use in describing what is going on also makes it clear that you simply hate Imam Rauf for who and what he is.

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  55. rc says:

    questions, Aug 19 2010, 7:30AM — makes sense to me, but I will miss the colorful poetics.

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  56. DonS says:

    It’s not just ‘liberals’ who favor tolerance and following the law. It’s ‘conservatives’ too. Kathleen Parker, via Americablog:
    ” to the point, the tolerance we urge the Muslim world to embrace as we exercise our right to free expression, and revel in the glory and the gift of irreverence, is the same we must embrace when Muslims seek to express themselves peacefully.”
    http://www.americablog.com/2010/08/kathleen-parker-on-why-mosque-must-be.html
    Naturally, ‘tolerance’ isn’t a law, it’s a turn of mind and heart. This is what’s saddest. It’s a concept that should transcend political boundaries but is to often left trodden on the floor as the by product of parochial views, and dare I say fear, prejudice, bigotry and ignorance. All of which are capable of being exhibited by all stripe but which, I would suggest, is disproportionately a ‘right wing’ marker. That right wingers would wrap their more noxious views in the flag disgraces both.

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  57. questions says:

    Could we stop the hysteria on all sides please?
    It is not the end of civilization as we know it, the end of the Constitution as we know it or the end of anything else.
    It’s not the height of hypocrisy or bigotry or the like either.
    This is typical Republican wedge politics — pick a laden issue and run with it. Demagogue it. Put it into some kind of double-bind language such that the only way out is to raise fear above principle — but then we always do raise fear above principle.
    After a while, things settle and the principle comes back.
    The US has many many marks against its own principles over the course of its history. From slavery through war and racism, from class and gender bias through homophobia, from urban renewal projects through the way we fund schools, from immigration fuck ups through the “drug war” — we get a lot of stuff truly wrong.
    Park51 is just one more of the many things we screw up on.
    American voting behavior is one of the places to look for some interpretive help, as is interest group motivation.
    To get people to act, you have to lower the costs or raise the benefits. Voting is costly in terms of travel, time off work, and information gathering. If you want someone to vote for you, you have to lower those costs, or raise the rewards significantly.
    Remember that there isn’t much reward to voting at all as one vote generally doesn’t make a difference and the network effects of voting are invisible to any individual.
    So how do you get these people to get their butts over to a polling place on Nov 2 or 3 or 4? Why, you panic them.
    How do you get these people to cut checks to your organization? Why, you panic them. Or you offer them tremendous rewards that so outstrip reality that they WILL write that check and they WILL get up and vote.
    Because people have to be motivated to do these things, the motivators have to use overwrought rhetoric. There’s no other way to get people to do things outside of their daily lives.
    Park51 is simply one more issue in the history of American voting behavior and interest group structure. It’s actually, sadly, part of our political system and part of the 1st Amendment on both sides.
    Calling the “other” side ghoulish is basically the same tactic when you get down to it.
    The fact of the matter is that Park51/Cordoba House, the “mosque”, the “Islamic Cultural Center” or whatever it’s current name is, is NOT part of a clash of civilizations. It’s not the holy salvation of what ails us either. Both sides stretch the truth well beyond what the situation merits. But then, this is precisely what interest groups do.
    Cut through the exaggeration and treat the issue as it is and there is a clear legal right to build the thing, a clear freedom of religious practice right, a clear sense that moderate Islamic gathering places serve small communities well, and so on. It’s basically a good idea, but it isn’t going to save our souls.
    It clearly should be built. I would guess it’ll move in the end to some other location. I would guess there will be some triumphalism on the right about this. Won’t be the first time…. I would guess it’ll fade.
    And I would guess that if the right keeps up the intensity of fear, that fear will eventually bite them in the butt, and that fear may eventually start to lead to significant governance problems. As typical as this strategy is, it can also be problematic at times.
    As the line of fear-mongering gets longer, as the language needed to motivate people intensifies, as we harden to intense language and need ever more intense language, we probably lose something over time that we should try to preserve.
    Go see a “violent” movie from the 1970s. Then compare it to anything PG-13 now. Look at the acceleration of violent imagery, the intensification of emotional content. It takes more to move us than it used to.
    The increasing emotionalism needed to motivate interest group participation and voting behavior is likely going to be problematic for the Republicans especially, but also for the dems as this becomes a cultural trait.
    Smarter Republicans are seeing this already and are concerned and would like to back off the intensity a bit. They are right to push for this, but the Republicans have benefited so much from this intensification that it’s pretty irrational of them to back off it just yet.
    Kind of sounds like a prisoners dilemma situation to me……
    WigWag’s “clash of civilizations” is of the same class as POA’s “ghoul” comments.
    Neither is properly descriptive of anything save panic and acceleration of rhetoric in order to convince others of your truth at this moment. You play the same game!
    Neither building nor not-building will make much of an immediate difference in anything at all. The slow increase in rhetorical intensity will eventually cause the Republicans problems, but when this blessed event will happen, who knows. It’s kind of like the “heap” problem. When is a pile of sand a heap, and if it’s a heap, is it still one after the removal of one grain, two grains, another and another….. When does a thing stop being what it is?
    When does the intensification of rhetoric as a tool FOR governance become destructive of governance?
    I’d like never to know.

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  58. DonS says:

    Karedk parrots Rush, Nadine rushes to reinforce the dittohead, having run out of false flag arguments about polls or liberals and eminent domain or whatever. Why not just abide by the Constitution, Bill of rights, existing zoning ordinances and review processes?
    I grew up in an affluent suburb of New York where the Jewish Community wanted to build a worship center in the heart of the town; a lovely big old mansion that would have no obvious outward indications of the religious purpose. It was fought tooth and nail through every subterfuge possible by the local community even though there were several very obviously Christian Churches nearby, with multiples the traffic, etc. Eventually the Synagogue won out.
    Nuff said?
    Of course the Irgun gang was always a possible threat to the residents, even though these Jews seemed peaceable enough.

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  59. nadine says:

    Unfortunately, karenk, Islam badly needs to undergo some kind of reformation, but so far the Saudi-funded Islamist Wahabbi ascendancy and its Khomeneist Shia counterpate, seem to be on the increase. To the point that every time a Muslim leader can be got to say in public, maybe even to a Muslim audience, that the Holocaust did happen, it’s not a big lie that the Jews tell to control the world, he is lauded for his ‘courage’.
    But liberals cannot notice this, usually for one or both of the following reasons: they are so secular themselves that they disbelieve that anybody could really be a religious fanatic (well maybe Southern Baptists); and multi-culti political correctness absolutely forbids them to criticize non-Westerners. Political correctness requires us to say that whatever is happening in the Muslim world is totally our fault. It has to be all our fault, it can’t even be partially the fault of the Muslim world since they are the “oppressed”. So liberals agree with Imam Rauf when he said Osama bin Laden was made by America. Everything is viewed through a neo-Marxist filter of imperialism and colonial oppression, even though it doesn’t fit the case at all. The two hotbeds of Islamism, Iran and Saudi Arabia, were never even colonies and are not poor.
    If you dare to disagree, then liberals call you a racist, a bigot, or against the freedom of religion. These cards are all overdrawn at the bank, but liberals haven’t noticed yet. Maybe in November they will notice.

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  60. karenk says:

    I don’t get why some people can’t understand why Americans are a bit wary of Muslims. Face it folks.the people who want to destroy this country are Muslim fanatics. They flew planes into the buildings on sept 11th in the name of Islam, a religion which seems to be undergoing some kind of reformation and we’re stuck somehow in the middle of it. perhaps instead of the majority of Muslims insisting on pushing for tolerance from Americans/NYers(which they have, hey build ur mosque) they should be focusing on the problems with Islam,like their lack of tolerance (ie. no churches in Saudi Arabia)and most importantly their extremists, who we really wouldn’t care about if they weren’t trying to take America down! THEY ARE TRYING TO TAKE US DOWN. that’s why Americans are wary… and unfortunately its so damned difficult to know who among them is the enemy here…I’d love to sing cumbayaa but their radicals want to eliminate our way of life and have proven they are intent on doing so…GET IT?

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  61. rc says:

    PissedOffAmerican, Aug 18 2010, 10:59PM — well I think you have nailed it in one sense … US identity is under massive stress — from within by proxy!
    It may meet diversity principles to debate who is American — but it surely is not the same issue to debate what is America: a country, for all its faults and blemishes, that has stood like a lighthouse against the many forces of tyranny and dark ignorance which now seems ready to burn the ‘floor boards’ just so a religious minority cannot enjoy the benefits of being Americans in New York.
    This public hysteria about a false idol (ground zero) is a test of the core values embodied in the Constitution. This populist rebellion is actually being conducted by those who do not accept defeat at democratic elections and consider themselves to be entitled to rule — and they seem all too ready to be lead by foreign governments that feign helpless dependence. This is a fight between competing parasites for control of the host. Suggest AA for some strategies to correct — 1st step: … accept there is a problem!
    IMO, if and when this matter is lost, it will signal to many, and perhaps to the ‘Above’, that the age of U.S. exceptionalism is indeed over.
    Change may not be a bad thing overall but surely those pissed off Americans who sense the deep identity issues at stake should be heard loudly.
    The key issue for many observers is not the topic per se — rather that such a minor local emotional matter is a major public topic at all!
    Policy Wonks of all persuasions must be reading the signs indicating a lack of grounded perspective in the US’s systems of governance.

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  62. nadine says:

    “Greenberg has analyzed the poll results and says that the section of the American public where Israel is most rapidly losing support is among Liberal Americans who align themselves with the Democratic Party. ”
    Of course, the Democratic Party is currently led by an anti-Semite who learned what he thinks he knows about the Middle East from Rashid Khalidi.

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  63. nadine says:

    Dan Kervick, even by your standards this is exceptionally obtuse. Nobody is objecting to the mosques per se. The existing Manhattan mosques all remained open, and nobody raised a peep. Open a new mosque commensurate with the needs of its congregation, nobody would object. People just don’t want a huge mosque planted right by Ground Zero as a Islamic victory flag.
    That’s because while the American people are exceptionally decent, they also don’t react well to people who piss on their leg and tell them it’s raining.
    Unlike you. You proclaim that the rain is warm and marvelous and it’s bigoted and un-American to object to it.
    BTW it’s amusing to see all the far-lefties who normally are ALL ABOUT eminent domain and the needs of the community and environmental law overriding the greed of landlords, suddenly get all misty-eyed about the rights of private property owners to build what they like, where they like. Might I remind you that St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church also own their land, but have not been allowed to rebuild?
    As the old saying goes, a liberal is a man too open-minded to take his own side in an argument.

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  64. JohnH says:

    More for the Jewish Supremacists to gnash their teeth about:
    The

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  65. PissedOffAmerican says:

    U.S. support for Israel is decreasing, new poll shows
    Survey conducted by U.S.-Jewish group the Israel Project asked Americans and Europeans about their views on Israel.
    By Barak Ravid
    American support for Israel is waning, a poll presented to senior Israeli officials in Jerusalem last week revealed.
    The survey was carried out by pollster and strategist Stanley Greenberg and sponsored by the American Jewish organization the Israel Project, which organizes and executes pro-Israel public relations campaigns with a focus on North America.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama.
    Photo by: AFP
    Greenberg, along with Israel Project heads, presented the poll’s findings to senior Israeli officials, including President Shimon Peres, Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor, as well as officials from the Prime Minister’s office.
    One of the questions that the poll presented was “Does the U.S. need to support Israel?” In August of 2009, 63% of Americans polled said that the U.S. does need to support Israel. In June of this year, 58% of respondents shared the same view; by July only 51% of respondents said the U.S. needed to support Israel.
    Another question posed by the pole was “Is the Israeli government committed to peace with the Palestinians?” In December of 2007, 66% of respondents said that the government, then led by Ehud Olmert, was committed to peace with the Palestinians. In June of 2009, a month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the White House, only 46% of Americans said they believed the Netanyahu government was committed to peace.
    In the months of May and June, there appeared to be a positive change in American public opinion on the matter, with 53% of respondents saying they believe Netanyahu seeks peace. However, in July, only 45% of American said they felt Netanyahu was committed to the peace process. Thirty-nine percent responded that Netanyahu and his administration are not committed to seeking peace with the Palestinians.
    Greenberg has analyzed the poll results and says that the section of the American public where Israel is most rapidly losing support is among Liberal Americans who align themselves with the Democratic Party.
    Greenberg’s data showed similar findings among public opinion in Germany and Sweden.
    continues………
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/u-s-support-for-israel-is-decreasing-new-poll-shows-1.308855
    Keep it up, Israel. People are beginning to take note.

    Reply

  66. Zaheerul Hassan says:

    In fact people world over are keep on thinking that how and why incident of 9/11 occurred and why Jews were not present on their jobs in trade centre? The angles of hitting, falling of Towers and paralyzing of U.S security are those unsolved queries which keep on prickling the minds. Thus the whole incident seems to be preplanned effort of maligning Muslims.

    Reply

  67. Dan Kervick says:

    “Has it occured to them that if such an extraordinary percentage of Americans think building the mosque/cultural center on this site is a bad ideas, maybe it really is a bad idea?”
    In this case no, WigWag.
    Surely I don’t need to remind you and Nadine, two Jews, that it is indeed possible for large majorities in entire countries to lose their decency and moral bearings in mass movements of hatred.
    Keep hiding behind your polls. I’m not ashamed at all to be on the side I’m on. And I have no intention of pretending that the Islamophobic Stormfront troops are anything other than horse’s asses. I don’t care how many of them there are.
    You talk about “appeasing” moderate Muslims in America, as though though they were the soldiers in some foreign army. But you are talking about fellow Americans.
    Coward.

    Reply

  68. PissedOffAmerican says:

    mosque? *?/m?sk, m?sk/ Show Spelled[mosk, mawsk]

    Reply

  69. tony C. says:

    “In English, Imam Rauf can’t call Hamas terrorists and
    blames the US for 9/11.”
    And guess what, Nadine? Most people in the world recognize
    that Israel has far more innocent blood on its hands than
    (democratically elected) Hamas, and that U.S. foreign policy
    obviously played a pivotal role in laying the groundwork for
    the conditions which led to the 9/11 attack.

    Reply

  70. ray keith says:

    if the muslims get in the catholics will soon follow smelling large donations from the upwardly & well healed elite that frequent that area, & what about the other 2000+ seperate religions in america behind them?
    lets b ‘good example bigots’ & force all religious entities underground-who really wants 2 know that in the end of all this, we wont mean a poop anyway!
    ps: how soon is the end?

    Reply

  71. Dan Kervick says:

    “But the approach advocated by Paul Norheim in his comment above (just pretend the whole thing really isn’t a problem) is like pretending the best way to treat a cancer is to ignore it.”
    I would say that our approach is like pointing out that the best way to treat gastroenteritis is to avoid diagnosing it as cancer.
    There are no Muslim hordes or Crusader hordes sweeping across or rampaging anywhere. It’s just not happening.

    Reply

  72. PissedOffAmerican says:

    This argument pretty much tells us this grand experiment in self governance, representative, and free, with equal justice, is OVER.
    We are what we say we are, or we aren’t. Today, on the way in to work, I listened to a local host, and a Senator, advocate changing the zoning on PRIVATE PROPERTY, in order to block a certain religious group from moving into a certain neighborhood.
    ARE YOU FUCKIN’ KIDDING ME????? IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA???? YOU DAMNED BIGOTED PIECES OF GARBAGE WANNA DISMANTLE AND CRAP ON EVERYTHING THIS NATION ONCE STOOD FOR???? WHATS NEXT, BURNING KORANS????
    You oughta be hanging your heads in shame for what you are exposing yourselves to be, yet you are crowing as if your casual dismissal of one of our basic foundational tenets is some sort of patriotic badge of honor. Fuck the lot of you. I’ve never been so ashamed of my countrymen. You bastards don’t deserve what this nation once offered you. The Jews among you should be particularly ashamed. After what your people have gone through?

    Reply

  73. WigWag says:

    A new poll released just today shows that supporters of the mosque/cultural center have made no headway in convincing New Yorkers that locating the project near the Ground Zero site is a good idea.
    According to the Sienna College poll, 61 percent oppose the construction of the mosque/cultural center at the Ground Zero location while only 26 percent support it.
    Here’s an article about the poll,
    http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/knickerbocker/majority_of_ny_ers_oppose_ground_X7jkOAS2wzSnL6bLgBR0jK
    Of course, constitutional rights aren’t divied up according to opinion polls (thank goodness) but the poll is fascinating for two reasons:
    1)Supporters of the project throughout the press, pundit class and blogosphere have proven remarkably incompetent in making a compelling argument. On this one at least, it’s literally a very large majority of Americans who oppose the project versus the elites who approve of it. One thing that occurs to me is that if instead of working so hard to insult and excoriate people who oppose the project, the project-supporters instead tried to craft intelligent arguments, perhaps they would make more progress. But project supporters are so arrogant and convinced of their tremendous superiority over the great unwashed that they just can’t help themselves. They can’t refrain from using invective in the place of intelligent arguments.
    2) Maybe project supporters should try a little bit of humility. Has it occured to them that if such an extraordinary percentage of Americans think building the mosque/cultural center on this site is a bad ideas, maybe it really is a bad idea?

    Reply

  74. Cee says:

    Olson to the rescue again. If Ashcroft comes out in favor I’m going to faint.
    President Obama’s position in support of the right of a Muslim organization to build a community center near Ground Zero in New York is now picking up the endorsement of a very prominent 9/11 widower: Former Bush administration Solicitor General Ted Olson.
    Olson’s wife, the late conservative author and activist Barbara Olson, was a passenger aboard the plane that was hijacked and flown into the Pentagon. This afternoon, Olson appeared on Andrea Mitchell’s MSNBC show to discuss his current high-profile legal work on behalf of gay marriage. Mitchell then also asked Olson for his opinion about the Cordoba House issue.
    “Well it may not make me hap– popular with some people, but I think probably the president was right about this,” Olson responded. “I do believe that people of all religions have a right to build edifices, or structures, or places of religious worship or study, where the community allows them to do it under zoning laws and that sort of thing, and that we don’t want to turn an act of hate against us by extremists into an act of intolerance for people of religious faith. And I don’t think it should be a political issue. It

    Reply

  75. WigWag says:

    “Most people in this world, at least the one I seem to be living in, are just moving on with everyday affairs, and are trying to live a life, make a living and take care of their families without a lot of ideological melodrama. Islam has existed since 621; Christianity longer than that; and various practical-minded worldly philosophies longer yet. If you want to wait down by the docks for the invading Muslim hordes that never come, be my guest.” (Dan Kervick)
    Offered as a rebuttal to my recommendation that we should at least reflect on Newt Gingrich’s assertion that a struggle between Islam and the West has already begun, your response makes no sense, Dan. Whether you and your neighbors in New Hampshire are going about their everyday lives couldn’t be less relevant to the question of whether a clash of civilizations has already begun.
    What do you think most of the world was doing while the Mohammedans were rampaging across the Arabian Peninsula? They were living their lives and doing whatever it was that they usually did.
    What do you think the vast majority of the world’s people were doing while the Crusaders were rampaging across Europe on their way to fight the Muslims in the Holy Land? They continued to plant and harvest their crops and eke out whatever living they could.
    What do you think most of the people in Europe and Asia were doing while the newly ascendant Turkmen were attacking and pillaging Constantinople? They were pursuing their lives of quiet desperation just like your neighbors are doing now in New Hampshire.
    In short, your suggestion that because the average American is continuing to live his or her life in the best way they know how, this is evidence that there is no clash of world outlooks is going on is just silly.
    The reality is that Christendom and the Islamic world have been clashing for the better part of the past 1,400 years. Sometimes the clash gets particularly hot; sometimes it becomes more tepid, but it is always just beneath the surface. How many wars do you suppose have been related to the Islamic inclination towards conquest in the past one and a half millennia? What about the Christian penchant for conquest? How many conquered people have Muslims forced to convert since the days when the Prophet walked the earth?
    If you don’t believe that the ongoing conflict between the Christian and Muslim worlds still has tremendous resonance, ask yourself why references to the Crusades, which after all, ended more than 500 years ago, are still so infuriating to much of the Islamic world.
    Have you watched the hot war going on between Islam and Christianity throughout Africa and in places like Malaysia and the Philippines? Pentecostal Christianity is the fastest growing religion in the history of the world and it is exploding all over Africa and Asia. As it does so, Islamic forces are fighting back by violently attacking newly empowered Christian groups. Islam is growing, because like most poor and poorly educated people, its adherents are particularly fecund. But Christianity in the most volatile parts of the world is growing even faster because it adherents also benefit from extraordinary fecundity because of poverty and ignorance and in addition they are succeeding in winning converts while Islam is not. What’s been the result? Numerous violent confrontations between Islamists and Christians in places like Nigeria, Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast, Cameroon Egypt, and the Philippines. Perhaps you haven’t noticed, Dan, how Islamists treat the tiny Christian community in Pakistan. The frequency and degree of violence of disputes between Christians and Islamists is only going to intensify as Muslims continue to lose the demographic race in the part of the world with the fastest growing populations.
    Things may be fine in New Hampshire, Dan but in terms of Christian-Islamic relations they’re looking worse and worse in places like Great Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Serbia/Kosovo, Bosnia, Switzerland and throughout Scandinavia. I wonder if the Russians think that they have a major problem with Islamists in parts of their federation or former Empire; I doubt the Chinese are feeling too good about Islamists in their provinces either.
    And let

    Reply

  76. sdemetri says:

    “Meanwhile — ho hum — we’re still fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economy is in shambles, and here we are, arguing about the arbitrary placement of a place of worship. ”
    This is the right’s vuvuzela, loud and very annoying when played by large groups of people.

    Reply

  77. nadine says:

    “RUBIN: Their argument has the potential to be just as

    Reply

  78. dirk says:

    @nadine, Aug 18 2010, 7:08PM – Link
    “Hey, dirk, us 70% of the country aren’t wacko, we’re telling you that you are suckers, naive”
    Wow — you went from my referring to 2 people specifically (plus an “et al”) . . . to 70% of the population?! If so, Gingrich is our next president and, wow, are we in trouble.
    “Naive” about what? That if the community center goes in . . . . and what? Can they place the CC 5 miles away? What’s the point? It’s arbitrary. There’s no “there” there.
    Further, it feeds our nation’s apparent need for a bogeyman. Communism, terrorism, “oh we need another ‘ism’ ” — yes! Islamism. It’s not like anybody is trying to put up a statue honoring the 911 hijackers!
    By “et al” I meant a few others like Bolton (although he is so busy doing a Yosemite Sam imitation about bombing Iran in the next 6 days, that he may be distracted) and Geller, and others like them, Palin included (yes, genuine “wackos” in my opinion).
    Personally, I’d like to see a moratorium on all churches in the US. But — more important than what I want — is this little thing we have in this country called “freedom of religion” — which I assume includes the government not precluding churches from being built, especially in an old burlington coat factory building.
    I’m not sure if this is a good corollary or not, but this argument seems similar to the one on gay marriage. It’s okay if heteros want to marry, but not gays. It’s okay if Christians want to build a church near Ground Zero, but not Muslims.
    But then, last I heard, there was a “Museum of Tolerance” (gag) being planned atop a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem. If true, maybe you’re right and this is some twisted tit-for-tat.
    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb/12/opinion/la-oe-makdisi12-2010feb12
    BTW, John Oliver — from the Daily Show — said that Muslims are allowed to put a mosque near Ground Zero, just like Catholics can build a church next to a playground. J —
    Meanwhile — ho hum — we’re still fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economy is in shambles, and here we are, arguing about the arbitrary placement of a place of worship.

    Reply

  79. dwg says:

    First, f*ck GWB – who cares what he thought, said or did unless he’s on trial. Don’t need him to know that this mosque angst is manufactured cuz morons like Palin and Gingrich and so on got zilch else to run on.
    Second, National Socialist Party v. Village of Skokie — not that peaceful Sufi muslims should be compared to Nazis or the magnitude of traumatized Holocaust survivors to the memory of 3000 INTERNATIONAL victims of 9/11 (including about 300 muslims working for a living, including one police cadet). But the principle stands.
    Finally, read what MANHATTANITES really think about the B.S. of the mosque issue in the Village Voice (yeah, THAT village, the people that LIVE near Ground Zero):
    Dear Rest-of-America: Take This Map, It’s Why You’re Wrong About the “Ground Zero Mosque”
    here:
    http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/archives/2010/08/dear_rest-of-am.php
    And anti-muslim semites like Nadine should just crawl back under the rock they came out from under and STFU.

    Reply

  80. nadine says:

    Neo, like the other charming anti-Semites of the TWN blog crowd, you seem to have serious problems with reading comprehension. I didn’t call anyone “wacko”; dirk called Gingrich and Palin (and by extension, other mosque opponents) “wacko”.
    I called Dirk naive.

    Reply

  81. nadine says:

    “OMG OMG OMG
    TALK ME DOWN PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I actually for the first time in my life agree with something W of W and M fame has said.”
    Okay, questions, I’ll try. Perhaps the fact that Prof. Walt, this fomenter of “the Jooooos control America” conspiracy theories is for the mosque should make you reconsider your support.
    Here’s a question: if it should turn out that there was evidence that this Imam Rauf was not a moderate, say, if he turns out to be a Hamas supporter, would you feel the same about the wisdom of letting this mosque go forward?

    Reply

  82. Neo Controll says:

    Well, we were waiting for the lunatic right, to wit, Nadine, to regroup and enter the fray after she had received her marching orders.
    Too bad she has nothing to offer but the tried, or is that tired, and true neocon talking points.
    And now she is calling names, ‘wacko’. And falling back on the weak tea of the ‘polls’. As if the 70% she quotes represents something of significance outside right wing talk radio.
    Can someone front this lady a ticket to Israel, one way.
    Next . . .
    — NCHQ

    Reply

  83. Maw of America says:

    John Waring – Thank you for bringing these two commentaries to my attention. All this nonsense reminds of the words of a well-known philosopher who may or may not have actually existed:
    “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
    And now Howard Dean has entered the waffling. So disappointing…

    Reply

  84. nadine says:

    Hey, dirk, us 70% of the country aren’t wacko, we’re telling you that you are suckers, naive. Victor Davis Hanson:
    “Now we are fighting over how far the perimeter of Ground Zero extends, and where

    Reply

  85. dirk says:

    nadine, Aug 18 2010, 5:01PM – Link
    “Steve Clemons isn’t the only pundit expressing a sudden and unwonted nostalgia for George W Bush”
    I don’t think anybody is waxing nostalgic for that dumbass.
    I think what they are saying is that even “dumbass” gets it — which makes Gingrich, Palin, et al (the irrationalists) look all the more wacko.

    Reply

  86. questions says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YIMBY
    DAMN DAMN DAMN DAMN
    There is nothing new under the sun!

    Reply

  87. questions says:

    Ugh, I called it a “mosque.”
    Should read, “cultural center with a prayer space”.

    Reply

  88. questions says:

    nadine, never mind the political party issue. So what if lower Manhattan is peopled with liberal democrats. The mosque is in their backyard and they are saying “YIMBY” (ok, I’ve never seen that written before!)
    Time for YIMBY shirts with minarets on them! (Except there won’t be a minaret, so I guess, YIMBY across a 13 story EDIFICE (it’s not a building, it’s a fuckin’ edifice!!) and a swimming pool on the back….)

    Reply

  89. questions says:

    OMG OMG OMG
    TALK ME DOWN PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I actually for the first time in my life agree with something W of W and M fame has said.
    AAAAARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
    Save me, I’m dyin’ here…….
    John Waring, thanks for that link. I could have written W’s piece myself. That really is scary.

    Reply

  90. John Waring says:

    “Why America is Going to Regret the Cordoba House Controversy,” by Stephen Walt.
    http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/08/17/why_america_is_going_to_%20regret_the_cordoba_house_controversy

    Reply

  91. nadine says:

    Steve Clemons isn’t the only pundit expressing a sudden and unwonted nostalgia for George W Bush:
    Mosque supporters beg George W. Bush to come to Obama’s rescue
    By: Byron York
    Chief Political Correspondent
    08/18/10 10:02 AM EDT
    There’s a new argument emerging among supporters of the Ground Zero mosque. Distressed by President Obama’s waffling on the issue, they’re calling on former President George W. Bush to announce his support for the project, because in this case Bush understands better than Obama the connection between the war on terror and the larger question of America’s relationship with Islam. It’s an extraordinary change of position for commentators who long argued that Bush had done grievous harm to America’s image in the Muslim world and that Obama represented a fresh start for the United States. Nevertheless, they are now seeing a different side of the former president.
    “It’s time for W. to weigh in,” writes the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd. Bush, Dowd explains, understands that “you can’t have an effective war against the terrorists if it is a war on Islam.” Dowd finds it “odd” that Obama seems less sure on that matter. But to set things back on the right course, she says, “W. needs to get his bullhorn back out” — a reference to Bush’s famous “the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!” speech at Ground Zero on September 14, 2001.
    Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson is also looking for an assist from Bush. “I

    Reply

  92. nadine says:

    “”Indeed, the intensity of opposition seems to increase as one actually gets further away from the site. And this isn’t just for politicians, it’s for us regular people, too. A CNN poll has put national opposition at 68%. Meanwhile, a Marist poll of New York City put opposition at a somewhat lower 53%. And furthermore, opposition was lowest in Manhattan — the site of the actual Ground Zero location and the 9/11 attacks — where a 53% majority approved of the Muslim community center, compared to 31% against.” (questions)
    Try measuring where those populations fall along the liberal-conservative spectrum, and I think you will explain the discrepancy you are touting, questions. Remember, the only political group to support the GZM is liberals. I put it to you that 53% support is actually quite low for an area as liberal as Manhattan.
    Aaron David Miller approaches the problem from the emotional angle, worth reading:
    “Ground Zero’s wounds are still too deep to build upon
    By Aaron David Miller
    Wednesday, August 18, 2010
    If there is one lesson to be learned from the controversy over the proposed mosque near Ground Zero, it is that messing with memory, particularly traumatic memory of the first order, is akin to messing with Mother Nature: It rarely ends well, no matter how good the intention. ”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/17/AR2010081704401.html
    Jonah Goldberg comments (as do many others further to left) on the appalling lack of foresight displayed by Mayor Bloomberg or Obama in thinking this was a good controversy to create and wade into:
    “Good politicians instinctively see down the road and around the corner. Great politicians do this not just with political headaches but with weighty affairs as well. We call such foresight statesmanship.
    With the Ground Zero mosque, we have gotten the exact opposite. The supposedly pragmatic political wise men have been blinded by ideology or incompetence and have failed to see what was so obviously around the corner. A big, honking Islamic center built to capitalize on 9/11, in a building that was damaged on 9/11? What could go wrong?
    It

    Reply

  93. Carroll says:

    The Lobby vr. the net, twitter, you tube, tweeting, Wilkileaks, etc,etc……too much sunlight, the vampires are having a harder time finding a place to hide.
    Lobby once worked the

    Reply

  94. Carroll says:

    Posted by Dan Kervick, Aug 18 2010, 10:10AM – Link
    “Bolton of late has be screaming, not just about bombing Iran, but of the necessity to do so within 3 days! These folks are nuts. Purely nuts.”
    Sometimes the fever rages hottest just before it breaks. Do you get the impression that these folks are afraid something is slipping away?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Yes….something is slipping away. The zios and neos are losing control on both counts, Iran and demonizing Arabs thru Islam.
    It’s good that this Muslim WTC flap has come up because the fanatics have run it straight up against U.S.”democratic rights” of religions (and individuals).
    This has woken people up to the basics of democracy and exposed the hypocritics and agents with an agenda.
    You only have to read the writhing and venom of the Pearlman’s, nadines and wigs to see the fear of “losing”.
    They see the Muslim building as they have said on this thread as a “victory” over “them”, the pro Israel Arab hate mongers and neo bigots, instead
    of a result of democratic rights in this country.
    Everyone knows what they are looking at when someone says democratic rights for me but not for you because it might ‘offend my little feelings”.

    Reply

  95. Cee says:

    Carroll,
    Correct. If something happens to this center I’ll know who to blame.
    I’m glad that I have someone to vote for who isn’t bending over for the fanatics.
    As the two men stood in a shopping plaza parking lot, an audience member and mosque opponent, Robert B. Sklaroff, began asking Mr. Bloomberg questions about whether some organizers of the mosque project had made anti-American statements. The mayor responded: “Look, I would suggest you go from here directly to the library. Get a copy of the Bill of Rights and you’ll realize that everybody has a right to say what they want to say.”
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703824304575435771551294834.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read

    Reply

  96. Carroll says:

    Posted by Cee, Aug 18 2010, 11:47AM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    They did the same thing in Iraq in 1949. Smuggled arms into Iraq and created incidents to try and convince the Iraqi Jews to leave for Israel. Even demanded the British air lift out all the Jews in Iraq to Israel.
    LOL… population building thru terrorism.

    Reply

  97. Cee says:

    rc,
    May be rest in peace.
    How hard was he really looking?
    Given the way Muslim protests against Islamist violence do not seem to attract much attention, is this a proper way for the religious authorities to dramatise their stand? And, as asked above, did you see this in your local newspaper? If not, do you think it should have been there?
    By the way, this decision did not come out of the blue. Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, one of India

    Reply

  98. Cee says:

    More on what happened
    The Jewish community was traditionally centered in Wadi Abu Jmil and Ras Beirut, with smaller numbers in the Chouf, Deir al-Qamar, Aley, Bhamdoun, Saida and Hasbaya.[4]
    Lebanons Jews had previously rejected approaches by the Yishuv , sending fund raisers away empty handed. In 1948 Lebanon’s Jews donated to the fight against the establishment of Israel.[5]
    Lebanon was the only Arab country whose Jewish population actually increased after the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948.[6] However, after the 1958 Civil War, many Lebanese Jews left the country, largely for Europe and the United States.
    In 1982, during the Israeli invasion, 11 Jewish leaders were captured and killed by Islamist radicals.[7][8]
    Beth Elamen (??? ?????), the known Jewish cemetery; in Beirut, Lebanon (2008).
    Jewish infrastructure suffered as well. During the advance of the Israeli Defense Force into Beirut, Yasir Arafat assigned Palestinian gunmen to stand guard at the Maghen Abraham Synagogue, an important symbol of the Jewish community, located within sight of the Parliament. The synagogue was then heavily damaged by Israeli Air Force bombing, as Israel claimed that it was used as a Palestinian weapons storehouse [9][10]. Wadi Abu Jamil, Beirut’s Jewish quarter, lies inside the Beirut Central District, reconstructed after the war. The late former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri planned to restore the synagogue and surround it with a garden. However, the restoration never took place. The neighboring Talmudic school was demolished so that other new buildings would keep the view of the beach nearby.[11]
    Regardless, by the spring of 2008, the Jewish expatriates expressed their desire to renovate the synagogue. They wished to proceed once stability within Lebanon improved.[12] Long afterwards, the expatriates stated that the synagogue, along with the Jewish cementry in Sodeco, would be renovated from October 2008. According to Bloomberg, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora was quoted as saying:
    This is a religious place of worship and its restoration is welcome.
    Also, Hussain Rahal, a spokesman for Hezbollah, said his group also supported the restoration of Maghen Abraham:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Lebanon

    Reply

  99. rc says:

    Anyone can bang on about Islam, the Quran and Moslems but far fewer can demonstrate what these guidelines produce by way of superior human behavior when engaged correctly over a lifetime.
    Like any complex system for human development, it intersects with a whole range of human qualities and capacities. Non-Moslems cannot possibly read the Quran correctly without being aware of the associated oral traditions which provide rich context for various content and interpretation. In fact non-Moslems are advised not to read it (and technically are not unless in the Arabic).
    No one can surpass Indonesia’s blind President Wahid (1940-2009) as an example of what Islam really produces when not distorted by blind prejudice, hatred, rage, tribalism, hypocrisy and deceit.
    It seems strange that GWBush can walk down the isle holding hands with any Saudi Wahhabist in town but BHObama(II) cannot even get around to visiting the defining modern and tolerant Islamic nation on the planet today.
    Here is something to consider about Wahid who supported Israel (in its benign form) because of the great traditions of the past. Many may not agree with him but few can approach his level of humanity.
    Perhaps it’s time for Obama to stop swimming around in the Gulf oil for BP and get off his backside and go visit Indonesia for the middle-way today!!!

    By the time I met him in the spring of 2007, his eyesight was failing, and his kidneys were not far behind. Yet, it took only a half hour, sitting with him and his family around their dining room table in Jakarta, to come under Gus Dur’s spell. Fluent in English, French, and Arabic, he regaled me with stories about interacting with world leaders — from Fidel Castro to Shimon Peres. He had an infectious laugh but was dead serious when lashing out against religious and political extremism. I was moved to invoke the words of King David: “They have mouths but they speak not; they have eyes, but they see not; they have ears but they heed not…”(Psalms 135). Here was a man with 20/20 humanitarian vision.
    “President Wahid,” I said,” I have traveled the world looking for Muslim leaders willing to stand with us against those who justify suicide terrorism in the name of God, with little success. Now after Bali, and suicide bombers murdering innocents in Israel and Jordan, I come to you to ask that you convene with the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Holland Taylor’s LIbForAll Foundation, a conference of world religious leaders united against terror, here in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation in the world.” He quickly agreed.
    That was March. By June, we came together in Edenesque Bali, a place in Paradise that had been scarred by Islamist terrorists who murdered and maimed hundreds of Australians and locals. There were Imams, Swamis, Priests, and Rabbis, along with Muslim, Hindu, and Jewish survivors of suicide bombings in Asia and Israel. And in a historic first, Sol Teichman became the first Holocaust Survivor to address a public gathering anywhere in the Muslim world.
    All this was made possible by this nearly blind politician/Muslim man of Faith.
    In front of the world and local media and flanked by rabbi Daniel Landes from Jerusalem and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar from Bangalore, President Wahid opened the conference by throwing down the gauntlet to none other than “… [Iranian] President Ahmadinejad. He is my friend but when he lies about the Nazi Holocaust, I must speak out against him…”
    A devout and scholarly Muslim, as President he showed the courage to lift restrictions on Chinese culture, promote Christian-Muslim dialogue, and even advocate normalizing relations with Israel.
    In 2008, he gave his blessing for six Muslim leaders from his 40 million member Nahdlatul Ulama group, to visit Israel as guests of our Center.
    I was to personally witness his courage one more time. Last year, the Simon Wiesenthal Center bestowed our Medal of Valor on Abdurrahman Wahid at a ceremony in Beverly Hills. Few people knew at the time, that after flying 18 hours from Jakarta, he spent 5 hours on a dialysis machine at Cedar Sinai Hospital before proceeding directly to the event. His personal presence was his way, he told me of underscoring his personal friendship with the Jewish people and deep and abiding respect for the values of Judaism.
    At the opening of our Bali Conference, Yenni Wahid, the President’s daughter and an important Indonesian leader in her own right, said. “We were raised to believe that religion is supposed to be the source of blessing for all mankind. But let’s be honest, in the world we live in today, most people see it more as a curse. Our challenge is to reverse this terrible trend”.
    As recent events above Detroit, at Fort Hood, and across the Middle East remind us, the scourge of religious-fueled terrorism and hate has not cooled. With the passing of Abdurrahman Wahid we have lost a leader with crystal clear vision of religion’s true role in the lives of individuals and nations. Let the memory of this good man help us take back the day from extremism and hate.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-abraham-cooper/abdurrahman-wahid-the-bli_b_407731.html

    Reply

  100. Cee says:

    What happened at the Maghen Abraham synagogue lends support to the view that Israelis had a direct hand in

    Reply

  101. Paul Norheim says:

    Tony C:
    No wonder Wig, Kotz, Nadine, and Drew are frightened and
    offended by Imam Rauf, given the scary quotes you’ve
    provided…

    Reply

  102. Cee says:

    The renovation of the Maghen Abraham Synagogue in downtown Beirut is nearing completion. Artists have been putting the finishing touches on the interior of the temple sanctuary, which was constructed in 1925 in the Wadi abu-Jmil district of the city, also home to the country’s parliament buildings.
    Renovations on the ruined synagogue in central Beirut began in 2009 after an agreement between various religious denominations and permission from the Lebanese government, planning authorities and even Hezbollah. The project received the green light after political officials and community leaders became convinced it could show that Lebanon is an open country, tolerant of many faiths including Judaism.
    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/beirut-synagogue-restored-to-glory-despite-tensions-with-israel-1.308626

    Reply

  103. Tony C. says:

    and a few quotes from Imam Rauf (via The Rude Pundit),
    the man Wig Wag and Nadine, et al, would have us believe
    is a frightening, untrustworthy, radical extremist:
    “The issue of women’s rights is more than an issue for
    women or about women. It involves everyone…The best of
    you are those who are best to their women. Consequently,
    the worst of men are those who are worst to their
    women.”- From the Yemen Times, August 9, 2009, at a
    conference on advancing the cause of women in Islam.
    Rauf believes in “showing those who resort to violence
    that it is counter to the very idea of Islam.” – From the
    Khaleej Times (UAE), July 5, 2009.
    “Islam denounces suicide of any sort, especially suicide
    bombings that kill innocents. Even in a defensive war
    sanctioned by Islamic law, suicide is expressly forbidden.”
    – From a June 2009 commentary by Rauf.
    “The Quran expressly and unambiguously prohibits the
    coercion of faith because that violates a fundamental
    human right – the right to a free conscience. The Quran
    says in one place ‘There shall be no compulsion in
    religion.’ And in another it says, ‘To you your beliefs and
    to me, mine.'”- Same as above.
    “Rauf was one of the few Muslim leaders who appealed for
    calm and tolerance after the Regensburg speech.” From
    the New Yorker, April 2, 2007, regarding Pope Benedict’s
    2006 lecture where he quoted a Muslim-hating Byzantine
    emperor. Riots ensued.
    Young Muslims “are deeply frustrated by what’s going on
    in the name of Islam. They feel they are paying a price for
    actions done by a very, very negligible minority, but which
    capture the attention of the media. Terrorism done in the
    name of Islam has hurt Muslims as much, if not more,
    than it has hurt Westerners.” – From a June 2006 U.S.
    State Department press release on a conference regarding
    Muslim youths.
    “This is why we have been looking for, calling for so long
    for democratic regimes, for societies where people are
    empowered in much of the Arab and Muslim world. We are
    seeing massive changes going on right now in the Arab
    and Muslim world. When you have a disempowered
    people, you have things like this going on.” – From a
    February 7, 2006 interview on ABC regarding the protests
    over the Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed.
    “The Qur’an needs to be the backing of our activism
    towards human rights”- From Islamic Horizons, November
    2004, at a conference on religion and peacebuilding held
    at the College of Notre Dame.
    “It’s because they love what we have here, and we have
    prevented them from having it there. We have supported
    regimes that have been authoritarian and oppressive to
    their own people. This is why people are angry with us. If
    we had encouraged democracy in Saudi Arabia, Osama bin
    Laden would have run for political office there.” – From a
    July 10, 2004 interview with the Dallas Morning News,
    upon being asked if terrorists “hate our freedoms.”
    “This what we call ‘a no-brainer.'” – from the Guardian,
    September 3, 2002, on the need for just the type of center
    to be build at Park 51 because, in 2002, there were “25
    centres for Jewish-Christian understanding in the United
    States, only two for Muslim-Christian understanding, and
    zero for Muslim-Jewish understanding.”

    Reply

  104. Tony C. says:

    As John Stuart’s cohort said during their excellent recent
    dissection of this absurd “issue”:
    “There’s a difference between what you can do, and what
    you should do. For instance, you can build a Catholic church
    near a playground; should you? Am I alone in thinking that
    it’s a little to soon?”
    Full clip here:
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-august-16-
    2010/mosque-erade

    Reply

  105. Dan Kervick says:

    “Bolton of late has be screaming, not just about bombing Iran, but of the necessity to do so within 3 days! These folks are nuts. Purely nuts.”
    Sometimes the fever rages hottest just before it breaks. Do you get the impression that these folks are afraid something is slipping away? The GWOI gives a lot of these guys a sense of meaning and purpose, and they are very worried that it is all just going to peter out, and people will go home and mind their own business again. People like Hannity have built a whole political industry and mutual media support group based on fear, and they are terrified that Americans will stop being terrified. Eventually, Americans are going to get tired of living in republican scaredy-cat world, and will change the channel.
    It’s like Bolton and company are on the hill frantically waving their pitchforks and torches at the shadows in the woods, and the farmers who followed them up there are starting to drift away and say, “Um, yeah … well, I’ve got some chicken’s to feed. You can call me if the monster shows up.”

    Reply

  106. Paul Norheim says:

    “Civilization” – what’s that? Right now I’m on my way to
    stone a neighboring girl found guilty of adultery, together
    with a large group of Pakistani friends and their extended
    families.
    God I’m hungry – haven’t been eating much since Ramadan
    started!

    Reply

  107. kotzabasis says:

    Norheim don’t be scarred! Even if you are lost it is a safe building: It is a lunatic asylum whose residents see haloed angels dressed in burkas.

    Reply

  108. Dan Kervick says:

    I read Huntington too, somewhere back in 2002 I suppose. I guess I didn’t find his argument compelling and the thesis didn’t have that much of an impact on me.

    Reply

  109. Dan Kervick says:

    “do you know a way out of this building? Looks like we got lost among the fruitcake shelves!”
    Don’t make fun of fruitcake, you Muslimized European. America was built on fruitcake. Go back to having your 0.002 babies and committing civilizational suicide.

    Reply

  110. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “But although my mind is hazy, that attack seems to have occurred nine years ago. Since then? A shoe bomber, an underwear bomber and a car trunk bomber – all lone and incompetent wannabe warriors. There’s your Clash of Civilizations”
    Mustn’t forget the hundreds of thousands of dead Muslims, Dan.

    Reply

  111. DonS says:

    Dan, terrific and exact critique/takedown of the the tactics of these primary and indefatigable warriors in the polarization wars, Wigwag and Nadine. We should bookmark your comments because, offensive as their conspiratorial modus and intent are, we can be sure these propagandists will not go away.
    Been accidentally coming across the rantings of one Pamela Geller lately, she of the John Bolton fan club (and probable, uh, well we wont go there). I won’t link to her tripe, but it strikes me that she, Nadine and Wig wag have pretty much the same sources. Certainly the same conspiratorial take and a vested interest in driving a wedge between any possible approach that does not demonize Islam [conflate with Islamist], and incidentally distract from the Zionist mission of constant war. Bolton of late has be screaming, not just about bombing Iran, but of the necessity to do so within 3 days! These folks are nuts. Purely nuts.
    One wonders if we shall ever return to some sanity, a middle path (i.e., I don’t subscribe, to the caricature of the left the reactionaries describe; and certainly one cannot paint Steve Clemons in that mold, though they try). There is a vested interest, too, in promoting the story that Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Hannity, and the whole right wing industry represents the future of this country. Most Repubs, and many Dems seem willing to acquiesce this PR steamroller. Hey, it’s easy. It’s always been easy to wave the flag and disparage thoughtfulness. And it’s easy to hang any cockamamie bullshit with even a smidgen of truth on that framework, e.g., the worldwide clash of civilizations, that just happens to coincide with the ongoing financial and power prerogatives of military-corporatist class.
    One continues to wait for individuals of sanity and stature to join the debate, thankless as it is in ordinary terms. Meanwhile a clown like John Bolton still attracts attention in our sound bite informercial nation.

    Reply

  112. questions says:

    Fact check, from TPM — thanks people!
    “Indeed, the intensity of opposition seems to increase as one actually gets further away from the site. And this isn’t just for politicians, it’s for us regular people, too. A CNN poll has put national opposition at 68%. Meanwhile, a Marist poll of New York City put opposition at a somewhat lower 53%. And furthermore, opposition was lowest in Manhattan — the site of the actual Ground Zero location and the 9/11 attacks — where a 53% majority approved of the Muslim community center, compared to 31% against. Opposition then increases in the surrounding boroughs of New York City, a place that has a population larger than many states, and then increases even more going out into the country beyond.”
    *******
    Now I realize that NYC belongs to the whole country and to none more than, say, Sarah Palin who would never denounce any common Greenwich Village lifestyles, but maybe this really is a little more of a local issue than a national and deeply symbolic one. And maybe, just maybe, the civil rights side of it suggests having the project built rather than not.
    I don’t like carpet bagger/damned Yankees interfering arguments when there’s a real human rights issue at stake (say, slavery), but this one really is a local issue. And the symbolic reading of a seedy city space as suddenly sacred because debris fell there…. Wow.
    If sites of debris are sacred, we should be worshiping the damaged lungs and livers of the first responders, and we shouldn’t be building a new edifice dedicated to the almighty dollar in the same basic footprint.
    Near as I can tell, pretty much every argument used to suggest that the project shouldn’t be built has been poor, poorly researched, based on false emotionalism, demagoguic, and not worth the electrons spilled on it.
    In other words, a typical wedge issue that is pushed in such a way as to make it impossible to disagree safely. ‘Specially during election season.
    The radical position is no mosque at all anywhere. So the moderate position is “just not in that space, and not at that size.”
    The real moderate position should be what the Constitution provides. But this fake moderation of, “Ok, it’s legal, but just not here, not now, not this” is pathetic as an argument, a strategy, or a position to hold. Just pathetic.

    Reply

  113. Paul Norheim says:

    Hey Dan,
    do you know a way out of this building? Looks like we got lost
    among the fruitcake shelves!

    Reply

  114. Paul Norheim says:

    I actually read Huntington’s book, Drew – exactly ten years
    ago, at the same time as I read Fukuyama’s “End of
    History”. I read both of them slowly, and found them very
    interesting, but problematic.
    I also read other books by the same authors – all
    borrowed from an Ethiopian bartender at a restaurant in
    Kigali, Rwanda; and we had several very interesting
    discussions about these books afterwards, over a meal
    and a beer, often together with a mutual friend who
    worked for the International Commitee of the Red Cross,
    and who had worked on most of the trouble spots in the
    world, Bosnia and the Ivory Cost included. We even
    discussed bin Laden (this was before 9.11).
    At that time, I have to admit that I didn’t imagine that
    those books should be used as explanations for starting a
    stupid, incompetent and criminal war against Iraq,
    intended as a start of a nation-building effort on several
    problematic spots on the planet, with military means. And
    although I knew that ignorant people all over the world
    feared Muslims and Islam on a general level, just like
    many people, especially in the Middle East, but also in the
    West, believe that the Jews are the root cause of Evil, I
    didn’t imagine ending up in discussions with presumably
    informed and intelligent people about the historical
    necessity of waging war against 1.2 billion Muslims.
    That’s sheer lunacy, whatever the merits of Huntington.

    Reply

  115. Dan Kervick says:

    “Interesting that you deny the rise of Islamism, Dan, even as progressives make de facto common cause with Islamists.”
    I haven’t denied the rise of Islamism, you scurrilous moron. I have a couple of dozen books on my shelf about political Islam in its many manifestations. What I deny is the extravagant vision of a global civilizational war between Islam and the West, Islam and Christendom, Islam and Judeo-Christendom, Islam and Secular-Christendom, Islam and Judeo-Secular-Christendom or what have you. If you simmer down look at empirical reality instead of the horror fantasy yarns churned out by demagogues and paranoid bloggers, you will quickly conclude that this global war is hardly taking place at all, and the only real battles that are raging are in those *non-Western* countries that we chose to *invade*.
    Of course, if every time someone builds a mosque in a Western country one is determined to see the opening of a new front in the “war”; if every time some American or European accepts a Muslim person in his country as one of his neighbors and countrymen instead of a distant alien other confined to the sandy parts of the world, one is determined to see the insidious ideological colonization and takeover of the Western mind by the Mohammedan soul-stealers; well, then, there is not much that could convince you. Who knows? Maybe that Arab-American auto mechanic is rigging a car bomb with your name on it. Maybe the Muslim call to prayer is interlaced with encrypted and subliminal mind-control messages, or coded instructions on where to gather to find the black helicopters and launch the long-plotted invasion from within.
    Maybe we should march on down to the supermarket dressed as Native Americans, and throw out all of the Hummus and Tabbouleh. Those damn Saracens; they’re taking over everything! There is no such thing as moderate Hummus! It starts with the Hummus and ends with your daughter wearing a burkha in some polygamous harem! Awake, ye Americans of the new patriotic dawn! Rouse your sons and your selves against the enemy in our midst!
    WigWag, faced with the actual reconciliatory words of Imam Rauf and the people who seem to know him best, and compelled to find some theory to explain away evidence contrary to her paranoid conspiracy theories and feelings of affront, looks into his Rauf’s heart and declares those words to be insincere. The evidence for the words’ insincerity? Well, they must be insincere, because the Imam’s project is so rude, insensitive and arrogant – even though it had the backing of the mayor of New York and a variety of interfaith and ecumenical groups. The evidence that the action is rude and arrogant instead of an attempted gesture of reconciliation, peace and Muslim-American solidarity with the broader national community? Well he must be rude and insensitive and arrogant because the is so insincere.
    Isn’t the self-contained paranoid circle perfectly obvious here?
    Officer, that man insulted me!
    How?
    He smiled at me!
    Smiles are insults?
    They are when they are fake!
    Why do you say it was fake?
    Because he insulted me!
    This guy Rauf has written books and lectured abroad on the greatness of America and the greatness of American traditions. But I can see what is going on. You haters don’t *want* any peace and reconciliation. You don’t *want* this Imam to be on the American side. You want him to scurry back where he belongs to the other, enemy camp in you’re “war”, so you can go on hating him to your heart’s content and kill as many of his coreligionists as you please. For those disposed toward war, whose every breath is spent in the promotion of war, peace and reconciliation are threats.
    You would think that if my civilization was at war with the global Muslim Ummah, I would hear a bomb go off from time to time; or a few gunshots echoing in the night. But all I hear at night is peepers and barred owls, and the only time I hear gunshots are when my neighbor shoots at the chipmunks in his wood pile.
    I do remember there was a dreadful attack launched down in New York by 19 guys – no doubt just a vanguard force sent by the Global Islamic Empire. But although my mind is hazy, that attack seems to have occurred nine years ago. Since then? A shoe bomber, an underwear bomber and a car trunk bomber – all lone and incompetent wannabe warriors. There’s your Clash of Civilizations.

    Reply

  116. drew says:

    errata again, sorry (would be nice to have a preview function here):
    I meant to say,
    “A person can’t read EVERYTHING, …”

    Reply

  117. drew says:

    An example of what I mean is above: Norheim obviously hasn’t
    read Huntington, who would severely challenge his comment that
    the tri-polar competition is “sheer lunacy.”
    A person can’t read anything, but commenting on this subject
    without understanding anything about an opposing point of view is
    difficult — unless it’s sufficient to say that one’s opponents are
    know-nothing rustics, unable to transcend their bigotry.
    We know now what percentage of the country thinks that bigotry is
    enduring and threatening: 20%. This is the percentage of people
    who strongly approve of the president, and who are not annoyed
    that his principal political strategy today is to assert his post-racial
    wisdom, while playing the bigotry card more than any president of
    the 20th century.

    Reply

  118. drew says:

    I kinda wish people would let George Bush retire. It’s very
    strange that he continues to overshadow our politics.
    My view is that the left needs to develop a new political rhetoric
    that is independent of calling people racist, bigoted or
    irretreivably ignorant. One reason the Democratic Party is now
    imploding over this issue of the GSM (and I refer you to my
    immediate prediction last weekend that it would, because from
    the outset this has not been a war against bigotry, it’s been
    another ludicrous exercise in scolding the clingers — it’s been a
    war against the 70% that the mandarin left overtly loathes) is
    that politicians of any stripe who reject the counsel of their
    constituents, much less advise their constituents to pipe down
    because they’re merely an intemperate mob, shortly get to
    pursue new careers in the private sector. While there are a few
    populists out here who still admire and serve the people, it is
    ironic that so many of the purported defenders of the little
    people revile their character and enthusiasms.
    Now we’re going to watch 100 Dems run against the president –
    – they’ll collapse en masse in opposition to Obama. This is
    another absurd situation like the firing and hiring in 24 hours of
    the DofAg woman. I don’t think there’s anyone like Vilsack,
    however, to blame. Everyone saying Friday night and Saturday
    morning that Obama is the picture of intrepid morality,
    declaiming on a constitutional right no one disputes, will now
    get to blog on why … what exactly? The Democrats are jumping
    the USS Obama. It took less than 24 hours.
    The alienation of the left from mainstreet will continue until the
    left reads and thinks about texts that disturb their carefully
    nurtured sense of moral advantage and superior intellect. It’s
    just an exhausted political idea, the idea that the left is the last
    barricade against the bigoted, ignorant mob. This will not be
    possible either until the scolders see value in reconnecting with
    their constituents and finding merit in trying to understand
    them. It’s just gotten comical receiving the bigotry jeremiad du
    jour. EVERYTHING the left throws up in the air these days is
    either a gloss on a retired president, or an accusation of bigotry.
    That’s it. There isn’t a single Democratic running on the record
    of this Congress. It’s at the point where if someone gets a
    parking ticket you expect to see an editorial in the NYT on the
    bigotry of parking meters. It’s really getting ridiculous.

    Reply

  119. Paul Norheim says:

    I guess I should specify to which degree the belligerent
    Islamists represent a threat. After writing my post above, I
    read Wigwag’s comment. Quote:
    “Christianity, Islam and the philosophical system we call
    enlightenment values may disagree about many things but
    they all have one thing in common; all three are
    aggressive, imperialistic and proselytizing faiths. Conflict
    between these faiths is long-standing and may be
    inevitable. In fact, the world may just not be large enough
    anymore for all three of these faiths to coexist; one or
    more may end up being destroyed at enormous costs to
    everyone.”
    Nadine and Kotzabasis seem both to agree with Wigwag’s
    analysis here. And that’s were the debate ends as far as I
    am concerned. This is sheer lunacy.
    Does violent islamism represent a threat? Sure? But may
    we consider declaring war against Islam and the entire
    Muslim world because of this threat? That’s the distinct
    line were reason ends and madness and paranoia begins.
    I am not more tempted or willing to discuss this scenario
    than to engage in a serious debate over wether the Jews
    are conspiring to control and take over the world.
    And by the way: What’s the point of making the finer
    distinctions between Islamism, Islam, and moderate
    Muslims – a distinction that even Barry Rubin makes – if
    you ponder the question of declaring war against the
    whole Muslim world anyway?
    I regard the debate on these threads about the cultural
    center as pointless – since the most vocal opponents of
    the center – Wig, Kotz, and Nadine – openly admit that
    they regard Islam and Muslims as Enemy Number One on
    the planet.

    Reply

  120. Paul Norheim says:

    Nadine quoted Barry Rubin above – his take on the
    relationship between Islamism and Islam.
    RUBIN: First, is there a threat to the West from groups
    whose members are Muslims or does the fault arise from
    Western policies and shortcomings which, if altered, would
    make any conflict disappear?
    PAUL: Some events with violent Islamist extremists
    involved would simply not make any sense if not seen as
    reactions against Western blunders, grave mistakes, and
    crimes on a grand scale. Still: Islamist extremists are,
    generally speaking, actors with their own agendas, and
    responsible for THEIR crimes, which on many occasions
    are horrific. And yes, several of these groups are
    abominable and represent a threat.
    RUBIN: Second, if there is a threat does it stem from Islam
    as religion or Islamism as political philosophy?
    PAUL: A mixture of both.
    RUBIN: It is important to understand that revolutionary
    Islamists do draw on mainstream, accepted, and sacred
    Muslim texts.
    PAUL: Yes they do. And in addition, they draw on history,
    on well known conflicts between the West and Islam.
    RUBIN: Their argument has the potential to be just as

    Reply

  121. kotzabasis says:

    WigWag
    With the above comment and others of Kervick’s, it

    Reply

  122. nadine says:

    Interesting that you deny the rise of Islamism, Dan, even as progressives make de facto common cause with Islamists. A generation ago, progressives supported democratic Israel against its autocratic enemies; now progressives declare autocrats like Saddam or Ahmadinejad or Khaled Mashaal innocent, if the autocrats are Muslims. Only Israel or the US can be guilty, almost by definition. And of course, the currency given to Truther nonsense (alive and well in the Israel-bashing anti-Semitic claque of TWN, as we have seen) is straight out of the Muslim world’s conspiracy mongering — the Joooos did it, the Jooooos control the world.
    The capitulation of thought comes first. Other capitulations follow later. Cf. the banlieus of Paris, Malmo, etc, other places where the writ of Western European states no longer runs.
    Ayaan Hirsi Ali explains:
    “The greatest advantage of Huntington’s civilizational model of international relations is that it reflects the world as it is

    Reply

  123. Dan Kervick says:

    I’m sorry WigWag. I can’t pretend to take your outlook seriously. I wouldn’t know how to begin to address your apocalyptic visions of a trilateral global war of civilizations. I can’t offer advice on the best strategy for fighting a global Armageddon that isn’t really happening, any more that I can address the best course of action in the Vampire Wars, or the invasion of the Terminators from the future.
    Most people in this world, at least the one I seem to be living in, are just moving on with everyday affairs, and are trying to live a life, make a living and take care of their families without a lot of ideological melodrama. Islam has existed since 621; Christianity longer than that; and various practical-minded worldly philosophies longer yet. If you want to wait down by the docks for the invading Muslim hordes that never come, be my guest.
    I don’t think American Muslims are workings to sap and impurify my precious bodily fluids. I don’t believe in the pod people or the armies of Lucifer either. I suspect that Gingrich, like a lot of the graying old worriers in the tea party movement, is just a crazy codger who has stayed too long out on the public shelf past his shelf date. Sadly, there are always a lot of folks ready to project the failures of their colons and the swelling of their prostates into the collapse of civilization and the schemes of the Evil One. And Gingrich was always a little “off” anyway.

    Reply

  124. nadine says:

    Wigwag, not only do the left refuse to confront the civilizational clash with Islamism, they refuse (for reasons of political correctness) to even admit that Islamism exists.
    Thus, all objections to Islamist encroachment are decried as simple anti-Muslim bigotry. Similarly, all nice platitudes from Muslim spokesmen are accepted at face value, without any examination of what the said spokesman says in private, or where his money comes from or goes to.
    A whole bunch of NY Dem congressmen just came out against the GZM.

    Reply

  125. JohnH says:

    Wigwag says dismissively, “the Imam has surely mouthed gentle platitudes.” More importantly, his critics have found nothing to criticize in his career, quite an accomplishment for a man aged 61!
    Yet the supremacists continue to rant that Abdul Rauf Feisal can’t be genuine. They continue to conjure the notion out of thin air that he must be an Islamist in disguise! The idea of a tolerant Muslim is simply anathema to them, because it threatens their agenda of a global war on terrorism with Israel supposedly defending one of the fronts.
    The peace makers are always the first to get targeted. This time is no different.
    And, Nadine, the Goethe Institute receives funding from the GERMAN government. And as your supremacist mind knows, all Germans are secretly Nazis, especially the German government. So how is it that you supremacists let a German government funded cultural center to be built in Tel Aviv? Isn’t that profoundly offensive?

    Reply

  126. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Really wigwag, you need to stop these wild rants and spend some more time in anger management therapy”
    Oh bullshit. There’s nothin’ that ails her that a nice brisk swim to Israel wouldn’t cure.

    Reply

  127. WigWag says:

    The Imam has surely mouthed gentle platitudes, Dan; what would you expect him to do if he wants his mosque/cultural center built; announce it as a Muslim trophy for their victory on 9/11? If the Imam’s actions were a match for his words, what he says would be more believable. But his actions contradict his words which is significant circumstantial evidence for his intentions.
    Surely the Imam isn’t stupid; he must have known that his decision to place his institution on a site hit by falling debris from the 9/11 disaster would enrage some of the bereaved families; but that just didn’t concern him. He claims his goal is to foster reconciliation but he chose to build at a location that he knew would make reconciliation difficult or impossible.
    The Imam certainly does have alot of supporters who vouch for him which makes his insensitive behavior in this instance all the more puzzling.
    The Imam, if he’s truly sincere, can prove it by turning the other cheek and moving his mosque/cultural center to a location where it really can foster reconciliation instead of animosity. Not all or even most Catholics participated in the extermination of the Jews, but another religious figure, Pope John Paul II, was wise enough to know that Auschwitz wasn’t the proper place for a large wooden crucifix. We will know if the Imam is as interested in reconciliation as his supporters claim by whether he follows the example of the recently deceased Pope.
    As for Newt Gingrich, I watched his presentation carefully and agree with him in part and disagree with him in part.
    His suggestion that we should use the same criteria in treating Muslim houses of worship as the Saudis use in treating Christian and Jewish Houses of worship is asinine. On the other hand, I think Gingrich brings up two points that are well worth debating; (1) are we already engaged in a war of civilizations between the Christian/secular world and the larger Muslim world that cannot be avoided whether we like it or not? and (2) if that clash of civilizations has already been joined,is the best way for the West to deal with it by appeasing so called “moderate” Muslims? Put another way, can the Christian/secular west and the 30-35 percent of the world that practices Islam peacefully co-exist or does one side need to defeat the other side?
    Despite the fervent desires of the progressive left to stick its head in the ground and pretend these questions don’t need to be confronted, they do need to be confronted and the answers are far from obvious.
    Christianity, Islam and the philosophical system we call enlightenment values may disagree about many things but they all have one thing in common; all three are aggressive, imperialistic and proselytizing faiths. Conflict between these faiths is long-standing and may be inevitable. In fact, the world may just not be large enough anymore for all three of these faiths to coexist; one or more may end up being destroyed at enormous costs to everyone. I’m not sure that Gingrich’s approach to fighting this battle is the right one, but I do think he’s right that a straight forward and honest debate about how the West should engage the Muslim world is one that needs to occur.
    The reality is that a grand coalition of progressive and moderate Christians, Muslims and secularists may not be in the cards. Far more likely is that prospect that moderate Muslims will align with their more extreme co-religionists and moderate Christians and Western secularists will align with the more combative elements on their side.
    As strident (and stupid) as Gingrich sometimes is, he’s right about one thing; pretending that this isn’t the direction the world is going in, does no one any good.

    Reply

  128. Dan Kervick says:

    In the interest of self-mortification, I want to point out that Steve Clemons presciently sounded the alarm during the campaign of 2008 about the harmful effects of Barack Obama’s efforts to run far away from Muslim-Americans, which included openly discriminating against Muslim campaign volunteers … and I stupidly went into a tirade over Steve’s comments:
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2008/08/wrong_wrong_wro/
    Steve was right and we are now reaping the whirlwind sowed earlier. Obama has allowed this storm of hatred and prejudice to grow and grow and grow. And now he’s got an even bigger Islamophobic movement on his hands than we had even under George Bush.

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  129. kotzabasis says:

    Everyone can observe, other than the mentally

    Reply

  130. Dan Kervick says:

    WigWag, we do indeed know the motivations of the Cordoba House

    Reply

  131. nadine says:

    Clever, Pessimist. Who knew you had such poetic talents?

    Reply

  132. The Pessimist says:

    Nadine:
    No
    Arabs
    Dwelling
    In
    Neocon
    Eutopia

    Reply

  133. nadine says:

    Barry Rubin lays out once again the crucial ideological distinction between Islam and Islamism, which is really what we are arguing about. Because if Imam Rauf is really just a nice bridge-building Muslim, there is no problem with his mosque, or none that he won’t understand and accept a compromise location. But if Imam Rauf is really a provocative apologist for Islamism seeking to gain a symbolic ideological victory by building a huge mosque at Ground Zero, then there is a big problem.
    JohnH, I don’t believe that Imam Rauf is seeking to foster tolerance because his actions belie his words. You don’t foster tolerance by being deliberately rude and hurtful to those of different faiths around you.
    BTW, there is a Goethe-Institut in Tel Aviv: http://www.goethe.de/ins/il/tel/heindex.htm
    You have no idea what you are talking about. The Jews never blamed Goethe for Hitler.
    Barry Rubin:
    “First, is there a threat to the West from groups whose members are Muslims or does the fault arise from Western policies and shortcomings which, if altered, would make any conflict disappear?
    Second, if there is a threat does it stem from Islam as religion or Islamism as political philosophy?
    It is important to understand that revolutionary Islamists do draw on mainstream, accepted, and sacred Muslim texts. Their argument has the potential to be just as

    Reply

  134. WigWag says:

    The answer to your question, Paul, is obvious. The differences between Christianity and Islam and especially the more extreme versions of Christianity and Islam when it comes to homosexuality and women’s rights is profound.
    The more extreme forms of Islam believe that gay people should be executed sometimes in the most barbaric way such as stoning. These kind of sentences are carried out in both Iran and Afghanistan and sometimes even in Saudi Arabia. Conversely the most right wing Christian groups believe that gay people should be prohibited from marrying or taking communion. Quite a difference, don’t you think? As far as I know, there is no Christian denomination that advocates executing gay people and quite a few that are willing to admit gay people to the upper echelons of ecclesiastical authority. Are their any openly gay Imams anywhere in the world? Is there any debate in any of the various schools of Islam about whether openly gay Muslims should be able to marry?
    The comparison between Islam and Christianity is equally stark when it comes to the role of women. Perhaps you can tell me which school of Islam it is that endorses female clerics and how many adherents that school of Islam has. Numerous Christian sects allow female clergy and many of the more right wing branches of Christianity that you are referring to are led by women preachers and ministers.
    I don’t know what the particular Imam involved in this controversy thinks of homosexuality but I am willing to stipulate that he doesn’t think that gay people should be executed. But the fact that this is all it takes to be a moderate in the Islamic world tells you everything you need to know about how radical prevailing Muslim notions are. Is the Imam in question willing to ordain female clergy? I doubt it.
    If and when the Ground Zero mosque/cultural center is built, I hope that non-Muslim women will insist that its pool and gym be co-ed (as required by New York State law) and that women be permitted to wear the same attire that is typically worn at any other health club in New York. Women should also test to see how the mosque/cultural center responds to women in short skirts or blue jeans who enter the edifice. Perhaps the leaders of the mosque/cultural center will have no problem with this; if that’s the case; great!
    If evangelical Christians ever decide to open a church/cultural center in downtown New York they too should be required to insure that all of its services and facilities are co-ed and open to women dressed in a manner that some would consider immodest. Given that the most conservative Christians tend to be far more moderate than the most moderate Islamists my guess is that should this situation arise the Christian cultural center will behave far more intelligently than the Muslim mosque/cultural center.

    Reply

  135. JohnH says:

    Just like building a Goethe Institute in Tel Aviv: “The mere fact that they have chosen to build their institution at this location tells us exactly what kind of people they are: rude and insensitive people for whom reconciliation is a charade.” I mean, the Goethe Institute is GERMAN, and we well know that GERMANS are secretly all Nazis, don’t we?
    And, as Nadine points out, there “no clear distinction between the terrorists and an imam who wants to build a provocative trophy mosque inside the blast zone at Ground Zero.” Particularly one whose mission is to foster tolerance! I mean, how provocative can you get? Fostering tolerance?
    Apart from self-hating Jews, Jewish Supremacists’ worst enemy is tolerant Muslims, for they deprive Israel of its ideological rationales for brutalizing Palestinians and stealing their land. If the world sees that most Muslims are peace loving people, then why would Israel refuse to negotiate with them? Because they want to continue stealing their land?

    Reply

  136. DonS says:

    “The mere fact that they have chosen to build their institution at this location tells us exactly what kind of people they are: rude and insensitive people for whom reconciliation is a charade. ” (Wigwag).
    That’s a lot of inference in one short sentence.
    “I get it that Steve Clemons, Dan Kervick and a few others (if polls are to be believed, about 30 percent of the American public) don’t care that those who lost loved ones at the World Trade Center will have to watch the new edifice deliberately mock their dead relatives.” (wigwag)
    And that goes all the way to slander.
    Really wigwag, you need to stop these wild rants and spend some more time in anger management therapy.

    Reply

  137. nadine says:

    “Weren’t we reminded by Steve Clemons and his readers that Bush’s foreign policy decisions were not only stupid but also intemperate and immoral?”
    Good question, Wigwag. Of course, Bush was taken in by his share of fake “moderate” Muslims, so his record is not strong. Nothing hurts real Muslim reformers more than accepting some Hamas front group like CAIR that gets all their money from they-won’t-say-who overseas, claim the mantle of representatives of American Muslims.
    But Bush at least understood that 9/11 was an act of war, which Obama does not understand and never has. In war, symbols matter. Bush would not want to let Imam Rauf supply jihadi propaganda.

    Reply

  138. Paul Norheim says:

    I’m afraid Neo Controll has a point. Allow me to repeat a
    question from a thread below, in a discussion with Drew:
    Tell me, WigWag: Why are you so worried as to whether
    the future Islamic cultural center at Manhattan will be as
    tolerant as the YMCA in New York, while you seem entirely
    comfortable with the position on homosexuality (and
    sexuality in general) among the millions of Israel-
    supporting Evangelical Christians that you praise all the
    time here at TWN?

    Reply

  139. WigWag says:

    “Nadine, keeping a Muslim congregation out of your neighborhood because *some* Muslims once committed a a mass murder there is no different than keeping a black family out of your neighborhood because *some* black people once held up a convenience store there.” (Dan Kervick)
    Dan Kervick defends his position on the mosque/cultural center by attacking a straw man. No one is suggesting that a Muslim congregation be kept out of the Ground Zero neighborhood. In fact, a mosque exists right now in the very building that the Cordoba people want to tear down for their new mosque/cultural center. The same Imam officiates at another Mosque just a few blocks away. I haven’t heard anyone advocate that either of these mosques be closed down and I haven’t heard anyone suggest that either of them has been the subject of any controversy at all. Similarly the argument made by some (although not by Dan Kervick himself) that anyone believes that Muslims should be banned from the area is equally disingenuous.
    The question is whether a 13 story mosque/cultural center that could easily be located elsewhere is appropriate (as opposed to legal) at that location. What Steve Clemons, Dan Kervick and others don’t address (presumably because they can’t) is what the location chosen by the mosque/cultural center developers tells us about who they are and what they think. The mere fact that they have chosen to build their institution at this location tells us exactly what kind of people they are: rude and insensitive people for whom reconciliation is a charade. They have a legal right to build on that site; those who oppose what they are doing have the right to point out to the American people that the motives of these so called

    Reply

  140. nadine says:

    “What Al-
    Rashid’s says here clearly implies that the majority of
    Muslims distance themselves from the terrorists and their
    followers, an assumption that contradicts the central
    premise of those Americans on this blog who oppose the
    cultural center: That there is no clear distinction between
    the terrorists and Muslims in general.”
    No, the assumption of those who oppose the Ground Zero mosque is that there is no clear distinction between the terrorists and an imam who wants to build a provocative trophy mosque inside the blast zone at Ground Zero.
    Because even if this imam is “moderate” as is claimed (personally, I think real moderates should be able to identify Hamas as terrorists), such a mosque at Ground Zero, especially if it goes up while Ground Zero is still vacant, will be an irresistible magnet for jihadis to gloat in and preach jihad. An obvious point, as al Rashid says.
    And that is why Imam Rauf is welcome to build a new mosque anywhere else in New York, but not right there.

    Reply

  141. Neo Controll says:

    Wigwag, you rancid old trollop, leave it to you to impugn Steve for things he has said in the past while you have said the same. Leave it to you to allege hypocrisy by others, dredge up every anti gay accusation against Muslims even as you cozy up to the gay hating, hood wearing evangelicals in South Florida. You hypocrite. If you are going to imply hypocrisy, you had best be willing to drop you own fine rhetoric, because you troll the muck with the best of them.
    — NCHQ

    Reply

  142. Paul Norheim says:

    “I do not think that the majority of Muslims want to build a
    symbol or a worship place that tomorrow might become a
    place about which the terrorists and their Muslim followers
    boast” (Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid, quoted by Nadine).
    Nadine’s enthusiasm for this statement puzzles me – it’s
    the second time she provides this quote today. What Al-
    Rashid’s says here clearly implies that the majority of
    Muslims distance themselves from the terrorists and their
    followers, an assumption that contradicts the central
    premise of those Americans on this blog who oppose the
    cultural center: That there is no clear distinction between
    the terrorists and Muslims in general.
    If I wanted to demonize Islam and Muslims, linking it’s
    religious essence to terrorism and extremism, I would
    certainly pick someone else than Al-Rashid to support my
    holy war. Perhaps it’s just a sign of desperation.

    Reply

  143. WigWag says:

    In reference to the mosque/cultural center imbroglio, Steve Clemons asks the very entertaining question “What would George W. Bush do?”
    Of course Steve’s question is rhetorical; he’s convinced that President Bush would agree with him that the Imam in question is a “moderate” and that the mosque/cultural center near Ground Zero should be permitted to go forward. As evidence, Steve references the remarks of former Bush apparatchik, James Glassman.
    When Steve invoked the 43rd President of the United States I could hardly believe my eyes. Isn’t George W. Bush the man that Steve Clemons, his fellow travelers and most of his readers spent eight long years excoriating? Didn’t Steve avail himself of every chance he had to regale us with posts about what a deluded nincompoop George Bush was? Weren’t we constantly reminded that Bush was a dullard who sailed through Yale mostly due to the intervention of his father? Didn’t Steve and others ridicule Bush’s intelligence, his capacity for deep thinking and his intellectual curiosity? Didn’t the Washington Note feature post after post after post detailing how disastrous the Bush foreign policy was especially when it came to the Arab and broader Muslim world? Weren’t we reminded by Steve Clemons and his readers that Bush’s foreign policy decisions were not only stupid but also intemperate and immoral?
    Steve continues to ridicule George W. Bush with this post. By offering up his suspicion that Bush agrees with him on this issue, what Steve is really suggesting is that “even a moron like Bush thinks I’m right why doesn’t everyone else get it?”
    But if Steve wants to offer up George W. Bush as an authority on how the mosque/cultural center imbroglio should be viewed (or at least what he assumes President Bush would say about the controversy were he to weigh in) he can’t run away from everything he’s told us about the former President over the years.
    Has it occurred to Steve that in light of what he and his fellow travelers think of Bush, the fact that Bush agrees with his position on this controversy is proof-positive of just how absurd the pro mosque/cultural center position really is?

    Reply

  144. JohnH says:

    I wondered how long it would take for Nadine to start her supremacist rants…
    Given the wave of hatred already exhibited by Jewish supremacists, Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid, director of Al-Arabiya TV, is right that supremacists will use Cordoba House as a lightning rod. Sadly, he is not describing some distant future but the reality today.

    Reply

  145. Dan Kervick says:

    “I have seen you take some morally obtuse positions, Dan, but this takes the cake. You compare respecting the memory of 3,000 New Yorkers murdered in the name of Islam to racist bigotry?”
    Nadine, keeping a Muslim congregation out of your neighborhood because *some* Muslims once committed a a mass murder there there is no different than keeping a black family out of your neighborhood because *some* black people once held up a convenience store there.
    In your arguments, you seem to elide “in the name of” to “as duly appointed representatives of”. Many people, in committing their crimes, claim to be committing them “in the name of” some group or other. You want to start counting up every freaked out nutbag who mowed someone down in the name of Jesus or some Christian denomination?
    If the guys who held up the liquor store were Panthers who did in in “in the name of the black race”, would you then say pushing the black family out of their house is something you would endorse.

    Reply

  146. nadine says:

    You’re wrong, jd. This is not about anti-Muslim bigotry. This is about not putting up jihad magnets at Ground Zero. Tell me, is Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid, director of Al-Arabiya TV, also motivated by anti-Muslim bigotry? He also opposes a mosque at Ground Zero:
    “I cannot imagine that Muslims want a mosque on this particular site, because it will be turned into an arena for promoters of hatred, and a symbol of those who committed the crime. At the same time, there are no practicing Muslims in the district who need a place of worship, because it is indeed a commercial district.

    Reply

  147. Juan says:

    The major problem with these type of Republicans is that they are not organized. They only come out only under stress. These guys have not even built a website. By not having even a website or a blog they seem invisible. They need to use there money start a PAC, get supporters, get a Facebook page, and get to work.

    Reply

  148. jdledell says:

    “I have seen you take some morally obtuse positions, Dan, but this takes the cake. You compare respecting the memory of 3,000 New Yorkers murdered in the name of Islam to racist bigotry?”
    Nadine – I think Dan is right on the money with his comparison of bigotry against muslims and blacks. Some Muslims have done bad things and so did some Blacks. But we should not discriminate against a whole class of people because of the actions of some. I’m sure you felt discrimination against Jews was wrong – why do you think discrimination against muslims is right?
    Speaking of hallowed ground – 4 secular office towers are going up right on top of the site. Within 2 blocks of this “Hallowed” ground you can find strip clubs, XXX peep shows, bars etc. Is that honoring hallowed ground?
    I suspect you don’t give a hoot about WTC as hallowed ground but the issue gives you an opportunity to show your hatred of muslims. Look into your soul and tell me if I’m wrong.

    Reply

  149. Neo Controll says:

    “I have seen you take some morally obtuse positions, Dan, but this takes the cake. You compare respecting the memory of 3,000 New Yorkers murdered in the name of Islam to racist bigotry?”
    Putting words in Dan’s mouth again, eh Nadine, you ethically perverted. shameless neocon huzzy.
    –NCHQ

    Reply

  150. philip smucker says:

    How Crazy: These publicans are falling all over themselves to denounce the “mosque at ground zero” because it is a political Winner in the hinterlands. Most of them know better — and it is not like they didn’t have enough wedge issues already. So goes the WOT and our reputation as a nation of tolerant citizens….

    Reply

  151. nadine says:

    “The contention that while Muslims might have a legal right to establish a cultural center on their private property, they should nevertheless have the sensitivity and tact not to push it, and the good sense to relocate elsewhere, is not a “moderate” position. It is instead a position no less odious than the contention that while blacks have a right to buy a house anywhere they can afford to buy one, they should have the sensitivity and tact not to buy one in a white neighborhood.” (Dan Kervick)
    I have seen you take some morally obtuse positions, Dan, but this takes the cake. You compare respecting the memory of 3,000 New Yorkers murdered in the name of Islam to racist bigotry?
    It’s clear that “hallowed ground” is a term with no meaning for you.

    Reply

  152. Carroll says:

    Posted by Cee, Aug 17 2010, 2:01PM – Link
    – it’s time for us to wake up and defend what is right in this country and speak out against what is wrong.
    Amen!!
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Ditto.

    Reply

  153. DakotabornKansan says:
  154. John Waring says:

    We Americans know litte about the cultures of hte Muslim world. if we want to counter the radicals, we have to engage more deeply. If the serveral readers of the Washington Note wish to do so, there is no better site than that of William Dalrymple.
    http://www.williamdalrymple.uk.com/index.html
    A good place to start is his articles and interviews. I am very much taken by his learned point of view.

    Reply

  155. downtown says:

    The governor of NY is a product of nepotism. Evidently he’s too ignorant to see the implications of his actions.
    “But, strangely, as we see here at TWN, it is often minorities who are the most vocal in their intolerance.” JohnH
    Very astute observation. Case in point is the way Bayard Rustin was marginalized by the Civil Rights Movement because he was gay.

    Reply

  156. JohnH says:

    Yes, amen!!!: “Today, we are seeing behaviors emerge in American political life that violate the basic social contract of what this country is about and seeing too much of a tilt towards the possibility of mob rule.” And/or a populist dictator like Peron or Mussolini.
    Minorities need to be especially concerned, for they could easily become the next targets. But, strangely, as we see here at TWN, it is often minorities who are the most vocal in their intolerance.
    Until now, people around the world have distinguished between the American people and its out of control government whose policies it despises. Now all that could changes–the American people will be seen as fully complicit of supportive of their government’s attacks on foreign nations.
    Scary times!

    Reply

  157. Dan Kervick says:

    The Governor of New York should not be attempting to negotiate a new location for the Cordoba center.
    The contention that while Muslims might have a legal right to establish a cultural center on their private property, they should nevertheless have the sensitivity and tact not to push it, and the good sense to relocate elsewhere, is not a “moderate” position. It is instead a position no less odious than the contention that while blacks have a right to buy a house anywhere they can afford to buy one, they should have the sensitivity and tact not to buy one in a white neighborhood.
    If Patterson lets the rabid band of concerned citizens in an anti-Muslim pitchfork brigade, people like Geller and Co., succeed in pushing and intimidating Muslim-Americans and their cultural center off their own property, on the grounds that property stands in some sanctified No-Muslims exclusion zone, then he is handing a victory to the worst and ugliest haters in this country. These politicians need to double down on the First Amendment and American principles, and let everyone know that as far as they are concerned, there is no US Holy War against the Muslim Empire, and they are not about to permit one on their watch. Enough ceding of ground to the forces of hate and religious Kulturkampf.

    Reply

  158. Cee says:

    – it’s time for us to wake up and defend what is right in this country and speak out against what is wrong.
    Amen!!

    Reply

  159. DCPundit says:

    Steve,
    If you ever really save the Republican Party from itself, those folks owe you a drink or two. This is such a principled, constructive post the likes of which we rarely see any more. Thank you for your balanced touch and for caring about all sides of America’s political arena.

    Reply

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