"People around the world will differ over the meaning of September 11 2001, but there can be no doubting that it is one of America’s most consequential military defeats. It led to a stalemate in Afghanistan and a war in Iraq that undermined the US’s standing in the world. By providing another reason for low interest rates and easy credit, it helped spur the present economic crisis. Whether or not this was inevitable, it happened. Osama bin Laden’s strategic calculus – that the US lacked either the resolve, the cohesion or the cultural self-confidence to stand up to a mighty blow – has in many ways been vindicated."
9/11 was a military defeat for the US?
Is this guy kidding?
9/11 was a cowardly terrorist act but, as with Pearl Harbor, Oklahoma City, and other cowardly terrorist attacks perpetrated from without or within, at no time was the US ever defeated by the individuals and ideologies that brought them forth. Not for a second.
Indeed it is America's cohesion and cultural self-confidence that makes this mosque and cultural center possible, and if the author doesn't understand that, he ought to revisit our founding documents and our history of being able to maintain our pluralistic society, including dissent such as his own. The real defeat would be to give in and become less free and less pluralistic.
While I can understand the motivations behind those who believe that a mosque anywhere near the Ground Zero site is insensitive because those who perpetrated that act claimed to be doing so in the name of Islam, the rhetoric of many of the opponents (Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, to name just two) and the media coverage of the situation up to now would make canceling or relocating this project a propaganda victory for the bigots on both sides--those who believe and preach that all Muslims are potential terrorists would be emboldened, and those in the Muslim world who benefit from painting the US as intolerant and hateful toward all Muslims--indeed the very terrorist recruiters we seek to prevent--would use this episode as proof that they are correct, as well. The fact is, we in the US are not bigoted against Muslims or anyone else--though a few of us are doing all they can to make it seem so--and we cannot allow anyone anywhere to paint us with that broad brush, no matter what political, social, or religious ideology they claim to represent.
Given the choice between insensitivity (which, if real at all, seems largely unintentional) and intolerance / propaganda that we now face, I'd prefer we show a little insensitivity...
Also blogging: xpostfactoid: Christopher Caldwell girds for civilizational war near Ground Zero