One of the more bizarre reactions to Pres. Obama’s statement supporting the right of a Muslim group to build an Islamic community center two blocks from Ground Zero came from William Kristol:
For Obama, 9/11 was a “deeply traumatic event for our country.” Traumatic events invite characteristic reactions and over-reactions–fearfulness, anger, even hysteria. That’s how Obama understands the source of objections to the Ground Zero mosque. It’s all emotional. The arguments don’t have to be taken seriously. The criticisms of the mosque are the emotional reactions of a traumatized people.But Americans aren’t traumatized. 9/11 was an attack on America, to which Americans have responded firmly, maturely, and appropriately. Part of our sensible and healthy reaction is that there shouldn’t be a 13-story mosque and Islamic community center next to Ground Zero. … But Obama … doesn’t feel he even has to engage the arguments against the mosque–because he regards his fellow citizens as emotionally traumatized victims, not citizens who might have a reasonable point of view.
Well, no. Kristol certainly was not traumatized. As TBogg reminds us, in appropriately salty language, the destruction of the World Trade Center and murder of 3,000 human beings did not traumatize the Grinning Death Head (GDH), or his fellow never-met-a-war-they-didn’t-love-or-wanted-to-serve-in neocons — it energized them:
To them, the attack on 9/11 was the greatest fucking day of their lives because it gave them the causus belli fantasy that they had been masturbating to for years. Where we saw smoke and ash, death and destruction, they saw great opportunity and heavenly providence. And a mere nine days after the destruction of the twin towers, while America was still digging through the rubble and tallying up the dead, PNAC presented a blueprint to President Bush that, surprisingly enough, looked an awful lot like their Christmas wish list. After a perfunctory and obligatory first nod towards Osama bin Laden, there was this:
We agree with Secretary of State Powell’s recent statement that Saddam Hussein “is one of the leading terrorists on the face of the Earth….” It may be that the Iraqi government provided assistance in some form to the recent attack on the United States. But even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism. The United States must therefore provide full military and financial support to the Iraqi opposition. American military force should be used to provide a “safe zone” in Iraq from which the opposition can operate. And American forces must be prepared to back up our commitment to the Iraqi opposition by all necessary means.
Helping to pave the road to war were PNAC members within the administration, journalistic hacks (among others: Stephen Hayes, Jeffrey Goldberg, and Judith Miller) and the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth. To date 4400 dead American soldiers and countless innocent Iraqis who were liberated from the pain of living have paid the toll for this neo-con dream of empire.
But, please, Bill Kristol, tell us how Barack Obama is dismissing your sage views on matters most important[.]
And today, more nonsense from the GDH:
A column (h/t, MEMRI) in the August 16, 2010 London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat by Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid, director of Al-Arabiya TV and the paper’s former editor, “A House of Worship or a Symbol of Destruction?” should mean the end of plans for a mosque near Ground Zero. Mr. Al-Rashid supports President Obama’s stand for the mosque in principle (as he supports Obama-like or even beyond-Obama-like policies with respect to the Middle East). He’s no neocon. But his practical case against building the mosque is irrefutable. …
Irrefutable? Only by the GDH’s standards, which are in the sub-basement:
Wow, this must be a really, really devastating argument — right?
Um, no. Here’s the key passage:
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….
Hunh? That’s Kristol’s idea of a death blow to the project? The same damn argument every other opponent makes, on the basis of zero evidence — that this Islamic center will be a hotbed of radicalism — combined with a statement that’s utterly at odds with the facts?
As anyone who’s looked at a recent New York Times already knows by now, there are two mosques in the area of Ground Zero already, both predating 9/11 (one, in fact, predating the World Trade Center itself), and both quite crowded — as the Times notes, they’re both one-room operations that “routinely turn people away for lack of space.” The area has “no practicing Muslims”? Give me a break.
I know most lefties think Kristol is stupid, but I think he realizes that this article is a big fat nothing, and he doesn’t care. I think he believes that if opponents [make] enough noise suggesting that the project is doomed, it might make the demise seem inevitable and might soften whatever remaining support the project has. (I suspect that’s also the thinking behind last night’s Haaretz report, subsequently debunked, that the Islamic center’s planners were backing down.)
Dana Milbank, who does not often get praise from me, has a column today which very powerfully contrasts what the first President of the United States thought about religious liberty and what he conceived it to mean, and what many of our leaders think about freedom of religion today.