Skip to comments.The Proxy War At Ground Zero
Posted on 08/29/2010 12:00:03 PM PDT by nathanbedford
The Proxy War At Ground Zero
The first layer of the onion
The argument is about what the argument is about: Is the matter of the mosque to be settled by legalities or the proprieties?
Once the test is decided upon, the argument is over. That is one reason why the parties talk over each other. The left, now miraculously indued with commitment to the free exercise of religion and a renewed respect for property rights, argues that the matter is to be decided solely on the constitutional and property prerogatives of Muslim penitents.
But seven out of ten Americans see the matter as one of decent respect due to thousands of murdered innocents. They wonder why the question should be one of legal rights when there has never been a single legal impediment placed in the way of this mosque. To the contrary, it can fairly be said that the path has been eased for this mosque while a Christian church, destroyed in the attack, has been blocked for nearly a decade from rebuilding by one bureaucratic obstacle after another.
To those who oppose the mosque, the question is one of propriety not legality. As though reciting a catechism impelled by a sense of political correctness, they faithfully acknowledge the constitutional right of Muslims to practice their religion and to erect their mosques virtually anywhere, or at least anywhere else.
Opponents of the mosque also see the affair as a brazen provocation, an affront of Islamist triumphalism. They are not historically ignorant, they know Islam has put a shrine on top of Solomon's Temple and they know that Sophia in Istanbul is no longer a church but a museum recently converted from a mosque. The Dome of the Rock bears this inscription, God is only one God. Far be it from his glory that he should have a son." They know these buildings are moral assertions, affronts done with architecture. Nor do the opponents forget televised scenes of the Arab Street dancing with joy at the sight of Americans leaping to their deaths. It is equally a human emotion to react viscerally to the desecration of a gravesite and to be repulsed by the soiling of a battlefield.
Standing on hollowed ground while dedicating the cemetery at Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln told us that, " in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate -- we cannot consecrate -- we cannot hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract." Lincoln, perhaps as a rhetorical device, modestly said, we cannot detract but history teaches that we surely can desecrate. Americans cry out in indignation and anguish over the aggravating of a wound dug as deeply into the American psyche as into the earth itself.
The left says we must abandon the sacred ground to the mosque or deny ourselves. They stand truth on its head. They insist that we acquiesce in the desecration of a funeral pyre or be labeled bigots. They insist that there is nothing to fear from Islam and nothing to fear from this Imam in particular. The left wants 21st-century America to regard Islam myopically as a constitutionally privileged religion only instead of seeing it holistically as an intolerant culture, a fascistic theocracy, an aggressive evangelism, a medieval fundamentalism untouched by the Enlightenment, a superstition hostile to science. To a secularist of the leftist stripe, all religions are indistinguishable, all are equally to be despised-except when it becomes expedient for one to be exalted.
Make no mistake, Islam is different. Wahabis are not Mennonites. The suzerainty of Islam is incompatible with the rule of law. Sharia is incompatible with the American Constitution. The scientific method cannot survive under the rule of the Taliban. The primacy of the individual enshrined in the American Declaration of Independence is incompatible with the collectivism of the Koran. The free exercise of religion is incompatible with Islam. The human rights of women are incompatible with the burqa. Conversion by the sword is no less repugnant to us than summary execution, beheading with the sword, or death by stoning. Islam despises the very toleration which the left invokes on its behalf. Islam, like the Hun, is either at your feet or at your throat.
The left has it upside down. The left will obtain precisely the opposite effect it advertises as the benefit of its misplaced tolerance. The Arab street does not share American notions of diversity and tolerance. It regards them as symptoms of weakness. It respects strength and despises weakness. The Arab street will take the triumph of the mosque as a sign of the virility of Islam. It will regard acquiescence in the triumphalism of the mosque as effete but it will accept rejection of the mosque as the infidel understandably acting in his self interest. The Muslim himself does no other and expects no other.
Another layer of the onion
The argument is not really about a mosque, rather it is really about the legitimacy of the war on terror or, put another way, it is about whether America has the moral right to defend herself. The mosque is the token for the war on terror. The proxy war on Ground Zero is a war about whether we are at war at all. Ultimately, the left is saying that we are not at war at all. We have no enemy but ourselves. Rev. Wright was right, America is wrong.
Let the mosque be built on the battleground of 9/11 and the left will have won the war by legitimatizing the enemy and de-legitimatizing the rationale for the war. There will be no enemy, no reason to fight. There will be no enemy, that is, no enemy but ourselves and our own bigotry. There will be no international jihad, no international terrorism threat, no threat to the homeland but what we create out of our own hysteria. We have nothing to fear but ourselves.
The wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan will have been rendered illegitimate. Those who supported those wars will have been rendered illegitimate. Those who fell in those wars will have died for nothing because the wars will have been fought for nothing. At the end of the day the moral case to defend ourselves against Sharia will be undermined and lost. America will have become defenseless while still in possession of the world's mightiest armed force. As the barbarians approach the gate, we will be as morally bankrupt and feckless as the Romans.
All of this because of a building? No, all of this because the building represents the triumph of one world view over another, just as the Dome of the Rock was erected over Solomon's Temple. The triumph of the mosque will token the deconstruction of Western civilization.
Yet another layer
Is that why the left advances the cause of the mosque against the will of 70% of their countrymen? Is that why the left while marshaling arguments for this cause suddenly finds a new and marvelous attachment to the constitutional guarantee of free exercise of religion and a newfound respect for the rights of property? Is this just too tempting an opportunity to take yet another swipe at George Bush and his wars? Does the left hate its own country so much that this reaction is not deliberative but reflexive, visceral, and heedless of the consequences? Is the need to topple America from her shining place atop the hill so compelling that the left would court a new dark age under the Taliban?
Is this a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend? Leftists and Islam after all have very little in common except a common enemy and a global ambition. The United States stands as a bulwark against expansionist Islam just as it stood as a bulwark against expansionist Communism. Since the fall of the wall the left has morphed into an assortment of amebas sponsoring one world government through the United Nations, or to advance environmentalism, or to regulate the economy. Once again America stands as a bulwark against these ambitions. If the left must make common cause with a religion which it despises but with which it stands a chance of mortally weakening America, it will do so confident that it can ultimately triumph over Islam just as it will ultimately triumph over capitalism. The old maxim, one enemy at a time, is sound advice.
So the battle over the mosque is really an attempt to demoralize America, to attack her self-confidence and to undermine her ability to defend herself against an enemy that despises her values and covets her people as converts. In the lefts own jargon, it seeks to deconstruct America.
The left knows how to do this because it has done it before. In the McCarthy era it succeeded for years on behalf of the communist Alger Hiss in demoralizing and de-legitimatizing the forces aligned with Whittaker Chambers. Ultimately, the left, aided by the man himself, destroyed Sen. McCarthy and even rendered his name into a term of opprobrium. The war over Alger Hiss was really a proxy war over whether it was to be respectable to be anti-Communist. Its not but he was. Today, the left seeks to make opposition to Islamist terrorism disreputable.
A final layer
Today, our post racial President of the United States is brazenly playing the race card on the issue of immigration in a bid to lock up the votes of Hispanics who comprise 13% of the American electorate. With well worn demagoguery the left paints opposition to unchecked illegal immigration to be the equivalent of racism, just as it has effectively pandered to African-Americans in making opposition to affirmative action the equivalent of racism. The left knows that, worst case, it stands a good chance of locking up the votes of American Muslims who comprise 3% of the American electorate with this proxy war over the mosque. It will not be the first time that the left has sold out national security for a block of votes.
One is reminded of the apocryphal deathbed scene of Gertrude Stein who was approached by her acolytes who begged, "Gertrude, Gertrude before you die tell us, what is the answer?" Whereupon the great philosopher rose with the last of her strength and croaked, "What is the question?"
So the battle, as every trial lawyer knows, is over framing the question because the question predetermines the answer.
But this preoccupation with the question which decides the mosque has to do with more than the sophist's trick of argumentation. It has profound implications for American national security. Ultimately, it defines our eschatology, it tempers our soul. It is existential.
Imbued??? Infused??? Endowed???
Some reporter needs to ask Obama if he believes the Greek Orthodox church across from the old WTC should be allowed to rebuild on their land.
They are sitting us out.
It requires licenses and permits, and zoning, etc. It is insane to go along as if there are only two choices.
Freedom of religion or respect for the deceased. Petition City Hall, and get them off their asses and demand a set aside for Historic reasons.
We are being so easily lead down another garden path, to our demise. MOO
Wake up! New York!
Wake UP! New YORK!
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Philosophically, I now know everything I need to know about the Ground Zero Mosque.
And fully understand the stakes that are involved.
Thanks for taking the time and effort to compose such a pregnant piece.
This needs as much exposure as we can give it. Perhaps, it will fall into the hands of a statesman...
Thanks for the ping. This is the most coherent and cognizant essay I have seen on this subject, including Krauthammer. I am forwarding it to the Congressional candidate I am volunteering for, to help him define his arguments against the mosque (he’s against it already, but it helps to have a 2x4 argument like this to pound over the heads of the Democrats).
Excellent work, Nathan.
You, sir, are one hell of a writer. I sincerely hope that you have been saving your words for posterity, and perhaps for wider publication.
Sir Nathan, you hit every angle and did so perfectly, thank you for the words that all of us know, but usually only manage to get piecemeal...
Have you considered a nuclear suicide mosque at Ground Zero holding the world financial system hostage?
bookmark for later
Thanks for the ping Piasa.
excellent written article! thank you!
Great post. Wonderful read.
Good word. Allow me to be the first to propose that you are indeed endued with verbal grace.
Have you forwarded this to General Petraeus? :)
“The left wants 21st-century America to regard Islam myopically as a constitutionally privileged religion only instead of seeing it holistically as an intolerant culture, a fascistic theocracy, an aggressive evangelism, a medieval fundamentalism untouched by the Enlightenment, a superstition hostile to science.”
What is God trying to tell us?
” Today, our post racial President of the United States is brazenly playing the race card on the issue of immigration in a bid to lock up the votes of Hispanics who comprise 13% of the American electorate. With well worn demagoguery the left paints opposition to unchecked illegal immigration to be the equivalent of racism, just as it has effectively pandered to African-Americans in making opposition to affirmative action the equivalent of racism. The left knows that, worst case, it stands a good chance of locking up the votes of American Muslims who comprise 3% of the American electorate with this proxy war over the mosque. It will not be the first time that the left has sold out national security for a block of votes. “
Here we go again....
leftists keep saying it would be “intolerant” not to endorse a mosque at ground zero.
Hmm I guess they have ironically forgotten to mention that Islam is the world’s most intolerant religion
And that putting a mosque right next to where nearly 3000 americans were killed in the name of islam is about as intolerant a thing to do to survivors families and Americans in general as is possible.
I’d like to see the left’s suddenly found convenient ad hoc support of the first amendment put to a real test.
right next to the mosque, if its buil,t needs to a be a sculpture garden full of all sorts of different and negative depictions of muhammed, and next to that a museum dedicated to exposing the horrors done in the name of islam. subjugation of women, “honor killings” murders of gays, “infidels” etc.
Let’s see if the left will endorse that bit of property rights and free speech about religion.
This is my response to Islam, which proclaims that God did not need a son. You’re right. God did not need His son....WE DID!
“...THREAD OF THE DAY...”
I second that, 2ndDivisionVet.
Just beautiful. You did indeed say it all in one place, and so readable. I hope many will see this. It should be an op-ed somewhere.
An excellent essay.
thanks for the ping!
Joseph Bottum at first things is good today too.
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