Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque

I've heard all the arguments for and against allowing a Mosque to go in so very close to the 9/11 Ground Zero site. Mayor Bloomberg particularly makes my stomach turn. His vitriol in support of it is more about chastising understandably sensitive Americans than it is about so-called American ideals. On the other side I feel like I'm watching Charlton Heston's hit movie - The Planet of the Apes when he mumbles "get your hands off me you damn, dirty Muslims".

Well, the two most compelling arguments for and against I've heard came at me out of left field (or was it talk radio). On one hand radio host Hugh Hewitt likens Ground Zero to the killing fields of Gettysburg - it is a graveyard. Some 8,000 people lost their life in The Battle of Gettysburg. Plans to open a casino near the Gettysburg battlefield were defeated in 2006 on the grounds that it is a graveyard and that commercial use and exploitation of hallowed grounds is unseemly and inappropriate. Ground Zero is no different. The Mosque being considered is there for no other reason than its proximity to the site of the 9/11 attacks where 3,000 people lost their lives. There is no reason the Mosque couldn't be built elsewhere. To put such a symbol of Islam adjacent to a "battlefield" in the Islamic war against the West is unseemly and inappropriate. I find this a compelling argument against allowing it.

On the other hand, radio host Jason Lewis says hold on a minute. This is a nation whose government has deployed troops to every corner of the world, erecting the equivalent symbol of its religion - militaristic power - with every military base we build. The citizens of the hosting nations are never comfortable with the American military flexing it's muscle, or staging military strikes against their neighbors from their lands.

Face it, we won WWII 60+ years ago and yet we still have bases in Germany and Japan. If you think the Japanese are happy with that think again. Japan's prime minister Yukio Hatoyama resigned in June for failing to fulfill a campaign promise. News reports say the premier takes responsibility for a broken campaign promise of moving U.S. marine base off island of Okinawa. Locals for years have claimed mistreatment and rape at the hands of American soldiers.

The countries that sport a U.S. military presence includes Bulgaria, Greenland, Guam, Italy, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Italy, Germany, Japan, Kuwait, Kosovo, South Korea, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and now Afghanistan and Iraq, and in all these places there was or is vehement opposition by the citizens. Did it ever stop us? No, not for a minute. How is this different than Islam building a controversial Mosque in a nation that makes religious freedom a hallmark of its founding?

The argument Jason Lewis put out there is not to argue for the construction of the Mosque at Ground Zero just a pause to think about what we - the U.S. - has done almost without regard to local sensibilities all around the world.

Good arguments, both of them. Personally I am siding with the former. Since no one is saying the Mosque should not be built at all then why not insist it be built somewhere else? I don't think the proponents for this Mosque - including the President - are fooling anyone. This is a provocative, in your face move by the Islamists. As for the U.S. being the world's policeman with a military presence in every slice of the globe, well that's a subject for another discussion just not this one.