If there was one frail, painfully naive hope I harbored when I left for vacation over a week ago, it was for all this national nonsense over the proposed Cordoba Initiative community center in Lower Manhattan to get sorted out while I was away.
Alas and alack, this was not to be! The past week has brought more violent idiocy (now, Cordoba opponents are attacking people for looking vaguely Islamic), and a lot of shameful cowardice -- including the most ridiculous walk-back President Barack Obama has ever offered.
Over at Salon, Alex Pareene has the best bestiary of heroes and jackasses related to this issue (progressives looking for people to look up to should turn their jaded eyes to people like Grover Norquist and Ted Olson!).
One thing hasn't changed since I've been away, of course! There is already a mosque at Ground Zero and there will continue to be a mosque at Ground Zero once this toxic political geekshow moves on to its next scheduled stop.
At any rate, if you're wondering what the world's assemblage of al Qaeda death cultists think about this whole matter, wonder no more! They have a message for Cordoba opponents, and that message reads, "Thanks for your support of international terrorism!" Per Scott Shane at the New York Times:
Some counterterrorism experts say the anti-Muslim sentiment that has saturated the airwaves and blogs in the debate over plans for an Islamic center near ground zero in Lower Manhattan is playing into the hands of extremists by bolstering their claims that the United States is hostile to Islam.
Evan F. Kohlmann, who tracks militant Web sites at the security consulting firm Flashpoint Global Partners, said supporters of Al Qaeda have seized on the controversy "with glee." On radical Web forums, he said, the dispute over the Islamic center, which would include space for worship, is lumped together with fringe developments like a Florida pastor's call for making Sept. 11 "Burn a Koran Day."
"It's seen as proof of what Awlaki and others have been saying, that the U.S. is hypocritical and that most Americans are enemies of Islam," Mr. Kohlmann said. He called the anti-Islam statements spawned by the dispute "disturbing and sad" and said they were feeding anti-American sentiment that could provoke violence.
Meanwhile, we have soldiers abroad whose lives depend on winning the "hearts and minds" of the Afghan people. Why do Cordoba opponents hate the troops so?