Nicholas Kristof — Invokes Osama Bin Laden, Loses Argument

According to Kristof, Republicans are siding with Bin Laden by opposing the Ground Zero Mosque.  You see, “Osama abhors the vision of interfaith harmony that the proposed Islamic center represents.”  Meanwhile, “many American Republicans share with Al Qaeda the view that the West and the Islamic world are caught inevitably in a ‘clash of civilizations.’”  Accordingly, Al Qaeda recruiters “will use the opposition to the community center and mosque to try to recruit more terrorists.”

Really?  Kristof thinks that Al Qaeda recruits who formerly held no animus to Western culture in general and the U.S. in particular will be driven to blowing themselves and innocent bystanders to bits because those evil Republicans don’t like the idea of an Islamic cultural center being placed at Ground Zero, on a site where the landing gear of an airplane Islamic terrorists just flew into the World Trade Center crashed into the ground.

Actually, it seems far more likely that Al Qaeda and its friends would view the building of an Islamic center at Ground Zero as a victory monument.  In fact, if it is built, you can bet that they will use it as a sign of weakness on the part of the U.S. to support their recruitment efforts. 

In fact, they will use whatever we do or don’t do, wherever we do it or don’t do it, and for whatever reason we do it or don’t do it, to recruit.  They hate us for our tolerance — including the incredible tolerance we show for the Islamic faith — because they have no tolerance whatsoever for Jews, Christians, gays, women, or anyone who fails to conform to their own barbaric worldview.  They hate us for our successes, because it highlights their failures.  They hate us for our support for Israel, which is besieged by enemies surrounding it.  They hate us for everything we stand for.

People who stone young girls for the crime of being raped, who launch missiles from schools and hospitals, who blow up schoolchildren and wedding parties at random, and who teach their children to hate the West from birth really don’t really care about our views on the Ground Zero Mosque.  They will hate us for everything else in the absence of this issue. 

Kristoff is not actually trying to debate the issue like a rational adult.  Kristof is trying to end debate, and to declare the position he disagrees with off-limits, out of bounds, irrational, and un-American.  It is like lobbing the charge of racism at a critic of President Obama.  The point is to avoid engaging the merit s of the debate, not to argue them.

It is not even close to arguing in good faith.  Take this passage, for example:

Some Republicans say that it is not a matter of religious tolerance but of sensitivity to the feelings of relatives to those killed at ground zero. Hmm. They’re just like the Saudi officials who ban churches, and even confiscate Bibles, out of sensitivity to local feelings.

Really?  Which Republicans are suggesting that Muslims be expelled from New York, that mosques cannot be built anywhere in New Yok City, or that the Koran itself be banned from Lower Manhattan? 

The Ground Zero Mosque does not indicate “Islamophobia” or a lack of tolerance on the part of opponents.  No one is suggesting that Muslims cannot worship or build mosques in the U.S.  What the debate indicates is a lack of sensitivity to very real and legitimate concerns by those, like Kristof, who are so contemptuous of their fellow citizens that they have to squeal that we are becoming an American Taliban by opposing building the mosque right at Ground Zero as opposed to somewhere else in Manhattan. 

There is a corollary to Godwin’s law that says whoever first compares his opponents in a debate to Nazis automatically loses.  I propose a new corollary — whoever compares his opponents in a debate to Al Qaeda is an asshole.

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Published in: on August 22, 2010 at 10:55 am  Leave a Comment  

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