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Hillary and the International Freedom Center

A few months ago I posted about the grassroots fight against the construction of an International Freedom Center on the former site of the World Trade Center. According to the group Take Back the Memorial, the IFC will become a center for "anti-Americanism" and will distract attention from 9/11 by focusing not specifically on the attacks, but on oppression worldwide, including presumably Abu Ghraib.

Take Back the Memorial had already attracted the support of the Uniformed Firefighters Associations, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, and several prominent New York Republican politicians. Now, apparently, it has won the favor of Sen. Hillary Clinton. "I am troubled by the serious concerns that family members and first responders have expressed to me," Sen. Clinton told The Post exclusively yesterday. "The [Lower Manhattan Development Corp.] has authority over the site, and I do not believe we can move forward until it heeds and addresses their concerns. Therefore, I cannot support the IFC."

The organization is still hoping for support from Sen. Chuck Schumer, Gov. George Pataki, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Asks the New York Post,

What’s it going to take to convince them? An endorsement of the IFC from Osama bin Laden?

Discussions - 30 Comments

Nothing could more aptly prove the cluelessness of America’s cultural elite. To "hijack" this memorial (and the one in Pennsylavia -- "The Crescent of Embrace" !!!) shows utter disrepect of the American people and the underestimation of our intelligence. They act as if we were herd-beasts to be led around...mistaking us for their natural constituence, which is typically made up of the stupid, the endoctrinated, and the irresponsible. Three cheers for Burlingame!

Let’s all get on board with the protest against the stupid Flight 93 memorial as well -- it’s in the shape of the Islamic crescent! E-mail the bastards and tell them to change the design (there is already some movement to do just that...because of PRESSURE).

The bastards may have changed their e-mail address -- the link doesn’t work. Try it anyway:

FLNI_Superintendent@nps.gov

Dain, are you saying that the "Islamofascists" have infiltrated the Pennsylvania memorial planning committee in some way? Seems a tad paranoid.

Also, everyone should check out the many comments at John’s original post, which he unfortunately didn’t link to. The comments from Julie Newmarket and Mark Ibold, in particular, have some particularly good information in them. The Take Back the Memorial group is hardly dedicated to making the memorial a politics-free zone; they simply want one that appeals to the Right. The final comment at the earlier post (#41, by George Williams) provides as good of a reason as any for not signing onto their petition. I don’t really feel much of anything towards IFC’s memorial plans, but their FAQ page deserves a once-over, at least.

As for Hillary’s endorsement, she’s clearly laying out her credentials for a presidential campaign, and since the Right has been the new center, especially amongst the more spineless and unprincipled Dems (Hillary very much included), she is probably hoping that this "sensible" endorsement of TBTM’s "concerns" will increase her appeal among conservative Dems, and maybe even a handful of Repubs. The Dains of the world (and probably most of the NLT gang) will, of course, continue to see her as a Communist attempting to disguise herself with token gestures such as this.

And as for Osama, maybe if Bush would actually catch the guy we could ask him his thoughts on the memorial. At this point, he’ll probably just be pleased at any memorial, and make plans for blowing it up. TBTM is concerned that the IFC memorial "will distract attention from 9/11 by focusing not specifically on the attacks, but on oppression worldwide." Isn’t Bush doing the same by focusing on Iraq -not involved with 9/11- and talking about spreading Freedom (TM), Democracy (TM), and Love (TM) around the world, and defeating Global Violent Extremism (TM) (at least that G.V.E. committed by our enemies of the moment)?? When it comes to Osama, Bush gives us "I really don’t think about him very much." (March 13, 2002) Great.


Schumer, Bloomberg? They certainly won’t see the light. I doubt if they can be made to feel the heat. But I guess it’s worth trying.

The key to this will be the police and firefighters’ associations in NY. If they’re with us on this and stay with us, we have a chance to win. If not, not.

Jmont, of course it would appear that they want to "appeal to the Right" to most Leftists. Anything that doesn’t reflexively blame U.S. policy/capitalism/corruption for terrorism would appear to be slanted "to the Right."

But you know, war memorials USED to be about patriotism, not about critique of "Americanism." The Islamofascists are introspective in the least about their killing...what obligation do we have to excuse their behavior in any way whatsoever? Indeed, why would we want a "neutral" monument at all?

I think someone needs to invite Leftists to rejoin the tribe. While critique of "stupid Amerikans" may be their bread-and-butter, it’s neither needed nor welcome in time of war.

The comments from Julie Newmarket and Mark Ibold, in particular, have some particularly good information in them. The Take Back the Memorial group is hardly dedicated to making the memorial a politics-free zone; they simply want one that appeals to the Right.

I know that this claim has been put forward, but the only solid evidence I could find in the comments by Newmarket and Ibold to back up this claim was that certain conservative groups have expressed support for TBTM’s mission. I’m sure that this is the case, but wouldn’t it be nice if some prominent liberal organizations did likewise? It would go a long way toward challenging the notion that conservatives have a lock on patriotism.

The Dains of the world (and probably most of the NLT gang) will, of course, continue to see her as a Communist attempting to disguise herself with token gestures such as this.

I don’t claim to speak for anyone but myself here, but I don’t see it that way. I’ve never been a fan of Hillary’s, but her statements in recent months regarding foreign policy have been admirable, in my view.

Isn’t Bush doing the same by focusing on Iraq -not involved with 9/11- and talking about spreading Freedom (TM), Democracy (TM), and Love (TM) around the world, and defeating Global Violent Extremism (TM) (at least that G.V.E. committed by our enemies of the moment)?? When it comes to Osama, Bush gives us "I really don’t think about him very much." (March 13, 2002) Great.

This isn’t about Iraq, but your "when-in-doubt-launch-a-rant-about-Iraq" approach to this issue is instructive. And just as an aside, there was a time (granted, it seems like long ago), when liberals and conservatives alike revered terms like freedom and democracy. Here, too, your sneering contempt for these concepts speaks volumes. Have a nice evening.

I don’t think that it is paranoid to see the Pennsylvania Memorial crescent as an imprudent use of a Muslim symbol - that was exactly my thought when I saw the design.

This isn’t about Iraq, but your "when-in-doubt-launch-a-rant-about-Iraq" approach to this issue is instructive. And just as an aside, there was a time (granted, it seems like long ago), when liberals and conservatives alike revered terms like freedom and democracy. Here, too, your sneering contempt for these concepts speaks volumes. Have a nice evening.

I didn’t rant about Iraq. I pointed out that, in a way, Bush is distracting attention away from 9/11, too (well, he’s distracting attention away from getting the one known ringleader behind the attacks - a justice for 9/11 that ALL Americans could agree on; he’s of course all too happy to exploit the explosions for about any purpose at the drop of a hat - it’s his when-in-doubt-rant-about-9/11 approach!). He’s distracting our attention from this with the Iraq misadventure and, more relatedly, with the grandiose talk of spreading freedom and democracy, including his own strategically limited fixation on certain pockets of oppression (although it’s described as though it’s actually "oppression worldwide"). Remember when he said this during his second Inaugural Address:

"All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: The United States will not ignore your oppression or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you."

Osama has faded pretty far into the background. Iraq was initially pumped up as somehow connected to 9/11, but that has been shown to be as false as the WMD claims. Now, Bush’s focus is on freedom and democracy, and relieving the oppressed from tyranny worldwide. If focusing on "oppression worldwide" is a Presidential project, why should anyone -especially Bush and Iraq war supporters- protest if the IFC should focus on the same?? Actually, if the IFC focuses on "oppression worldwide," then it seems far from the mark to call that ’anti-Americanism.’ Considering that such a focus meshes neatly with the President’s own 9/11-inspired foreign policy project, it seems quintessentially AMERICAN at this point.

While I doubt that you believed it when you accused me of it, I have no "sneering contempt" for freedom or democracy (I would have been offended, but then I dismissed it as a low-grade Rovean rhetorical tactic). Far from it. Actually, I revere more than the terms and concepts. I revere their actual existence. I simply don’t believe that Bush cares about or understands these things, despite his recent vintage I-have-a-dream speeches.

Oh, hey, Dain and Tony, I almost forgot to ask you if you’ve seen South Carolina’s very suspicious-looking flag. Just goes to show you how long those weaselly Islamofascists have been infiltrating our society, doesn’t it?? Perhaps someone could start a campaign to replace that dangerous crescent (and desert-motif palm tree - the only thing missing is Omar on a camel!) with something that looks more like, say, the Dixie flag?

I probably shouldn’t bother posting this comment, as J Montgomery is oh-so-obviously superior and more intelligent than me, and I most-assuradly deserve to be derided by him, but it seems to me that memorials for an event should be directly tied to that event and respectful of it. Just as we wouldn’t make a Holocaust memorial that talked about how the Jews oppressed Europe through control of financial institutions and caused the failure of German in the First World War, and we wouldn’t make said memorial in the shape of a (completely legitimate in other circumstances) swastika.

In the case of the second situation, I would not attribute the misguided design of the memorial to a neo-nazi infiltration, but rather to a lack of foresight and/or sympathy.

Jmont, the South Carolina flag wasn’t meant to commemorate the victims of Islamic-inspired murder. Get real. I have nothing against crescents in general...I like circles and squares as well. It’s the use of this symbol in this particular instance that is infuriating.

As for Bush, he has nothing to do with this...this is between the Park Service, the designer, the families, and the American people.

The whining about the crescent shape as part of the Flight 93 memorial is really absurd. It’s a commonly seen shape and, to be more accurate, the crescent that is commonly considered the crescent of Islam is a lunar crescent, which is noticeably different than that of the Flight 93 memorial. I think some people are really just looking for something to be offended by. I thought that was a trademark behavior of "politically correct," bleeding-heart Liberals.

I have a sticker in my rear car window of the Leliwa coat of arms (it’s a Polish family heritage thing), and I’ve had some folks ask me suspiciously if it’s an Islamic symbol, which can be frustrating. It’s not at all unusual to see crescents as symbols of heraldry in Slavic nations. I think the crescent symbol is much too common and ambiguous to be seen as an inappropriate Muslim reference at the Flight 93 memorial. I suspect the memorial will be attracting people who wish to remember and honor those killed on 9/11; it won’t be serving as a Mecca for jihadists!

I was not looking for something to be "offended by." I was initially happy that a memorial was to be built, but then I saw the design. There is absolutely no need to build a memorial that offends so many people when there are so many other geometric shapes to choose from. People who support this shape are being insensitive and/or intentionally dismissive of the heroism of these people.

As I understand it the crescent shape is a function of the local terrain (the base of a hill), and wasn’t planned with any particular symbolism in mind.

I don’t know, Mr. Moser. Whether its intentional or not I think the problem is still the same. We don’t want to give terrorists ANY encouragement and this does just that. I agree with Dain- there are enough other shapes out there to choose from, so why the crescent?

"...so why the crescent?"
The terrain. Watching the video you can see this. The more important question is:
"Why didn’t they realize that a crescent might be a bad idea?"

The designers are understandably lazy / concerned about costs, so following the terrain is a natural choice. But, ultimately, not building the memorial would be even more conductive to being lazy / reducing costs. Since we are building the memorial, the last thing we should do is offend the sensibilities of those we are memorializing (victims/heros and their families).

Exactly, Luke, which is why I think the memorial should be in the shape of a cross. This way there would be NO confusion about whose side the memorial is supposed to represent!

I think the "the notion that conservatives have a lock on patriotism" [from comment number 6] is just that - a notion; one that is entertained almost exclusively by conservatives themselves. Oh well, if it makes them feel good about themselves...

I the same spirit, we should go over to Auschwitz and build a memorial for the Jewish victims in the shape of a swastika...we could call it "Hitler’s Hug."

How people try to defend this is beyond me. Terrain or no terrain, even a nitwit should be able to figure out you don’t build a memorial to resemble the principal symbol of those who murdered the people you are trying to honor. And yes, they did realize this during their decision-making process...and choose to ignore the problems.

A larger version of THIS is what we need to memorialize these brave people.

Sandra, you’re not serious with your suggestion, are you????

I think the "the notion that conservatives have a lock on patriotism" [from comment number 6] is just that - a notion; one that is entertained almost exclusively by conservatives themselves. Oh well, if it makes them feel good about themselves...

Just to be clear, I don’t believe it myself. There are plenty of patriotic liberals around, some of whom I know personally. What amazes me is that too many liberals seem to run from anything that seems to resemble patriotism out of fear that it might happen to put them on the same side as conservatives. Hence several people have jumped on TBTM, not because of any part of their agenda (which is basically that the memorial should focus on 9/11, not generalized oppression), but because some right-wing groups are associated with it. It amazes me because it seems so self-defeating; why do some of you seem so intent on making it easy for conservatives to call your patriotism into question?

I don’t think liberals should waste their time attempting to dispel a false notion. Just because someone questions, or is skeptical of, the motives of the TBTM group is not a good reason to question their patriotism.

I sometimes think that what liberals mean by "patriotism" is loyalty to what America should be, not what it is. Unfortunately, because their standards for what should be are utterly unrealistic, their "patriotism" tends to be hollow, hectoring, and hyper-critical...and no help at all when the country is under threat.

Give me old-fashion patriots every time.

Oh, yeah, right on, Dain! As opposed to the conservative version of patriotism, which is a bunch of empty flag-waving gestures; big, dumb, blind obedience to those in power; disallowance of questions from the public; a totally uncritical Might Is Right attitude; and regurgitation of jingoistic phrases like "Freedom isn’t free" while valuing freedoms in theory, but not practice (such as the American Legion’s recent call to stop anti-war protests and demonstrations). Ok, that’s all I can hack this week. So much vomiting is hard on my throat. God, why do I torture myself by reading this crap? I guess it’s like seeing the Tent of the Grotesque at the circus or something...

So please, Dain, go stage a patriotic protest outside the Flight 93 memorial when it opens and yell at all the victim’s families, including those who approved the memorial design!

Patriotism: Having the brain power (and heart) to 1) realize that your folk are under attack, and 2) stand with your own folk against the attacker.

Seems pretty simple, MB. Now why can’t the Left manage to do it? I’ll tell you why...they don’t think they are a part of our "folk." They think they are better...citizens of the world, etc. Beyond all that silly "in-group" stuff and the saber-rattling that goes with it. Oh so sophisticated...geez, give me a barf-bag.

It looks like Dain won this one as usual since I just heard the anouncment that the "freedom" center project just got the kabosh. Thank God in Heaven!

Yes Mack, thank GOD!!! Another real travesty was avoided, but they really had me worried for a minute there!

Damned straight! Now..."let’s roll" and put an end to that stupid "Crescent of Embarrassment" they are about to erect in the Pennsylvania countryside. I think the architect should be given a one-way ticket to Islamoville, if nothing else to teach him some "cultural sensitivity."

Gee, no smarta$$ comments from the Lefties on this one, huh? Kind of nice...I guess utter DEFEAT is something they can’t fathom. Well, get used to it.

Dain, why do you spell smartass with two dollar signs? That’s kind of odd.

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