Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Take Back the Memorial

I encourage interested readers to sign on to this internet petition, against the attempts to diminish the importance of 9/11 by turning the World Trade Center site into a generalized monument to all of history’s victims. The following is the text of the petition:

We, the undersigned, believe that the World Trade Center Memorial should stand as a solemn remembrance of those who died on September 11th, 2001, and not as a journey of history’s "failures" or as a debate about domestic and foreign policy in the post-9/11 world. Political discussions have no place at the World Trade Center September 11th memorial, and the International Freedom Center honors no one by making excuses for the perpetrators of this heinous crime. The memorial should be about what happened that day, about the brave heroes who risked their lives so selflessly, and about the innocent lives that were lost... nothing more.

Discussions - 41 Comments

Done, with great gladness. It’s truly appalling that the Left would try to highjack this memorial in order to preach to the rest of us. Just another example of overweening narcissism and myopia.

Dain, you seem to be the one suffering from myopia. Most of the planners of the IFC are, well, conservatives. Do your homework, buddy. From what I heard, Tom Berstein, the man behind the IFC, is a big-time Bush supporter. That seems to debunk your theory about how the Left is "highjacking" the memorial to "preach to the rest of us." So it’s your memorial now? Can those dirty Liberals visit it or is it just for you and your righteous buddies? Get a grip.

First and foremost, I’d like to say that I LOVE the idea of a 9/11 WTC memorial that is completely, 100% neutral in every way. I would support that, definitely, period. Having said that, I will say that there’s a BIG difference between

"Political discussions have no place at the World Trade Center September 11th memorial"


My clarification: Political discussions have no place in what is presented and displayed to the public - be it structures or text - at the WTC 9/11 memorial.

The outcome, the result that will be the memorial should be absolutely neutral. As we can see by the dueling over it, that might be a tall order. But the memorial will obviously be a place where people will HAVE political discussions; the memorial itself will not need to agitate or inspire for this to occur. I see nothing wrong with having political discussions (quietly, respectfully, not disrupting others’ experience) at a memorial.

I do have serious doubts that this group with the petition is truly looking for a neutral memorial. The "About this Site" page at Take Back The Memorial states that "Take Back the Memorial is coordinated closely with 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America." Golly, a safe and strong America sounds nice, but let’s be honest we’re already veering away from a neutral group clamoring to avoid political disputes and controversy. What is likely sought is domination for THEIR viewpoint, which is then to be seen as neutrality and objectivity. A good hint comes with their opting to be a "Friend of MilBlogs" and posting a banner link to The Mudville Gazette, home of MilBlogs. That’s MilBlogs, as in military blogs. Their homepage graphic shows the silhouette of a soldier, 3 fighter jets, the Statue of Liberty, an American Flag background, and not Bald Eagles, but two HAWKS - hint, hint. Now, if keeping things politically neutral is the goal, then hawk vs. dove discussions about the nature of our RESPONSE to 9/11 (or, the prevention of another terrorist attack) seem to be tainting that pure goal.

Anyway, what I’m somewhat confused about is the public/private nature of the IFC itself. From what I’ve heard, it will be a private venture, but open to the public. The OFFICIAL monument is the World Trade Center Memorial, and its so-far awkwardly named World Trade Center Memorial Center right next to it. If the IFC is a private place, and not the official memorial/monument, its necessity and obligation to be neutral is a non-issue.

On the Take Back the Memorial’s "REAL Myth Vs. Fact Sheet" - which largely reads just like a non-helpful he said/she said sort of thing - the last "myth" certainly seems to be addressed by the TBTM group in a discouraging fashion:

First, the IFC’s Myth vs. Fact assertion:

"Myth: The IFC will excuse or rationalize the 9/11 attacks, either in exhibits or in evening discussion programs.

Fact: No it won’t. The attacks were inexcusable, barbaric, and cannot be defended. Period."

And then, TBTM’s confouding rebuttal:

"Truth: “To be sure, the International Freedom Center will host debates and note points of view with which you –and I– will disagree.” Richard Tofel, IFC Pres./COO, from A Fitting Place at Ground Zero, Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2005."

I’m not sure how hosting debates is equal to "excusing" or "rationalizing" the attacks. Certainly a debate between Ward Churchill and Ann Coulter would do little or nothing to enlighten the public or stimulate edifying, productive discussions of "what next?" - it would be the equivalent of some tv news scream-fest - but perhaps debates involving non-fringe types COULD. And if this is NOT the official monument or memorial, just a place close to it, why not?

Memorials can be hijacked from the left or right - and I don’t see where the IFC IS the memorial - but I find either scenario objectionable.

Andrew, I really don’t care WHO is behind it, I care about what they intend to do. And from what I’ve read and heard (I did do some homework), I didn’t care for the plan. So I signed the petition. As for these supposed conservative would have conceived of the current plan. Say what you will.

I do have serious doubts that this group with the petition is truly looking for a neutral memorial.

Who wants a neutral memorial? Does the Jefferson Memorial in Washington include anti-Jefferson quotes by Hamilton and Adams, just for balance? Should the Lincoln Memorial feature statements by Jefferson Davis? Should the FDR Memorial...well, okay, you get the picture.

Honestly, though, I didn’t mean for this to be a partisan thing. It isn’t about whether someone likes George W. Bush, or supported the Iraq War. It’s a matter of simple justice for the victims and their families.

*Shakes head and rolls eyes at Dain" Oh, now you don’t care WHO is behind it...suuuuure, Dain. I will say what I will, because you do just the same, even if you did "do some homework" (although with no reference to any actual fact).

Well, Andrew, you sure showed me, huh? Fact is, I didn’t like the plan, Stan...and even "Bush supporters" make egregious errors at times. I am dedicated to an outlook, not a man.

Andrew - make a special note of Dain’s latest comment, because it says so much. It’s exactly right. Rather than being concerned with the truth of any matter, big or small, or confronting the glaring contradictions between reality and the FoxNews spin on events that he tries to convince himself of, he is instead "dedicated to an outlook." He’s an ideologue of the worst variety. Thus, he’s only with Bush 90% of the time, because sometimes Bush isn’t quite enough of a right-wing zealot for him, and that’s when Dain boldly mumbles his disagreement at the tv or posts his 20th comment of the day here at NLT indicating his tepid "dissent". This is why anything he says should be taken with a grain of salt, but I bet you already had that much figured out, eh?

Jmont, I seem to have created two fan clubs, some who wish me well, and others (you included) who show nothing but hostility. I really would like to keep these comments on the issues.

Aside from general snottiness, I can’t figure out exactly what you are saying here. Nonetheless, I will say that my perspective, which is a rather rare form of conservativism (rooted in science rather than religion or privilege), came to me through years of thinking about issues. I didn’t inherit this worldview, nor did I embrace it as rebellion (indeed, I created a good bit of it for myself...there really is an appalling lack of conservative teaching in the educational system). Rather, I came to it through a process of induction as I read about and experienced the world.

Although you paint me as a back-stabbing ideologue, that’s simply not true. Loyalty is important to me. I’ve been a loyal supporter of Bush so far, even when he upset me. Nonetheless, at the end of the day principles must come before personal loyalties if we are to have a society of laws and not men.

J. - Oh, I always take this stuff with a grain of salt. And Dain, cool it! Jeez, I think you should admit that your initial statements about the Left in this post were inflammatory and ill-thought. Since I provided you with a pretty solid piece of evidence to the contrary, I figured you, the self-acclaimed "scientific conservative" (whatever that means), would at least step back and think about what you said. I guess I was wrong. Keep up that "fight for an outlook!"

Well, Andrew, what proof do you have that Tom Bernstein is a "big-time Bush supporter?" I hear that his human rights organization filed suit against Donald Rumsfeld? So, prove it, sir, or shut up.

While you’re at it, please enumerate all the IFC planners who are bona fide conservatives. Or, again, shut up.

Ok, Dain, maybe Andrew has some facts of his own that he’d like to put forward, but I’d like to offer some that I’m aware of. I’m not quite sure what point you are trying to make with the fact that Bernstein’s group has filed suit against Rummy. Bernstein has been, and in all likelihood remains, a Bush supporter. His differences and problems with Bush, if any, are probably more a matter of tactics and strategy than very deep ideological divisions. With Rumsfeld they are clearly deeper, of course, especially at this point in time. From my viewpoint, Bush and Bernstein are largely on the same team, whether you wanna call Bernstein liberal or conservative. Now I realize from your viewpoint, where even questioning the idea of torture as legitimate puts one into the leftist category, Bernstein and his human rights group are probably seen as nearly seditious. In any case:

Bush and Tom Bernstein were roomies at Yale, so they go way back. In the 2000 election, Bernstein was a Bush "Pioneer," pledging to raise $100,000 for the campaign. After Bush became president, Bernstein gave $50K to Bush’s inaugural committee. I think these two things alone should qualify him as a backer of Bush. Within less than 18 months of that inauguration Bernstein was an overnight guest at The White House (remember how Rush Limbaugh OBSESSED about White House guests during the Clinton years?), and in 2002 he was appointed by President Bush to be a Council Member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where he now is a member of the executive committe and is chair of the Committee on Conscience. It seems as though his work for the human rights group and the Holocaust museum indicate some consistent concern for human rights issues, but I don’t see where that would make him some sort of leftist, necessarily, would it? After all, a noble concern with human rights was a big reason for our invading Iraq, correct?

Furthering Tom Bernstein’s "leftist" credentials are the facts that he served on NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s 2001 transition committe (you know Bloomberg, that Commie class warrior!!), and with his wife gave Laura Bush a $1,300 gold bracelet (better than those lousy $400 salad plates from the Lotts!). Don’t know about you, but I don’t usually give $50K to ideological opponents, or $1,300 bracelets to their wives.

He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, which can hardly be considered a leftist organization. Perhaps Bernstein was, individually, against the U.S. of invasion of Iraq (I don’t know, either way), but the Council on Foreign Relations published (via Random House) a book by CFR member Kenneth Pollack entitled "The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq" which was, not surprisingly, an Ashbrook "Book of the Week." Ideas in this book started out as an article in CFR’s periodical Foreign Affairs. CFR appeared to push for the war, and they found a receptive audience in the Bush administration, as Cheney, Rice, Powell, Wolfowitz and Tenet are all CFR members. In any event, I’ve read nothing of Bernstein giving up his CFR membership, even IF he disagreed with invading Iraq and wants Rumsfeld tried for torture policies connected to that war.

Dain said that "no conservative would have conceived of the current plan" and that "the Left" are trying to "highjack this memorial." You would probably say that Bernstein doesn’t deserve the honor of being called a conservative since he’s the head honcho of the IFC, and Michelle Malkin and friends feel the IFC plans are distinctly leftist, but I think Bernstein has some fairly solid conservative credentials.

Well, all I was going to say was that he gave $100k to the 2000 campaign and that he was on the CFP, but it seems that Mark has expounded beyond my even needing to add anything. I’ll shut up now, Dain! No need to be rude about it.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Bernstein has also provided some indirect inspiration for Bush, giving him the Natan Sharansky book
The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror. This was another Ashbrook "book of the week" that the NLT crew had been slobbering over. Here is the article citing Bernstein as the one who gave Bush the book, and here’s the relevant text:

"Bush said he was given the book last fall by his friend Tom Bernstein, a New York developer who is a founder of The International Freedom Center, a museum focusing on human rights to be built at ground zero in Lower Manhattan."

Well, let’s see, by your logic then Red China was a real fan of Clinton and Gore. Sure Bernstein has given money, but I don’t recall him campaigning for Bush. Moreover, like many corporate slickboys, Bernstein seems to swing both ways...he’s also given money to Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama...hardly conservative icons, are they?

Fact is, Bernstein is an old Yale buddy of Bush, but that doesn’t make him a Republican and certainly not a conservative. And when I look at other people on the IFC list of Eric Foner, Orlando Patterson, or George Soros...I shudder. These folks are communists! Why are they helping to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on a U.S. memorial?

What’s really going on here is Bernstein, whose Human Rights First organization has sued over Gitmo and opposed Gonzales for AG, is using his Yalie connections to good makes wonderful cover for his leftist agenda. His organization defends decisions like sending Somalis to Minnesota and Maine, for crying out loud! In short, they hate Amerika and will do just about anything to "reform" it (i.e., disinherit the people who made it great, generally by using false guilt to acquiesce in their own rape).

For NLT readers, I suggest you read this WSJ opinion piece by another person "in the know" on this issue...Debra Burlingame, sister of the pilot killed in the Pentagon attack on 9/11 and member of the WTC Memorial Foundation. Read it, and don’t let leftists like Andrew and Mike fool you.

The Great Ground Zero Heist

Dain, you’re being obtuse. Without a doubt whatsoever, Bernstein was - by virtue of being a "Pioneer" - campaigning for Bush!! You don’t think that drumming up $100K in campaign contributions counts??? Do you think that ANY candidate who lacks $$$ can still win it if he just walks around the country knocking on doors and chatting people up in diners? Get real. Bush pioneer = campaigner. You "don’t recall" him campaigning for Bush? I bet you don’t. And what significance does that have to anything?? Did you even open the links Mark (not Mike) provided? No, you just give us a link to the Burlingame article that anyone who did even the most cursory research before signing the petition would have already read (God, at least I hope so, since the petition site says "Take Back the Memorial was inspired by the op-ed piece" written by her, and they give the link as wel). You asked "what proof do you have that Tom Bernstein is a "big-time Bush supporter?"" and that proof was provided. Bernstein may not be as conservative as YOU are, but there’s good evidence that he is at home among many of them, and he’s clearly, obviously a Bush supporter.

George Soros a "Communist"??? PLEASE!!! George Soros believes in some amount of government regulation of business, yes, but he most definitely subscribes to the virtues of market economies. Hello, Dain, Soros is a well-known fan (and student and correspondent) of Karl Popper, who wrote "The Poverty of Historicism" - as in Marxism! Soros’ Open Society Institute is named after Popper’s anti-totalitarian books "The Open Society and Its Enemies." He lived through both the Soviet and Nazi upheavals of Hungary, and he’s made a fortune in America’s free market system. He helped to finance the Rose Revolution in Georgia, which in turn served as inspiration for the Orange Revoution in Ukraine - both of which pleased those opposed to Communism. What bothers you about Soros - and leads to your cheap and completely groundless red-baiting of him - is that he has used his money to attempt to defeat your man, Dubya. You really are without shame.

Yes, don’t let us fool you. We’ll try to "steal" a monument from the people in the name of freedom hatin’! Thanks for the vote of confidence, Dain. I’m voting to end this post. No more of this mindless crap for me today.

This was another Ashbrook "book of the week" that the NLT crew had been slobbering over.

Forgive me, my memory is a bit hazy. At what point did the "NLT crew" (of which I consider myself a member) "slobber over" Sharansky’s book? I don’t recall it even being mentioned on this blog.

Jmont -- pardon me, perhaps Soros is just a some of you. I suggest you follow the link.

Soros: He’s a God!

Froner and Patterson definely are on the communist side, and I think Soros is a totalitarian at heart. He’d fit right into a Politburo. Don’t give me a lot of crap about being a "free marketer" etc. He exploits people to make money, but that’s because he’s power mad. Capitalism is merely a means to an end for him...I doubt he has any investment in the ethics or philosophical foundations of capitalism.

I think you miss my point about Bernstein. This is a very rich man...$100K is chump change as political insurance and social cover. He is known to give money to the Democrats, and I think there lies his true heart (all his political actions outside of giving Bush money suggest this). It suits his agenda, and yours too, apparently. Moreover, after looking at the people involved in the IFC I can assure you that the majority ARE NOT CONSERVATIVE...not by any stretch of the imagination.

And, as I tried to explain to Andrew, I just a tree by the fruit it bears. Conservative is as conservative does...Mr. Bernstein and his little panel of "experts" reek of Leftism. I call them like I find them.

the 3rd to last line should read "I judge a tree by the fruit it bears."

"He exploits people to make money, but that’s because he’s power mad"

Careful, Dain, throwing around accusations like that YOU’RE starting to sound like a Commie yourself. Anyway, seeing that you’re worse than obtuse, you’re actually clinical, I’m off of this thread.

I’m with Mr. Moser. There’s no reason for the memorial tobe "neutral" It really should point out why those Islamofacsists are the problem with the world, and why we should get rid of all of them. I approached my neighbor the other day and I said to him "Y’know Bob, we really should never forget that." and he asked me what I was talking about. People are already starting to forget that day. It’s sad, and it also makes me angry. September 11, 2001. Nuff said!

Here are a coupla fun Dain quotes:

During one of his rants in one of the Rove threads, he said:

"Being in the minority means you are don’t have to be merely common. For liberals, being special (i.e., better, at least in their own minds) is what it’s all about."

and Dain’s comment - #9 - above:

"Nonetheless, I will say that my perspective, which is a rather rare form of conservativism (rooted in science rather than religion or privilege), came to me through years of thinking about issues. I didn’t inherit this worldview, nor did I embrace it as rebellion (indeed, I created a good bit of it for myself...there really is an appalling lack of conservative teaching in the educational system). Rather, I came to it through a process of induction as I read about and experienced the world."

Gee, Dain, you really seem to be in a unique group. Such a rare form of conservatism! How different, how SPECIAL!

Well, well...more ad hominem from the looney-tune Left crowd on this blog. Actually, Chris, I ended up not having much choice in my political worldview...the logic was solid, and unless I wanted to lie to myself that’s what I needed to believe. It doesn’t make me feel "special," just lonely sometimes. You see, I’m not a malignant narcissist like so many of you. it willful ignorance that forces you to misinterprete everything I say, or just stupidity? Business people who understand the ethics and philosophy of the free market aren’t about exploitation, they’re about quid pro quo, value for value. That’s why Henry Ford was a great man but Gordon Gecko was a slimeball. Capitalism is the only economic system we’ve ever devised where you actually have to serve people to get rich. Soros is just another slimeball. How ironic that the premier Gordon Gecko of modern times is a Lefty! Doesn’t surprise me at all.

Dain: I just love your posts. Keep up the good work, dude!

JTR - thank you! I will do my best.

Whatever, Dain/JTR (The "dude" in JTR’s comment pretty much gives it away there), I think your comments speak for themselves, that you embody the elitism that you have accused liberals of.

As for Soros and how "(h)e exploits people for money, but that’s because he’s power mad." - if he were exploiting people for reasons other than being power mad, would that be a-ok with you?

Chris, there’s no way for me to prove to you that I’m not ’JTR’, nor that such notes of appreciate are genuine. I can only give you my word that this is the case. To post self-praise under false names would be childish...I don’t do it.

JTR, again, thank you. I’m sorry that Chris L. has attempted to cheapen your sentiments.

Dain, sorry I put a damper on your awards party; it’s certainly possible that you have an admirer who is also fond of saying "dude." Anyway, I also asked you a question before, and I won’t be able to sleep until you impart your no-doubt sagacious response.

Your question doesn’t strike me as a serious one, nor does the sarcasm motivate me to spill ink enlightening you. Since I doubt we could agree on what does or does not constitute "exploitation," I suggest you go about your business deifying George Soros. Of course, if you really are interested, I suggest you find out how he made his money and compare his MO to that of 1) the robber-barons of old, and 2) Gordon Gecko.

"Your question doesn’t strike me as a serious one, nor does the sarcasm motivate me to spill ink enlightening you."

Wow Dain, so you actually print all of your comments for your diary, or what? "Dear Diary, guess how I fixed those Liberals (I always capitalize ’liberal’ for some reason!) today!! It was great, first I made some asinine statement, then vigorously defended it with a whole lotta rhetoric and a few "facts," then I accused those slimy Libs of doing exactly what I just did (yes, I’m a major hypocrite), it was great. Here, I’ll just paste some of my printed comments in you, precious Diary! More later, dude!"

Calm down, Phil. You’ll burst a blood vessel. In hindsight, I think it was a serious mistake for the "home" to decrease your medication. Call the nice nurse now and tell her that you need some warm milk and a bigger dose of Clozapine. There,’ll be OK.

Dain - what the hell did I say to "deify" Soros??? Fact is, I’m not a fan of the guy whatsoever. I wouldn’t have cried if his millions had succeeded in in preventing Bush’s 2nd term, but I think his approach was completely indicative of a political system disconnected from the people. No idea what Montgomery’s opinion is of Soros, but it seems clear enough -I’m an example - that one needn’t LIKE the guy, let alone desire to "deify" him, without noticing how utterly silly it is to label him a Commie! I don’t wanna make your head explode with any more nuance on the matter, so I’ll leave it at that.

By the way, I also noticed how you’ve hedged your claim a bit. You started out with that list of folks being Communists, now they’re merely "on the communist side."

Only because I’m not sure they are card-carrying members of the CPUSA. I’ve read stuff from Froner and Patterson...hardcore, truly. If they aren’t members of the CPUSA it’s only because they don’t want the political fallout.

Really, since you aren’t a fan, look into his bio. See what you think. Something is wrong there.

I just want to say that I think Dain gets attacked and ganged up on by all the Liberals who invade this site, but Dain, I think your posts are great and I want you to know that you do have some fans out there and not just enemies. These guys obviously don’t have any real arguments against you, they just want to try to put you down rather than make an attempt at an actual debate, and honestly I feel bad for them because they don’t seem to have much of a life if they get their entertainment from bashing someone all the time. Yes, I mean you Mark, Andrew, Phil and J. Montgomery. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves. Dain, keep up the great posts and don’t let these jokers get you down.

On a final note, I don’t see how anyone can even argue about this issue of the memorial. Hello!!! The memorial is for the victims (and heroes) of a vicious terrorist attack. There’s no room or need for a bunch of sympathetic crap about the different sides of the issue. Let’s leave it at that.

Watch out, Sandra...they’re going to accuse you of being me any time now!

Nonetheless, thank you very much. I began posting here because thoughtful discussion seemed to be the norm, but then all these Leftoids show up! Pretty soon we’re all slinging slime at one another...sometimes I’m afraid the message may get lost. Still, I think conservatives have to fight back, sometimes using the preferred weapons of the enemy (in this case, sarcasm and ad hominem). Regardless, I will "endeavor to persevere." Thanks again...made my day.

I was engaged in this conversation because Dain was ensuing that the Left was "hijacking" the 9/11 memorial from the people. I find that to be an insult and an unwarranted attack on a viewpoint Dain doesn’t understand, not a thoughtful discussion point. Anyway, as Dain said, he engages in similar practices...count how many times he stereotypes the left or equates all left-leaners to some weird, contorted ultra-liberal group of Churchill like people. I don’t feel bad, and neither should you, Sandra. He’s not even brave enough to provide his e-mail addy in his posts.

Now, let’s end this post!

Courage has nothing to do with not attaching my e-mail address. Why would I want my mailbox filled with bilge from the likes of you? When I blog and blog, and when I correspond (typically real business or with friends) I correspond. I see no need to mix the two. Perhaps your life is a bit too narrow?

OK everyone, I have to admit- I really AM Dain. I just got so tired of everyone ganging up on me that I decided to make it appear that I had an ally, someone in my corner, you know? I apologize for the dirty trick, but I do ask that those of you ranting from the left show me a bit more courtesy and civility. Thank you.

You know, I’m not Sandra, and neither is the post above. These stupid games...I’m leaving this thread.

My assessment after reading over the petition, the website of the groups connected to it, and relevant articles about the IFC and the comments here:

The IFC may not create the most neutral place connected to 9/11. It’s debatable how important that is if the IFC isn’t the official memorial itself. In any case, there’s some reason to suspect that the petition group doesn’t really want a neutral, politics-free monument; they just want one that matches their own political slants. And that’s no better than bleeding-heart liberals hijacking the project. For this reason, I’m opting not to sign the petition.

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