It seems one of the recurring arguments against the "Ground Zero Mosque" is that allowing the mosque to be built so near to where the 9/11 attacks took place would embolden our enemies and be seen as a victory by the Al Quaedists and their supporters. Newt Gingrich even curiously implies that we should be taking religious intolerance lessons from Saudi Arabia. I will ignore Newt's argument because it was clearly written on a drunken dare. But the "embolden our enemies" argument is a worthwhile one, since a certain amount of propoganda and marketing does influence the conduct of world affairs. After all, if photos were leaked of Winston Churchill wearing his wife's wedding dress, it likely would have emboldened the Nazis--no small matter, that!
But let's consider this--how much should it matter that something we do or don't do gets seen by our enemies as a victory? Pulling out of Vietnam in the '70s was surely seen by Commies as a victory for their cause--but the decision to stay or go should still have been considered on its own merits; otherwise, we'd be forcing ourselves to keep that war going indefinitely so as not to give our enemies the morale boost. (Of course, there were other arguments for staying in Vietnam--such as preserving a fledgling country with tens of millions of people from falling to a bloodthirsty dictatorship, as well as its effects on neighboring countries) Likewise, many voters believed a potential loss by George W. Bush in 2004 would be seen as a victory for Ossama Bin Ladin. But giving too much weight to what Bin Ladin wants would effectively allow him to influence our elections.
Likewise, do we want to allow the Islamist nutjobs to determine whether we allow our own citizens to build a house of worship on their land? As this has become a question of religious tolerance, property rights and economic rights, should any of those matters be given even the slightest weight by our enemies? If we care at all what the Islamists think, let them think this--we are a country that has withstood an attack by 19 of your douchiest fucktards, and we're still enough of a decent country with decent values that we can allow our Muslim countrymen to worship freely in walking distance from the attack site. And that's something our enemies will never be capable of because they're too busy fondling goats and seething in their own vitriol.
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