The Ground Zero mosque and Afghanistan

Op-Ed Columnist - Islam and the Two Americas - NYTimes.com: "By global standards, Rauf may be the model of a “moderate Muslim.” But global standards and American standards are different. For Muslim Americans to integrate fully into our national life, they’ll need leaders who don’t describe America as “an accessory to the crime” of 9/11 (as Rauf did shortly after the 2001 attacks), or duck questions about whether groups like Hamas count as terrorist organizations (as Rauf did in a radio interview in June). And they'll need leaders whose antennas are sensitive enough to recognize that the quest for inter-religious dialogue is ill-served by throwing up a high-profile mosque two blocks from the site of a mass murder committed in the name of Islam."

Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the mosque, is un-American in the sense that he speaks against 68% of the Americans who doubt the idea of building a mosque at Ground Zero. Religious freedom dictates that Muslims can build in other places, but not here, and now. Charles Krauthammer writes in The Jerusalem Post that it would be an equivalent of building a Japanese shrine on Pearl Harbor. And this is the problem, the Taliban would celebrate a victory if a mosque materializes in this spot. A definitive sign of weakness in an on-going war with Muslim fundamentalists.

Ross Douthat, the New York Times columnist above writes about two Americas, a constitutional and a cultural, that want a mosque and that are against it, respectively. The US is currently polarized in many fashions, Republicans and Democrats, Tea Partyers and other Republicans, Democrats that go on Chelsea's wedding and those who don't. But I'm not sure that the cultural Americans described are not constitutional? I once wrote in the blog that Obama's popularity abroad, relative George W. Bush, partly stems from a projection of weakness, a young and inexperienced President, and now he reinforces this notion by wavering on the issue. He wants to leave Iraq and Afghanistan with the tail between his legs not after having achieved something.

General David Petraeus have just made the necessary comment that most probably there will not be any large withdrawal of troops in July 2011 as Obama earlier prescribed. When McChrystal left, it was claimed that there was no changes on strategy in Afghanistan. However, the more long term perspective of McChrystal seems to have won out, after all, and this is probably in line with common sense in the region. A longer perspective, at least five years as the ISAF people claimed, would pacify the New York Times editors temporarily. Waging wars with the present media cover seems at times impossible. It is the probable reason for the rise in the so called "Shadow War".

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