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No, Mr. President

We're not traumatized.

11:30 AM, Aug 14, 2010 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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Penetrating commentary on President Obama's remarks last night on Islam, 9/11, and Ground Zero is already available.

No, Mr. President

The lawyers at Powerline dissect Obama's high-flown rhetoric: "a classic of brain-dead multiculturalism," "the ultimate destination of multiculturalism is platitudinous stupidity." Debra Burlingame of 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America has a powerful statement: "We are stunned by the president's willingness to disregard what Americans should be proud of: our enduring generosity to others on 9/11--a day when human decency triumphed over human depravity. On that day, when 3,000 of our fellow human beings were killed in barbaric act of raw religious intolerance unlike this country had ever seen, Americans did not turn outward with hatred or violence, we turned to each other, armed with nothing more than American flags and countless acts of kindness. In a breathtakingly inappropriate setting, the president has chosen to declare our memories of 9/11 obsolete and the sanctity of Ground Zero finished." "Bad Rachel" is properly contemptuous: "an act of appeasement...[that] will avail him the same scornful response he’s received repeatedly already, and it will keep the rest of us in harm’s way."

I'd just add one comment.

Obama: "Now, we must all recognize and respect the sensitivities surrounding the development of lower Manhattan. The 9/11 attacks were a deeply traumatic event for our country. The pain and suffering experienced by those who lost loved ones is unimaginable. So I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. Ground Zero is, indeed, hallowed ground."

This is revealing. For Obama, 9/11 was a "deeply traumatic event for our country." Traumatic events invite characteristic reactions and over-reactions--fearfulness, anger, even hysteria. That's how Obama understands the source of objections to the Ground Zero mosque. It’s all emotional. The arguments don't have to be taken seriously. The criticisms of the mosque are the emotional reactions of a traumatized people.

But Americans aren't traumatized. 9/11 was an attack on America, to which Americans have responded firmly, maturely, and appropriately. Part of our sensible and healthy reaction is that there shouldn't be a 13-story mosque and Islamic community center next to Ground Zero (especially when it's on a faster track to be built than the long-delayed memorial there). But Obama (like Bloomberg) doesn't feel he even has to engage the arguments against the mosque--because he regards his fellow citizens as emotionally traumatized victims, not citizens who might have a reasonable point of view.

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