Sunday, August 22, 2010

Stuck Between Iraq And A Hard Place

The last American combat troops have left Iraq. The United States went to war in Iraq following the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Ostensibly the mission was to seek out weapons of mass destruction.

Having found none, the US mission became an effort to bring a stable democracy to Iraq. Along the way Saddam Hussein was brought to justice for acts of genocide against his own people. He was tried, convicted based on the evidence, sentenced to death and executed.

A fair trial in Iraq was no small task. A fair trial is an American principle.

Now another of our principles is being put to the test; freedom of religion.

A controversial Imam is leading the effort to establish a community center and mosque in Lower Manhattan, just blocks from Ground Zero. New York City officials have cleared the way for construction.

Is it a good idea? I don't know.

From a public relations standpoint; bad idea.

From a freedom of religion standpoint; I think we may have to live with it.

Rabbi Burt Visotzky, Director of the Louis Finklestein Institute for Religious and Social Studies in New York wrote President Obama saying, "It is not sufficient to assert the right to build; only the free exercise of that right is a guarantee of religious freedom."

It is distasteful for the thousands who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks. I would like to see the mosque built somewhere else. Does that mean I'm a religious bigot? I hope not.

America; we're stuck between a rock and a hard place.

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