A rebuilt WTC might have softened the controversy

James V. Capua
Opponents of what is being called the "Ground Zero Mosque" are now concentrating their fire on President Obama, criticizing his failure to make a firm moral judgment about the appropriateness of building the Cordoba Cultural Center and Natatorium or whatever it is called. Instead, the skittish President takes refuge in tepid legalisms, the irony of his and his allies' newfound reverence for the Constitution being matched only by their sudden appreciation for the value of religious communities to civil society. But in this case the diagnosis of moral dystrophy should extend to many more than the President.If a soaring monument to the human spirit, or a stark and sobering inducement to remember in stone and glass were already in place on the site of the World Trade Center, this dispute might not even be taking place. But, as it is the Cordoba Cultural Center derives much of its sting for Americans from the fact that it competes with nothing, with an ugly hole in the ground, or in some people's eyes even worse than nothing, with a monument by default to the killers, and a monument by a decade of fruitless process and hypersensitivity to our collective inability to act.

The New York politicians and Port Authority officials failed because they could not make choices among the impossible demands of all of the groups, including victims' families, who have placed their own material and psychic needs ahead of the compelling national interest to rebuild in the only way consistent with the American character-bigger, better, more confidently, with an appropriate nod to the past, but an optimistic eye to the future. If we had accomplished that in these ten years, we'd need fear no competing structure in the vicinity.

The politicians, the cultural relativists and the 9/11 victimization perpetrators continue the cacophony of stalemate and hypocrisy, effectively conniving in the very deception and transparent shiftiness of the Cordoba Initiative organizers. Our latest wrangling with each other over the World Trade Center site merely confirms the contempt our ten-year failure has earned from them.

As a better President than Obama said, "It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us." Rebuild, rededicate, and let the rich life of a great city be our answer to those whose greatest aspiration is spreading fear, death and destruction.


Opponents of what is being called the "Ground Zero Mosque" are now concentrating their fire on President Obama, criticizing his failure to make a firm moral judgment about the appropriateness of building the Cordoba Cultural Center and Natatorium or whatever it is called. Instead, the skittish President takes refuge in tepid legalisms, the irony of his and his allies' newfound reverence for the Constitution being matched only by their sudden appreciation for the value of religious communities to civil society. But in this case the diagnosis of moral dystrophy should extend to many more than the President.

If a soaring monument to the human spirit, or a stark and sobering inducement to remember in stone and glass were already in place on the site of the World Trade Center, this dispute might not even be taking place. But, as it is the Cordoba Cultural Center derives much of its sting for Americans from the fact that it competes with nothing, with an ugly hole in the ground, or in some people's eyes even worse than nothing, with a monument by default to the killers, and a monument by a decade of fruitless process and hypersensitivity to our collective inability to act.

The New York politicians and Port Authority officials failed because they could not make choices among the impossible demands of all of the groups, including victims' families, who have placed their own material and psychic needs ahead of the compelling national interest to rebuild in the only way consistent with the American character-bigger, better, more confidently, with an appropriate nod to the past, but an optimistic eye to the future. If we had accomplished that in these ten years, we'd need fear no competing structure in the vicinity.

The politicians, the cultural relativists and the 9/11 victimization perpetrators continue the cacophony of stalemate and hypocrisy, effectively conniving in the very deception and transparent shiftiness of the Cordoba Initiative organizers. Our latest wrangling with each other over the World Trade Center site merely confirms the contempt our ten-year failure has earned from them.

As a better President than Obama said, "It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us." Rebuild, rededicate, and let the rich life of a great city be our answer to those whose greatest aspiration is spreading fear, death and destruction.