Do not build it. Not here.

Hillary Clinton has now come out against the International Freedom Center.

“I cannot support the IFC,” Clinton declared last night in a strongly worded statement in response to an inquiry from The Post….

“While I want to ensure that development and rebuilding in lower Manhattan move forward expeditiously, I am troubled by the serious concerns family members and first responders have expressed to me,” Clinton said.

The Post pats her on the back in an editorial (this could cinch her Blairesque endorsement from Murchoch):

It’s time for Pataki and Bloomberg to pull the plug. Now, even Hillary agrees.

Good for her.

The New York Times, meanwhile, continues its snippy, condescending, insulting, and disrespectful tone toward the families of the heroes and innocents of September 11:

But since late June the Freedom Center has been caught up in a vitriolic protest called the Take Back the Memorial movement, whose leaders claim for themselves the right of deciding for the rest of us what we should know and think about 9/11.

Quite the contrary, Times: We don’t want a center that will do precisely that. Let us all bring our own thoughts and questions to this place and not have them brought there for us.

And in its news columns, tomorrow’s Times writes a puffy piece about the IFC’s founder, Tom Bernstein (a few weeks after publishing a fair piece about the leader of the opposition, Debra Burlingame):

In fall 2001, not long after hundreds of makeshift hospital beds had been set up at Chelsea Piers to receive injured survivors from the World Trade Center – beds that were never used – Tom A. Bernstein, president of Chelsea Piers, envisioned reclaiming ground zero with the power of an idea.

The idea was freedom, embodied in an institution that would transmit its value to future generations. To build it, Mr. Bernstein said in 2004 he expected “years of intense labor, contentious debate and struggle.”

He is getting them….

Mr. Bernstein, who counts President Bush among his friends, has had to defend the center from those who say that it would be jingoistic by depicting an unblemished America as well as from those who complain that it would be un-American by dwelling on failures of social and foreign policy.

Well, yes, indeed, he has had to defend himself and for good reason.

In that piece, I see the first cogent description from Bernstein of his connection with the theme of freedom — a connection I questioned yesterday. Bernstein said:

Historically, if you look at the response to tyranny – in our view, terror being a modern variant – the only response, and the necessary response, and the crucial response is a reaffirmation of the values that are under assault. The central value here, and around the world, is freedom.

Fine. Who won’t salute the freedom flag? But this was not about an oppressed people breaking free. This was about criminals commiting murder. Bernstein tries to draw a parallel with the Holocaust Museum (moving past his attempts to draw parallels to the Gettysburg Museum). But that, too, doesn’t fit. The Holocaust Museum is, truly, about the crimes of the murderers. The IFC is not about the crimes of the islamofascists. That would at least be more relevant. But neither is appropriate at this place, at this time.

: The LMDC now has a form (not forum) to submit comment directly (with an odd heiarchy used to identify the commenter). I just cut-and-paste my post from yesterday. If this were a forum, we would be able to see what fellow citizens say about the IFC. But, not surprisingly, it’s only one-way, not transparent.

In any case, I urge you all to go to the site and leave your comments as well.

  • MrBuddwing

    “The New York Times, meanwhile, continues its snippy, condescening, insulting, and disrespectful tone toward the families of the heroes and innocents of September 11:

    “‘But since late June the Freedom Center has been caught up in a vitriolic protest called the Take Back the Memorial movement, whose leaders claim for themselves the right of deciding for the rest of us what we should know and think about 9/11.'”

    Me:

    As I recall, the Times’ Maureen Dowd declared that “the moral authority of parents who bury children in Iraq is absolute.” I think we can extend the same absolute moral authority to the 9/11 families …

  • John

    Bernstein may not have any alterior motives for the IFC than what he believes, but things change, and so many times, organizations that deal in politically-tinged issues can morph from one position to another over a period of time or shift suddenly, depending on who’s in charge.

    Just look at the two papers Jeff mentioned above. The New York Times was a Republican paper when the Sulzberger family was running it a century ago, and 30 years ago the Post was the most liberal newspaper in New York — far more liberal than the Times. But neither is true right now, and with an IFC on-site at Ground Zero, no matter what Bernstein might think it stands for or might keep others from trying to do, it would be too tempting a platform for people trying to push their own ideological point of view if they are in control of the museum.

    Let those running the place do whatever they want to do, but find someplace off-site, but in the same area as the WTC memorial, where they can proselytize in whatever direction they wish to their hearts content without aggressively insulting the memory of Sept. 11 on the very spot of the tragedy.

  • Athena1040

    If you use the Search function on the IFC site and look for the word ISLAM, there is no result. In other words, nothing in the entire website, and we can probably expect that very little to nothing in the Memorial will mention Islam.

    I believe that the Holocaust Museum makes certain that the visitor knows the identify and ideology of the murderers. It doesn’t suggest indirectly that their murderous impulses arose from poverty and that those that were murdered contributed to poverty hence their own murders.

    This thing is truly obscene. It is clear that the IFC is actually working to erase the memory of WHO murdered our fellow citizens. They hope that as years and decades pass and as survivors and actual witnesses die off they will hold the key to interpreting this piece of history. Truly, truly revolting.

  • http://wordvirus.blogspot.com Vincent

    Goodness. If the NYT can call the Take Back the Memorial “movement” “vitriolic,” one can only begin to imagine how they’ll characterize the bile spewed at today’s anti-war/America/Bush rallies.

    Something tells me adjectives like “vitriolic” will come nowhere near the reporting.

  • Athena1040

    Can’t let ANY academic institution NEAR this memorial. I would only feel safe IF it were entrusted to the police and fire unions.

    Museum curators (a subset of academics) are the worst, most disconnected, culturally arrogant set of twinks you can imagine. I know this from experience having worked at a museum. Somehow the idea that these people can twirp a few descriptive words about artwork that SOMEBODY ELSE thought of, gives them the idea that they should be running the world. Trust me, their condescension is mind-boggling.
    MUST keep them away.

    Again, shall we be hearing anything REALISTIC about Islam in connection with all this?

  • http://downtownlad.blogspot.com Downtown Lad

    Well – looks like we’ll now have a big empty hole in the ground.

    Gee – thanks Hillary. I guess the terrorists really did win.

  • Ed Poinsett

    Thanks Hillary, for doing your part to keep the terrorists from winnning!

  • Sam Goldman

    Okay, can anyone answer me this question?

    Why is everyone (and by everyone I mean both sides of this discussion, and ESPECIALLY the media) equating the concept of culture with the Freedom Center and the Freedom Center only? Just because you’re against the IFC doesn’t mean you’re against culture, and just because you want some sort of cultural component at part of the memorial does not necessarily mean the Freedom Center is your only recourse.

    I fully empathise and agree with the NYT’s fears that “ground zero may become nothing but a graveyard” 25, 50 years down the line, but I am sure that people are smart enough to think of a vibrant cultural component to the memorial that ISN’T the IFC. That why this whole debate infuriates me so.

  • Athena1040

    SAM, it is because, for the most part, America’s “cultural elites” are anti-American. Unfortunately, we are living in an era where many people believe that one cannot promote culture AND be pro-American; insane as that is. The montrosity that the IFC came up with is a product of today’s American “cultural elite.”

    Perhaps we could try to build a simple, dignified memorial that honors the heroes and the dead and clearly identifies the murderers. What is wrong with a marble wall and a statute? Simple, clear and dignified. Unambiguous and presented form solely an American point of view, employing traditional American patriotic symbols.

    As to the museum, we need some storage space and some display space for the artifacts from the attack. We don’t need elaborate, round-table conference auditoriums, theatrical stages, aquariums, planetariums, or dance plazas. The art-fartsy should not feel at home there, only those who can fashion one linear thought after another.

    The displays should include a JIHAD room where we present everything known about the murderers and those who supported the murderers, excused the murderers and were complicit with the murderers. The ideology of the murderers should be explicity revealed in as much detail as possible. The word ISLAM should figure prominently.

    May I live to see the day where what I described would occur. I am willing to bet 90% of all Americans would agree with what I just proposed. Instead we had some idiotic politicians appointing a commission of people who are totally out of touch with Americans and American life.

  • http://www.quillnews.com Thomas Collins

    Jeff this is right on. I’ve posted on Hillary’s ace move at quillnews.com. She showed the NYT, Bernstein and the NYC swells she can triangulate as good as Bubba to position herself for victory. T
    http://www.quillnews.com/main/2005/09/hillary_pokes_o.html

  • Ravo

    “nothing in the Memorial will mention Islam.”

    “It is clear that the IFC is actually working to erase the memory of WHO murdered our fellow citizens. They hope that as years and decades pass and as survivors and actual witnesses die off they will hold the key to interpreting this piece of history. Truly, truly revolting. ”

    “I would only feel safe IF it were entrusted to the police and fire unions.”

    Athena….You’ve nailed it. ABSOLUTELY.

    Sure hope you go to that site Jeff posted, and put these comments there!