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Stealing Ground Zero

Tuesday Debra Burlingame noted in the Wall Street Journal, "Ground Zero has been stolen, right from under our noses. How do we get it back?"

Today the president of the International Freedom Center, Richard Tofel, responds.

A year ago tomorrow, a new institution called the International Freedom Center was formally designated by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. as one of the four cultural institutions for the World Trade Center site, all to be operated under the aegis of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation.

But some ask why such an institution -- including museum exhibition spaces, an educational and cultural center already boasting commitments from nine of New York City's, the nation's and the world's leading universities, and a robust service and civic engagement program all devoted to advancing the cause of freedom -- should be placed at Ground Zero. It is a serious question, and it deserves a thoughtful response.

Unfortunately for us the thoughtful response amounts to little more than, "trust us." There's lots of quotations, but very little on specifics. Surely the vagueness with which he describes the IFC content is by design, as reactions to the revelations provided by Burlingame were nearly instantaneous and vociferous.

Tofel is at least transparent enough to note that the site will be an equal opportunity offender.

To be sure, the International Freedom Center will host debates and note points of view with which you -- and I -- will disagree. But that is the point, the proof of our society's enduring self-confidence and humanity. Moreover, the International Freedom Center will rise above the politics of the moment. It will not exist to precisely define "freedom" or to tell people what to think, but to get them to think -- and to act in the service of freedom as they see it. And it will always do so in a manner respectful of the victims of September 11.

...Ground Zero is precisely the right place to make this stand and leave a legacy for our children and generations to come.

As many have noted the ultimate respectful gesture to the victims of 9/11 is keep the focus on that day, that place, and those people.

Other Coverage

Jeff Jarvis
Michelle Malkin
Don's Attic
Technorati Search - The Great Ground Zero Heist
Technorati Search - Tofel's Response


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Stealing Ground Zero:

» Michelle Malkin linked with BATTLE AT GROUND ZERO: THE IFC RESPONDS

» Right Wing Nut House linked with THE UNMAKING OF SACRED GROUND

» Joust The Facts linked with The IFC Responds

» Slant Point linked with WTC Memorial Head Responds... Poorly

» Interested-Participant linked with Poisoning the American Conscience

» Who Can Really Say? linked with Go Here

» JackLewis.net linked with Around the Blogosphere

Comments (17)

Tom A. Bernstein is the co-... (Below threshold)

Tom A. Bernstein is the co-founder, chairman and CEO of the International Freedom Center.

Bernstein just happens to be a very good friend of George W. Bush. Indeed Bernstein was a partner with Bush in the Texas Rangers and turned Bush on to the work of Natan Sharansky.

Indeed, Sharansky was the first guest of the IFCs speakers program.

"On November 8, the Center offered its first program, a luncheon speech by Natan Sharansky, Soviet dissident, Israeli minister and author of the newly-published The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror. The Sharansky lunch was hosted by New York University president John Sexton, International Freedom Center co-founders Tom Bernstein and Peter Kunhardt and PublicAffairs publisher Peter Osnos. PublicAffairs is Sharansky’s publisher."
Guess who's a huge Sharansky fan? Bush.

Tell me again then, Kevin, why we can't trust Bernstein? Oh right, because he puts human rights first. Silly me.

"Tell me again then, Kevin,... (Below threshold)

"Tell me again then, Kevin, why we can't trust Bernstein? Oh right, because he puts human rights first."

Read "human rights" as "socialist power grab" and you understand Bernstein. Their agenda is to push the Leftist Slave Morality down our throats, hoping we submit to their Vision of the Annointed. Is their aim the futile Quest for Cosomic Justice? Or just a good old fashnioned power trip?

Either way yhey are going to fail because they fail to understand the power of the New Media in undermining their twisted vision.

It will not exist to pr... (Below threshold)

It will not exist to precisely define "freedom" or to tell people what to think, but to get them to think -- and to act in the service of freedom as they see it. And it will always do so in a manner respectful of the victims of September 11.

What a load of crap. Who is he kidding, this will be put in place as a service to people to see freedom as they (the IFC) see it. And again, what the hell does this have to do the victims of 9/11? Absolutely nothing. They weren't killed fighting for freedom. They were killed because of the mindless, vicious acts of some radical, nutcase Muslims.

I would rather see pictures of the victims celebrating their freedoms before they were killed and artifacts/pictures from that day. Years from now, I would like to bring my now 4 month old daughter to that site and explain to her what happened there that day. I don't need to explain to her the Emancipation Proclamation, the Holocaust, or the plight of the Native Americans at the site of 9/11!

L-SM -You're jokin... (Below threshold)

L-SM -

You're joking right? If not, I give you the resume of, Tom Bernstein, the world's most dangerous socialist:


FrameoneSilly m... (Below threshold)


Silly me

Got that one right.

No matter how wonderful and exciting a museum offering all the goodies as described is, or how "pure" Bernsteins motives are ...

This is a site where 3000 Americans died at the hands of Islamists on 9/11...a site of incredible sorrow and incredible heroism.

THAT is what is to be memorialized ... NOT diluted or buried under an avalanche of other exhibits regardless of the worth of those exhibits. The IFC plans are as appropriate for the WTC site as it would be if they tried to stick it in the middle of Arlington Cemetary.

This reminds me of when the... (Below threshold)

This reminds me of when the Smithsonian, in the mid-1990s, first put the front part of the Enola Gay bomber (dropped atomic bomb on Hiroshima). They were going to have a whole exhibit about how evil America was for doing it and call it "context" (of course, the Bataan Death March and descriptions of fanatical Japanese fighting in lost causes were left out). An uproar forced them to display the plane without editorial comment.

I can't help but wonder abo... (Below threshold)

I can't help but wonder about the true credibility and identity of the WSJ article author Debra Burlingame. Seems like a CIA/FBI spin doctor used to muster bipartisan support for the Bush regime. If you have taken more than a cursory glance at the 9/11 events at the Pentagon and have more than a quarter of a brain, you would know that no commercial airline pilot perished in the Pentagon crash, especially Captain Charles Frank Burlingame III. If he did die, it wasn't at the controls of an AA Boeing 757-223.

"no commercial airline pilo... (Below threshold)

"no commercial airline pilot perished in the Pentagon crash"

Never mind the guys who were knifed in the cockpit, right? They don't count!

Or are you one of those guys who thinks the planes were unmanned and guided by mind-rays emanating from Karl Rove?

DEAR DINGERS..NO COMMERCIAL... (Below threshold)



The CIA isn't COMPETENET en... (Below threshold)

The CIA isn't COMPETENET enough to pull that off, dude, even if they wanted to.

I wonder where their loved ... (Below threshold)
a moral:

I wonder where their loved ones are buried. Perhaps, we can put soapboxes on top of their graves and invite every lunatic with a megaphone to spout off.

Jaysus on a Pony...<p... (Below threshold)

Jaysus on a Pony...

got a troll raving about the "conspiracy" at the Pentagon?

Nevermind Popular Mechnics mythbusting on that score.

'course, the people like the troll who believe such pernicious nonsense are cut from the same cloth as those who believe we never landed on the moon in 1969 and deny the Holocaust.

We should make sure such people use only crayons and safety scissors.

Did france invade Wizbang?<... (Below threshold)

Did france invade Wizbang?

I wandered in here from a G... (Below threshold)

I wandered in here from a Google News Alert.

I have a blog on all the issues surround the memorial

Here's my specific blog entry on the topic

The vast majority of 911 families oppose the Center not only for the reasons cited here but also because it encroaches horribly on the memorial coming within a tree of the walls on two sides. It will be the dominating structure at Ground Zero.

It's unfortunate that Ground Zero has been hijacked by both right and left.

Memorials for similar events at Pearl Harbor and the Alamo do not try to draw bigger conclusions from the events. They emphasize the history and let history speak for itself.

Unfortunately at Ground Zero, history has been sanitized out and we wind up with fiascos like this.

The events of 911 are about clear cut as they come: terrorists hijacked civilian airlines and crashed them into buildings with the express purpose of killing as many civilians as possible. The responders in turn showed incredible courage as they walked into the burning buildings.

The whole Ground Zero circus has taken the focus over what happened on 911. It's unfortunate.

The CIA isn't COMPETENET en... (Below threshold)

The CIA isn't COMPETENET enough to pull that off, dude, even if they wanted to.

Nor any pilot, amateur terrorist or seasoned Boeing Test Pilot (in Pentagon scenario). The CIA aren't the sharpest box cutters on the shelf, but it seems they've got a faithful group of people here to believe their poor orchestrations and coverups, or you all have at least one of those zig-zag bullet Kennedy Killers on your F150 Pickup gunracks.

rather_skeptical wrote:<br ... (Below threshold)
Patrick Chester:

rather_skeptical wrote:
"no commercial airline pilot perished in the Pentagon crash"
Jim wrote:
Never mind the guys who were knifed in the cockpit, right? They don't count!

Actually, it's a bit amusing: both your statements are factual. No commercial pilot died in the Pentagon crash... because, as you pointed out, the terrorists murdered him while taking over the plane. He was already dead when the plane hit.

Unfortunately, that fact doesn't support the rest of "skeptical's" claim.

Crayons or korans? I like ... (Below threshold)

Crayons or korans? I like the idea of the korans and the scissors..... Like the ones they use to excise the real islam when it is translated into English.






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