In the Wall Street Journal, Richard J. Tofel, President of the International Freedom Center, responds to the furor over his organization's plans to build a massive "Freedom Center" at Ground Zero, which would document America's sins alongside those of Nazi Germany and communist China.
As envisioned in Daniel Libeskind's master plan for the site's redevelopment, the International Freedom Center's building will serve as a buffer between the sacred Memorial and the hustle and bustle of the surrounding city, including the thousands of people who will move each day in and out of Santiago Calatrava's spectacular new transit hub.Well, no. The point is to remember what happened to America on September 11, 2001. Tofel's freedom of speech argument is a straw man. Yes, in America we have the right to speak our minds and express contrary views. But common decency demands that we not build a platform for inflammatory rhetoric on the graves of our dead.
But the International Freedom Center itself will do much more than that. It will serve as a complement to the Memorial, bringing a universal "narrative of hope" to a place where hope is imperative.
...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.
In theory, University of Colorado professor and terror apologist Ward Churchill could be an honored guest of the Freedom Center, delivering impassioned speeches about how the 9-11 victims were "little Eichmanns" unworthy of our sympathy, and how America deserved what it got on that day. Hey, you and I might disagree with his view, but that's the point, right?
Wrong. Building the IFC's Freedom Center at Ground Zero would be like scrawling graffiti on a tombstone. If it must be built, it should be built somewhere else.
And if the IFC has its heart set on New York, then the best location for the Freedom Center might be as a "buffer" between the United Nations complex and the rest of New York. There, perhaps, its vital message of the importance of freedom would have a beneficial effect on the representatives of nations like Iran and Syria as they file through it on their way to work. If, however, our worst fears are realized, and the Center really does turn into a platform for anti-American rhetoric, at least it will blend right in.
Other bloggers unimpressed by Mr. Tofel's argument include Michelle Malkin, Kevin Alyward, and Jeff Jarvis.