Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

The Terrorists Have Won


On August 22, I was in Manhattan for the counter-protest to support the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero.  My friend Elaine Brower gave an impassioned speech, talking about the “gentlemen’s” club by the site, and a huge Century 21 clothing store (shop, shop, shop), emphasizing the Constitutional right to freedom of religion and reminding the gathering that 15 of the hijackers who used planes as missiles on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, that the US continues to conduct business with that country, that we buy oil from Saudi Arabia, and that bikers, who roared in, joining the bigots to protest the Islamic center, most probably, filled their tanks with gas from Saudi Arabia.

Brower, whose son served three tours of military duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, exposes the hypocrisy of nationalists who make statements like the one I heard when I wandered to get a look-see at those who believe they are the REAL guardians of liberty: “Arabs are killing Americans every single day.”  This agitator also held a sign, bearing the words: NO MOSQUES IN AMERICA.

I returned to Baltimore, Sunday afternoon, and wondered about our path—actually, the destination we’ve already reached.  The concept of abandoning the machine is alluring.  Just brake to the curb, step out, remove the plates, and get away from this mind-numbing mutation of reason.

I’m thinking of the many references to “hallowed ground.”  I’m thinking about a man who said he defends religious freedom but believes that a mosque should not be allowed so close to hallowed ground.

How close is too close?  How far away is it appropriate to be Muslim?  These are mere ancillaries.

The central issues are racism and fear.  They lead to hatred.  They take us to war.  They marginalize.  They dehumanize.

I’ve made it clear that I disagree with the president.  I’m antiwar, anti-imperialism, anti-Zionism, and anti-Military Industrial Complex.  I abhor the fact that Obama marketed himself as the personification of hope and change, the leader who could be relied on to right the egregious wrongs of the Bush regime, when he never intended to fulfill his promises and, in fact, knew that he would continue those policies so devastating at home and abroad.  This said, I would never judge him because Hussein is positioned between his first name and surname. Nor would I question his religion.  Frankly, I don’t care if Obama is Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, an atheist, agnostic, or a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

On Monday, when I received an email from Elaine Brower that MSNBC’s Chris Matthews would interview someone from each side of the Islamic center controversy, I powered on the telly and entered Hardball  to catch Matthews criticizing Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell for his Sunday Meet the Press remarks. McConnell had twice stated that when the president says he’s a Christian, he takes him at his word.  Obviously, McConnell intentionally crafted a string of words to discredit Obama’s Christianity—to communicate doubt about the president’s beliefs.

Despite Matthews’ diatribe against McConnell’s deliberate undermining of Obama, Matthews failed to nail an essential.  He never mentioned that religious affiliation does not matter, that religious choice is protected by the Constitution, that any president of this country could be a Muslim, could be a PASTAfarian, could worship bellybutton lint if he or she chooses.

By the time the guests appeared, the two I tuned in to watch, I was ready to tune out.  Because the fourth estate is so third-rate. And because I’m fed up with the assault on truth we’ve witnessed since the 9/11 attacks, the investigation that really wasn’t, the rabid rhetoric for blood, the Islamophobia, the shock and awe, the killing of men, women, and children, and the destruction of a land’s civilization.

Our “leaders” and mainstream “journalists” stress American exceptionalism, hallowed ground, and sacred sites.  And bigots spew speech that may result in violence.  The New York Police Department confirmed that on Monday a Manhattan cab driver allegedly was stabbed by a passenger who asked if the driver was Muslim.  This attack is disturbing given the climate of Islamophobia generated by those who oppose the Islamic center near Ground Zero.

Our own civilization is lost.  The terrorists should hoist a Mission Accomplished banner.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore, Maryland.  Email her at

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail:

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Sheldon Richman
Come and See the Anarchy Inherent in the System
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Joseph Natoli
Seething Anger in the Post-2016 Election Season
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017
Ron Jacobs
A Theory of Despair?
Gilbert Mercier
Globalist Clinton: Clear and Present Danger to World Peace
James A Haught
Many Struggles Won Religious Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Dear Fellow Gen Xers: Let’s Step Aside for the Millennials
Uri Avnery
The Peres Funeral Ruckus
Tom Clifford
Duterte’s Gambit: the Philippines’s Pivot to China
Reyes Mata III
Scaling Camelot’s Walls: an Essay Regarding Donald Trump
Raouf Halaby
Away from the Fray: From Election Frenzy to an Interlude in Paradise
James McEnteer
Art of the Feel
David Yearsley
Trump and Hitchcock in the Age of Conspiracies
Charles R. Larson
Review: Sjón’s “Moonstone: the Boy Who Never Was”