It's generally a bad sign when a column begins by suggesting Newt Gingrich is the voice of reason, and Cal Thomas's offering today is no exception:
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich may be the most notable public figure in some time to state the obvious: radical Islam is a clear and present danger to America.
In a speech last week at The American Enterprise Institute in Washington, Gingrich said, "this is not a war on terrorism ... this is a struggle with radical Islamists." The problem, he said, is that too many leaders are "sleepwalking" and won't face the threat.
Ask yourself: if you wanted to infiltrate a country, wouldn't a grand strategy be to rapidly build mosques from Ground Zero in New York, to Temecula, Calif., and establish beachheads so fanatics could plan and advance their strategies under the cover of religious freedom and that great American virtue known as "tolerance," which is being used against us?
Thomas has been pushing the crackpot theory that the proposed community center in lower Manhattan is a terrorist front for weeks. Here he is on July 21:
A mosque near Ground Zero is not about tolerance, but triumphalism. It isn't about honoring the dead, but celebrating their deaths.
Don't we know why our enemies desire a beachhead in America? They wish to launch new terror attacks and forcibly convert Americans to their way of thinking and believing. What will we gain by allowing this to happen?
That's just plain nutty, as Jeffrey Goldberg has made clear in response to Sarah Palin's expert analysis of the situation:
Sarah Palin has called on "peace-seeking Muslims" to "refudiate" plans by the The Cordoba Initiative, a Muslim organization, to build a mosque and community center near the site of Ground Zero. …
[T]he larger issue here is the intent of the Cordoba Initiative, which is trying to build the mosque. I know the people who run the initiative; they are, for lack of a better term, "peace-seeking Muslims." I spoke at a program co-sponsored by Cordoba last year, and I came to understand that the organization is interested mainly in battling extremism within Islam, and in building bridges to non-Muslim faiths. It seems to me that its mission makes Cordoba an appropriate fit for Ground Zero. One of the ways to prevent future Ground Zeroes is to encourage moderation within Islam, and to treat Muslim moderates differently than we treat Muslim extremists. The campaign against this mosque treats all Muslims as perpetrators. This is a terrible mistake, for moral and strategic reasons. I'm afraid that Sarah Palin, if she were ever to become President, would help create what Muslim extremists have so far unsuccesssfully sought to provoke: an all-out clash of civilizations.
In a follow-up post, Goldberg wrote:
We must fight the terrorists with alacrity, but at the same time we must understand that what the terrorists seek is a clash of civilizations. We must do everything possible to avoid giving them propaganda victories in their attempt to create a cosmic war between Judeo-Christian civilization and Muslim civilization. The fight is not between the West and Islam; it is between modernists of all monotheist faiths, on the one hand, and the advocates of a specific strain of medievalist Islam, on the other. If we as a society punish Muslims of good faith, Muslims of good faith will join the other side. It's not that hard to understand.