Iraq War Veteran and Chairman of VoteVets.org Jon Soltz contacted Veterans Today and asked us to forward this letter from Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans who are in favor of the controversial Muslim Community Center being planned near ground zero in New York.
Although Jon and I do not see eye to eye on every socio-economic, religious or political issue, several points raised by Jon warrant a closer look, because WE are on the same page:
1. We at Veterans Today have no problem with anyone following the money trail to determine IF planners of the Muslim Community Center, especially fund raisers have ties with Muslim extremists groups. However,
2. The longer this controversy drags on the more it makes our occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan appear to be a Judeo-Christian Crusade. That in mind,
3. As Jon mentions, Muslim extremists will USE any appearance of a War on Islam as a recruiting tool although Al Queda and the Taliban for instance have no need for conscription – they have more than enough volunteers from a pool of volunteers called the Muslim World.
Jon Soltz is onto something here. It would behoove Veterans of all generations who question and/or oppose the continued occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan to set aside differences with moderate Iraq and Afghanistan War Vets and join VoteVets in this effort. SIGN THEIR LETTER!
We would like to see every member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) join in this effort, but one need not be a Veteran of Iraq or Afghanistan to sign this letter – any Veteran or family member is WELCOME to sign it.
However, if readers find themselves among the minority that seriously believe we are or should be on a Judeo-Christian Crusade, your remarks or comments ARE NOT WELCOME.
We define Judeo-Christian Crusade obviously different than we would the Christian Crusades of old. One response below clarified that there could be no such thing as a Judeo-Christian Crusade. However, our definition fits more closely the ties between right-wing Christian elements and Zionists. Put another way the animosity felt between Christians and Jews combined with Jewish persecution by Christians and others during the Crusades of the Middle Ages made such a concept impossible.
However, the neo-conservative elements of Evangelical Christianity and the neoconservatives of the Jewish variety had much in common outside of differences over the role played by Jesus. That one common denominator is hatred of Muslims.
Robert L. Hanafin, Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired, GS-14, U.S. Civil Service-Retired, Editorial Board Member, Veterans Today News Network
Since the debate erupted, we’ve [VoteVets] kept out of the argument over the planned Community Center for Muslims in Lower Manhattan (falsely called the “Ground Zero Mosque”). Initially, we believed this was a local issue for New Yorkers to discuss. But, we can no longer stay silent. We need your help.
We’re asking for you to join Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who already signed an open letter to the developer of the site, Sharif El-Gamal, supporting his right to develop the site, and expressing the view that allowing his community center to move forward will be a powerful tool in defeating the same terrorists we fought against in war.
CLICK HERE TO SIGN OUR OPEN LETTER ON THE COMMUNITY CENTER FOR MUSLIMS
There are two very important reasons we Iraq and Afghanistan veterans feel we must speak out. First and foremost, when we signed up for service, we swore to uphold the Constitution. For all the talk these days from some quarters about the importance of protecting the Constitution and allowing the free market to work unfettered, those same people are fighting against a person’s right to buy property and worship freely. Our duty to protect the Constitution doesn’t end when our service does. It’s up to us to stand up for the right for all Americans to enjoy the Constitutional freedoms that so many around the world don’t have.
Secondly, allowing the Community Center to move forward will deal a blow to the propaganda of al Qaeda and Islamic extremists, who recruit on the talking point that the United States is in a war against Islam. Of course, we’re not. But, if those forces of intolerance win, it will certainly appear that we are in a war against one religion – Islam.
As Matthew Alexander, a former interrogator in Iraq, and VoteVets.org member wrote at the Huffington Post, “Imagine an al Qaeda recruiter attempting to sway a potential charge by citing an imaginary American war against Muslims but having to face the counterargument that Americans built a Muslim community center near the site of the former Twin Towers. The Cordoba House would be a powerful symbol of U.S. tolerance and freedom that will stand in direct contradiction to al Qaeda’s narrative that Americans hate Muslims.”
That’s the point. Defeating al Qaeda will take the use of force. But it will also take destroying their ability to recruit, and that means winning hearts and minds. As veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan know, having the people on your side is of utmost importance.
Please take a moment to click the link above to join Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in this open letter, supporting the right of Muslims to build a community center on property they lawfully bought. This is too important an issue for us to stay silent on any longer.
(Follow me on Twitter – @jonsoltz)
Iraq War Veteran
(Follow me on Twitter – @jonsoltz)
VETERANS TODAY EDITORIAL COMMENT:
We believe that there are too many Americans who no shit believe and promote a War with Islam. A war against the Muslim world is one WE cannot win. Jon touched on part of the reasons – Jihad recruitment.
When a deeply religious people seriously feel their religion [Islam] is threatened that can be the worst kind of war. Not to mention that Al Queda and Taliban like Muslim extremists have the Muslim world as a pool of new recruits.
America only has an impotent Selective Service System, a people not committed to the wars nor ever asked by our government to commit to the shared sacrifice, and about one percent of the population enduring the hardships of war – Holy War or Not.
However, Jon’s and VoteVets point we want to reinforce is that Al Queda, the Taliban and like extremists groups ARE NOT stupid, they have and will continue to use the propaganda of an American War Against Islam [a 21st Century Christian Crusade if I may], especially if Americans take actions to reinforce that view. Here are just two pictures from an online website that uses the internet just for such messages. Unfortunately, we are afraid that too many of the images combined with words of religious intolerance are making it to the Muslim World convincing too many Muslims that American is in a Holy War against Islam.