- William McGurn on a Model of Tolerance for the Ground Zero Mosque While many critics of the proposed Ground Zero mosque cloak their arguments in patriotic rhetoric, The Wall Street Journal columnist takes a more restrained approach to the controversy. He recalls a time, just after the atrocities in Auschwitz in World War II, when Catholic nuns moved into an abandoned building near the former death camp. He writes: "As with the dispute over the mosque near Ground Zero, the convent's presence escalated into a clash not only between different faiths but between competing historical narratives." Eventually the Pope withdrew the Catholic nuns in order to be sensitive to the wishes of the Jews, even though he saw little wrong in the nuns who were praying for the souls of the departed.
- Eugene Robinson on the Frustrating Afghanistan War Mounting skepticism among liberals for the war effort Afghanistan has led The Washington Post columnist to lash out at the Obama administration for using incoherent and circular arguments to maintain the massive troop presence in the nation. While Americans are relentlessly promised that they will see soon see a withdrawal, the time line is ever-shifting and the actual number of troops leaving promises to be small. He concludes: "But by all accounts, this effort has been showing few dividends. The more successful tactic has been the targeted assassination, often using drones, of Taliban leaders -- which is consistent with a counterterrorism strategy, not with our stated policy of counterinsurgency."
- Mona Charen on President Obama's Race Overreaction The National Review columnist confesses that she's starting to worry about this president. Specifically, on whether or not America's first black president is being "fair to African-Americans." She cites Obama's tepid endorsement of Charlie Rangel last week and the whole Shirley Sherrod fiasco as emblematic of the ways some blacks are treated by the Obama administration. And then there was the ouster of green jobs czar Van Jones, who, along with New York Governor David Patterson, deserved to be "kicked to the curb." The key difference, Charen writes, is that Sherrod (and possibly Rangel) did not deserve the treatment, yet were lambasted anyway. "[I]n any case," she writes, "it’s beginning to seem that President Obama has a hair trigger where African Americans are concerned."
- Bret Stephens on the Worth of Afghanistan Is Afghanistan worth it? It's a simple question posed in the Wall Street Journal writer's latest column, but one with no easy answers. "On the whole," he writes, "in the scale of American military sacrifice, Afghanistan does not figure large." It is not another Great War, but a contained one. What's needed is an adjustment of expectations for what victory actually looks like. "The measure of success in Afghanistan isn't whether we create a new Switzerland, but whether we avoid another South Vietnam."
- Anne Applebaum on Historical Amnesia The Washington Post columnist examines a curious disorder striking members of the GOP: an inability to remember, in the age of Obama, the budget excesses of Republican politicians. Remember, she says "the federal government expanded under George W. Bush's administration at a rate that was, at least until President Obama came along, unprecedented in American history." Then there were the pork projects of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, from which he "won many, many imitators." Applebaum isn't out to justify or excuse the big spending increases presided over by this administration and this Congress--she just wants some context.
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Ray Gustini is the author of Lucky Town, a forthcoming book about sports in Washington, D.C. He is a former staff writer for The Atlantic Wire.