The Malkinization of Ground Zero

Right-wing bloggers, led by Michelle Malkin, have exploded with outrage over a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed that supposedly “[blows] the whistle on…human rights zealots who are trying to turn Ground Zero into a blame-America monument.” Malkin calls it the “Soros-ization of Ground Zero.”

Apparently the group — the International Freedom Center — that’s designing part of the 9/11 memorial has turned to a “radical leftists,” the “anti-American left,” the “Who’s Who of the human rights, Guantanamo-obsessed world” — in other words, the ACLU, Human Rights First, George Soros, and university academics — for advice on the memorial, which is going to be a “history of freedom.” And that’s especially bad, since…

…the IFC is getting 300,000 square feet of space to teach us how to think about liberty, [while] the actual Memorial Center on the opposite corner of the site will get a meager 50,000 square feet to exhibit its 9/11 artifacts, all out of sight and underground.

In the first place, a 50,000 square foot memorial is hardly “meager.” That’s thousands of square feet more than either the World War II or Vietnam memorials. The new Pearl Harbor memorial will be just 24,000 square feet. And does anyone consider it an insult to Thomas Jefferson that his artifacts are placed “out of sight and underground” in the museum beneath his memorial statue?

But that’s beside the point. The hysterics of Malkin and others have focused entirely on who the International Freedom Center has turned to for advice. Here’s an idea: how about looking at who the International Freedom Center has actually endorsed.

Turns out the IFC has been one of the great champions of Nathan Sharansky. Yes, that Nathan Sharansky: President Bush’s foreign policy guru, who was offered an hour-long meeting with Bush in the Oval Office, and who has been praised in the pages of the National Review and on David Horowitz’s FrontPageMag. Earlier this year, Bush told “opinion makers” they should put Sharansky’s book, The Case for Democracy, on their “recommended reading list.” “If you want a glimpse of how I think about foreign policy, read Natan Sharansky’s book,” Bush said.

And it gets better. Guess who turned Bush on to Sharansky? The co-founder of the IFC, Tom Bernstein, who sent Bush excerpts of the book shortly after his reelection, and “who was a financial partner with Bush in the Texas Rangers.” And guess who the IFC featured at its very first public program? Good ol’ Nathan Sharansky.

So the “zealots” and “radical leftists” designing the “anti-American” 9/11 memorial actually helped shape the very core of President Bush’s foreign policy. We’re speechless.