DON’T FOLLOW THE TERRORISTS’ SCRIPT…. Michael Daly had a poignant item in the New York Daily News yesterday, reflecting on his friendship with five FDNY friends, four of whom perished on Sept. 11, 2001. The fifth, Tim Brown, somehow managed to survive after saving lives in the south tower, and filed suit to prevent the construction of the Cordoba House a couple of blocks away.

As much as Daly loves Brown, and wishes he did “not so strongly disagree with him,” he concludes that Americans must not give in to “what the terrorists want.” (via Peter Daou)

Nobody could sway me more than Tim when it comes to Ground Zero. But I cannot help feeling that if we block this mosque we will not only be doing what Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh want, we will also be doing exactly what Osama Bin Laden wants. […]

We are only helping the bad guys if we declare that the religious freedom at the core of our democracy does not apply to a mosque too close to Ground Zero.

Maybe it is my own anger at the murder of my friends that gives me such a visceral reaction against doing what it seems clear the killers want us to do.

This observation is important, and I’m glad to see that it’s coming up with increasing frequency. This morning, Mark McKinnon, a former strategist for George W. Bush, said of his own party, “Usually Republicans are forthright in defending the Constitution. And here we are, reinforcing al Qaeda’s message that we’re at war with Muslims…. I see a bad pattern where we’re headed as a Republican Party.”

Michael Gerson, Bush’s former chief speechwriter, added today, “Those who want a president to assert that any mosque would defile the neighborhood near Ground Zero are asking him to undermine the war on terrorism.”

William Saletan noted the ways in which leading Republicans have become allies of Osama bin Laden’s propaganda campaign. Jeffrey Goldberg also explained two weeks ago: “I know Feisal Abdul Rauf; I’ve spoken with him at a public discussion at the 96th street mosque in New York about interfaith cooperation. He represents what Bin Laden fears most: a Muslim who believes that it is possible to remain true to the values of Islam and, at the same time, to be a loyal citizen of a Western, non-Muslim country.”

Clearly, the vast majority of the GOP, and most of the American public, doesn’t want to hear this. It’s easier to believe that Muslim Americans are all dangerous (they’re not) and now they’re trying to build a mosque at Ground Zero (which isn’t true, either).

But if critics would just pause to catch their breath and consider reason, they’d see there’s no value in helping bin Laden’s dangerous scheme.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.