Gary Hart’s ‘Open Letter’ to Rudy Giuliani
Former Senator Gary Hart writes an “open letter” to Rudy Giuliani on the Huffington Post blog. (You’d think someone of his stature could get op-ed space somewhere, no?) His beef is that Giuliani says Democrats aren’t serious about terrorism yet Giuliani did nothing to stop the 9/11 attacks even though Hart put out a white paper in January 2001 saying there was a threat of a terrorist attack in the United States.
The George W. Bush administration did nothing about these warnings and we lost 3,000 American lives. What did you do during those critical eight months? Where were you? Were you on the defensive, or were you even paying attention?
Before you qualify to criticize Democrats, Mr. Giuliani, you must account for your preparation of your city for these clearly predicted attacks. Tell us, please, what steps you took to make your city safer.
Until you do, then I strongly suggest you should keep your mouth shut about Democrats and terrorism.
That’s got to be the silliest thing I’ve read in quite some time. Granted, Giuliani’s grandstanding on terrorism, especially on partisan lines, is rather absurd, too. But, surely, a generalized warning that terrorists might attack the United States is hardly the same as “clearly predicted attacks.”
And what exactly was the mayor of NYC supposed to do with the information? Put anti-aircraft missiles atop the World Trade Center in case some planes were hijacked and flown into them?
For that matter, it’s not entirely clear what President Bush should have done. After all, Bill Clinton was president during al Qaeda’s ascendancy, including numerous attacks on U.S. targets. While some of us criticized him for the tepidness of his responses, it’s doubtful he could have mustered the support necessary to invade Afghanistan and wipe them out. Surely, Bush couldn’t have, either, pre-9/11, having come to office months after the most recent attack.
The 9/11 attacks did not, as the cliché goes, change everything. They did, however, change the nature of the debate around terrorism. While I disagree with silly partisan gamesmanship over the issue, it’s perfectly fair to draw distinctions between one candidate’s preferred policy options and another’s.