Giuliani On Busted Terror Plot (Video)

Rudy Giuliani was on H&C tonight to weigh in on the news of today’s foiled terror plot and the war on terrorism in general. And one thing is for sure, unlike lots of politicians, Giuliani isn’t running away from President Bush or the war in Iraq; he calls the President’s decision to go on the offensive after 9/11 “brilliant” and unequivocally argues that engaging the enemy abroad is what has kept us safe and that’s why winning in Iraq is so important.

And I have to say, I was a little bit shocked. This is first time in recent memory that I have seen anyone–especially someone with presidential ambitions–so forcefully defend President Bush and the war in Iraq. Kudos, Rudy.

Money quote:

You can not negotiate with [terrorists]. These are not people…they have demonstrated to us that they despise us, they hate us, and they want to kill us. They want to kill us because we’re a modern society. They want to kill us because we give women rights. They want to kill us because we have freedom of religion. They want to kill us because we have elected officials. They want to kill us because we’re moderate. And we can’t give that up. What are we going to negotiate away? The rights of women? Are we going to negotiate…set up an Islamic state to make them happy?

By the way, stay until the end of clip where you’ll hear Giuliani discuss the Lieberman race and drop one of the best lines on it that I have heard yet: “On this particular issue, he believes we have to be on the offense against terrorism. And I don’t know why his political party won’t allow him the kind of flexibility to have the view point.”

UPDATE (James Joyner): Kevin Drum argues that,

Democrats have to make it absolutely clear, every single time somebody spouts this rubbish, that supporting the Iraq war doesn’t mean you’re “on offense against terrorism.” Nor does opposing the war also mean you oppose fighting jihadism.

While Kevin and I disagree on the role of the Iraq War in the fight against the jihadists, I agree that one can oppose the war and still want to mount a robust offensive against the jihadists. Giuliani’s zinger is a good talking point and no worse than the Democratic line that opposition to abortion means you don’t care about women’s rights or that opposition to quotas makes you a racist. But it doesn’t drive the debate in a useful direction.

As to the particulars of the Connecticut primary contest, though, he may well right. Despite a large number of posts on the netroots insurgency and the national implications of a Lieberman loss, I haven’t followed the issues side of the race very closely. I haven’t taken Lamont seriously because he has always struck me as an empty suit recruited as a one-issue stalking horse.

Looking at the Issues page of Lamont’s campaign site hasn’t much allayed that suspicion. What does he say about the fight against terrorism? Not a blessed thing. How about his cornerstone issue, the war in Iraq?

Ned Lamont Senate Campaign Issues Page That the war in Iraq has diverted far too many of our dollars, and too much of our attention, from our needs back home. The crisis in health care, lack of progress towards energy independence, and struggling public schools are examples of how our government is not leading, but allowing lobbyists and special interests to write the rules.

Now, these are perfectly honorable views. But notice that he doesn’t say “The war in Iraq has diverted far too many of our dollars, and too much of our attention from our fight against the jihadist terrorists who threaten our security” or “The war in Iraq has created a breeding ground for terrorists, turned potentially friendly Muslims against us, and diminished our crucial soft power in the world community.” Those are the arguments that Democrats who are serious about fighting terrorists–guys like Kevin Drum or Joe Biden, say–are making. Instead, he’s spouting George McGovern’s campaign literature. (I kid; McGovern was much more serious about the fight against Communism.)

To be fair, the site has a separate War in Iraq page. But even there, the only mention of terrorism is a silly talking point left over from the Kerry campaign: “Today, America is no safer, Israel is no safer, Iran is more dangerous, Osama bin Laden is still at large, and our brave troops are stuck in the middle of a bloody civil war.” Now, all of those things are either true or debatable. But, other than the nonsensical implication that we would have captured bin Laden if only we hadn’t gone to Iraq, where’s the discussion about jihadists?

UPDATE: I have to disagree with Kevin and James here for a moment. First, to Kevin’s points. He writes that “supporting the Iraq war doesn’t mean you’re ‘on offense against terrorism.'” Well, to some of us it does. And perhaps that’s why this debate has become utterly redundant. Regardless of how one feels about the way we got into Iraq and the threat it posed pre-invasion, it is the central front in the war on terrorism now. To abdandon Iraq is to surrender the most critical front in the war on terrorism and possibly allow the country to become a haven for the ideology we are trying to defeat. These are arguments that you either believe or you don’t. Which brings me to Kevin’s second point in which he writes that, “nor does opposing the war also mean you oppose fighting jihadism.” This is generically true, however, opposing the war does mean you oppose fighting jihadism in Iraq. Like I said, there is plently of validity in arguments that Iraq shouldn’t have ever happened. But aren’t these arguments better suited for history books rather than the basis for future policy decisions?

In regard to Giuliani’s comment about what happened to Lieberman, James writes that his “zinger is a good talking point and no worse than the Democratic line that opposition to abortion means you don’t care about women’s rights or that opposition to quotas makes you a racist. But it doesn’t drive the debate in a useful direction.” Respectfully, I disagree with that completely. In the context of the discussion, Giuliani was specifically referring to Lieberman’s position on the war in Iraq. How is anything Giuliani said a mischaracterization of what happened to Lieberman? Did his party allow him the flexibility to hold his view on Iraq or not? In terms of the whether this remark pushes the debate in a useful direction, it certainly helps to draw a distinct line in the sand that seperates where the Democratic party and where the Republican party stand on the war in Iraq. And I think most liberals agree with Giuliani’s thesis that Lamont’s victory represents a clear signal to the rest of the Democrats that the base wants out of Iraq immediately and aren’t willing to tolerate politicians that don’t accept this. Isn’t that what Kos has been saying publicly about the “people powered movement” since Lamont won?

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Greg Tinti
About Greg Tinti
Greg started the blog The Political Pit Bull in August 2005. He was OTB's Breaking News Editor from June through August 2006 before deciding to return to his own blog. His blogging career eventually ended altogether. He has a B.A. in Anthropology from The George Washington University,

Comments

  1. -Rudolph Giuliani su Fox News.

  2. [IMG Outside The Beltway | OTB] Private Citizens Can be Prosecuted for Revealing State Secrets Republicans Losing the Senate? TCS Daily – Killing Us Softly Foiled Terror Plots and Strawmen The Big A Is In The House Giuliani On Busted Terror Plot (Video) Caption Contest Winners Auburn Clears Self in Grade Scam Scandal Lieberman And Today’s Foiled Terrorist Attacks Beltway Traffic Jam [IMG OTB Sports] Auburn Clears Self in Grade Scam Scandal Judge rules MLB baseball statistics are public

  3. we’re moderate. And we can’t give that up. What are we going to negotiate away? The rights of women? Are we going to negotiate…set up an Islamic state to make them happy?” Rudolph Giuliani, on Hannity&Colmes (Fox News). The video is avalaible at Outside the Beltway.

  4. SKELETON DANCE on London Pavement LONDONTERROR.

  5. video of Rudy on Hannity & Colmes tonight.

  6. Fighting Back…

    FIGHTING BACK….Rudy Giuliani on Joe Lieberman:On this particular issue, he believes that we have to be on offense against terrorism. And I don’t know why his political party won’t allow him the kind of flexibility to have that viewpoint.This nonsen…

  7. Old War Dogs says:

    Authorities Break Up Major Terror Plot In Britain – Post 4…

    … Random thought: How long till al-NYT, al-WaPo, and al-LAT publish enough information on how the plot was broken up to allow the next one to be successful? I already know more than I really needed to. ……

  8. steve says:

    “On this particular issue, he believes we have to be on the offense against terrorism. And I don’t know why his political party won’t allow him the kind of flexibility to have the view point.”

    Maybe because the Iraq misadventure has turned out to be very bad offense?

  9. anjin-san says:

    Giuliani. I can’t get pass the fact that when the President called on him, during wartime, to serve his country in the vitally important position of director of homeland security, he had better things to do.

  10. James Joyner says:

    I don’t know that Bush offered him the job and he turned it down. I know the name was bandied about.

    But let’s say he did. So what? For one thing, it’s far from clear that the job much matters. For another, it’s not unreasonable to want a break from public service after a couple decades in the DOJ and then as NYC mayor. People have a right to make a living.

  11. madmatt says:

    The question isn’t whether we can fight in iraq and be vigilant against terrorism, the question is does the war in iraq drive more people into the terrorists arms, and if so you have a never ending war which is exactly what bush’s principle backers are seeking for political and financial gain.

  12. […] …and he’s not going to take it anymore!  On Giuliani’s pro-Lieberman remarks: This nonsense needs to be fought at every turn. Democrats have to make it absolutely clear, every single time somebody spouts this rubbish, that supporting the Iraq war doesn’t mean you’re “on offense against terrorism.” Nor does opposing the war also mean you oppose fighting jihadism. The truth is closer to the exact opposite, and chapter and verse should follow if necessary. […]

  13. Rudy ’08…

    “Non è possibile negoziare con i terroristi: non sono esseri umani… Hanno dimostrato che ci disprezzano, che ci odiano e che vogliono ucciderci. Vogliono ucciderci perché siamo una società moderna. Vogliono ucciderci perché abbiamo dato i diritt…

  14. Anderson says:

    What are we going to negotiate away? The rights of women? Are we going to negotiate…set up an Islamic state to make them happy?

    And our alternative would be …? (I assume he’s talking about Iraq; otherwise, it’s just gibberish.)

    Either we settle down to 50 to 100 years of governing Iraq like the Brits did India, or else we recognize that a Shiite state will be the result of our invasion. Saddam himself thought that was his shield against invasion: what, the Americans will get rid of me so that a Shiite theocracy can rule Iraq? Fooled him, didn’t we?

  15. legion says:

    Giuliani’s, and much of the right’s, pontificating that this success vindicates Bush’s take on the GWOT is a crap argument. It assumes that the UK plane plot (a) would have still been attempted even if we hadn’t invaded Iraq and (b) that it wouldn’t have been discovered before planes started blowing up. Neither of those things can concretely be said or denied by anyone.

  16. LJD says:

    Likewise- conversely:

    Kerry President. No Iraq. Would he have discovered the plot?

    Your arguments have a certain doo-doo quality as well.

  17. Anderson says:

    He writes that “supporting the Iraq war doesn’t mean you’re ‘on offense against terrorism.’” Well, to some of us it does.

    Okay, and the existence of fossils means “to some of us” that dinosurs drowned in Noah’s Flood. The rest of us should be concerned about that?

    What’s mainly needed in Iraq is a strong gov’t with a monopoly on force, to keep the place from turning into Afghanistan or Lebanon. Democracy alas is a distant priority.

  18. Randy Paul says:

    Giuliani. I can’t get pass the fact that when the President called on him, during wartime, to serve his country in the vitally important position of director of homeland security, he had better things to do.

    I can’t get past the fact that Giuliani pushed a man who copped a plea to avoid jail time to be Secretary of DHS.

  19. AustinHam says:

    It isn’t Lieberman’s support for the Iraq war that did him in– plenty of other Democrats (Clinton, Biden, Kerry) have gotten away with it. What got Lieberman defeated was his penchant for trashing Democrats who don’t share his enthusiasm for what we’re doing in Iraq.

  20. legion says:

    LJD, your reading comprehension has a doo-doo quality as well. I clearly state that _nobody_ can say if these things would or would not have happened if we hadn’t invaded Iraq. Not that Bush caused terrorism, not that Kerry would have magically saved us, not any of that. Simply that Giuliani’s idea that foiling this plot somehow validates the invasion is not logically defensible.

  21. legion says:

    He writes that “supporting the Iraq war doesn’t mean you’re ‘on offense against terrorism.’” Well, to some of us it does.

    And I gotta weigh in on this too. You’re wrong, Greg. You’re not on offense against terrorism, you’re just on offense. There’s a subtle, but critical, difference. Many commenters on the right supported the invasion of Iraq, even while questioning the threat they posed, by saying that we needed to invade _someone_ just to raise some hell and show the Moslems & the terrorists & the rest of the world we mean business. It’s natural to want to lash out after something as painful & tragic as 9/11. Invading Afghanistan was a completely relevant and reasonable thing to do. But invading Iraq was nothing more than bloodthirsty revenge killing – it did not damage AQ, it did not have any potential to capture, kill, or even stop Bin Laden, and it has not made the US one damn bit safer. The only justification for it is the bloodthirsty need to kill someone, _anyone_, for what was done to us.

    That’s not the the policy of a global superpower. It’s the danger of a rabid, unthinking animal.

  22. Caribbean says:

    I believe that Giuliani is still the one of the most influencial politic figure in New York. However, I don’t know if Bush offered him the job or not. The issue isn’t if we can fight in iraq and be vigilant against terrorism, if the issue is does the war in iraq drive more people into the terrorists arms, and if so you have a never ending war which is exactly what bush’s principle backers are seeking for political and financial gain.

  23. LJD says:

    I clearly state that _nobody_ can say if these things would or would not have happened if we hadn’t invaded Iraq.

    Well duh. Hoewever the whole premise of your argument, and those that think like you, is that Iraq has done NOTHING to assist the GWOT.

    You have just refuted yourself perfectly.

    commenters on the right supported the invasion of Iraq, even while questioning the threat they posed, by saying that we needed to invade _someone_ just to raise some hell and show the Moslems & the terrorists & the rest of the world we mean business. It’s natural to want to lash out after something as painful & tragic as 9/11.

    Now you’re just projecting. It’s Friday. Get yourself a cold beer, sit outside, and listen to the wind blow. Chill.

  24. anjin-san says:

    James,

    Maybe Giuliani did want a break from public service. But, as the President reminds us constantly, we are at war. I am sure a lot of servicemen who are under stop loss would like a break too.

    We are at war. The President called. He took a pass. Is that the action of a leader?

    I was a fan of Giuliani up till that point. As for everyone having a right to make a living, I am pretty sure that the DHS job comes with a paycheck that is larger then most Americans see.

    In my view, he did not want to give up his lucrative consulting business, nor take a job that could probably only hurt his political ambitions.

  25. Greg Tinti says:

    legion: you write:

    You’re wrong, Greg. You’re not on offense against terrorism, you’re just on offense. There’s a subtle, but critical, difference. Many commenters on the right supported the invasion of Iraq, even while questioning the threat they posed, by saying that we needed to invade _someone_ just to raise some hell and show the Moslems & the terrorists & the rest of the world we mean business. It’s natural to want to lash out after something as painful & tragic as 9/11. Invading Afghanistan was a completely relevant and reasonable thing to do. But invading Iraq was nothing more than bloodthirsty revenge killing – it did not damage AQ, it did not have any potential to capture, kill, or even stop Bin Laden, and it has not made the US one damn bit safer. The only justification for it is the bloodthirsty need to kill someone, _anyone_, for what was done to us.

    That’s not the the policy of a global superpower. It’s the danger of a rabid, unthinking animal.

    The premise of that argument is based on the faulty notion that one day the Bush administration just woke up and attacked Iraq. In fact, there was a long period of time when the Bush administration made the case against Saddam which, by the way, was convincin enough at the time to sway a majority of Democrats to vote to approve the Iraq war.

    As I said in my post, save your psychological analysis and monday morning quarterbacking for the history books. We are there now and it’s a mistake for us not to finish what we started.

  26. legion says:

    The premise of that argument is based on the faulty notion that one day the Bush administration just woke up and attacked Iraq.

    Bull.
    Bush himself says that’s pretty much what happened. In fact, one of his own senior officials says Bush wanted to invade Iraq before he even took office. When I said the invasion of Iraq was a flawed response to 911, I was being charitable those that supported it, against their own better judgement. For Bush, it was a foregone conclusion even if 911 hadn’t happened.

    As I said in my post, save your psychological analysis and monday morning quarterbacking for the history books. We are there now and it’s a mistake for us not to finish what we started.

    We do need to leave Iraq in some sort of stable situation. But I, and an increasing number of Americans, believe that neither Bush nor anyone in the GOP is competent to actually do that.

  27. Anderson says:

    In fact, there was a long period of time when the Bush administration made the case against Saddam which, by the way, was convincin enough at the time to sway a majority of Democrats to vote to approve the Iraq war.

    By misleading America in general and the Congress in particular as to the actual evidence for Saddam’s being a threat. This ain’t ancient history; we were there; we remember.

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