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.
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?
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?