Giuliani Says Another 9/11 Likely if Democrat Elected
Rudy Giuliani told a crowd last night that the country would be at risk for another 9/11 attack if a Democrat is elected president in 2008, Roger Simon reports for The Politico.
Rudy Giuliani said if a Democrat is elected president in 2008, America will be at risk for another terrorist attack on the scale of Sept. 11, 2001. But if a Republican is elected, he said, especially if it is him, terrorist attacks can be anticipated and stopped. “If any Republican is elected president —- and I think obviously I would be the best at this —- we will remain on offense and will anticipate what [the terrorists] will do and try to stop them before they do it,” Giuliani said.
The former New York City mayor, currently leading in all national polls for the Republican nomination for president, said Tuesday night that America would ultimately defeat terrorism no matter which party gains the White House. “But the question is how long will it take and how many casualties will we have?” Giuliani said. “If we are on defense [with a Democratic president], we will have more losses and it will go on longer.”
“I listen a little to the Democrats and if one of them gets elected, we are going on defense,” Giuliani continued. “We will wave the white flag on Iraq. We will cut back on the Patriot Act, electronic surveillance, interrogation and we will be back to our pre-Sept. 11 attitude of defense.” He added: “The Democrats do not understand the full nature and scope of the terrorist war against us.”
I’m troubled by the use of a paraphrase rather than a direct quotation for the key assertion here. It’s bizarre to have so many direct quotations in the piece but not for the statement that provides the lede and the headline (“Giuliani warns of ‘new 9/11’ if Dems win”).
Presuming the reporting is accurate, however, it’s a silly and irresponsible thing to say. There’s a fine line between arguing that one candidate’s or party’s approach to combating terrorism would be more effective than another’s and saying that electing another candidate or party is more dangerous. And it’s nonsense to claim that an entire political party doesn’t “understand” the key issue of our time.
No matter how vigilant and offense minded a president is, there’s certainly no guarantee that we’ll be able to stop the next attempt at a large-scale terrorist attack. Indeed, a free society is virtually powerless to stop suicide bombers and the like.
It’s far from clear now much the Patriot Act and questionable imprisonments and interrogation techniques have contributed to our safety, although there’s at least anecdotal evidence that it has provided valuable intelligence. The degree to which that has been offset by the damage to our credibility and liberty is an open question, too.
Red meat is part of sparking enthusiasm in supporters and ginning up campaign contributions. Still, over-the-top statements like this lower the level of discourse unnecessarily. One of Giuliani’s strengths is that he has the potential to bridge the red-blue, rural-urban divides that have polarized our politics the last several years. It’s awfully early in the process to throw that away.