Monday, September 24, 2007

a paper tiger

Rudy Giuliani is campaigning as a "tough on terrorism" kind of guy, with a unique understanding of terrorism garnered from being mayor of New York on a sunny September day some six years ago.

Well, just because you're mayor of New York when the planes hit the World Trade Center towers doesn't mean you're to blame for the attacks. But it doesn't confer any special quality on you to be president, either.

And today, Alec MacGillis explores Mayor Rudy's pre-9/11 record on terrorism. It doesn't quite stack up to Rudy's tough-guy rhetoric now.

In 1999, as the Clinton Administration (successfully, as it turned out) was ramping up to prevent a millennium terror attack, Mayor Rudy said "I would urge people not to let the psychology of fear infect the way they act. Otherwise we have let the terrorists win without anybody striking a blow."

Now, there is a lot to be said for that. But it isn't consistent with what Giuliani says now. It isn't consistent with the persona Giuliani is projecting that he believes should be elected president.

And Giuliani's well-known decision to place the New York emergency headquarters in the World Trade Center (because he wanted it to be close to his office) despite it having been the target of a 1993 terrorist bombing demonstrates a certain lack of brainpower when it comes to terrorism.

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