Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Last night, in between all the hyperbole that any such speech must have, Rudy Guiliani articulated the best explanation I have heard for the war on terror since Tony Blair’s speech in front of Parliament in March 2003.

As a better way of explaining what I have been trying to explain all along, how I can support this war, even when I am so opposed to this President, I bring to you excerpts of Rudy’s speech, with pandering praise of you know who carefully excised.

“Terrorism didn’t start on Sept. 11, 2001. It started a long time ago and it had been festering for many years. And the world had created a response to it that allowed it to succeed.

“The attack on the Israeli team at the Munich Olympics was in 1972. That’s a long time ago, that’s not yesterday. And the pattern began early. The three surviving terrorists were arrested and then within just three months the terrorists who slaughtered the Israeli athletes were released by the German government. Set free. Action like this became the rule, not the exception. Terrorists came to learn time after time that they could attack, that they could slaughter innocent people and not face any consequences.

“In 1985, terrorists attacked the Achille Lauro and they murdered an American citizen who was in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer. They marked him for murder solely because he was Jewish. Some of those terrorist were released and some of the remaining terrorists, they were allowed to escape by the Italian government because of fear of reprisals from the terrorists.

“So terrorists learned they could intimidate the world community and too often the response, particularly in Europe, would be accommodation, appeasement and compromise. And worse, and worse they also learned that their cause would be taken more seriously, almost in direct proportion to the horror of their attack.

“Terrorist acts became like a ticket to the international bargaining table. How else to explain Yasser Arafat winning the Nobel Peace Prize while he was supporting a plague of terrorism in the Middle East and undermining any chance of peace?

“Before Sept. 11, we were living with an unrealistic view of our world much like observing Europe appease Hitler or trying to accommodate the Soviet Union through the use of mutually assured destruction.

“[W]e could no longer just be on defense against global terrorism we must also be on offense …

“In any plan to destroy global terrorism, Saddam Hussein needed to be removed. Frankly, I believed then and I believe now that Saddam Hussein, who supported global terrorism, slaughtered thousands and thousands of his own people, permitted horrific acts of atrocities against women, and used weapons of mass destruction, he was himself a weapon of mass destruction.

“But the reasons for removing Saddam Hussein were based on issues even broader than just the presence of weapons of mass destruction. To liberate people, to give them a chance for accountable, decent government and to rid the world of a pillar of support for global terrorism is nothing to be defensive about. …

“The hatred and the anger in the Middle East arises from the lack of accountable governments. Rather than trying to grant more freedom, or create more income, or improve education and basic health care, these governments deflect their own failures by pointing to America and to Israel and to other external scapegoats.

“But blaming these scapegoats does not improve the life of a single person in the Arab world. It doesn’t relieve the plight of even one woman in Iran. It doesn’t give a decent living to a single soul in Syria. It doesn’t stop the slaughter of African Christians in the Sudan.

“[T]he changes necessary in the Middle East involve encouraging accountable, lawful, decent governments that can be role models and solve the problems of their own people…..

“The war on terrorism will not be won in a single battle. There’ll be no dramatic surrender. There’ll be no crumbling of a massive wall. But we’ll know it. We’ll know it as accountable governments continue to develop in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan and Iraq. We’ll know it as terrorist attacks throughout the world decrease and then end and we save lives.”