The recent exchange between Republican presidential hopefuls Rudy Giuliani of New York and Ron Paul of Texas ought to serve as a metaphor for what's wrong with the political process in this nation. The two were addressing the attacks of 9/11 — the elephant that has lumbered around America for nearly six years while leaders have long sought to ignore it.
The simple discourse revealed enormous complexities.
Paul: "They attack us because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for 10 years. We've been in the Middle East."
An angry Giuliani responded that as someone who lived through the attack of September 11 — “that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq — I don't think I've ever heard that before, and I've heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11th. … I would ask the congressman to withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn't really mean that."
Paul shot back that if we think that we can do what we want around the world and not incite hatred, then we have a problem. “They come and they attack us because we're over there."
The audience erupted in applause and cheers for Giuliani . Paul was drowned out.
The entire scenario is a metaphor for the rampant ignorance and apathy that exists, not only at some of the highest levels of government leadership, but also consumes large swaths of the American landscape where ill-informed constituents cheer on their equally ignorant candidates with zeal.
Giuliani was wrong. Dead wrong.
The very fact that he didn't know the U.S. had been bombing Iraq every year for over a decade prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 is a clear statement that says he’s unfit for the Oval Office. America doesn't need or deserve a president who hasn't a clue what has occurred before his tenure that brought about the crisis situations he will inherit. Add to that the performance he gave in requesting a retraction from Paul and you've got yourself yet another politician better suited for Hollywood than 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Paul, on the other hand, is a brave, albeit cooked, politician. He has no chance of progressing despite the growing interest of the American people in the issues surrounding the 9/11 cover-up.
Even as the dog and pony show travels the nation and placates to the vastly varied voters across the fruited plains, the field has already narrowed, the main players chosen, and the groomed and polished finalists are already preparing to take center stage in January 2008.
This political process is a done deal. Clinton will be the nominee for the Democrats. Obama will toss his constituency behind her (ensuring a role in her Cabinet). The Republicans will offer up a sacrificial lamb. It truly doesn't matter who it is, whether it be McCain, Romney or Giuliani … the elephants will roam outside of the White House following the turnover of power (barring another conveniently timed "terrorist attack" that establishes a need for Bush to remain in office until he can provide safety for us all).
If the Republicans have any sense at all, they will help Giuliani figure out that he has more important duties at home "spending more time with his family." His goose is cooked. Any intelligent opposition on the Democrat side of the aisle immediately cut and stored clips of Giuliani 's open admission that he hasn't a clue about the history of U.S. military involvement in the Middle East, thus rendering him incompetent as a presidential candidate.
Of course, that never stopped Dubya, but Giuliani's dad isn't the former head of the CIA and didn't spend 12 years in the White House at the pinnacle of political policy-making. Dubya's dad did. And the controversial orchestration of Dubya's assension to the Oval Office will play forever in the annals of history.
For Giuliani, his legacy will be the role he played as Mayor of New York, especially during the turbulent time in the aftermath of the attacks of 9/11. Nothing more.
Some may argue that Giuliani's response to Paul was in regard to the rationale for the attacks on the World Trade Center Towers. Unfortunately, Giuliani failed to address the key issue behind Paul's statement. That is, the U.S. government cannot initiate and maintain aggressive policies that render death and destruction in foreign places without expectation of some sort of retribution. Thus, we cannot blame the victim of U.S. aggression for fighting back, unless we are willing to cast ourselves as hypocrites, since we believe in fighting back when someone initiates a fight.
The key to Paul's premise is that the U.S. ought not be conducting its business around the world as a bully. We ought not be overthrowing governments, undermining governments, and causing death and destruction in the wake of "U.S. foreign policies." Any candidate who stands in opposition to that premise ought to be disqualified from any leadership position.
Giuliani's premise is based upon the lie posed by the government tas an explanation for 9/11. That lie, to this day, continues to claim the U.S. was attacked by presumably unknown terrorists for unknown reasons … unprovoked.
Of course most Americans will not recall the fact that the U.S. government put the word on the street that SAME DAY, that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the attacks. The next morning front pages of USA Today and The Washington Post both pushed headlines that screamed Osama on the very same page with the headlines reflecting the attack and photos of the twin towers ablaze. It’s amazing how quickly U.S. intelligence was aware that Osama was the culprit. Even more amazing is the fact that not one media outlet has ever challenged the government's immediate assertion that Osama was behind the attacks of 9/11 — an accusation made on the same day the attacks occurred.
Paul's premise was to provide a rationale for such an attack based upon acceptance of the same lie posed by the government as the reason planes were flown into the towers. But at least he knew the history of U.S. aggression in Iraq. Unfortunately, Paul isn't questioning the executive branch's continued claim of Al-Qaida as the mastermind behind what we saw that day. But I would expect Giuliani to lead the charge in finding out the truth since three buildings fell on his turf.
Indeed, if Giuliani had any credibility at all, he would have led the charge into questioning the government in regard to numerous issues being brought to the mainstream by a wide variety of credible groups and scholars. Instead, Giuliani has yet to even investigate how a third tower fell at free-fall speed in the exact same manner as the twin towers … yet never sustained enough damage from fire or debris to warrant such a collapse and didn't have the benefit of a plane to assist in its destruction.
Giuliani has failed on many levels as a leader pertaining to the events of 9/11. The four widows from New Jersey spent nearly two years of their lives pushing for an investigation. Because of their efforts — not Giuliani's or any other political leader — the bogus 9/11 Commission was finally formed. Meanwhile, Giuliani was glad-hugging and dripping tears of fake compassion. Perhaps we ought to elect those ladies. They have shown leadership and a determination to get at the truth, which is relatively unknown in Washington political circles. Surely, they would do better than Giuliani.
We don't need another fake leader in the Oval Office. As it is, we will get another Clinton, which, after her 8 years, will total 36 years of just two families ruling the roost. And America's foreign policy will never waver throughout her presidency, as it never wavered throughout her husband's. The Bush-Clinton Middle East plan has done exactly what Jimmy Carter declared America would do in January 1980:
"An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault upon the vital interests of the United States — and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force."
When Carter mentioned "outside" force, he hoped America would turn its attention to the Soviet Union. But the reality of the invasion of Iran (8 months later) by a U.S.-assisted Iraq and the subsequent invasion of Iraq a decade later, with pronouncements by each president of the necessity to protect America's "vital economic interests" in that region, provides us clarity to understand the true motives of the United States at that time and every four years since.
From the time Bush (41) lied to get us into a war in the Middle East and an invasion of Iraq in 1991, to the time Bush (43) lied to get us into yet another ground invasion of Iraq in 2003 within the same war, Clinton held down the fort in the Oval Office with continued air bombing of Iraq throughout his presidency. Such was the case in Yugoslavia as well.
There is no reason to believe that with the Clintons back in the White House anything would change in America's policy in Iraq. Already permanent bases are being built. The Taj Mahal of embassies is now being constructed in Baghdad at an initial cost of nearly $600 million. Expect that cost to spiral out of control.
Already, the British have committed to both Iraq and Afghanistan through 2012. They won't be alone. We are a team, and their tiny force is nothing without our huge military might. If they have openly declared a commitment for at least another five years, surely Americans must know we have also made such a commitment.
With the Clintons back in the saddle again, it will be business as usual for the Bush-Clinton clan. Perhaps after 36 years we might find other candidates suitable for leadership. or maybe by that time Paul's warning of American aggression creating a backlash will have prophetic consequences.
The time is right for the American public to clean out its political closet and rid itself of the terrorists within who callously sacrifice our sons and daughters serving in the military to advance their clandestine goals. It is time we stopped watching what they wear and listening to the eloquent speeches they give — and began to examine closely what they do and the decisions they make.
America doesn't exist in a vacuum. And the decisions made by our leaders have far-reaching ramifications. We would do well as a people to elect leaders who can be trusted to act according to the will of the people — who do not ignore or stonewall the people while acting in accordance with special interests that place the safety and freedoms of the people at risk.Powered by Sidelines