Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Rudy Guiliani: National Security Expert

Because those in DC have so blindly accepted the narrative of Rudy Guiliani: National Security Expert and Counterterrorism Hero, we need more stories like this to remind people what an empty suit he is as a national figure, and how his 'national security' expertise consists solely of finding ways to exploit it-
Rudolph Giuliani's membership on an elite Iraq study panel came to an abrupt end last spring after he failed to show up for a single official meeting of the group, causing the panel's top Republican to give him a stark choice: either attend the meetings or quit, several sources said.

Giuliani left the Iraq Study Group last May after just two months, walking away from a chance to make up for his lack of foreign policy credentials on the top issue in the 2008 race, the Iraq war.

He cited "previous time commitments" in a letter explaining his decision to quit, and a look at his schedule suggests why -- the sessions at times conflicted with Giuliani's lucrative speaking tour that garnered him $11.4 million in 14 months.

Giuliani failed to show up for a pair of two-day sessions that occurred during his tenure, the sources said -- and both times, they conflicted with paid public appearances shown on his recent financial disclosure. Giuliani quit the group during his busiest stretch in 2006, when he gave 20 speeches in a single month that brought in $1.7 million...

This isn't from The Nation, by the way, it's from the conservative-friendly Newsday.

The Guiliani people offered up a response, which simply doesn't hold water.

Reading this also reminded me of Rudy's former Police Commissioner, Bernie Kerik, who almost became Homeland Security Secretary, except someone had to go and spill the beans on what a scumbag he is (plowing his mistresses across the street from Ground Zero, while rescue workers worked 18-hour shifts developing the 'WTC Cough' in the process).

Prior to this, Kerik was sent to Iraq in 2003 by the Bush administration to use his serious foreign policy credentials to help in the rebuilding process (hey, remember that?). He was designated to be "the Interim Minister of Interior of Iraq," basically helping train new police forces, among other tasks. He spent three months-- instead of the year he was supposed to-- dicking around, and left when he realized that a) he was in a war zone, and b) rebuilding countries is tough work.

All things considered, this probably makes Rudy a shoo-in for the GOP nomination to many.

After all, the current administration-- which consolidated Republican power in Washington from 2002 to early 2006 based on the aura of terrorism-fighting and war strength-- has never really cared about the terror issue beyond who it could profit politically. A new book on homeland security ('The Edge of Disaster') reveals, among other things, that-
1) Under the Bush Administration's budgets, there is far more money spent by the Pentagon protecting its own domestic military installations ($16.5 billion) than protecting the rest of us.

2) In 2002, as part of the legislation creating the Homeland Security Department, Congress directed the administration to construct a list setting priorities for protecting critical national infrastructure: which energy facilities, utilities, bridges, ports, water and other crucial services are most at risk of terrorist attacks and what are the plans for protecting them. Five years later, the Administration still has not developed this list.

3) There was one important pre-9/11 success story: Project Impact, in which the federal government helped fund and worked closely with local governments in developing resilient systems that could provide services in the wake of disasters and terrorist attacks. It was cancelled by the Bush Administration.

The successes we have had, as I've noted before, were due to diligent police work and intelligence-gathering, the very things the administration dismissed as antiquate, as they demanded the right to torture people and spy without warrants.

[PS- Romney will double Gitmo and Fred Thompson looks tough, so competition's steep.]

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