Ira Smolensky


Shame on Rudy


       Run for the hills.

       The Democrats are coming.

       Or so presidential wannabe Rudy Giuliani (and many of his fellow Republicans) would have us believe.

       According to these stalwart patriots (or shameless demagogues, depending how you look at it), the war on terror will be lost if a Democrat is elected to the presidency in 2008.

       As everyone knows, I am usually a sweet and cuddly guy, the meek sort of person who, it is written, will some day inherit the earth. 

       But GiulianiÕs tactic really steams me up.

       For one thing, who are Republicans to talk?  Their man has been in the White House from the outset of this war, and the results have been much less than spectacular.

       On 9-11-Õ01, George W. Bush and Co. allowed the nation to absorb one of the nastiest sucker punches in history.  Shortly thereafter, for reasons that remain obscure, they diverted the war on terror into Iraq, where they have gotten us hopelessly bogged down in a nasty civil war and actually made some Iraqis miss the bad olÕ days of Saddam Hussein. 

       Along the way, Bush has squandered the moral high ground that the nation held following the treacherous brutality of 9-11.  He has done so by displaying world class arrogance, gleefully abridging human rights, and generally Ōspeaking with forked tongue.Ķ

       Of course, everyone knows all of this.

       Which is why Giuliani and Co. are going hard after Democrats.

       Since BushÕs performance with regard to the war on terror is indefensible—something that Republican candidates cannot openly admit without shooting themselves in the foot— attention must be shifted to the allegedly lily livered tendencies of Democrats, who soon will have us all donning the veil (even men) and slouching toward Medina. 

       I guess this could just be seen as American politics as usual—better to be a victorious scoundrel than a lovable (or even respectable) loser.  Moreover, the tactic seems to have worked in 2004, when Republicans banded together to promote the myth that John Kerry lacked the solid round spheres needed to properly fight terror.   

       But there is something a bit more odious going on here.

       According to these same Republicans, criticism of our war effort emboldens the enemy.  Now, I donÕt know that this is actually true.  Rather, I think our enemies are emboldened by the same thing as the American architects of the war in Iraq, a belief that, in our post-modern, morally confusing world, might makes right (or, at the very least, might makes history). 

       Nevertheless, Republicans apparently believe strongly in their own emboldenment theory.  It is, therefore, particularly unpatriotic of them to suggest that a Democratic victory in 2008 would weaken our war effort, since that clearly would embolden our enemies to hang on and fight at least until the 2008 results are in.  In essence, Republicans are criticizing the Democratic led war effort before the fact, and therefore, by their own admission, emboldening the enemy.

       This seems to me to be a particularly low and disgusting tactic, one I would be ashamed to even entertain let alone employ full speed ahead.

       But Rudy Giuliani apparently feels no such shame.

       His eyes are on the prize.

       And his sense of decency? 

       That, folks, is in the wastebasket.