Rudy Giuliani on War & Peace

Former Mayor of New York City; Republican Candidate for 2000 Senate (NY)


Al Qaeda isn't on the run; be more proactive

Q: Looking in North Africa & the Persian Gulf states, you either have al-Qaeda with a safe haven, or, indeed, more activity. Are we more vulnerable now?

GIULIANI: I think that, since the capture of bin Laden, there's been a kind of sense that "al-Qaeda's on the run; the threat is less." The threat isn't less. The threat is actually more diverse now, and maybe even more complex. And you can detect, through the Benghazi defense, and even during some of this Boston marathon bombing: There's a tendency to underplay what is, in fact, a growing danger, and to some extent, a different kind of threat than what we were facing, 3 or 4 years ago. [Maybe] this is a product of "leading from behind," like happened in Syria, where a lot of action could have been taken a year ago that may have precluded this. But the president prefers to watch these things play out before he makes a decision. They'd be well advised to get a lot more proactive now, because things are really heating up.

Source: Meet the Press 2013 interviews: 2016 presidential hopefuls , May 5, 2013

The Democrats rarely mentioned the 9/11 attacks at the DNC

For four days in Denver, the Democrats were afraid to use the words “Islamic terrorism.” They believe it is politically incorrect to say it. They believe it will insult someone. Please, tell me, who are they insulting, if they say “Islamic terrorism?” They are insulting terrorists. During those same four days in Denver, they rarely mentioned the attacks of 9/11. They are in a state of denial about the biggest threat that faces this country. If you deny it and you don’t deal with it, you can’t face it
Source: Speech at 2008 Republican National Convention , Sep 3, 2008

The Iraq war was worth the price in blood and treasure

Q: Was the war a good idea and worth the price in blood and treasure?

A: I was for it when six out of 10 were for it; I’m for it when six out of 10 are against it. I’m for it not because of polls but because America is in a war, an Islamic terrorist war against us. America has to succeed in Iraq. And the goal in Iraq is an Iraq that’s stable and an ally of the US. To be president of the US, you have to be able to read polls, but you can’t have them push you around.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida , Jan 24, 2008

Iran: Keep military option on table, even if no nukes now

Q: The National Intelligence Estimate on Iran reports, “We judge with high confidence that in the fall of 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program. We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid- 2007.” Does this remove the option of a pre-emptive military strike against Iran?

A: No, I don’t think it does. I think you always leave open the military option in a situation where you’ve got to interpret between high confidence & moderate confidence The policy of this government should be that we don’t take any options off the table, & we keep the pressure on them. And of course we don’t want to use the military option. It would be dangerous; it would be risky. But I think it would be more dangerous and more risky if Iran did become a nuclear power. We should utilize sanctions. We should utilize as much pressure as we’re capable of. But the fact that that military option is there, not taken off the table, ultimately increases the pressure.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , Dec 9, 2007

Keep pressure on Iran, because pressure works

Q: The NIE says that in 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program, but you would still keep the pressure on, including a military option?

A: The reality is the pressure works. The NIE said that, too. They said in 2003 Iran abandoned its nuclear program, they believe, because of all the pressure, all the threats, that they are susceptible to that. 2003 was the year in which we deposed Saddam Hussein. It was the year in which America showed massive military strength.

Q: But you’re not saying deposing Saddam Hussein was a reason that Iran suspended its program?

A: No, you’ve got to look at what was going on in 2003. We had just won a big victory in Afghanistan, we had deposed Saddam Hussein. That’s around the time Qadafi was putting up the white flag of surrender. That pressure helped to bring Iran to that position.

Q: Diplomatic pressure?

A: Well, pressure in general. And the idea that the military option is not taken off the table has got to add to that pressure.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , Dec 9, 2007

Disagrees with neocon adviser on immediate need to bomb Iran

Q: Norman Podhoretz wrote, “The case for bombing Iran. I hope and pray that Pres. Bush will do it.” And then this interview: “’I was asked to come in and give him a briefing on the war, World War IV,’” said Podhoretz, a founding father of neoconservatism and leading foreign policy adviser to Giuliani. ‘As far as I can tell there is very little difference in how he sees the war and how I see it.’“ Do you believe that we should bomb Iran as soon as logistically possible?

A: No, I believe that military options should not be taken off the table. But I don’t think the military option is the thing that we want, if we don’t have to. We would only get to it if it was a last resort.

Q: Do you believe, as Podhoretz also wrote, that “the intelligence community has been leaking material calculated to undermine Bush, to head off the possibility of air strikes on Iran?”

A: I have no reason to believe that.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , Dec 9, 2007

No time limit in Iraq; stay until we achieve stability

Q: Your best estimate as a potential commander in chief, how long will U.S. troops be in Iraq?

A: For as long as necessarily to get the strategic objective achieved. Our strategic objective is an Iraq that’s stable and an Iraq that will act as an ally of the US in the ongoing Islamic terrorist effort war against us. Some think that that’s possible, some think that it’s impossible, but that’s certainly the best strategic objective.

Q: And if it becomes clear there’s no political reconciliation betwee Shiites and Sunnis?

A: If it became clear to any president, Republican or Democrat, that the people in charge of the effort tell you, “Hey, Mr. President, we can’t accomplish this,” I think any president would have to take that real seriously and start thinking about, well, how do we extricate ourselves from this.

Q: But as of now you’re, you’re prepared to spend several more years if necessary?

A: For now, [there should be no] time limits placed on the military.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , Dec 9, 2007

Desirable but unneeded to ask Congress to attack Iran nukes

Q: If you were president, would you need to go to Congress to get authorization to take military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities?

A: It really depends on exigency of the circumstances and how legitimate it is that it really is an exigent circumstance. It’s desirable. It’s safer to go to Congress, get approval from Congress. If you’re really dealing with exigent circumstance, then the president has to act in the best interests of the country.

Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan , Oct 9, 2007

Promise: we will prevent Iran from becoming nuclear power

Q: [to Clinton]: Would the Israelis be justified in taking military action if they felt their security was threatened by a nuclear presence in Iran?

CLINTON: I’m not going to answer that because it’s hypothetical. There would need to be a high standard of proof.

Q: Rudy Giuliani said, “Iran is not going to be allowed to build a nuclear power. If they get to a point where they’re going to become a nuclear power, we will prevent them; we will set them back 8 to 10 years. That is not said as a threat; that should be said as a promise.“ Would you make that promise?

CLINTON: I will do everything I can to prevent Iran from becoming an nuclear power, including the use of diplomacy, the use of economic sanctions, opening up direct talks. We haven’t even tried. That’s what is so discouraging about this. We need a concerted, comprehensive strategy to deal with Iran. We haven’t had it. We need it. And I will provide it.

Source: [Xref Clinton] 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth , Sep 6, 2007

We’ve never won a war while discussing how to retreat

When has a nation ever won a war when the constant discussion was: What kind of timetable are we going to set for our retreat? In order to win, you have to set an objective. The objective should be an Iraq that is going to help us in the terrorists’ war against us. If Iraq is a battle in the terrorists’ war against us, then the winning of that battle constitutes an Iraq that will help us, not an Iraq that will become a headquarters for Islamic terrorism.
Source: 2007 GOP debate at UNH, sponsored by Fox News , Sep 5, 2007

Negotiate with Iran, but fully prepared for force

Q: Would you go to war with Iran if they developed nuclear weapons & threatened Israel?

A: I think that we have to look at Iran really in a different way than just the Cold War analysis. It’s a different situation. Iran is right now the single biggest state sponsor of Islamic terrorism. America has to have a clear position. The position should be that Iran is not going to be allowed to go nuclear. Exactly when you would act and how you would act, it would be foolish for anyone running for president to answer a hypothetical like that. You want an element of surprise. You want the other side to understand that there’s a step beyond which you will not go. Ronald Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot. But it was because he pointed, like, a thousand missiles at Soviet cities. And he negotiated with them. I heard this confusion in the Democratic debate about when to talk and when not to talk. Well, Reagan talked to them with a thousand missiles pointed directly at their cities.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at UNH, sponsored by Fox News , Sep 5, 2007

Winning in Iraq is one battle in overall terrorist war

Q: Rep. Paul says, “Come home.” Rep. Hunter says, “We’ve got to stay.” Is there a middle ground in this debate?

A: In four Democratic debates, not a single Democratic candidate said the word “Islamic terrorism.” Now, that is taking political correctness to extremes. It really is. The reality is that you do not achieve peace through weakness and appeasement. Weakness and appeasement should not be a policy of the American government. We should seek a victory in Iraq and in Baghdad, and we should define the victory. Why we would want to retreat in the face of at least some empirical evidence that [we’re winning]?

Q: But that’s military progress. No political progress. You’d continue to support the surge even if there’s no political progress?

A: The reality is that if we can bring stability to Iraq, and we can give them a chance to develop stability, that’s what we should be trying to accomplish. This is part of an overall terrorist war against the US. It’s a battle in that war.

Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate , Aug 5, 2007

Keep option open to attack Al Qaeda in Pakistan unilaterally

Q: Sen. Obama said, “If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets, and President Musharraf will not act, we will.” You said the other day, “I would take that option.” Could you elaborate?

A: I believe that is an option that should remain open. We should encourage Musharraf to allow us to do it if we thought he couldn’t accomplish it.

Q: But if he said no, you’d go in?

A: I didn’t say I would go in. I said I wouldn’t take the option off the table.

Q: No, you actually said, “If we have a chance to catch bin Laden and we’ve got to do it ourselves because we’re not sure if somebody is going to do it correctly, yeah, I think I would take that option.”

A: I would take that action if I thought there was no other way to crush Al Qaida, no other way to crush the Taliban, & no other way to be able to capture bin Laden. I think Pakistan has, unfortunately, not been making the efforts that they should be making

Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate , Aug 5, 2007

Iran’s danger is handing nukes over to terrorists

Iraq should not be seen in a vacuum. The problem the Democrats make is they’re in denial. That’s why you hear things like you heard in the debate the other night, that, you know, Iran really isn’t dangerous; it’s 10 years away from nuclear weapons. Iran is not 10 years away from nuclear weapons, and the danger to us is not just missiles, the danger to us is a state like Iran handing nuclear weapons over to terrorists, so it has to be seen in that light, and we have to be successful in Iraq.
Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 5, 2007

Keep option for tactical nukes to prevent Iranian nukes

Q: If it came down to Iran having a nuclear bomb, which you say is unacceptable, would you authorize the use of tactical nuclear weapons?

A: Iran has to know very clearly that it is unacceptable to the US that they have nuclear power. I think it could be done with conventional weapons, but you can’t rule out anything and you shouldn’t take any option off the table. Iran is a nuclear threat because they are the biggest state sponsor of terrorism and they can hand nuclear materials to terrorists.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 3, 2007

Take on nation-building in Iraq, to reduce US terrorism risk

I believe that this terrorist war began way back in the 1970s. They attacked us in 1993 in New York. They attacked us again in 2001 in a horrible way. And I believe that what we’re doing in Iraq, if we can get it right, is going to help reduce the risk for this country. And if we get it wrong, it’s going to be much, much worse for us.

And part of what we have to do, and we haven’t done right, is take on that responsibility of nation-building. We created that responsibility for ourselves when we overthrew Saddam Hussein, which we did very effectively. It was one of the greatest military actions in American history overthrowing Saddam Hussein.

But we didn’t accomplish the second step. People can only embrace democracy when they have an orderly existence. We should probably have an Iraq statistical program, in which we measure how many people are going to school, how many people are going to back to work. We have to get into the nitty-gritty of putting an orderly society together in Iraq.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 3, 2007

Democrat timetable for retreat “fundamentally irresponsible”

Q: You said that congressional Republicans who say they must see progress by September are “fundamentally irresponsible,” and they are giving a timetable for retreat to our enemies.

GIULIANI: I was talking about the timetable for retreat that the Democrats passed, in which they did something I’ve never heard of in the history of war, which is to give your enemy a schedule of how a retreating army is going to retreat. That was highly irresponsible. What the Republicans suggested isn’t the right approach either.

Q: Rep. Tancredo, you are one of those congressional Republicans who talks about disengaging from Iraq. You have talked about November as a timeframe for beginning to pull some of our troops back from the frontlines.

TANCREDO: We are going to have troops in Iraq or in the region for a long time. The question is, will the troops be a constabulary force, which I do not believe they should be? Will they be a supporting force for the Iraqi government, which I believe they should be?

Source: 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina , May 15, 2007

We did not invite the 9/11 attack by attacking Iraq

Q [to Paul]: Should the 9/11 attacks have changed our non-interventionist policies?

PAUL: No. [Abandoning our tradition of] non-intervention was a major contributing factor. Have you ever read the reasons they attacked us? They attack us because we’ve been over there; we’ve been bombing Iraq for 10 years.

Q: Are you suggesting we invited the 9/11 attack?

PAUL: I’m suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it.

GIULIANI: That’s an extraordinary statement, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don’t think I’ve heard that before, and I’ve heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11th. And I would ask the congressman to withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn’t really mean that.

PAUL: If we think that we can do what we want around the world and not incite hatred, then we have a problem. They don’t come here to attack us because we’re rich and we’re free. They come and they attack us because we’re over there.

Source: 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina , May 15, 2007

FactCheck: Did say GOP is fundamentally irresponsible on war

Giuliani claimed questioner Chris Wallace had misquoted him as saying some moderate Republicans were being “fundamentally irresponsible” for demanding progress in Iraq by September. But what Giuliani actually said, in his May 13 interview on “Fox News Sunday,” was this:
Wallace (May 13): Now you hear some Republicans saying September. We’ve got to know by then. So, what would you say to those people?

Giuliani: Anybody proposing giving the enemy a timetable of our retreat is proposing something that is fundamentally irresponsible.

The record is clear: Giuliani’s use of the phrase “fundamentally irresponsible” was in response to a question about Republicans, not Democrats. He also criticized Democrats for proposing a ‘timetable for retreat“ in other portions of the May 13 interview, but not here.
Source: FactCheck on 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina , May 15, 2007

Failure should never be the option; self-fulfilling prophecy

Q: The president of Iraq says that they will need US troops in their country for another year or two. Would you make that commitment?

A: The commitment that we have to make is to emerging from Iraq with a stable situation there that is going to help us in the effort against terrorism.

Q: If the surge were to fail--I want to get a sense of how committed you are--would you basically say, at this point, that we’re going to stay in Iraq until we get a stable situation? In other words, is or isn’t failure an option in Iraq?

A: Failure should never be the option in a war, because if failure is the option, failure happens. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. You should be in a war or in a situation like in Iraq--it should be about victory. It should be about success.

Q: So you’re going to stay there even if the surge fails?

A: Well, no. If, God forbid, failure happens, it happens and you have to deal with it, but you don’t predict it.

Source: Fox News Sunday: 2007 “Choosing the President” interviews , May 14, 2007

Only thing worse than invading Iran is Iran having nukes

Q: Imagine you’re president, and you get a call from the prime minister of Israel saying Israel is about to strike Iran’s nuclear sites and he wants US help. What do you say?

A: It really depends on what our intelligence says. The use of military force against Iran would be very dangerous. It would be very provocative. The only thing worse would be Iran being a nuclear power. It’s the worst nightmare of the Cold War, isn’t it? The nuclear weapons in the hands of an irrational person, an irrational force. Ahmadinejad is clearly irrational. He has to understand it’s not an option; he cannot have nuclear weapons. And he has to look at an American president and he has to see Ronald Reagan. Remember, they looked in Ronald Reagan’s eyes, and in two minutes, they released the hostages.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC , May 3, 2007

Withdrawal from Iraq encourages future terror attacks

The former New York City mayor has supported Bush’s war on terror and has said Democrats “don’t support the military the way Republicans do.” He said any withdrawal from Iraq would only encourage future terror attacks.
Source: People’s Daily (China), “Contenders views on the war” , Nov 23, 2006

OpEd: Gave false impression that Iraq was involved in 9/11

Many speakers at the 2004 Republican National Convention [conflated Iraq with 9/11]. Here's a passage from Giuliani's speech. The former NYC mayor is a master conflater. Watch how skillfully he gives the false impression that Iraq had been involved in 9/11:Who are "they" at this point? Who exactly is hearing from us? And what exactly are they hearing? Is he saying al Qaeda is in Libya? I don't think so. Suddenly, everything is very vague
Source: The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken, p. 56-57 , Oct 25, 2005

Liberating the Iraqis is something we should be proud of

Saddam, who supported global terrorism, slaughtered hundreds of thousands of his own people, permitted horrific atrocities against women, and used weapons of mass destruction, was himself a weapon of mass destruction. But the reasons for removing Saddam were based on issues even broader than just the presence of weapons of mass destruction. To liberate people, give them a chance for accountable, decent government & rid the world of a pillar of support for global terrorism is something for which all thos involved from Bush to the brave men and women of our armed forces should be proud. Bush has also focused on the correct long-term answer for the violence and hatred emerging from the Middle East. The hatred and anger in the Middle East arises from the lack of accountable governments. Rather than trying to grant more freedom, create more income, improve education and basic health care, these governments deflect their own failures by pointing to America and Israel and other external scapegoats.
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Speech , Aug 30, 2004

The terrorists have heard from us

Bush stood amid the fallen towers of the World Trade Center and said to the barbaric terrorists who attacked us, “They will hear from us.” They have heard from us! They heard from us in Afghanistan and we removed the Taliban. They heard from us in Iraq and we ended Saddam Hussein’s reign of terror. They heard from us in Libya and without firing a shot Gadhafi abandoned weapons of mass destruction. They are hearing from us in nations that are now more reluctant to sponsor terrorists.
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Speech , Aug 30, 2004

Removing Saddam needed to be accomplished

As we look beyond this election, let’s make sure we rekindle that spirit that we are one-one America-united to end the threat of global terrorism. Bush will keep us focused on that goal. When President Bush announced his commitment to ending global terrorism, he understood-I understood, we all understood-it was critical to remove the pillars of support for the global terrorist movement. In any plan to destroy global terrorism, removing Saddam needed to be accomplished.
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Speech , Aug 30, 2004

You are either with civilization or with terrorism

In an impassioned call for action, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani told the United Nations today that it was time “to draw the line” against terrorism and to hold accountable any nation that supports or condones it, “or you will fail in your primary mission as peacekeepers.”

“You are either with civilization or with terrorism,” he said in a speech before the start of a weeklong General Assembly debate on terrorism. “This is not a time for further study or vague directives,” he insisted. “Look at that destruction, that massive, senseless, cruel loss of human life, and then I ask you to look in your hearts and recognize that there is no room for neutrality on the issue of terrorism.“

He said that the era of ”moral relativism“ between those who practice or condone terrorism and those stand up against it must end. ”There is no moral way to synthesize with grossly immoral actions, and by trying to do that, unfortunately a fertile ground has been created in which terrorism has grown.“

Source: Terence Neilan, NY Times, on 2000 election , Oct 1, 2001

No need to understand reasons for terrorism-just stop them

Rudy Giuliani told the United Nations, “Let those who say we must understand the reasons for terrorism come with me to the thousands of funerals we’re having in New York City-thousands-and explain those insane, maniacal reasons to the children who will grow up without fathers and mothers, and to the parents who have had their children ripped from them for no reason at all. Instead, I ask each of you to allow me to say at those funerals that your nation stands with America in making a solemn promise and pledge that we will achieve unconditional victory over terrorism and terrorists.“

Giuliani praised ”as a very good first step“ the Security Council’s recent unanimous passage of Resolution 1373, which adopted wide-ranging antiterrorism measures. The mayor said he was also pleased that the UN [agreed to] cut off terrorists from their funding. ”Now it’s up to the member states to enforce this to take away their financial basis and reduce their ability to carry out complex missions.“

Source: Terence Neilan, NY Times, on 2002 election , Oct 1, 2001

Iraq: More inspections; counter OPEC’s oil production cuts

Giuliani criticized the Clinton administration as “unfocused on foreign policy,” referring to its “failure to have any inspections in Iraq in a year.” He also called for the spigot on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to be opened to counter OPEC’s yearlong cut in oil production. Giuliani said that his criticisms had prompted President Clinton to announce today a fresh federal allocation of $125 million in emergency cash subsidies to help poor people pay for heating oil.
Source: Thomas Lueck, New York Times, on 2000 election , Feb 17, 2000

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