Monday, September 24, 2007

They hate you. They want to kill us.

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Our must-read of the day is a longish piece at WaPo on Rudy Giuliani, would-be fearmonger-in-chief -- "Giuliani's Rhetoric on Terror Contrasts With His Record."

The Giuliani of today is not, the piece claims, the Giuliani of yesterday. He is a relative newcomer to GOP-style fearmongering, with 9/11 the turning point -- as for so many, of course. Hard to believe, given his hyperbolic post-9/11 rhetoric, not to mention the authoritarian inclinations he has displayed throughout his career, from mayor's mansion to the presidential campaign trail, but he was once a rather sober figure, at least in comparison to what he has become:

Giuliani's desire to keep terrorism in perspective could be discerned even on Sept. 11, 2001, and in the days following, when he sought to marginalize the attackers and the threat they represented. Asked on the day of the attacks whether they constituted an "act of war," he said, "I don't know that I want to use those words... I'm totally confident that American democracy and the American rule of law will prevail."

That was the Giuliani so many came to admire -- forgetting his disturbing record as mayor, but whatever. Those were the days when even George W. Bush was widely admired for his post-9/11 "leadership," days of delusion but also days of hope after the darkness of that horrible day. Bush blew it, as we all know, and Giuliani shifted into full-out authoritarian mode, a quasi-fascist intent on turning America into a police state, national security über alles, with liberty for none, for such is the price of freedom, oppressive freedom.

Giuliani would be, in the White House, the Orwellian leader forever mythologizing 9/11, America's Great Historical Event, talking up terrorism like Stalinists talked up Trotskyites, rhetorically keeping the country on the terminal brink, imposing vigilante justice from above, whipping up patriotic fervour with neo-McCarthyite lust, a blood-thirsty authoritarian spying on dissidents and torturing suspected evildoers and other enemies of the state with rapturous glee, a father figure hell-bent on order, mein Führer, order!

Possibly even worse than Bush, that is, and that's pretty bad, no?

Whatever Giuliani used to be, however sober and sensible and full of detached perspective he may have been, he is now the major presidential candidate who most wants his country to resemble Gitmo.

His epiphany was 9/11. His issue is terrorism. His currency is fear.

That's Rudy Giuliani for you.

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