To the Editor:
Re “Giuliani Swathes Self in 9/11 Mantle” [Nov. 12]:
Not every presidential candidate possesses the eloquence of an Adlai Stevenson or the urbane wit of a John F. Kennedy. However, at the very least, serious Oval Office aspirants should be able to square their partisan pronouncements with some semblance of the truth—especially after eight years of a wood-cuttin’, brush-clearin’ prevaricator in chief.
Yet Rudolph Giuliani continues to defy political reality and the norms of decency by playing on the visceral fears that 9/11 has aroused in the body politic. As for the facts, they’re fungible.
The command center? That was the brainchild of a disgruntled former aide. Bernard Kerik? He’s a flawed hero who erred. Terrorism? Mr. Giuliani understood the menace of al Qaeda long before the Clinton administration. What makes this all so astonishing, though, is how easily Rudy intersperses banality with bellicosity.
Waterboarding is as repugnant as it is ineffectual. Human rights experts and the U.S. Army concur. Former P.O.W. and fellow Republican John McCain has defined the practice as torture.
But Rudy speaks of waterboarding with the ad hoc nonchalance and insensitivity of a born-again Dick Cheney. As a result, Mr. Giuliani grows in stature among neoconservatives even as he gains the support of that grinning avatar of the apocalypse, Pat Robertson. And Tim Russert plots his next inquisition of the Wicked Witch of the Eastern liberal establishment.