Just As Absurd

In a follow up to Macswain’s commentary on the already infamous riff between Giuliani and Paul during the most recent GOP debate, I just wanted to share a little light for our readers and anyone who happens to be paying attention.

Here is what was said in its entirety:

REP. PAUL: No. 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. We’ve been in the Middle East — I think Reagan was right.
We don’t understand the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics. So right now we’re building an embassy in Iraq that’s bigger than the Vatican. We’re building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting. We need to look at what we do from the perspective of what would happen if somebody else did it to us. (Applause.)

MR. GOLER: Are you suggesting we invited the 9/11 attack, sir?

REP. PAUL: I’m suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it, and they are delighted that we’re over there because Osama bin Laden has said, “I am glad you’re over on our sand because we can target you so much easier.” They have already now since that time — (bell rings) — have killed 3,400 of our men, and I don’t think it was necessary.

MR. GIULIANI: Wendell, may I comment on that? That’s really an extraordinary statement. That’s an extraordinary statement, as someone who lived through the attack of September 11, 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. (Applause, cheers.)
And I would ask the congressman to withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn’t really mean that. (Applause.)

Except, Mr. Giuliani, you have. Okay, maybe you haven’t heard about one with us bombing Iraq, but I’m sure you heard at least one explanation that was just as absurd as the one provided by Rep. Paul. Here, I’ll give ya a little reminder.

Contrary to what [President George W.] Bush says and claims — that we hate freedom –let him tell us then, “Why did we not attack Sweden?” It is known that those who hate freedom don’t have souls with integrity, like the souls of those 19. May the mercy of God be upon them.

We fought with you because we are free, and we don’t put up with transgressions. We want to reclaim our nation. As you spoil our security, we will do so to you.

I wonder about you. Although we are ushering the fourth year after 9/11, Bush is still exercising confusion and misleading you and not telling you the true reason. Therefore, the motivations are still there for what happened to be repeated.

And I will talk to you about the reason for those events, and I will be honest with you about the moments the decision was made so that you can ponder. And I tell you, God only knows, that we never had the intentions to destroy the towers.

But after the injustice was so much and we saw transgressions and the coalition between Americans and the Israelis against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, it occurred to my mind that we deal with the towers. And these special events that directly and personally affected me go back to 1982 and what happened when America gave permission for Israel to invade Lebanon. And assistance was given by the American sixth fleet.

During those crucial moments, my mind was thinking about many things that are hard to describe. But they produced a feeling to refuse and reject injustice, and I had determination to punish the transgressors.

And as I was looking at those towers that were destroyed in Lebanon, it occurred to me that we have to punish the transgressor with the same — and that we had to destroy the towers in America so that they taste what we tasted, and they stop killing our women and children.

Now, I’m pretty sure that Rudy has heard this explanation before, a great many Americans did. It came out in 2004 only weeks before the Presidential election. it was, at the time, Osama bin Laden’s greatest video hit, and many pundits (rightwing pundits mind you) thought it a ploy by Osama bin Laden to get Kerry elected, because as we all know, Kerry would be weak on terrorism.

The thing is, I think too many people failed to give this video ANY credibility, which again shows just how out of touch Bush and those who follow in his stead, like Giuliani, are with terrorism and how to combat it. And it touches on this greater failing of these people as well.

It’s this idea that, “I don’t need to be taught. I’m already right, I know I’m right.” It’s willful ignorance, and it feels comforting to be in the presence of such an authoritative presence, but this feeling is a false one, based on a foundation of untested logic and vulnerable to competing ideas that may be correct.

Giuliani garnered much applause for taking Paul to task during that debate, and no doubt, with the red meat chop licking conservative base, this is the right answer, the answer that America is always right, and that we can do no wrong, and anyone who says otherwise is out of line.

But this is not the logos of a rational person. A rational person, a logical person, one who is a part of the world and the reality based community as opposed to living in some imagined ivory tower thinking they create reality, this type of person does not follow along in such nonsense. A rational person learns everything he can, and makes the most informed decision based on that evidence.

Bush, after seven years under the bush administration, we have learned that this will not happen under his watch. Bush does not judiciously approach anything, instead lowering his head, and squaring his shoulders and bashing straight ahead at whatever problem he happens across, the whole time everyone around him is screaming that it’s a wall he’s about to run into, and nothing else.

For Rudy, this voluntary act of ignorance has nothing to do with his hard-headedness, and everything to do with political strategy. Everyone outside of New York sees him as one of the heroes of the September 11th attacks. It is this image alone that has propelled him to the presidential candidacy stage, and he will do anything he possibly can to maintain that image. Even if it means stifling logical debate.

For a while now I’ve been saying that Rudy is bound to implode, and this is why. He’s trying to play the same tactic as Bush on 911, but the problem is, it’s not going to work. We are too far removed to allow Terror Management Theory to have as serious an effect on the polls, and we are too far removed to be so willfully blind to the mere act of asking and attempting to answer questions.

Giuliani is going to spend the rest of his campaign asking us to just go along on blind faith that he’s the 911 hero, and he will shut anyone down who even thinks otherwise, but he has to understand this one simple fact. Not everyone who is filling out a ballot is an avid foxnews fan. Yes, 2/3’s of Republicans may be prowar, but that still leaves a third of his own party, and the rest of the nation to contend with, and they are not going to blindly cheer for your feigned indignance at having your opinion on the attacks questions. They will not be so willing to stamp down questioning attitudes.

And they will not ignore your own failures, Mr. America’s Mayor. When people start seeing that the citizens of the city you were the supposed hero of would rather support the current mayor for president than you, people are going to wonder why. They’re going to wonder why the mayor who came before you is actively campaigning for your failure. People are going to want to know why you decided to keep the emergency control center in the world trade center complex after the first bombing there, even after you were advised not to.

These are questions the people you want to vote for you are going to have, and you can not call them absurd, Mr. Giuliani. You can not give that snide indignance in the spirit of political ignorance. You will have to answer, and then… Then, sir, is when your campaign is going to implode, and DEAR GOD I hope it’s during the General Election, because your entire candidacy is just as absurd.

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