Primary Sources

PrintPrint EmailEmail ShareShare CiteCite
Style:MLAAPAChicagoClose

loading...

Giuliani's Speech on Terrorism and Security, January 2008

Speaker: Rudy Giuliani
Published January 2, 2008

Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani gave this speech at the E. Stanley Wright Museum in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire on January 2, 2008.

MAYOR GIULIANI: “[W]e’re here in a museum that represents the achievements of the Greatest Generation, what is regarded as the Greatest Generation because they had to deal with the Depression and they had to deal with the Second World War, challenges of massive proportions. And it reminds us that the challenge that we have in our generation--although it’s a big one, no one minimizes it, least of all I think us--but the reality is when you think of what our ancestors went through, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and you look at what we have to go through you don’t find that it’s beyond the capacity of Americans to handle things like this. I mean our challenge is the Terrorists’ War on Us, that’s the challenge of our generation. It’s the challenge that has been handed to us; we didn’t go looking for it, just like, going back to parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, depending on your age, they weren’t looking for a Depression and they weren’t looking for a Second World War. That’s not something that they wanted but they were able, when it came about, to deal with it and to deal with it in an effective way that has made them legendary. Now we have to have that same resolve about this challenge that has been put on us, which is this Terrorists’ War on Us, which September 11, 2001 certainly was a main act in that war, but not the only one. There were a lot of acts before September 11, 2001 and there have been a lot of attempted acts and unfortunately others that actually took place since September 11th. So I think it wouldn’t be unfair to describe us as the 9/11 Generation, because how we handle this is going to say something about us in history.

“Since September 11th, actually specifically since September 20th, 2001, our nation has been on offense against terrorism. As a consequence it looks like we’ve stopped about twenty-three terrorist attacks, at least that’s the public information that we can find when we look through all of the reports. I mean it could be more because we don’t know all the secret, you know, classified information. And these were attacks that were directed against Americans and our allies at home and abroad. But our success that we’ve had in stopping these shouldn’t lead us to a false sense of security. And the reality is that I, as you know, throughout the course of this campaign have been troubled by the fact that I believe that the leading Democratic candidates are taking us back or want to take us back to that period before September 11th, when we were on defense. In fact it goes so far as they seem to find difficulty describing the threat as an Islamic terrorist threat, and I don’t know why they find it difficult saying that. That doesn’t offend anyone, other than a terrorist. We know and we’ve known from the beginning, right, of this effort when we focused on it, that this is a small group of people, doesn’t typify at all an entire group either by religion or by ethnicity or anything else. But it does signify a group of people who have converted what originally were religious beliefs into a political ideology and an ideology of violence and attack. So we’ve got to be able to face what you’re dealing with in order to deal with it, whether it’s an enemy or a group of enemies, you’ve got to be able to face it squarely in order to deal with it. And the assassination last week of Benazir Bhutto was a reminder. It reminds us that this war is not over and it reminds us why I refer to it as the Terrorists’ War on Us because it’s a war against us and we’re on offense because that is the best way to deal with it. We’re in the middle of a struggle that puts freedom versus fundamentalism, hope versus fear, democracy versus conflict. We didn’t seek this conflict, we didn’t start this conflict but we must finish it and we will win it. I guarantee you that we will win it.

“Now is the time for strong vigorous leadership. Now is the time for an experienced executive, who has solved similarly insurmountable problems in the past. And now is the time for a leader who can lead America right now in a perilous world toward a realistic peace. And I believe I’m that candidate.

“I believe I’m the one who can help us get through this in the most effective way possible.

“Throughout history we’ve been confronted at times by tyrants and dictators and bullies, who calculate that our will is weak. They believe, maybe because of our democracy, they believe that we’re undisciplined and divided because they hear a lot of disagreement between and among us because that’s what a democracy is about, right? Osama bin Laden is just the latest in a long line, or at least a line of dictators and terrorists and bullies and people in that category who somehow hear all this division that we have and think that it’s a sign of weakness. He believes our country is prone to, quote, ‘panic and retreat,’ close quote. That we are, quote, ‘built on a weak and hollow foundation,’ close quote.

“In fact, you and I know that America is stronger, much stronger, because of our ability to disagree with each other in a peaceful way and in a decent way, which is the hallmark of democracy, and that we stand up to tyrants and dictators and terrorists and bullies. We’ve done it in the past, we’re going to do it again, and no one, absolutely no one, should mistake our democracy for a lack of resolve to defend ourselves and to protect ourselves. And I think I speak on behalf of every candidate and just [about] every American in that regard. America is the land of the free because we’re the home of the brave. That’s the reason that we’re the land of the free.

“Our goals have to be very, very clear. We should make them clear. I think we know what they are, but it’s worth repeating some of them so that we remind ourselves of it.

“Osama bin Laden must be caught and brought to justice. Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas have to feel increased pressure on every level. We have to make certain that we complete the job with al-Qaeda and with the Taliban. America is going to stay on offense and we’re going to win the Terrorists’ War on Us. That will happen, but our options, whether we remain on offense or we go back on defense will dictate how long this all takes place. So we’re going to win because our ideas are the best. Our ideas are going to prevail ultimately. Our ideas of freedom, freedom for all people, freedom for women, freedom of religion; these ideas will allow us ultimately to prevail. Our strategies will determine, however, how fast we prevail or how long this struggle, war if you will, will go on.

“So, keeping America safe must be the first priority of the next American president. Our country needs a comprehensive plan of action. Our long-term objective is to win this war on us and our current objective has to be to prevent any terrorist attacks, or at least to do everything we can to do that. So I’m going to outline for you briefly my plan to win this war.

“Achieving realistic peace through overwhelming strength. It’s going to require expanding our military, refocusing our intelligence, improving even more our homeland security, and winning the war of ideas against these radicals. Four things at least.

“So first, expanding our military. We need to increase the size of our military. We need to be able to have a much larger, or a larger military to deal both with the terrorist threat and anything else that’s thrown at us. We have never, ever made up for the damage that was done to our military from the peace dividend taken in the 1990s during the Clinton Administration. These were huge cuts in our military budget of twenty and thirty percent. Huge cuts in the number of troops that we have and some of it has been made up for, but not all of it, and not even most of it, I believe. So we’re going to have to increase the size of our military. One of the things that we should do right now, I believe we should do it immediately, is we should double the number of our troops who are American led combat troops in Afghanistan. We need to bring a surge to Afghanistan and make it effective right now.

“I believe acting now will help us in the effort to find bin Laden. It will help us in the effort to make sure that we solidify the gains we made in 2001 and 2002 in routing al-Qaeda and routing the Taliban. And I believe it will act as a way to assist in stabilizing the entire region. Now people say, ‘well, our military is stretched, what with Iraq and our present effort in Afghanistan.’ Well, we should increase the size of our military. Right away, we should increase it by at least 10 new combat-ready brigades for the Army. And that should be done now. And then more increases are necessary, we should do the additional increases. The Air Force next generation bombers, fighters, and refueling tankers. The Marines have to be at least 200,000 and our Navy has to be at 300 ships or more. And America’s Coast Guard needs additional resources and personnel because they’re taking on heightened responsibilities with regard to our border as part of homeland security. So these increases are necessary. Remember, that our commitments in Vietnam went up to 550,000 soldiers, if I recall correctly, and our commitments in Korea were about 350,000 soldiers. So the reality is the commitments we’re looking for here both in Iraq and Afghanistan are not historically out of line by any means. In fact, they’re well within what’s been done in the past. It is true that there is some strain felt and the best way to answer that is increase the size of our military so we’re capable of doing this. I believe we’re capable of doing it within present resources, but also we have to keep an eye on other would-be challenges.

“So a large military, a large commitment to our military not only is going to help in this terrorists’ war, it’s also going to help make sure that these would-be challenges remain on a peaceful course. Remember we won the Cold War on a theory that— someone expressed it this way—that we outspent the Soviet Union into oblivion. Well, we don’t want to outspend anyone into oblivion, except the terrorists, right? We want them over with, but with regard to these would-be challenges, we want them to know that it doesn’t make sense to challenge us. Then we’ve got to modernize and transform our military. That’s why I called several months ago for a new hybrid military and civilian corps to help rebuild areas after the battles, after the war takes place and stabilize the failing ones. In fact, when you look carefully at Iraq and what happened in Iraq, the purely military part of it was brilliant execution. I believe it was twenty-three days from the time we entered Iraq until the time that we chased Saddam Hussein out of power. That is lightning fast. I believe, if the National Intelligence Estimate is correct and Iraq, Iran rather, stopped their nuclear program in 2002, in 2003 rather, as a result of what happened in Iraq, I would say that that had a lot to do with it. I would say that our actions in Afghanistan, our actions in Iraq would have something to do with the fact that Iran stopped their nuclear program. So, being strong is enormously important. The bottom line, if I’m the President of the United States, I guarantee you that I will hand the country over to the next president stronger than it was handed to me. Every president should guarantee that because this country has to be stronger.

“But battlefield strength is just not enough. We need to also improve our intelligence capability. The sixteen intelligence agencies that are currently leading this effort are overlapping, and I mentioned the National Intelligence Estimate – just to be clear on it, what that Intelligence Estimate said was that with high confidence that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program back in 2003 but expressed only moderate confidence that the program has not resumed or been restarted since then. So, you’ve got to put those two phrases together. High confidence, moderate confidence. Well, the high confidence, I think if that’s correct would have something to do with what we did in Iraq and what we’re doing in Afghanistan and the presence of our troops and all the pressure we were putting on them in so many other ways as well, and the estimate does say that pressure works, which I think makes sense, but I think when you look at this whole thing, the high confidence and the moderate confidence, you have to say it should not alter what would be and should be and is, I believe, a firm American policy, and I will underscore this policy: we will not allow Iran to become a nuclear armed power. Just not going to happen.

“And, as I mentioned earlier in this connection, we will also make certain that we do everything we can to keep Pakistan stable, both with regard to the fact that they have nuclear weapons, we want to make sure they’re secure. We will do everything we can to make sure stability is maintained in Pakistan, working with them. And working with them to put them on a road to democracy as quickly as possible because this is what the terrorists in part were trying to interrupt. Nothing, nothing troubles them more than democracy, and democracy is not just electing your leaders. Democracy is respect for human rights. Respect for the rights of women. Respect for religious freedom and religious toleration. Just think of all that. All those principles undercut what their, I hesitate to say principles are, their ideals are. Every single one of them is contrary to what they believe, and that’s why this whole idea of democracy is such a challenge to them, and that’s why this whole idea of democracy is such a good answer to them, because when people start to feel democracy, when they start to feel that they have the right to elect their leaders, they have the right to choose who is going to govern them, they have control over their lives, people inevitably move toward that. It catches on. It’s like a tidal wave or a tipping point that has to occur. And they’re very aware of that. So, we need to focus on Pakistan, make sure that it’s stable, but also make sure that it’s moving toward democracy without any significant interruption, because that will also help to defeat the terrorists in their goals.

“And we need to rebuild our human intelligence capability. We need a new, focused, small and well-trained unit of highly paid–an elite corps that’s called–whose job would be to penetrate terrorist groups. I don’t know what’s going on inside the CIA or the national intelligence agencies now. I knew more about it when I was in government. But the first thing I would check on is to see what progress have we made in human intelligence because I believe that that’s one of the things that has to be rebuilt so that all this technological information or technological-based information we get starts to make more sense. You can get, as Louis [Freeh] knows, you can get that much information in a day, I’m probably not even exaggerating, right?

“So, the key to it is to know in advance what’s important in that information. After the act takes place, we can go back over that information and you can start pointing out the memos that would have alert you to the act, but the real science here is being able to do it before the fact. And the way you’re going to do that much more easily is if you have really solid human intelligence. So that would be one of the first things that I would assure, that we are reestablishing our human intelligence base. I know we said we were, and I’m very hopeful that we have, but I would make sure that we are. And then it’s time now, because it’s been in effect for a while, to evaluate the effectiveness of the Office of Director of National Intelligence, to ensure that it has the proper authority it needs and that it is in fact facilitating the free flow of information, which we know in the past has at times been a problem.

“So, rebuild our military, rebuild our intelligence services. Those are two of the key components. The third one is in making sure that we’re improving homeland security. America has 800,000 local law enforcement officers, troopers, local police officers, state police officers. They are our first responders along with our firefighters, we know that, we all know that. But in this new age, we have to conceptualize them differently as well, and they have an increased responsibility. They are now our first preventers. They are the people who will gather the information that will alert us, possibly, to a terrorist strike. R.P. Eddy of the Manhattan Institute first described this new role as ‘first preventers,’ and that is a new role for our police and for our local law enforcement people. I’ve proposed a TerrorStat program based on an analysis done by Chief Bratton and Professor Kelling, and the TerrorStat program is something that we would develop. They’ve written about it. And the idea of it is to make sure that local and state authorities across the country are able to get the information that they need about suspicious incidents, about precursor crimes.

“We’ll also establish an international assembly for freedom from terrorism to make sure the United States is cooperating internationally and everybody’s cooperating with us. You know, the information exists to alert us to a terrorist attack, it’s out there. The question is, are we picking it up through real intelligence or through surveillance and then are we giving these vast intricate connections, are we sharing it well enough so it gets to the right place at the right time and we will make sure that that is being done with the TerrorStat program, with the other programs that we’re talking about some of which are in existence and some of which have to be improved. The whole idea is to make certain that we predict these attacks in advance, that is the best way to protect American lives.

“Finally, we have to win the war of ideas. We have to win peoples hearts and minds. That’s part of this as well, which makes this whole effort complicated but not more complicated than what we faced in the past. During the Cold War we had to do the same thing. We had to undermine and delegitimize the ideology of Communism and promote the ideas of freedom. And now we’ve got to do the same thing with this terrorist ideology. We’ve got to get people to understand how dangerous it is, where it leads, how it leads to destruction, how it leads to harm for human beings and we have to prevent the future rise of terrorists. I think that it’s also important to make sure that we tie our foreign aid, where we can and where it should be tied, to countries helping us in the Terrorists’ War Against Us and the countries helping us not just in military action, but let’s think of it as an educational effort and an effort of having closer ties between those countries.

“We have to be more aggressive about ending illegal terrorist propaganda and we have to go after the money, remember how effective that was with the Mafia, right? We’ve got to go after the money that they have and cut off their resources and if we can do that I believe that is going to help to a very large extent to start driving them back. Then we should develop and modernize surrogates like Radio Free Europe, and Radio Liberty that were used very effectively in the past. We’ve got to develop organizations like this so that we can get information to people in places where they are being oppressed so they can understand what’s at stake for them.

“And finally, we should increase trade and cultural exchanges with countries in these areas of the world. There’s no reason why our arms can’t be open to doing more business with, to having more cultural exchanges with all the countries in the Middle East, counties in the Arab world, countries in the Muslim world. We have a lot to learn about each other and almost all of it is good, in fact none of it is bad, because the only part that is bad is the part involving these terrorists who have perverted a religion--all the rest of it, believe me we’re the same people, we really are. The same desire for a better life for our families and for our children, same desire for peace, same desire for good education, these are universal things. If we have cultural exchanges and we do more business with each other we find out about these things in less than a theoretical way but in a real way.

“So, in short those are the things that have to be done, there are a lot more, I tried to outline it as briefly as I could, it’s a big subject, winning the Terrorists’ War on Us. But it encompasses military, it encompasses local law enforcement and national law enforcement, it encompasses intelligence, it encompasses trade and cultural exchanges, it encompasses a whole outreach to the rest of the world. Now they’re going to be some people that are going to look at my plans particularly with regard to increasing the size of the military, and they may woe that strength provokes conflict, but history teaches us that just the opposite is true doesn’t it? It teaches us, here in this museum, World War II museum, if we learned the lesson of World War II, weakness is what invites aggression, not strength. And we should have learned that even well before World War II. George Washington told us more than 220 years ago. He said, ‘There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well-prepared to meet an enemy,’ that’s so very close to what Ronald Reagan also taught us. He said it two decades ago when he advocated ‘Peace Through Strength,’ that’s why he had the confidence to lead us through and to win the Cold War. What people used to ask Ronald Reagan, because that Cold War was a frustrating war, and they used to ask Ronald Reagan, ‘Mr. President, when is the Cold War going to end? When is it going to end?’ He would just stand there with that confident way that he had with a smile and say, ‘They lose, we win.’

“That’s the approach that we have to have. We have to have confidence in ourselves, we have to have confidence in our ideas, we have to have confidence in what we can achieve, but meeting this challenge, believe me, is not optional.

“This is a war on us. They are staring us in the eye, and I refuse to look the other way. Real leaders confront reality with strength and confidence, not with denial. And this should be something that unites the world. It should be something that brings good people together, across our country and around the world, all together. Because terrorism victimizes people of all different religions, all different races, and all different backgrounds. It isn’t focused on just one group of people. It’s focused on innocent people and we should be united in our response to it. Liberals and conservatives, Democrats, Independents, Republicans, people of all different religions, we’re all affected by this. All of us have lost people to terrorism in any of these groups that we’re talking about. Our differences are small in comparison to the dangers we face. We may disagree on some of the details of domestic policy, but we surely can agree that the greatest threat right now to our life, our liberty, and our pursuit of happiness is this threat, this existential threat that we face.

“I want our nation to be as united as it was in those weeks after the attacks of September 11th, 2001. Remember how united we were then? I want us to harness that same strength. Not because we’re responding to grief, although we still have tremendous grief, but because we recognize our unity of purpose.

“There were times on that day where I’m sure all of us had doubts: ‘Could we get through this, could we handle this.’ I came to this museum in part today because thoughts of World War II and the Greatest Generation were in my mind that day. I had just read Tom Brokaw’s book that summer. And in reading his book I had wondered, ‘Does this generation have the same strength that that generation had if we were to be required to go through something like they went through?’ ‘Do we have that strength, do we have that strength of purpose and that union of spirit?’ And I’ll tell you the things that convinced me of that, immediately. First, seeing the construction workers and the people who volunteered and the tremendous strength in their faces and their bodies and their desire to come and help and take whatever risk was necessary. But then the one that sort of encapsulated it forever was the firefighters putting up the flag right at Ground Zero, over and above what was below them. It looked so much like Iwo Jima. It looked so much like what the Marines had done in the Second World War that I said to myself, and have never doubted it since then, that this generation is as strong, is as patriotic, is as determined, and is just as capable of meeting this challenge and prevailing.

“That’s our great test. All of us. It’s a test that unites us, it’s a test that brings us together, it’s a test that we will pass. Because know this: if you look at the lessons of history, people who live in freedom prevail over oppression. That is the story of the Old Testament. That’s the history of America. That’s the story of the Second World War. That’s the story of the Cold War. And that will be the story of this war on us. We will win it. We will prevail. And we will be able to hand over to our children exactly what we are supposed to hand over to our children: a country that’s improved, a country that’s stronger, and a country and world that is safer. That is what an election is all about, choosing someone who can bring us to those results. I ask for your support, I ask for your help, I ask for your vote because I believe I am the best prepared to accomplish that important purpose. Thank you very much.”

More on This Topic

Op-Ed

Terrorists Among Us

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

Despite perceptions among Americans that the country is unsafe and a terrorist attack is "likely," the real threats don't emanate from actors...