MAURICE GREENBERG: Good afternoon. I think the turnout today speaks to the importance of the topic, and of course the quality of the speaker -- not me, the one who is going to speak in a moment. [Laughter.] Please turn your cell phones off, and this meeting is on the record.
Now, it's my pleasure to introduce and welcome Rudy Giuliani. Most people in this room know him. As the mayor of New York from 1994 to 2002, Mr. Giuliani returned accountability to city government, and improved the quality of life for all New Yorkers. Under his leadership, New York established itself as a city others look forward to when they come to study the most innovative strategies for reducing crime, reforming welfare, encouraging economic growth, and improving the overall quality of life.
Mr. Giuliani solidified his leadership credentials when he took charge after the tragic attacks on the World Trade Center. His calm yet authoritative presence served as a strong comfort and encouragement to the emergency services and the residents of New York City, and even to the country as a whole. Today he will speak on the war on terrorism, and challenges that we face in this new era.
I probably have to leave at about a quarter to 2 -- I've got an appointment I just can't change. So I'll start the Q&A if the mayor -- [inaudible] -- finishes speaking. If not, Maurice Sonnenberg will take over. Mr. Giuliani. [Applause.]
RUDOLPH GIULIANI: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very, very much, Hank. I appreciate the very kind introduction, and I appreciate the opportunity to address you and discuss with you a topic of great concern to us for many, many reasons, and in particular of great concern to us, because we're in the city where the war on terror, at least in its most overt form and obvious form, really began, in New York City.
I'm going to start by asking myself a question, and then I'm going to try to discipline myself as much as I can so we have the maximum amount of time for your questions. And I'm going to ask myself a question that I get asked all the time, and then really spend most of the time during the talk answering it as best I can.
I'm asked, and have been asked for the last two years or more almost continuously -- and usually with the person having the distinct viewpoint who asks it -- isn't the world more dangerous now? And, in particular, isn't New York more dangerous, and isn't the United States more dangerous, and isn't the world more dangerous since the attacks of September 11th, 2001? After all, since then we've had, domestically, anthrax attacks, we've had several very, very horrific, horrible terrorist attacks in Bali and in Madrid. We fought a war in Afghanistan, we fought a war in Iraq, and we have the aftermath of it still going on. And we are continuously hearing about terrorist threats here, other places, warnings of all different kinds. And we live under the threat, and maybe the reality, that there will be other terrorist attacks here and in other places, and it's just a matter of when, and can we figure them out in advance, and can we remediate them if they happen? So, to many people, the world is a lot more dangerous than it was before September 11, 2001.
I have exactly the opposite opinion. I believe the world is safer than it was before September 11th, 2001, and I believe it's safer in very realistic ways -- in ways that it wasn't before that. And let me see if I can explain to you why. It doesn't mean the world is perfectly safe, and it doesn't mean that we're at the level of safety that we should be at, but we're certainly better off than we were when we didn't know or didn't appreciate. The whole terrorist movement, for many people now as they look at it, almost seems like it started on September 11th, 2001. Terrorism was going on in the world on major levels for a very long time before September 11, 2001. The world was no more dangerous on that day or the day after than it was the day before or the week before or a month before or a year before, or several years before September 11 -- or even longer than that. I trace -- and you can do this different ways -- I trace the modern terrorist movement to the attacks on the Israeli Olympic team at the Munich Olympics, because if you need a starting point for analyzing it, that could probably be the best starting point. And that was when? That was in 1972.
[Addressed to a member of the audience:] You can answer the cell phone -- that's okay. [Laughter.] It will not distract me, or get me off my topic, or make me forget what I'm going to say. It will just remind me of my favorite story from one of my favorite movies, "Dr. Strangelove." [Laughter.] In the movie, George C. Scott plays the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Peter Sellers plays the president of the United States. And if you remember the movie, a general who is quite anxious to get the Third World War started and over sends off a group of bombers to bomb various targets in Russia. The president finds out about it late. They give out -- they're able to call back almost all the bombers but one, and one has gotten past the fail-safe point. But now the discussion in the [White House] Situation Room with the president is about whether to let the bomber go through, give the Soviets the code, should they let the Soviets shoot it down, or whatever. And different people were expressing different opinions. And George C. Scott, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, interrupts and says, "Mr. President, Mr. President, this is a perfect time for us to get a head start on those Ruskies. We can get World War III started, and we'll get a good head start on them, by just taking all our bombers and hitting all our targets. We'll use this as an opportunity." So the president slows him down and says, "General, I mean, will they still have retaliatory capacity after we hit them?" And the general says, looking a little sheepish, "Yeah, some." [Laughter.] And the president says, "Well, can you quantify it for me? How much? I mean, what kind of casualties are we looking at?" And the general says, "Not many, Mr. President -- 30, 40 million tops -- that would be it." [Laughter.] And that point the general's phone goes off at his console. He reaches down, he picks it up, and he says, "I told you never to call me here -- [laughter] -- yes, poopsie, I love you." [Laughter.] So just tell him you love him, and I can go on with my talk. [Laughter.]
But the point that I was making was -- [laughter] -- that terrorism goes back a very, very long time, and it has been going on almost continuously since 1972, leading up to 2001. It didn't just start in 2001. Many, many terrorist acts, many different parts of the world. And basically the approach of the United States was kind of pay attention to it, but almost as if there were a cloud in front of our eyes. You know, pay attention to it, but not pay attention to it with the reality with which we were forced to pay attention to it because of the terrible attacks on that day. It was almost as if there was a curtain in front of our eyes, and we were viewing the world and people in the world maybe the way we'd like to think they were, not really what was going on. And the world was dealing with terrorism and dealing with it in a way that I believe made it much, much worse, and in a way we have to analyze if we really want to end it in the future, because we can't keep repeating the same set of mistakes. And part of growing is analyzing history and trying to figure out what mistakes you've made so you can improve in the future. And there are some basic things that in here, maybe even in our personality as Americans that we have to analyze and look at. This is not the first time that we have been unrealistic about threats in the world that got much worse than they would have been had we confronted them earlier. And it isn't the first time that the approach of Europe -- not all of Europe, but the general approach of Europe -- has been in the face of some pretty dramatic threats to accommodate, negotiate.
The general approach to terrorism that had grown up in Europe and some parts of the world was when terrorist attacks took place very often the terrorists weren't arrested. Sometimes when they were arrested -- I remember the case of the [October 1985 hijacking by terrorists of the] Achille Lauro [cruise ship] probably the best, because I investigated it as U.S. attorney, and the killing of Leon Klinghoffer. But sometimes when they were arrested, as some of the people suspected of being involved in that were arrested by the Italian government, they were released quickly -- either released immediately or released after a period of time as part of a deal. The essential approach of the European governments -- and not just one of them, a number of them -- being: We don't want the problem of having the terrorists in our jails, because if we do it will create other incidents, other possibilities of terrorist attack. So first lesson that terrorists were learning over a period of 30 years was you can do these terrorist attacks, and there's a good chance that your leadership at least isn't going to be arrested, and if some of the people involved are arrested, there's a good chance they'll be released.
The second lesson they learned is that you'll get a ticket to the international bargaining table by pulling off dramatic, horrific terrorist acts. It was almost as if the reaction of the world to these horrible killings of innocent human beings -- instead of the reaction being horrified and terrible and sort of ostracized from the community of decent nations and people, is it got you a ticket to the international bargaining table. The reaction was if people could pull off terrible terrorist acts like this, they must really be living under terrible conditions, and it's really our fault, and let's see if we can cure it, as opposed to what would have been the more sensible reaction, which is that it would tend to ostracize you from world affairs.
I sort of compare it to the approach that some governments take to kidnappings, and maybe because my company does work in Mexico City and some other places where kidnapping is a major problem. Kidnapping should be a much bigger problem in the United States than it is in Mexico: We are richer, there are more people to kidnap from which you can get huge ransoms. But why is it a systemic problem in Mexico City and Mexico, but not a systemic problem in the United States? Because the United States dealt with kidnapping very early on, exactly the way we should have dealt with terrorism from the very beginning, and the way we have to deal with it now.
The United States decided with the horrible Lindbergh kidnapping [in 1932, the son of aviator Charles Lindbergh was kidnapped] that got so much attention that we would not negotiate with kidnappers, we would not pay ransoms, and we would make it a horrific offense, with capital punishment imposed by Congress for kidnapping. And when a kidnapping takes place since then in the United States, it's a major national event. The police all join together, the FBI joins with them. Every resource is used to try to catch the kidnapper and to end the kidnapping in as successful a way as possible. The family, although there's a real emotion to want to pay the ransom, the family has urged not to do that, because there's no guarantee you're going to get your loved one back, and it's only going to create a precedent for future kidnappings. And then when the people were caught, the people are punished in ways that horrify. So the people won't do it in the future. So kidnapping has become in the United States a very, very high-risk crime, even though there'd be a high reward.
In Mexico, it's just the opposite. In Mexico and other parts of the world, not just Mexico -- particularly in South America -- kidnapping is treated as a business deal. You pay for the kidnapper. You pay the kidnapper the ransom. Most of the time, you get the person back. Sometimes you don't -- the person is killed. Sometimes you get the person back, but they're scarred for life. But you have a systemic problem of kidnapping. We helped to create a whole reaction to terrorism that was very, very similar. The terrorists knew that they could be successful or had a reasonably good chance of being successful. They could escape punishment -- not always, but often. And they could legitimatize their cause by what they were doing. And up until September 11th, 2001, that was the general approach that we took.
Then all of a sudden we were attacked in a way that horrified us -- attack on New York, attack on Washington, D.C., presumably the plane that was brought down over Pennsylvania by those brave people on that plane, another plane headed for Washington, D.C. -- thousands and thousands of innocent people killed -- more casualties than at Pearl Harbor. And we had the curtain lifted from our eyes. We got to see, maybe in a way that we should have seen 10 years earlier, or 20 years earlier, or 30 years earlier, we got to see the world the way it really is. And that alone made us safer. Facing reality always makes you safer than when you're not facing reality, whether it's facing health risks -- I learned that in dealing with cancer -- or it's dealing with a cancer in the national and international community, which is terrorism.
As we analyze what went wrong, I really urge that instead of playing this political blame sort of process of do you blame it on the Bush administration or do you blame it on the Clinton administration, or -- the reality is there's something much more basic going on here. There's something about us that we should analyze and figure out not to continue repeating. I believe we did essentially the same thing with terrorism that we had done in an earlier age with Nazism. You know, we won the war to end wars with the First World War. When we won that war, we basically withdrew from the world. Hitler announced pretty early what he was going to do. It was pretty clear what he was going to do. Europe decided to go the course of accommodation, working things out with him, giving in to his demands, giving him territory -- let's give him a little more, maybe he'll get better with age. That was essentially the idea, right? And then when they finally had given him so much there was no more to give him, he went and took it. And finally America faced up to it with the attack on Pearl Harbor after all of Europe was basically gone. The armies of France and England had been driven across the English Channel. And had Hitler not decided to open a second front with the Soviet Union, who knows if he wouldn't have been able to successfully invade England and take England? We'll never know the answer to that. But it was a basic mistake of not viewing the world realistically for a long, long time, and also a basic lesson that you're going to save more lives confronting horrible, horrific human beings and their movements at an early stage rather than at a later stage. I don't think there's any doubt now, in retrospect -- and retrospect is always much easier -- that if we had confronted Hitler five or six or seven years earlier, we would have saved millions and millions of lives that were otherwise lost.
Roughly the same thing happened with communism -- not quite as dramatic as with Hitler and with Nazism, but almost the same tendency, because we tend to romanticize -- meaning Americans -- we tend to romanticize the people we're dealing with, rather than deal with them in a very realistic way. We romanticized, in some elements of our government, Stalin for a period of time. We had to deal with him, we had to work with him, we needed him to win the war against Hitler and against the Fascists. But then there was also a certain tendency to not see him for what he was, which is why for a long time a good portion of Europe was gone, half of Korea is not there or is under oppression. And it took us a long, long time, and it took us really until Ronald Reagan became president of the United States, to decide that the best course with communism was to confront it rather than to consistently negotiate with it and to kind of be afraid of it. And we did confront it, starting in 1981, and I think even [former Soviet leader Mikhail] Gorbachev would say in retrospect -- as I once asked him this question -- that Ronald Reagan spent the Soviet Union into oblivion. They just couldn't keep up with his spending. They couldn't keep up with his military spending. And I believe because of that determined approach to ending communism, we were able to end it in most parts of the world maybe five, 10, 15 years faster than it otherwise would have happened. But we certainly were able to have people now live out their lives in freedom who would have otherwise lived it out in oppression, with a few exceptions, like North Korea and Cuba.
We did the same thing then with terrorism. We didn't pay attention to it the way we should. We won the Cold War in a very dramatic way. I think there is -- there is no one that wouldn't agree that we won it fast when we won it and ended it, it happened so much faster than anybody ever assumed it would happen with the opening of Eastern Europe, the end of the Soviet Union, the crashing down of the Berlin Wall. We were in a much more peaceful world, we believed.
We did exactly what we had done after the Second World War, or after the First World War. We took a big peace dividend. Remember the peace dividend? It was really big. It took a lot of resources away from our military. We had 17, 18, 19 percent of our military on food stamps. And we thought the peace dividend made a lot of sense, didn't we? Because, why would a peace dividend make sense? Because we now had a really peaceful world. But meanwhile, all the terrorist acts that we just talked about were going on, except we weren't viewing them in the way that we should, because we like to see the world the way we would like it to be rather than see it the way it really is. And then, the horrible events of September 11, 2001, awakened us to the difference.
On September 20th, 2001, and that's the date that I usually set for the change in policy, President Bush changed the policy of this government, and changed the approach, at least of those in the world who will follow us, will take to terrorism. He said very clearly in his address to the joint session of Congress, we are going to confront world terrorism, we are going to confront global terrorism, and we are going to try to destroy it before it destroys us. Instead of playing defense, we're going to play offense as well as defense, and we're going to do everything that we can to destroy it.
During that speech, he made it clear that this effort would take four, five, or six years. It could not be done quickly. That it would have to be done in different ways -- in some cases, military action, in some cases political, in some cases diplomatic. Some victories would be very public. Some would be very quiet and very private. But that we would have to commit ourselves to ending and confronting terrorism and not just, not just being as we were in the past.
And I -- this is not meant as a criticism -- I think, for understandable reasons, that there is something in our personality that makes it difficult for us to face ultimate evil and evil intent. We want to rationalize it in some way. And having not been attacked like that before, there was a certain unreality to it. And having gone through it and lived through it, and having watched it, I can tell you, there was a great deal of unreality in it. It was something that, even though in works of fiction or other places you might assume something like that, when you were living through it, both that day and in the days after it, there were many, many times when you would say to yourself, I cannot believe this happened. There were many, many times in which you would close your eyes and hope that you saw the Twin Towers back there again, or you could go back to the day before it, or -- that gives you some sense of how this was something that came, even at an emotional and psychological level, as a great surprise to us.
Now it's happened. And I think it's very important if, the fact that we're going to continue to make things safer in the United States and in the world, that we continue on the course that we set, and not do another thing that there's a tendency in the American personality to do, which is to kind of get half way to our goal and then declare victory and move on to something else. And that's roughly where I think we are. I think we're about halfway, maybe a little less than that, maybe a little more than that -- these are things that really are more rhetorical than you can actually scientifically analyze them. But I think we're roughly halfway to the goal of destabilizing and reducing the power of global terrorism.
And maybe because of my background, but I see it a lot, of the kind of effort that was taken against the mafia and the mafia families. You had to -- you had to deal not just with one but with many.
International terrorism has a number of pillars of support. It certainly did before September 11th; it continues to. You have to remove those pillars of support in the best way that you can. We have done that. We've done that by arresting so many members of al Qaeda -- over 170, 180 targets already arrested.
We've done it by seizing the assets of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. A critical part of it is to take their money away from them. We've done it with passing the [USA] Patriot Act, which is going to come up for renewal next year and it is enormously important that it be renewed because it's the -- it's the way in which we're going to be able to conduct the war on terrorism with means other than military means, meaning the seizing of assets, the arresting of people, the sharing of information in a way in which it can actually be used, so you don't have it compartmentalized in such a way that, although there may be warnings and there may be information that's available, because you haven't put three pieces of information together, it really doesn't make any sense to anyone.
And then we're going to have to be willing to say to ourselves that it's enormously important that we create a decent government in Iraq. Removing Saddam Hussein was a necessary part of the war on terrorism. If you were to outline it on September 20th, 2001, and you were to say on September 20, 2001, the goal of the United States of America, with as many allies as we can win to our cause, is to destroy world terrorism, one part of that -- not the only part of it -- one part of that was to remove Saddam Hussein, because he was one of the pillars. If you think of world terrorism as a platform, there are pillars that support it. Al Qaeda was one. Saddam Hussein was another. And there are easily seven, or eight, or nine other pillars of support. You've got to remove those pillars of support. And Saddam Hussein for years had been a pillar of support, both in a practical sense, and in training people, and assisting.
But then in one other way that's critically important, sitting on top of billions and billions of dollars, he constituted a major support. But the thing about international terrorism that we have to -- that we have to also remove, is their huge financial resources, because with that, they're capable of accomplishing things that they wouldn't otherwise be able to accomplish.
But I think it's enormously important that we remain committed to this goal, committed to the goal of using the means that are necessary -- military, political, diplomatic. I believe that by being willing to use military means against Saddam Hussein, we not only removed a pillar of support for international terrorism, took away large resources, billions and billions of dollars, but we also were able to then be able to remove other pillars of support without using military means, like in Libya and in other places. And who knows what impact it ultimately will have on North Korea.
But certainly you're negotiating with and you're dealing with something very, very different now than you were before September 11th or September 20th of 2001, when you're negotiating with a government that is willing to use serious methods to back up the things that it feels are important. And it increases dramatically your negotiating position. You'd have to be living in an unrealistic world not to recognize that.
Finally, I believe that the terrible sacrifices and difficult sacrifices that we're making in Iraq, although emotionally very difficult to bear, just like the losses that we had at the World Trade Center are impossible to bear, they're absolutely necessary to accomplishing the goal of creating a decent government in Iraq, which is a goal that is necessary for the Iraqi people, but it's even more necessary for the Middle East and for the world. We need a democracy, or a decent government in the Middle East, very badly, because that's really at the core of the problem in the Middle East. The problems of the Middle East do not resolve around Israel and the United States. Israel and the United States are almost deflections of the real problem.
The real problem in the Middle East is that the governments of the Middle East do not do anything, or do not do very much about the problems of their people. And their problems get worse, and they're consigned to poverty, and they're consigned to a situation where there isn't much of a way out of poverty. And they're consigned to inequality, inequality of women, lack of freedom of religion in some cases. And all of that creates an anger of mass proportions, that then is exploited -- exploited and directed against Israel, exploited and directed against the United States, exploited and directed in the area of terrorism.
And the only way in which, over a period of a generation, or two generations, or three, that you're going to change that is by having governments emerge in the Middle East that solve, or address at least, the problems of the people. And only, ultimately, democracies do that, because democracies are accountable to people to solve their problems.
So, this endeavor is an enormously important endeavor. It's enormously important that, even if it takes two years, or three years, or four years, and there are significant sacrifices involved, if we can, at the end of it, create a government that empowers people, that begins to solve their problems, and becomes a model for other governments in the Middle East -- a model other than Israel, which they choose to reject, which could be a model, but they choose to reject it and blame it -- then we have hope that we're moving in the right direction in the Middle East, and that we are not only going to end international terrorism as a movement with very, very direct means, but that we're going to create a situation in which the kind of thing that happened to us on September 11th, 2001, becomes less and less likely, and then ultimately maybe disappears as a possibility in the future.
And I think it's enormously important, as we go through a political election, that we recommit ourselves to making sure that we have the determination and the will to continue the war on terrorism. I remember, it was some point on the day of September 11th, 2001, as I was watching all of the horrible things that were happening, and realizing that this was way beyond anything we had ever experienced before. I had just read Tom Brokaw's book [The Greatest Generation], maybe about three months earlier, about the greatest generation, and I remember when I concluded the book -- this is before the attacks of September 11th, I wondered, if I think, you know, if you read that book before, that you would always wonder, are we that strong now? I mean, are the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, both actually and spiritually in a way, do we have the same commitment to protecting and defending ourselves and democracy that [the World War II generation] had? And you really didn't know the answer to that.
And on September 11th, 2001, as I watched what was going on, as I saw people jumping out of the top of the World Trade Center, and lost some of the people that were directing the effort who I had just been with, who were people that I cared about greatly, and realized -- the first report that I got of the losses that day were that we had lost 12,000 people in the two towers. It was still a horrific number, it was a little into 3,000 -- but thank God for the brave rescue efforts of our fire department and our police department, because that's the reason why that number of 12,000 did not become a reality.
But in any event, I worried about whether or not we had the will and the strength to do this. And when I saw the way the people reacted, and I heard the stories of the firefighters who walked in the building as other people were walking out and calmed them down, and I heard the stories of the civilians who helped other people. And then when I saw the picture of the firefighters lifting the American flag in the rubble, at great risk to themselves, because the fires below the ground that day and for many months were 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. But when I saw them lifting the American flag, very reminiscent of Iwo Jima [island, where U.S. soldiers were photographed raising the flag after a successful battle against Japanese forces in 1944], I said to myself, it's exactly the same spirit. They can attack us, they can hurt us, they can inflict real losses on us, but they can't take away our spirit, because people who live in freedom have much more strength than people who live in oppression. I mean, that's the history of the Old Testament. That's the history of the Second World War. And it's going to be the history that we create in the war on terrorism. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
GREENBERG: That was great. The question and answer period now. Please stand and identify yourself. There will be a microphone coming over. And keep the question short and focused.
QUESTIONER: I'm Lucy Komisar. I'm a journalist. You said that the U.S. went after the pillars of support for terrorism, and a lot of that was money, and went after the billions and billions [of dollars]. But in the report by the State Department published the 29th of April, it indicated the U.S. had gotten only 36.5 million [dollars], other countries 100 million [dollars]. You said the Bush administration had changed things. But what it didn't change was the offshore bank and corporate secrecy system that allowed al Qaeda, and also, by the way, Saddam, to move their money through shell companies and secret bank accounts. Do you think there's any way to really get a handle on the economic support of terrorism, the money of terrorism, without doing away with the bank and corporate secrecy system?
GIULIANI: Well, I think that a lot of progress has been made in seizing the assets of terrorists. I didn't mean to suggest that it's all been done or even close to all been done. I mean, that's a process that has to continue. I think the Patriot Act has helped to open up methods of doing that that weren't the case before, but you're quite right, we probably have to -- probably have to open it up even more, because there are still a tremendous number of secrecy laws and privacy laws that can be exploited for having resources for world terrorism. I think the -- when I was referring to the billions and billions of dollars, I was talking about taking that money out of Saddam Hussein and his sons and their ability to control it. But if you don't actually find it and seize some of it that's hidden, then there may or may not be other people who can exploit that, and it's important to do it. So, I think that is something that in the reauthorization of the Patriot Act should really be considered: are there more barriers that have to be broken down to make it easier to seize the money and to trace it?
QUESTIONER: I'm Roy Goodman of the United Nations Development Corporation. It's wonderful to see you, Rudy. Thanks for that brilliant helicopter trip over the terrain of the recent past. And I'd ask your reaction, sir, if you will, to the current dilemma in which we find ourselves as a result of the photographs [of abuse of Iraqi prisoners] that have been widely disseminated, which prompted [columnist] Tom Friedman to say in the morning [New York] Times that this is the worst moment he recalled in our recent history. Do you have a thought as to how we might work our way out of this dilemma?
GIULIANI: I think, I think the way in which we're approaching it is the only way that we can, which is to investigate it, investigate it openly. If charges are going to be brought -- and I don't want to assume they will or they won't because I'm not investigating it -- but if charges are going to be brought, then figure out who's accountable for it, who's responsible for it, and punish them for it.
On the other hand, this is -- this should not be seen as the general method or the general reaction of the American military. It's just the opposite. The American military is very humane, very decent, very well trained. This is not the desire, obviously, it's not the desire of the [Bush] administration. But even going beyond the administration, it's not the desire of the United States military. Whatever this turns out to be -- and it's unfair to prejudge it -- but whatever it turns out to be, this is going to be the actions of people who were acting improperly, against the rules, against the regulations, against. I was just at [the United States Military Academy at] West Point, giving a speech to their law class, and it was very, very inspiring. I try to do that as often as possible. It's very inspiring to talk to the cadets. But the colonel who runs the law program pointed something out to me that I knew, but he reminded me of it. He said that every cadet at West Point is required to take [a course on] constitutional law. And they have about a hundred [students] that are actually law majors, but everyone is required to take constitutional law. And they prefer that they take it in the last year. And they prefer that they do that because very soon now, a number of them are going to put up their hands and swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, and it's a good idea, he says, that they learn it before they swear to uphold it.
And I -- but that, I mean, that is part of the process. It reminds me of what used to happen with our police department. We would have, sometimes, horrific acts committed by police officers. Sometimes they would actually have been committed, and the police officers went to jail and were punished for it. In some cases, they were accused of it but it didn't happen. In some cases, it wasn't as bad as they were accused of but it was still pretty bad. You could find all different ranges of it. But in no case did it represent the way in which the overwhelming majority of police officers conducted themselves. The overwhelming majority of police officers were like the police officers who died in the World Trade Center. That's what police officers do. They put their lives at risk to protect other people. And then every once in a while you have some that are distorted, criminal, or horrible. But that can be said about every profession and every group of people. So, what I would urge is not to cast group blame. This is not indicative of what the United States military is all about. This is an aberration, and a horrific one, but an aberration.
QUESTIONER: David Malpass with Bear Stearns. Could you comment on two current events? One is the Athens Olympics and its safety; and the other is the U.N. Oil for Food corruption crisis.
GIULIANI: The safety of the Athens Olympics is something that's still being developed and that they're working on. And I really can't comment on it because it hasn't been completed yet. I also had a confidential relationship with them for a while, so I would, I'm not sure what confidences I would be betraying or not. I would have to think about that before I did. But it's certainly not something that you can comment on yet because they're still several months away, and they're putting plans together for the safety of the Olympics. The United Nations program is a very, very serious matter. And it's something that I think, had this occurred in the United States Congress, or with an American administration, it would have created much more of a firestorm than it has. It needs to be investigated. It needs to be investigated independently. It needs to be investigated from the point of view of not only what happened, but how did it happen? Is there something systemic about what happened here? And, if it isn't, it's going to seriously affect the credibility of the United Nations to carry on important missions without -- and again, like we really should do with the incident with the photographs, we have to talk about in both cases, qualify what we're saying, as allegations that need to be investigated. But it needs a very, very serious investigation, and a very transparent airing of what happened, so that there's some confidence as the United Nations carries on a serious program in the future -- you're not going to have that same level of apparent or alleged corruption.
MAURICE SONNENBERG: [inaudible] by the way, my presence here does not change the rules. All right, Mr. Hottelet.
QUESTIONER: Mr. Mayor, in your very interesting and extensive survey of the situation and its origins, you dwelt very heavily on what the United States has to do, the burdens that it faces, the sacrifices it must make. I fail to see any reference to the need to enlist friends and allies in broadening the base of its war against terrorism, and getting other people to share what we have got to do. And I remember in 9/11, the United States enjoyed universal sympathy. There was an outpouring of goodwill, good feeling toward the United States, which has been lost, maybe squandered. I wonder if you could address that?
GIULIANI: I did mention that during the talk, that it's very important for us to enlist as wide a group of friends, allies, in what we're doing as we can. But then, we can't compromise our goals to such an extent that we don't pursue what is necessary in our own best interests, or for our security if, in fact, some of our friends or allies, we believe, are reverting to a past behavior that made terrorism much worse than it has to be. So, there's a very delicate balance that has to be drawn here, and it's part of the responsibility that comes with leadership. I think we have been able to put together a massive coalition, certainly in the war on Afghanistan, certainly in the general effort against international terrorism. There had been serious disagreements over Iraq. We were able to put together a large coalition supporting us. There were a significant number of countries not supporting us, which maybe is understandable when you think that all of these countries are democracies, and there are going to be some disagreements. But we were able to keep together the overall effort against terrorism even though we pursued somewhat separate goals from some of these countries in Iraq. It didn't diminish cooperation, for example, that the German government has given us in other areas of dealing with terrorism. The intelligence cooperation and communication with Germany, with France, with Russia has remained intact, even though there's significant disagreement over Iraq.
And as to Iraq, I think that the administration was quite correct in pursuing the goals that it did, and not negotiating it away, because I think it would have been a terrible mistake to leave Saddam Hussein in power and in place, having spent years rejecting any kind of -- or complying with any U.N. resolutions, and being a potential enormously large supporter of terrorism. So, then you get one of those very difficult decisions that a leader has to make. I can only keep together half of my coalition on this particular effort, or roughly half. I can keep them together on the overall effort against terrorism, which we have been able to do. But on this, I've got to go the way that I think is the best way for the United States. And if you sort of divide the world into two camps, or our allies into two camps -- this is overly simplistic -- which is confronting terrorism or negotiating with it, I think you look at the way in which the Spanish government, or the new Spanish government, has just reacted to this horrible terrorist attack [in Madrid on March 11 by announcing that it will withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq], that is something we should not endorse. That's something that, just for the purpose of having an international coalition, we shouldn't do the wrong things just so that we can say that we have a coalition together. The Spanish government did exactly the wrong thing that you should do in confronting a terrorist threat. It's exactly the thing to do to expand world terrorism. It's what we were doing before September 11th, 2001. And we were allowing terrorists to determine government policy. Terrorists should not be allowed to determine government policy any more than kidnappers should be allowed to demand ransoms, and then, on a systematic basis, be paid those ransoms. If you do that, you have more kidnapping and more terrorism. So, there's a very difficult decision that had to be made. I think the president made the correct one. I think it was a courageous one. And I think it's one that ultimately will end world terrorism faster than if you continue the policy of accommodating just for the purposes of saying that we have a coalition.
SONNENBERG: This conference is being teleconferenced throughout the nation to our national members, so I've got to read two questions that we've been asked from different places. From Cambridge, Massachusetts, Richard Fisher. Why is it today in Iraq there are more anti-American terrorists killing U.S. soldiers and local police who are collaborating with us than there were on the day the Bush administration announced the war on terrorism?
GIULIANI: I'm not sure I know the -- I'm not sure I agree that there were more. I shouldn't say I agree. I can't actually analyze that there were more then or more now, or how overt and covert it is now. I think it's still substantially the same number of people. And my answer on this is probably just a reflection of the things I've read, no particular insight or intelligence. But I think the problem we face now is precisely the problem we faced a year ago, which is that the all-out battle for Iraq and for Baghdad never took place. If you remember the war, we invaded, we quickly got to Baghdad.
There were numerous predictions, certainly external predictions -- I don't know the internal intelligence, so I don't know if there were internal predictions -- that there was going to be a massive effort to protect Baghdad. Saddam Hussein was going to bring back all his forces, protect Baghdad -- that we would have a difficult time taking Baghdad, and there would be a lot of casualties on both sides, and presumably a lot more casualties, given our increased competence and firepower, on their side. That never happened. Those people withdrew. Those people went home. Many of them went home with their weapons. Some of them probably abandoned whatever feelings or desires that they had, and some didn't. And now, you have that as a kind of core problem. And then you have people from the outside, as we were just talking about, exploiting it by bringing people in who are adding to that effort. And it truly is a war against terrorists. In some cases, they're indigenous. In some cases, they're being shipped in from the outside. And it does not reflect, by any means, the entire population of Iraq. It doesn't reflect, to the extent you can measure, the majority opinion in Iraq. It is a much better situation for Iraq than being under the domination of Saddam Hussein.
If you just think about the question I was asked earlier, about the alleged horrible treatment by the American military of some prisoners, you think that would have been revealed during the Saddam Hussein administration? You think there would have been pictures? You think the people who took the pictures would be alive to have shown them? So that's a horrible way to describe progress, but that's, in fact, what happens in a democracy. There's transparency. We find out about police officers who do allegedly horrible things. We find out about members of the military who act against the norm in an aberrational way and do something horrible. And then we tend to correct it. That is moving to, at least, a better level of a society that's decent than where they were before.
SONNENBERG: I have one more question from our national members. This is by a man named John Tien, lieutenant colonel, U.S. Army. Do we need more or less Department of Defense involvement in local and city first responders, for example, in the case of a terrorist attack?
GIULIANI: We need as much help, as much coordination, as much assistance as we can get. And when I say we, obviously, New York needs it. But New York, and the police forces, and the fire department in New York, and the emergency service people in New York have tremendous resources and tremendous experience, because they fight emergencies. Since September 11, 2001, the police and fire department have probably dealt with hundreds of emergencies, and they deal with one a day. That's needed even more in other parts of the country, where you don't have the same level of experience, you don't have the benefit that we have of one singular police department and one singular fire department. Whatever problems of communication exist in New York, exist or existed, anyplace else they're magnified by the fact that, if there's an attack on another city, you pick the city, it's not going to be one police department that responds, it's going to be 20. It's not going to be one fire department that responds, it's going to be 30. And all those efforts are going to have to be coordinated. So I don't know that we need the Defense Department [involved], but I think that has to be a major goal of the Department of Homeland Defense, to coordinate these efforts, bring them together, do the things that they're doing, meaning drills and exercises, and nothing really helps you to figure these things out better than drills, exercises, or using actual emergency experiences as examples of how you can improve it. And the Department of Homeland Defense is really the place that that has to be solved, more than the Department of Defense.
SONNENBERG: We've got 10 minutes, so let's have short questions. Susan?
QUESTIONER: Susan Purcell, Council of the Americas. Mr. Mayor, in the context of the overall war on terrorism, what do you think about our policy towards Saudi Arabia, our relationship with Saudi Arabia, and if it needs changing, what areas would you focus on?
GIULIANI: I would fit our policy -- as I went back over the president's speech of September 20, 2001, he said that we have to deal with world terrorism, international terrorism, in a number of different ways. I think we can read into it with the least military solution possible until it's necessary to have a military solution. And I think there are a lot of problems with Saudi Arabia, obviously, from the attack to other things. But I think progress has been made. Maybe, in much the same way as happened to us, seeing now the impact of domestic terrorism, domestic to Saudi Arabia, I believe -- this is from the outside not the inside -- the level of cooperation is much greater now than it was either before our attacks or before theirs. And I hope that's the case. So I don't know that there needs to be a substantial alteration, but I can't honestly tell you that, because I'm not part of what goes on every day.
SONNENBERG: George? Wait for the mike.
QUESTIONER: George Schwab, National Committee on American Foreign Policy. Mr. Mayor, in the context of your presentation, I wonder what we can do to counter the anti-American spirit prevailing now in Western Europe?
GIULIANI: The only thing we can do is to try to explain ourselves as best we can, to explain what we're doing, why we're doing it. It's very, very helpful also to put it in context. We have disagreements over Iraq with Germany. We have disagreements with France, and disagreements with Russia, those are the three main ones. We've carried on relationships with them for every other purpose, other than Iraq. Even there we have relationships. And it is different when democracies disagree with each other, and maybe that's just natural that we're going to disagree with each other. There are going to be things that we want to do. They see it differently. And maybe we shouldn't get angry about it, and maybe we should urge them not to get angry about it, but just to see it as a natural by-product of having democratic governments. If the world were all democratic governments, we wouldn't have to have wars. We'd be able to fight with each other verbally, and we wouldn't have to have war, which is what we're doing. We're disagreeing with each other verbally, so that's not so bad. I did that every day when I was Mayor of New York City.
SONNENBERG: The gentleman in the middle?
QUESTIONER: Mr. Mayor, I'm Ron Tiersky, I teach at Amherst College. I think we all know about the simulation [of a terror attack] at NATO headquarters [in Brussels using a crude nuclear weapon] a few days ago, in which the result was, in simulation, 40,000 deaths, hundreds of thousands of injuries, and other damage. I think you're particularly qualified, because you were mayor of New York, to answer this question. What should the nature of pedagogy, vis-a-vis catastrophic terrorism -- what should public opinion be told, how often, what kinds of things should be said? The answer might be just enough, and not too much. But I hope you'll talk about it in some detail.
GIULIANI: I think the answer is different before and after September 11, 2001. I think before September 11, 2001, the answer honestly would have been just enough, or maybe not even enough, depending on different decision-makers' analysis. Of course, there wasn't a great deal people could do about it. I can remember situations of bomb threats -- and bomb threats in New York City are very frequent, and they most often -- I just asked the other day to get the percentage that turn out to be valid, and it's so small it would be considered by a pollster to be statistically insignificant. But you have to respond to every single one of them. So if you were to inform the public about every single one of them, [local television news channel] New York 1 and [radio station] WINS, would just be reporting bomb threats all day. So the general theory was, there's only so much you would tell, because there isn't very much people could do about it.
Since September 11th, 2001, and I think a natural byproduct of some of the concern about not enough information being revealed, or if it was, if it wasn't, I think there's an over-emphasis on revealing as much as possible, the alerts, the warnings. It has the impact of making people nervous. It has the impact of giving them anxiety, and it has the impact of putting most people in the position of saying, "What can I do about it?" But it also has a beneficial impact. It does warn state and local public safety to be more aware and more alert. And it sounds like there should be a more exact way of doing that. But when you consider how diverse our public safety network is, there really isn't. Those warnings are valuable to a local sheriff, a local fire chief, to be more alert, to think a little more, to look a little more. And one of the things that we have in this country that's an absolute given -- and it's going to remain that way, it's a good thing, it protects our liberties -- we have an enormously diverse law enforcement and public safety system, thousands and thousands and thousands of police agencies, and thousands and thousands of fire agencies, and thousands and thousands of emergency service agencies. Most European governments have far fewer. They have a large national force; we have a small national force.
Our FBI is smaller than the New York Police Department, and then they talk about all the things the FBI is supposed to accomplish. Since I worked very closely with them for, probably, a longer part of my life than I was mayor of New York City, I realize how small the FBI is. The New York City Police Department is a larger agency than the FBI, and that's our national agency. We are a diverse, highly diversified, public safety and law enforcement system, by design. That design protects our liberty, protects a lot of other things, but then it is necessarily inefficient, it's an inefficient system.
So, in order to make sure that people are alerted -- these public notices, which very often have a disconcerting affect on regular citizens, are very valuable to a police chief, a fire chief. He's going to be a little more alert that day. He's going to have a few more people back at work that day. They're going to look a little bit more carefully. If I was still the mayor of New York City and we went to a higher level of alert, I would go check everything again. I'm sure that's exactly what [New York City] Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg does. That's exactly what [New York City Police Commissioner] Ray Kelly does. And they probably don't need it in the way that a police official might need in another part of the country, where you don't have those resources, and you don't have that intelligence base. So I think it's a necessary part of where we are right now.
SONNENBERG: Two more questions.
QUESTIONER: Mr. Mayor, Bill Butler of the International Commission of Jurists. I wonder if you could comment on whether you see an end to the so-called war on terrorism and, if so, what criteria should be used for us to determine that, and also by whom?
GIULIANI: First of all, I'm an optimist by nature. It's the only way to be. I mean, it's really unhappy going through life as a pessimist, so you might as well be an optimist. And I take great hope in the fact that if we were here 15 years ago and somebody said to you, do you see an end to the Soviet Union, or do you see an end to communism, or do you see an end to the Berlin Wall, or 20 years ago, whatever, all of us intelligent, well aware people, would have said, no, not for a long time. And it sure happened very, very fast. Probably it can't be as discernable as that, because we're not dealing with singular enemies, or singular soldiers. I guess the way you know that world terrorism has ended, or dissipated a great deal, is when you see fewer and fewer attacks, no attacks. I mean, that's the only way in which -- and probably you're only going to see that over a period of time. I think it is a very, very realistic goal that the president set back on September 20th, 2001. I was in Congress that night, when he addressed the joint session of Congress, and going through a very difficult period for my city. And it gave me great hope when I heard the president say the word that we were going to commit ourselves to ending global terrorism, because I'd felt for a long time that we had to say those words. You've got to set that goal.
Now, whether you can reach the goal of ending global terrorism or reducing it dramatically in impact, I don't know. But, if you reach either one of those two goals, it's a safer world. And that has to be the direction we're going in. And I do see it a lot like the effort against organized crime. You may never end organized crime, but you can certainly reduce dramatically their impact, their ability to control labor unions, their ability to control businesses, their ability to infiltrate politics, all of which I think the government has accomplished, and reduced it and driven it back to much more limited operations. And I think that's pretty much where we are right now. I think we're driving these organizations back to being more limited operations, with less international scope. And that probably is the first goal. Then the second goal would be to eventually eliminate them. And the only way you're going to know it is when the terrorist attacks do not become part of what we have to deal with.
SONNENBERG: All right. Right there, last question.
QUESTIONER: Mr. Mayor, Brian Lombardi, with Merrill Lynch. You described terrorism --
SONNENBERG: Hold the mike a little closer.
QUESTIONER: Sure. You described terrorism as a platform under which there are a number of pillars, two of which we've addressed: al Qaeda and the administration of Saddam Hussein. You said there were about eight others, what are they, how do they support terrorism? If you could command the resources of the government right now to address those, what would you do?
GIULIANI: Well, Libya, which we succeeded in removing through diplomacy, or through example, or through deterrence, or however. In the Middle East you have Syria, you have whatever elements in Saudi Arabia have supported terrorism in the past, and continue to support it. We've got maybe a somewhat separate threat, but one that has to be kept in the forefront, in North Korea, which is there. And all of these have to be addressed in different ways. If you can make progress politically and diplomatically, as we are making, I believe, watching from the outside in Saudi Arabia and North Korea, then you don't have to consider more drastic measures. If over a period of time then you can't make progress, then military measures have to be considered. And that's exactly the way the president visualized the war on terrorism when he announced it, right after the attacks on the World Trade Center. And I think that's the way in which it's being conducted.
SONNENBERG: First of all, let me thank you for a capital performance. [Applause.] And hope that you remain, as you are, whether elected or un-elected, in the dialogue.
GIULIANI: Thank you.
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