Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Giuliani and the Iraq Study Group

Here's an interesting piece by's excellent national security writer Fred Kaplan on Rudy Guiliani and the Iraq Study Group. Turns out Rudy was an original member of the group chaired by Bush family consigliere James Baker and former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton, that came up with various mostly sensible recommendations last December for the Bush administration to ignore. But he was forced out after failing to show up for any meetings.

Giuliani has explained he was already thinking about running for president and his presence might have lent a political spin. As Kaplan writes, however, "The more likely reason for Giuliani's no-shows is much plainer -- money. Craig Gordon, the Newsday reporter who wrote the story in the Long Island newspaper's June 19 edition, discovered that on the three days of meetings Giuliani missed (before quitting) he was out of town, delivering highly lucrative speeches." One for $200,000, another for $100,000. A total of $1.7 million during the month the ISG was meeting.

There's nothing wrong with making money, but Rudy also passed up a chance to become more thoroughly educated about the most important foreign policy issue of the time, about which he occasionally still demonstrates his ignorance. In fact, for a man running largely on the promise that he'll be a tough leader in the war on terror, Rudy has pretty much zero foreign polilcy experience. He was mayor at the time of the 9/11 attacks and showed some leadership qualities. But do we really want another president who knows how to talk tough but has no foreign policy experience and has displayed little curiosity about such matters during almost all of his time on this planet?

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