What planet is Rudy Giuliani living on? The Republican presidential aspirant wants to widen the Mideast war by bombing Iran. The Iraqi debacle obviously has taught him nothing. It's not enough that we destroyed Iraq and killed thousands of Iraqis. Now, the former New York City mayor wants the U.S. to expand President Bush's disastrous policies in the region -- and also to continue the war against Iraq. He is being guided by a bunch of discredited conservative hawks who once advised Bush to attack Iraq in a "preventive war." For a while they ran for cover but now they are back and are egging Bush on to bomb Iran's military sites. Norman Podhoretz -- the leader of the Giuliani team -- wants to bomb Iran "as soon as it is logistically possible." It's a mark of Giuliani's ignorance of history and gullibility if he thinks he can sell another pointless war to Americans who are finally getting fed up with the mindless killing in Iraq. Asked if he could be an even-handed broker when it came to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, Giuliani replied: "America shouldn't be even-handed in dealing with the difference between an elected democracy that's a government ruled by law and a group of terrorists." Giuliani is following the hard-liners' script. Like most of his advisers, he did not have to serve in the Vietnam War because he lucked out with deferments. Podhoretz said in an interview with the New York Observer that he had met with Giuliani to discuss his new book in which he advocates bombing Iran as part of a larger struggle against "Islamofascism" -- a term Bush had used in speeches until recently. "There is very little difference in how he (Giuliani) sees the war and I see it," said Podhoretz. Giuliani also has indicated he considers spreading democracy in the Middle East to be overly optimistic and premature. He noted that the radical Hamas party won a sweeping victory in Palestinian elections in Gaza. Giuliani wrote in an article in the Foreign Affairs policy journal: "Aspiring dictators sometimes win elections and elected leaders sometimes govern badly and threaten their neighbors." The former mayor of New York was saying that sometimes democratic elections do not necessarily produce leaders and outcomes that we like -- as was the case of the Palestinian election in Gaza. Giuliani wants the U.S. to project great military strength to keep it safe. "Weakness," he said, "invites attack." He would add 10 Army combat brigades to support his muscular foreign policy agenda. He kisses off the United Nations, except for a humanitarian role and some peacekeeping missions. He wants to expand NATO and invite Israel to join. And he makes it very clear he would be wary of negotiations with any adversary "bent on our destruction or those who cannot deliver on their agreements." In a recent speech to the Jewish Coalition he accused the Democrats of putting too much stock in diplomacy. On the use of waterboarding in interrogation of prisoners, Giuliani said: "It depends on how it's done. It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it." Giuliani blamed the "liberal media" for describing waterboarding as torture -- and he expressed doubts that it is being described accurately. He also said labeling sleep deprivation as torture is "plain silly." Giuliani sounds like he has been understudying the role of Godzilla. Or is he simply tearing a page out of Bush's playbook? One thing you can say about him, he doesn't equivocate. Helen Thomas is a columnist for Hearst Newspapers. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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