The Giuliani Blunder

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What ever happened to "Honesty is the best policy"? (Oct 01)

According to CNN, on Thursday (11 Oct 01) Mayor Rudy Giuliani rejected a $10,000,000.00 donation to the Twin Towers disaster relief fund from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal after one of the Prince's spokesmen suggested that US policies in the Middle East contributed to the motivation for the September 11 attacks.

The prince had offered condolences for the people of New York, but later on one of his spokesman released a statement that suggested the United States "must investigate some of the issues that led to such a criminal attack." More specifically, it suggested that the United States "should re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stand toward the Palestinian cause. While the United Nations passed resolutions numbered 242 and 338 calling for the Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza Strip decades ago, our Palestinian brethren continue to be slaughtered at the hands of Israelis while the world turns the other cheek."

Mayor Giuliani's response was, "I entirely reject that statement. There is no moral equivalent to this [terrorist] act. The people who did it lost any right to ask for justification for it when they slaughtered 4,000 or 5,000 innocent people.... To suggest that there is a justification [for the terrorist acts] only invites this happening in the future. It is highly irresponsible and very, very dangerous.... And one of the reasons I think this happened is because people were engaged in moral equivalency in not understanding the differences between liberal democracies like the United States, like Israel, and terrorist states that those who condone terrorism.... So I think not only are those statements wrong, they're part of the problem."

Mayor Giuliani's reasoning may have been soothing to the ears of many fellow New Yorker's, but it undoubtedly had the opposite effect on those involved in the planning of those terrorist attacks and those who are inclined to support them. To being with, as I pointed out in my 30 Sep 01 article on www.onesalt.com, our government's support for the clearly racist policies of the present government of Israel evidently WAS one of the major motivating factors behind those September 11 attacks. Osama bin Laden as much as said so in the previously prepared video that he released just after American forces began launching air strikes on the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

One of the major reasons why acts of terrorism have been relatively unusual in America (in proportion to the size of its population) is because our political system provides credible, peaceful means for bringing about needed changes. The present Israeli government's racist policies towards the Palestinians (and the hateful misrepresentations of God/Allah that are being promoted on both sides over there) have for most practical purposes denied the Palestinians such peaceful alternatives. In most cases, suicidal acts of terrorism are acts of desperation committed by people who are seeking revenge and who have totally lost confidence that any peaceful alternatives exist for resolving their grievances.

And, of course, another major factor contributing to all that hatred and desperation is the fact the fundamental teachings of Jesus Christ have been largely ignored, not just over there, but here at home as well. That prince was only trying to help by offeing a substantial financial contribution for disaster relief and also some sound advice on how to attack the heart of terrorist organizations that will otherwise reproduce themselves like the mythological beast known as a "hydra." That advice, which Mayor Giuliani rejected, did in fact conform with Jesus Christ's teaching to love our neighbors as ourselves (without restrictions).

Mayor Giuliani was not only way off the mark regarding what motivates people to commit suicidal acts of terrorism; he was also factually incorrect when he claimed that "liberal democracies like the United States, like Israel" are not "terrorist states." The present government of Israel routinely commits acts of terrorism (air strikes which amount to premeditated executions without trial) not only against the Palestinians, but also against people in other neighboring countries. Our own government is now doing the same kind of thing in an undeclared war in Afghanistan. The fact that these two governments are using deadlier technologies to commit such acts doesn't make those acts morally superior to acts of terrorism. Either way, the victims end up just as dead, and their families and friends grieve just a much.

Contrary to Mayor Giuliani's point that "moral equivalency" is a major contributing cause of the problem, the opposite is true. Those who point out that the policy of using military aircraft to assinate suspected terrorist leaders or terrorist supporters is morally equivalent to setting off a bomb in a market place are merely attempting to help SOLVE such problems by pointing out that such tit-for-tat terrorist tactics are a hell of a poor way to do business or run a government. Many of those who, like myself, have been promoting the establishment of institutional structures for peace like the International Criminal Court (so that we can deal with such issues in a civilized manner) have been adamantly opposed by people like Mayor Giuliani, Jesse Helms, and the leaders of our Department of Defense who evidently prefer to preserve and promote moral HYPOCRACY rather than moral equivalance among human beings throughout the world. As shown in my 30 Sep 01 article, moral hypocracy on one side breeds moral hypocracy on the other side (hinging on man-made restrictions on their definition of "neighbor"), and that leads to a sequence of death, destruction, and suffering that can last thousands of years until that moral hypocracy is finally eliminated. It is those who promote and maintain moral hypocracy who are the ultimate source of problems such as war and terrorism!

So what did Mayor Giuliani accomplish in the incident described above?

1. He denied the surviving victims of the New York Trade Tower tragedy $10,000,000.00 in aid.

2. He utterly failed to suppress the points made in the statement released by that prince's spokesman. Thanks to Mayor Giuliani, those points got published nation-wide by CNN and other news agencies at virtually no cost whatsoever to that prince.

3. By refusing to acknowledge or face up to the truth about the consequences of US support for Israeli racist policies, he has no doubt infuriated the people who participated in the planning of those attacks (and those who are inclined to support them), and virtually guaranteed that New York city will remain at or very near the top of their hit list for further terrorist activities.

Dumb, ...dumb, ...dumb. Another example of "the blind leading the blind."

(one grain of salt)

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Last modified on Friday, May 03, 2002