Sunday, 30 September 2007

It's time for post-9/11 leadership

Thomas Friedman writes in today's New York Times that it is time for American politics to step out of the scary mindset of 9/11 and move onto "9/12".

Rudy Giuliani presents himself as the 9/11 candidate, after all, he presided over the 11 Sept 2001 attacks upon the World Trade Center when he was mayor of New York. He's still using that tragic event for political fuel for his Republican campaign for the Oval Office. (What's even worse is his political style, but that's a matter for a future post.) As Friedman, with whom I agree almost as often as I disagree, says:

Before 9/11, the world thought America’s slogan was: “Where anything is possible for anybody.” But that is not our global brand anymore. Our government has been exporting fear, not hope: “Give me your tired, your poor and your fingerprints.”

You may think Guantánamo Bay is a prison camp in Cuba for Al Qaeda terrorists. A lot of the world thinks it’s a place we send visitors who don’t give the right answers at immigration. I will not vote for any candidate who is not committed to dismantling Guantánamo Bay and replacing it with a free field hospital for poor Cubans. Guantánamo Bay is the anti-Statue of Liberty.

Too bad Friedman wasn't talking like this when it came time to decide whether or not to invade Iraq (he strongly supported the war), as well as other major ventures in the 'war on terror'. Where was his reasoning then? And why does he now proclaim that "9/11 is over"? What took him so long?

Despite my love-hate relationship with the influential NYT columnist, the points he makes are valid and important for any American to remember as he or she goes to the polls a bit over a year from now.

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