Ron Paul Gives Rudy Giuliani a Reading Assignment on Foreign Policy – But That’s Not Rudy’s Biggest Problem

I’m about three weeks late with this, but Ron Paul is such a delight when it comes to keeping folks like Rudy Giuliani from getting away with dishonest fear mongering. John Nichols reminds us of the GOP debate last month and the dust up between Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul:

Rudy Giuliani made clear in Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate that he is not ready to let the facts get in the way of his approach to foreign policy. The most heated moment in the debate, which aired live on the conservative Fox News network, came when the former New York mayor and current GOP front-runner angrily refused to entertain a serious discussion about the role that actions taken by the United States prior to the September 11, 2OO1, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon may have played in inspiring or encouraging those attacks. Giuliani led the crowd of contenders on attacking Texas Congressman Ron Paul after the anti-war Republican restated facts that are outlined in the report of the The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States … The mayor, who is making his response to the 9-11 attacks on New York a central feature of his presidential campaign, was joined in the assault on Paul by many of the other candidates. But congressman did not back down, and for good reason. Unlike Giuliani, the Texan has actually read the record. The 9-11 Commission report detailed how bin Laden had, in 1996, issued “his self-styled fatwa calling on Muslims to drive American soldiers out of Saudi Arabia” and identified that declaration and another in 1998 as part of “a long series” of statements objecting to U.S. military interventions in his native Saudi Arabia in particular and the Middle East in general. Statements from bin Laden and those associated with him prior to 9-11 consistently expressed anger with the U.S. military presence on the Arabian Peninsula, U.S. aggression against the Iraqi people and U.S. support of Israel.

Andy Sullivan shows that Ron Paul followed up:

Longshot Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul on Thursday gave front-runner Rudy Giuliani a list of foreign-policy books to back up his contention that attacks by Islamic militants are fueled by the U.S. presence in the Middle East. “I’m giving Mr. Giuliani a reading assignment,” the nine-term Texas congressman said as he stood behind a stack of books that included the report by the commission that examined the attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have used fear mongering and lying to the American people to put their reelection strategy ahead of a rational foreign policy. I guess Rudy is a lot like them. Of course, the press can’t be bothered with this.

But I hope the press does not ignore two other matters. One is the indictment of his South Carolina campaign chief for selling cocaine. The larger problem is Rudy’s decision to skip meeting of the Iraq Study Group. As Steve Benen notes:

Sure, it was a mistake to join the group and then fail to do any work. And sure it’s not exactly encouraging to see a presidential candidate prefer cashing in to meaningful public service on the nation’s most pressing crisis. But looking beyond this, Giuliani should have stayed with the ISG so he could learn what the hell he’s talking about.

Update: Jonah Goldberg is happy to post Rudy’s reply with respect to the Iraq Study Group snub:

As someone considered a potential presidential candidate, the Mayor didn’t want the group’s work to become a political football. That, coupled with time restraints led to his decision.

I guess Jonah was too lazy to check the facts so we have to rely on Greg Sargent:

So very clearly, Rudy himself was saying that he was a “potential Presidential candidate” five months before agreeing to join the ISG. He even openly stated that he’d be actively considering a run during the same year – 2006 – that the ISG would be doing its work. So why did Rudy join it in the first place? His campaign is now saying that he backed out of his ISG commitment because the fact that he was seen as a potential candidate could politicize his work for the panel – even though that didn’t stop him from signing up in the first place. This is just total bull, pure and simple. No polite way to describe it. Meanwhile, the only remaining piece of his pushback – that “time constraints” prevented his participation – actually confirms the story. So Rudy’s got nothing left here.

Update II: Credit goes to Jonah Goldberg for this.