Giuliani Confused About Terrorism, Cites Ft. Dix Plot As Reason For Staying In Iraq

Last night in the Republican presidential debate, Rudy Giuliani was asked if he had an “open-ended” commitment to Iraq. He failed to directly answer the question, and instead advocated staying in Iraq in order to fight terrorists there so we don’t have to fight them here. He referenced the foiled Fort Dix terrorist plot as an example. Giuliani said, “These people do want to follow us here and they have followed us here. Fort Dix happened a week ago.”

Giuliani’s claim that the Fort Dix terrorists are an example of why we need to stay in Iraq is extremely flawed. As TalkLeft noted, the individuals arrested at Fort Dix had been in the United States well before the Iraq war, some of them for more than 23 years.

After the debate, Giuliani went on Fox, where Alan Colmes pressed him on this point. “Three of the brothers came when they were one and six and in single digits chronologically. They didn’t come here to commit jihad. They came here when they were kids. They grew up in the United States,” Colmes said. Flummoxed by the question, Giuliani visibly stuttered and could only offer, “This whole thing is a tremendous danger for us, abroad and here.” Watch a video compilation:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/05/giulianistumped.320.240.flv]

Giuliani also said last night, “These people [al Qaeda terrorists] came here and killed us because of our freedom of religion, because of our freedom for women, because they hate us. … The reality is, if you are confused about this, I think you put our country in much greater jeopardy.” Sadly, it is Giuliani who is confused in his diagnosis about the root cause of terrorism.

Counterrorism expert Michael Scheuer has correctly noted:

Osama doesn’t hate our freedom: The fundamental flaw in our thinking about Bin Laden is that ‘Muslims hate and attack us for what we are and think, rather than what we do.’ Muslims are bothered by our modernity, democracy, and sexuality, but they are rarely spurred to action unless American forces encroach on their lands. It’s American foreign policy that enrages Osama and al-Qaida, not American culture and society.

UPDATE: SJBrian at Blue Jersey has more.