In an interview this week with Bloomberg TV, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani declared that he would consider increasing U.S. troop levels in Iraq, beyond the tens of thousands of soldiers ordered in January as part of President Bush’s escalation policy.
Bloomberg host Peter Cook asked Giuliani, “If General Petraeus comes back in September and says, we can win this thing, but it’s going to take more U.S. troops, could you support the notion of adding even more U.S. troops to Iraq?”
Giuliani said he could support escalating Bush’s escalation, provided Petraeus believed he “need[ed] more troops to make it work in order to get Iraq to a situation where Iraq is stable.” When Cook noted that many Americans would strongly oppose such a plan, Giuliani said, “Hey, you know, leadership is about sometimes doing the things you know are right.” Watch it:
During the most recent presidential debates, Giuliani said that invading Iraq was “absolutely the right thing to do,” and claimed the war would “help reduce the risk for this country.” Giuliani’s current foreign policy advisers include retired Gen. Jack Keane, the architect of the Iraq escalation, and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.
But Giuliani often doesn’t wear his support for Bush’s deeply unpopular war policy on his sleeve. A widely-publicized document Giuliani released this week detailing his “12 Commitments” to America doesn’t contain a single reference to Iraq.
COOK: Let me ask you about some other issues, if I could. Iraq – you’ve supported the president. You’ve said the United States cannot lose in Iraq. I want to ask you, if you were to become president – or even before that. If General Petraeus comes back in September and says, we can win this thing, but it’s going to take more U.S. troops, could you support the notion of adding even more U.S. troops to Iraq?
GIULIANI: If that – if he came back and he said, we’ve had success. It’s working, the strategy is working. We need more troops to make it work in order to get Iraq to a situation where Iraq is stable. And Iraq isn’t – really, the ultimate goal here is, Iraq is an ally of the United States, a reliable one in the war against terror, rather than a headquarters for terrorism. Of course I’d look at that, and I’d consider that. What do we have General Petraeus there for but – we have great confidence in him.
COOK: You know there would be significant resistance to the notion of sending any more Americans there.
GIULIANI: Hey, you know, leadership is about sometimes doing the things you know are right, and then it’s your job to educate the public, as opposed to just, you know, taking a CNN poll or a Bloomberg poll or a Fox poll and let that run the country. I mean, there’s been too much of that. We have too many politicians who are poll-driven to excess. Polls are important. You’ve got to know what the public is thinking, but you can’t let them drive you completely. If Abraham Lincoln were driven by polls, he’d have pulled out of the Civil War in 1863, but I guess they didn’t have polls then, so …