"Would You Buy a Used Hawk From This Man?" runs the title of a Oct. 15 Newsweek smear of presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, suggesting that the mayor's advisors, "some of the Bush era's most assertive neoconservatives," represent George W. Bush retreads. The article even quotes a foreign policy analyst accusing Giuliani of "out-Bushing Bush."
Ever in lock-step, Time magazine's blog likewise asserted last week that Giuliani's "message seems to be that Bush's policies for the region have worked pretty well, so let's have more of the same."
How odd. Actually, the opposite should be apparent about Newsweek's six featured advisors – Norman Podhoretz, Martin Kramer, Peter Berkowitz, Nile Gardiner, Robert Kasten, and myself. First, we collectively had many disagreements with Bush administration policies and, second, we lacked impact on them. In other words, the real story is Giuliani's fresh start in foreign policy, joined by a cast unconnected to the current president's successes and failures.
Consider my own divergence from Bush administration policy. My writings and spoken statements over the past seven years have criticized the handling of Iraq, the war on terror, democratization, and (especially) the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Iraq: Iraq policy is too ambitious, I time and again asserted, starting in April 2003. Under the slogan "Stay the course – but change the course," I developed a third position between the administration and its critics, one that called for getting foreigners quickly out of the business of running Iraq and coalition troops out of the cities and into the Iraqi countryside and borders. I ridiculed the massive U.S. embassy in Baghdad. I urged that elections be delayed and that authority be turned over to a democratically-minded Iraqi strongman.