Jesse Walker is awfully confused. Commenting on Giuliani’s “I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before” line in last night’s debate, Walker sees three possibilities:
1. Giuliani lives in a bubble so thick it makes the president look well-informed. He really has never heard the blowback theory before, even though it is common currency in policy circles.
2. Giuliani is familiar with the blowback theory, but is distorting Paul’s views by suggesting America’s air raids on Iraq were supposed to be the only intervention precipitating 9/11….
3. Giuliani wasn’t being that crafty. He is aware that the bombings were not America’s only Middle Eastern intervention of the ’90s, and he knows that Paul knows this too. He is familiar with the blowback theory and was just playing dumb for the crowd. Put more succinctly, he’s a dishonest demagogue.
None of these are correct. Number 2 comes closest, but it’s inside-out: As the tape plainly shows, it was Paul who put forth a variation on the blowback theory that began and ended with Iraq. If his views were distorted — and my sense is they were — he did the distorting himself; Rudy just responded to what Paul said.
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