Giuliani assails Obama on terrorism, Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, Sept 10, 2011 (AFP) - Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, speaking for his fellow Republicans ten years after the September 11th attacks, denounced President Barack Obama's handling of national security on Saturday.

AFP - New York City police officer inspects a bus on Trinity Place near the World Trade Center September 9, 2011 in New York

Giuliani, giving the party's weekly address, notably blasted Obama's decision to withdraw some 33,000 US troops from Afghanistan by September 2012 and bring home all combat forces by 2014.

"Perhaps the most dangerous impulse we've developed since September 11 is impatience demonstrated by the calls to put our armed forces on timetables," said the former mayor, hailed for his take-charge response to the attacks.

Giuliani called Obama's policy, a frequent target of Republican ire, part of "a dangerous historical pattern" of "minimizing the dangers we face and that's led to catastrophes in the past."

"American security requires a long-term military presence in the part of the world where people and organizations are plotting to kill us," he said, calling for US forces to stay in Iraq and Afghanistan until they have "eliminated" the threat.

"We must not allow impatience to prevent our military from achieving its objective in Iraq and Afghanistan and the objective is the elimination of the threat to our nation," he said.

His remarks came as some key lawmakers, chiefly Republicans, called for at least 10,000 US troops to stay in Iraq past a year-end deadline for withdrawing them under an agreement sealed with Baghdad before Obama took office.

At the same time, the war-weary US public and several candidates for the Republican presidential nomination have shown no appetite for staying in Afghanistan, which US forces invaded in late 2001 to hunt down Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

Giuliani, who made no mention of the May 2 raid in which elite US commandos killed the extremist mastermind, also condemned "massive breakdowns in security" like the attempted Christmas bombing of 2009, in which the alleged extremist boarded an airplane with explosives sewn in his underwear.

And he blasted "the inappropriate decision-making and irrational application of political correctness in the attack at Fort Hood," the army base in Texas where US Army Major Nidal Hasan alleged killed 13 people in a shooting spree.

Giuliani's scathing rebukes came as the United States prepared for a somber day of commemorating ten years since the Sepember 11th attacks, a national tragedy that briefly cooled superheated US political rhetoric.

"We withstood the worst attack in our history, intended by our enemies to destroy us. Instead, it drew us closer and it made us more united," said the former majory.

"It's a strength that must be guarded and nurtured. We must rediscover our unity," he said, adding: "Today, ten years later, the fight continues and the memories remain etched into our national character."

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