Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Newt Gingrich's Real Change 4

In Newt Gingrich's Real Change, I read Chapter 9: "An Example of Real Change and a Failure to Change: Giuliani's New York City versus Iraq as Contrasts in Change Leadership".

1.  Regarding Rudy Giuliani, Newt essentially argues that Mayor Giuliani of New York City and Boston police chief Bill Bratton developed strategies that dramatically brought down the crime rate in New York City.  Critics have maintained that Giuliani does not deserve all or any of the credit for this decrease in crime.  I've heard some say that Giuliani's police chief brought down the crime rate.  Others maintain that the national crime bill that passed under President Bill Clinton brought down crime on a national level, including in New York City.

Newt himself does not assert that Giuliani deserves all of the credit.  After all, Newt states on page 104 that "thanks to the efforts of Mayor David Dinkins [who was Giuliani's Democratic predecessor], there would be 4,000 more policemen joining the force..."  But I agree with Newt that Giuliani deserves some credit.  On page 104, Newt talks about how Giuliani and Bratton proposed for anti-drug units to work at night, which was when the drug dealers worked.  That sounds like a reasonable way to fight drug crimes.

2.  What interested me in my reading of Newt's commentary on Iraq was how Newt and the advocates for the policies that he criticized had some of the same goals.  At least that's my impression.  Both did not want for the Americans to appear to be imperial aggressors or occupiers in Iraq.  Newt, for example, praises White House envoy Zalmay Khalilzad for attempting to organize an interim Iraqi government consisting of Iraqis, but Newt believes that these efforts were obstructed when American bureaucrats entered the picture and botched up attempts to rebuild the country.

But I think that even those Newt criticizes did not want for America to be seen as an unwelcome and imperialistic presence in Iraq.  Newt acknowledges that a small number of troops were able to topple Saddam Hussein in an effective manner, but he believes that more American troops were needed to help Iraq rebuild and to keep the country safe.  Those who supported keeping the number of American troops in Iraq low, however, did so because they did not want for Americans to become tied down in the region (as occurred in Vietnam), and perhaps also because they did not desire to appear imperialistic.  Newt criticizes the American Army in Iraq for focusing on the training of Iraqi soldiers rather than countering insurgents, but those who emphasized the training of Iraqi soldiers probably did so because they wanted for Iraqis to take charge of their own country and security so that Americans would not have to run the country, creating resentment among Iraqis who would see Americans as occupiers.

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