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December 10, 2007

Guiliani says most important way to repair image of America in Muslim world is to ‘remain on offense against Islamic terrorism.’

In the CNN/youtube debate last week, when asked the question, “What would you do as president to repair the image of America in the eyes of the Muslim world?” Guiliani responded not by suggesting specific action but by saying,

Well, the most important thing to do is to make certain we remain on offense against Islamic terrorism.

And then make it clear that what that means is this is a small group of people, Islamic terrorists, who have defiled a great religion, that the vast majority of people who are Islamic, the vast majority of people who are Arabs, the vast majority of people living in these countries are good people. We should be trading with them. We should have contact with them. We should expand our contacts with them. We should have cultural exchanges with them…We shouldn't do the thing that we're being attacked for. We shouldn't blame an entire group of people for the horrible acts of a few people who have distorted a great religion. They have turned it into an ideology of hatred and an ideology of violence.

By the same token, we can't do what the Democrats do. We can't put our head in the sand. You've got a Democratic debate and not a single one of those Democratic candidates used the word ‘Islamic terrorism.’ I don't know who they think they're offending. The people they're offending are the people we want to offend -- the Islamic terrorists ...and not decent people like Yasmin [the person asking the question]. We are intelligent enough and good enough as Americans to make this distinction.

Polls indicate that the US military is viewed as not a liberating but an occupying force in Iraq, and that 61% of Iraqis support attacks on American troops. It will be very difficult to repair America’s reputation as long as we remain an occupying force.

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