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The price of security

September 19, 2007

Re "The risk of President Guiliani," Opinion, Sept. 17

The one issue on which Rudy Giuliani is staking his campaign is 9/11. He ties everything to that event, no matter how absurd. I don't think his supporters understand what it would take to make the U.S. safe from terrorists. Many of the world's most ruthless governments started out by promising their people a safer society, all the while chipping away at civil liberties. I would rather live with some fear than with a government that thinks it alone knows how to keep me safe.

Amy Smith

Irvine

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When terrorists finally acquire the weapons that give Giuliani nightmares, their first demonstration in America will probably move them ahead of "multilateral trade liberalization," even on Niall Ferguson's worry list. We still won't be fighting a world war, if that means bombing other nations' urban centers while ours remain untouched. Instead, we'll be searching for targets in remote wastelands while our cities cower in fear of young men armed with fake passports and rental vans. Perhaps Giuliani's 9/11 experience prompts him to imagine these scenarios.

Ferguson's comparison of terrorists to Nazis is an exercise in looking backward, which may or may not tell us anything about the potential scope of the Islamist threat. What if the movement is still in its infancy?

Michael Smith

Cynthiana, Ky.

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