Differ with Krugman:
What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.
Back then, when everybody was wondering if we were falling into the abyss, Giuliani would be out there every day saying that 94 trucks were moving debris to a facility, that 203 tons of supplies were being brought in, that 17 search teams were looking for survivors. Stuff like that. It wasn’t particularly complex, but it gave people a sense of order and that something was being done.
That was particularly important because in the first days after the attack, Bush was very passive. At one point there was a nationally televised conference call between Giuliani and the White House. Bush was definitely the subordinate figure in that exchange. It was Giuliani saying “We New Yorkers are hustling and doing what we can to clean up the area and tend to the injured”, and Bush saying “That’s a good job you are doing”. A lot of people forget that.
Giuliani was maybe a bit of a fascist at that time – commanding this and that on limited authority – but sometimes in the immediate wake of a shocking tragedy, that kind of we’re-in-control posture helps calm the populace.
Now it's true that much later after 9/11, Giuliani was something of a hustler and he should be criticized for that. But in the early weeks of the post 9/11 chaos he presented a non-hysterical face of rational government competence
. Something Bush was incapable of. On the whole, I'd say Giuliani was a positive figure and not a "false hero"
"Giuliani’s ego-driven decision based on his craving for media attention during any possible crisis meant that when they needed it most, on 9/11, the command center was useless because Rudy Giuliani had decided to locate it at ground zero. That Giuliani decision cost lives, which is why the international association of firefighters vehemently opposed his candidacy for the president in 2008. The firefighters association reports that 121 firefighters in the north tower didn’t get out on 9/11 because they didn’t hear evacuation orders. They didn’t hear those orders, because Rudy Giuliani learned absolutely nothing from the first deadly attack on the World Trade Center. Firefighters’ radios failed to work back then when they responded to the bombing of the world trade center, and they failed to work again, years later, on 9/11. Even if the inadequate fire department radios worked on 9/11, they were not connectible in any way to the police department radios or police department communication of any kind, even though the city had obtained additional radio frequencies from the federal government in 1995, specifically to make that kind of communication possible. Mayor Giuliani’s failure to do anything about the primitive fire department radios meant that on 9/11 fire chiefs had no idea that police helicopters were predicting the collapse of both towers long before they fell." --Lawrence O' Donnell
"that kind of we’re-in-control posture helps calm the populace."
Too bad he wasn't "in control" and proactive when he had the opportunity. Countless lives may have been saved absent Giuliani's abject incompetence as mayor.