Rudy Giuliani hit the nail on the head with his comment that if the Democrats win in 2008, we will be running up the white flag and going over to defense in the war on terror. The prompt and acerbic replies from the usually well-mannered Democratic field of candidates shows how close to the mark his barb was.

The fact is that the Democrats, led by former president Bill Clinton, have always seen terrorism as a criminal justice problem rather than a war. Unwilling to commit troops except at 35,000 feet in jet aircraft (preferably stealth), the Clinton administration and National Security Advisor Sandy Berger illustrated how risk-averse and conflict-avoiding an administration could become.

If the Democrats win in 2008, we can expect them to repeal most of the Patriot Act, weaken airport security by banning racial and other profiling, hamstring national-security wiretaps, release many of the Guantanamo terrorists, and withdraw troops from confrontations as quickly as they can.

By raising terrorism as an issue in the '08 elections, Giuliani has drawn first blood. He should keep on the attack and on this issue. It's his issue and he needs to ride it home.