Days before the 2000 Presidential election, Joe Lieberman said that when he thought "of a solitary figure standing in the Oval Office, weighing life and death decisions that can affect the security of our country and the stability of the world," he saw Al Gore. Given the content of the speech Gore made Monday at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, we should all give thanks that Lieberman's vision did not become a reality.
Gore spent 55 minutes on Monday bashing the Bush administration, mainly for its plans to oust Saddam Hussein and handling and politicizing of the war on terror. An examination of some his comments should make one grateful that he is unemployed.
When Gore began by claiming to be concerned that the Bush administration's Iraqi policy could "seriously damage our ability to win the war against terrorism," he showed the key flaw in his argument, an unfair distinction between the war on terror and a potential war with Iraq. President George W. Bush has continually described the war on terror as a war against evil people who threaten American security. And given Saddam Hussein's track record, inclusion in the "Axis of Evil," and the fact that Hynek Kmonicek, the Czech envoy to the United Nations, has confirmed that Mohamed Atta met with Iraqi diplomat Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir Al-Aniin in April 2001, it is clear that he should be one of our biggest targets.
In order to support his argument that the United States cannot partake in additional military actions, Gore calls the war on terror unsuccessful. He says that Americans should not be "distracted from this urgent task simply because it is proving to be more difficult and lengthy than predicted." The problem with this argument is that the war on terror has only proved to be difficult and lengthy, not more difficult and lengthy than predicted. It is less than a year old, and the President has said from day one that it will be difficult, likely outlasting his time in office. Gore's characterization of it is therefore as inaccurate as it is inappropriate.
Gore also argues that America should not "jump from one unfinished task to another." Forget for a moment that the two are the same task. Such a comment still shows that Gore wishes to handcuff the administration. Since the war on terror is a war against evil people who pose danger to Americans, it likely will never be completely finished. For Gore to use its incompleteness as reason to not partake in another task is akin to banning all other future military actions.
Gore continually harps on the issue of coalition. He claims that "many of our allies in Europe and Asia are thus far opposed to what President Bush is doing" and argues that a coalition will keep the U.S. from alienating the rest of the world. Though I wonder why he didn't propose this strategy in 1998 or 2000, when he claimed to favor unilateral action, the main problem with his reasoning is that the allies he so desperately desires the support of have proven themselves to be overly passive. Americans have always been thought of as hawks and cowboys, and it should not be of concern that we are now. We have the duty, as well as the capability, to eliminate the security threat Iraq poses and should not refrain from carrying it out because a bunch of socialists who are generally afraid to act until it's too late don't want us to.
The war on terror has not been a failure. A regime has been overthrown and a gender liberated. Numerous terrorist training camps have been destroyed. And hundreds of terrorists have been brought to justice while others are scurrying from cave to cave, constantly looking over their shoulders. On Monday, Al Gore underscored the war's impact and claimed that we should not target one of the most evil, irrational and dangerous men in the world. He then had the audacity to condemn the president for being political.
And just why was Al Gore making this speech?ï¿½As a concerned citizen who merely wished to express his views? Of course not. Matt Drudge has already reported that Gore has decided to run for president in 2004. Is anyone surprised? Every decision this man has ever made has been intended to get him elected president.
Given the views he offered Monday, it's a good thing that he makes such bad ones.
Nathan Carleton is a Trinity sophomore. His column appears every other Friday.
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