"If you allow someone like Saddam Hussein to get nuclear
weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological
weapons, how many people is he going to kill with such weapons?
He’s already demonstrated a willingness to use these weapons;
he poison gassed his own people. He used poison gas and other
weapons of mass destruction against his neighbors. This man has
no compunctions about killing lots and lots of people. So this
is a way to save lives and to save the safety and peace of a
region of the world that is important to the peace and security
of the entire world."
One could be forgiven for assuming this powerful
rationalization for ridding the Middle East of Saddam Hussein
came from President Bush or one of his more ‘hawkish’
foreign policy advisors, but actually, Al Gore said this on
"Larry King Live" in December 1998. In response to Mr.
King’s inquiry into the justification for a decision to bomb
Iraq, the vice president presented the case for acting preemptively
to prevent Saddam from obtaining and presumably using weapons of
Fast forward to September 23, 2002. In a bizarre, though not
surprising flip-flop, Al Gore skewered President Bush and the
impending move into Iraq as risky and dangerous. In Gore’s
estimation, a military invasion to oust Saddam Hussein would
"severely damage" America’s war on terrorism and
"weaken" U.S. leadership around the globe. Implicit in
Gore’s rebuke was the fallacious belief that American action
in Iraq must necessarily come at the expense of our stabilizing
efforts in a defeated Afghanistan. In his own words, "I am
deeply concerned that the course of action that we are presently
embarking upon in respect to Iraq has the potential to seriously
damage our ability to win the war against terrorism." In
effect, Iraq should not even be a consideration until the war on
terror is completed, as if the two are mutually exclusive.
This sentiment contradicts sharply with Al Gore’s remarks
last February. In an appearance before the Council on Foreign
Relations, Gore asserted the fundamental tenet of the Bush
Doctrine—preemptively confronting those states that aid or
abet terrorists. Gore said, "Even if we give first priority
to the destruction of terrorist networks, and even if we
succeed, there are still governments that could bring us harm.
And there is a clear case that one of these governments in
particular represents a virulent threat in a class by itself:
Iraq. As far as I am concerned, a final reckoning with that
government should be on the table." It seems that
only seven months ago, Al Gore placed Iraq on the same threat
level as Alqaeda terrorist cells—as a clear and present
Why, then, would Al Gore now oppose the same sort of
preemptive action he once promoted as vice president and then as
a private citizen? At various points, President Bush and Vice
President Cheney have stated identical rationale for attacking
Iraq, but now Gore is going wobbly.
Actually, Gore’s latest flip-flop is more of the same from
a man known more for his capricious rhetoric than action. When
your Iraqi/anti-terrorist legacy consists of burying your head
and a few tomahawk cruisers in the sand, it takes chutzpa to
come out swinging against the President who’s decided to
engage the enemy rather than repeatedly sacrifice American
security at the altar of international approval, as the Clinton
Administration was wont to do.
Moreover, considering the eight years of Clinton failure,
accusing a former executive—Clinton/Gore predecessor George
H.W. Bush--of not disposing of Saddam Hussein is worse,
especially when such criticism is heretofore unheard of from
Gore. In his recent San Francisco rant, an indignant Gore
bragged, "back in 1991…I felt betrayed by the first Bush
administration’s hasty departure from the battlefield, even as
Saddam began to renew his persecution of the Shiites and Kurds,
groups that we had after all encouraged to rise up against
Saddam." The attendees were no doubt compelled to believe
Gore’s claim; in hindsight everyone agrees we should have
crowned the rout with the deposing of Hussein.
Nevertheless, in April 1991, Senator Al Gore had reflected
entirely differently on the decision to abstain from going to
Baghdad at the end of the Gulf War to take out Hussein.
"President Bush should not be blamed for Saddam Hussein’s
survival to this point. There was throughout the Gulf War a
clear consensus that the United States should not include the
conquest of Iraq among its objectives. On the contrary, it was
universally accepted that our objective was to push Iraq out of
Kuwait, and…when this was accomplished combat should
Besides taking political shots at the man who beat him in
2000, Gore is renewing his efforts as a revisionist historian.
Lobbing baseless salvos aimed squarely at President Bush, George
Bush Sr., the ongoing campaign in Afghanistan and the impending
action in Iraq, while conveniently glazing over the Democratic
party’s well-chronicled failures, is what Al Gore is all about
and while he will lose again in two years. The American people
are on to this pathological liar.
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