Why Al Gore Might Have
May 8 , 2008 - WND.com
by Jack Cashill
This is the second in a two-part series.
September 11, 2001 found would-be terror fighter Al Gore brooding Achilles-like in his tent. This should have been his hour.
A Vietnam vet, he had broken ranks with his own party to authorize the Gulf War, had chastised the senior Bush for coddling Saddam, had signed off cheerfully on extraordinary renditions, and had encouraged Clinton take it to the Serbs without so much as a howdy-do from Congress.
On top of that, Commander Gore had the discipline and the will that the notoriously disorganized and dithering Clinton did not.
If only the Republicans had not “stolen” the 2000 election, he would have had the chance to manage the war on terror, and he would assuredly have done a better job.
So the Democrats believe, and for reasons they will never acknowledge, they may actually be right. A close reading of Doug Feith’s essential new book, War and Decision, reveals why.
In the book, the former undersecretary of defense Feith lays out the “parade of horribles” that he and his colleagues contemplated on the eve of the Iraq War.
There was little they missed: Iraq could experience ethnic strife; reconstruction could take ten years not two; terrorism networks could improve their recruiting; the U.S, would not find WMD.
But there was one “horrible” the Bush White House failed to contemplate. It was the most insidious of them all and the one that Gore, for reasons that will become clear, would have avoided.
Given Gore’s warrior spirit, however, he would likely have made many of the same decisions that the Bush White House did in regards to both Afghanistan and Iraq.
That much said, Gore could not have done better in Afghanistan. The great majority of military and political decisions that the Bush team made proved to be the right ones.
The team’s wisdom, however, was not instantly obvious. By October 31, 2001, The New York Times was running front page stories with headlines like, “A Military Quagmire Remembered: Afghanistan as Vietnam.”
The president’s critics in the media and in Congress promptly hoisted the “quagmire” flag up its metaphoric flagpole and saluted almost as one. “Are we quagmiring ourselves again,” the Times’ Maureen Dowd asked cattily.
The terrible truth is this: Dowd and her allies hoped the answer was yes. Just three weeks into the war, they expected--and wanted--the Bush administration to fail.
They were soon disappointed. Kabul fell less than two weeks after the Times and literally hundreds of other critics had written off Afghanistan as another Vietnam.
For all the virtues of his book, Feith fails to see how the residual spite from the November 2000 election undermined every action the Bush White took.
With Afghanistan under control, the White House turned its attention to the other potential theaters of the War on Terror, tangible and virtual. Iraq, make no mistake, was one of them.
Those who persist in believing that Iraq was “invaded” for oil or for Israel or for Haliburton or to impose a wishful neo-con democracy will not want to read Feith’s book.
What drove war planning was one overriding concept. Feith calls it “anticipatory self-defense.” September 11 had proved that Islamic jihadists were no longer content with terror as theater.
No, they were clearly keen on mass destruction. Were they able to unleash WMD of any sort on American soil, our way of life would have effectively come to an end.
As all parties understood, Saddam was the one person in the world with the means, motive and requisite madness to make this happen.
“ Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we will should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power,” claimed Al Gore himself just six months before the war began.
A month later, rationalizing his upcoming vote to use force against Saddam, Senator John Kerry chimed in, “I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.”
In their loud talk of war, however, center-left politicians failed to hear the “chickens coming home to roost” drumbeat of surrender from deep within their own ranks.
Howard Dean did. Ignoring the center, he fueled his seemingly successful candidacy on the deep-seated, anti-American animus of the hard left. And for these people, truth was utterly irrelevant.
“What I want to know,” Dean asked in the very first sentence of a pre-campaign warm up speech before the war even began, “is what in the world so many Democrats are doing supporting the President's unilateral intervention in Iraq?”
That the U.S. had enlisted 30 allies, three of which had committed combat troops, Britain’s in great number, did not deter Dean from openly dissembling.
The media, as Dean’s rivals began to see, were eager to abide by almost any lie as long as it sabotaged “Bush’s war.” How else to explain Dean’s success or the celebrity of conspicuous liars like Joseph Wilson and Richard Clarke?
The media also erased a decade’s worth of Democratic warnings about Saddam, enabling them to transform non-partisan intelligence shortfalls into “Bush lies.”
Worse, as Feith reveals, the media exploited and aggravated the natural divisions within any bureaucracy to undermine the war effort at every step.
International critics took their cue from their American comrades. And terrorists in the field took encouragement from both. All parties shared a self-fulfilling yen for quagmire.
For Gore and the other centrists—their past bravado consigned to the memory hole--there was no longer any point or profit in supporting the war.
And for Gore, in particular, it had always been about Al Gore.
Senator Alan Simpson has related in detail how Gore shopped his vote on the critical 1991 Gulf War resolution for TV time. “I was there,” wrote Simpson, “and witnessed Al Gore putting politics over principles.”
It seems likely that he was projecting his own inner Judas when in February 2004, Gore publicly said of George Bush, ''He betrayed this country!''
No, Al, that honor was yours.
The one “horrible” Gore would not have had to contend with was dealing with treacherous characters like Al Gore, and yes, that would have made a world of difference.
End of two-part series. Read part 1 of Jack's 2-part series
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