T Nation

Remarks by Al Gore

It’s a long read, but some of you guys write wonderful opinion pieces in the other threads (no sarcasm) and I’d be interested in your opinion.

http://www.moveonpac.org/goreremarks052604.html/

There’s alot to digest, and it would take too much space to address the many issues Gore raises specifically, but I’ll focus on one.

Gore continues to blather about the unilateralism and contempt for international law the Bush administration has shown by invading Iraq, but he was quiet as a tit-mouse during Clintonian military actions in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq.

In fact, what Gore said in 2000:

“Let?s take the case of Bosnia. Here we had the most violent and bloody war in Europe since World War II, in an area of Europe that spawned the conflicts that became World War I. A growing instability that threatened to touch off a chain reaction that would spill over border after border and lead to a much wider conflict and disorder. And at the heart of the festering wound was what they called, in the repugnant phrase they coined, ethnic cleansing. It was a hard decision for the United States to get involved. But it was in my view, clearly, the right decision.”

Every argument here - a troubled area in a troubled region, the dangers of a conflict escalating and becoming substantially more threatening to the international peace, the horrors of ethnic cleansing - can be applied to the invasion in Iraq.

Moreover, the interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, etc. did not have international sanction and were comepletely ‘unilateral’ in the sense of the term as Gore uses it. He didn’t seem to mind the flouting of international law when he was VP.

“But by itself, that, to me, can bring into play a fundamental American strategic interest because I think it?s based on our values.”

Gore here endorses that he is willing to intervene and commit to war to promote American values and stop the horrors of genocide. But he, and other liberals have been contending that to project American values with force is wrong.

I don’t think very highly of Gore.

More later.

This is very old news. We had this debate a few weeks ago. Al Gore is desperately trying to regain some small semblance of viability in the democratic party, having back stabbed his running mate joe Liebermann and endorsing Howard Dean. Maybe he should have taken this issue a little bit more seriously in the 8 years he was vice president and we wouldnt have to be dealing with this mess.

The scariest part is that we were less than 1000 votes away from having that joker as our president. AWFUL.

good observations thunderbolt.
democrats are ALWAYS hypocritical and this is just one example.

Thunderbolt
Differences I see in the rationale for intervening in Bosnia and Iraq

  1. Genocide:The mass graves uncovered in Iraq were overwhelmingly from the Shiite uprising after the first Gulf war when the Shiites and Kurds thought we were going to support their uprising and we did not. The fault of either Bush Sr. or Clinton or both. There was not an active mass killing machine going on at the present time. In Bosnia at the time of intervention there was active ethnic cleansing going on as well as rape camps were muslim women were being raped up to one hundred times a day.

  2. Ulterior motives: In Bosnia we did not have an American company with ties to our President and Vice President reaping lucrative contracts from the action taken. We in fact did not gain anything from that action other then the cessation of ethnic cleansing. We were not interested in nation building or any other kind of gain. We did not believe by intervening in Bosia it would start a dominoe effect of democracy. Can anyone one tell me anything we gained from that action other then stopping human suffering?

  3. Consequences or cost of our action:
    In Bosnia we did not commit ground troops without an effective plan. It was an air campaign with extremally minimal casualties once the objective was completed U.N. cooperation was used to stabilize the situation. President Clinton reported by General Clark and General Zinni used his generals advice and knowledge to effectively make decisions in his planning and policy. In Iraq only time will tell when American casualties will end hopefully soon!

  4. In Iraq the excuse was used that we were taking the fight to the terrorists, but in essence we diverted our attention from the hotbed of terrorist activity and created a new group of potential terrorists.

  5. WMD:
    The current administratin used scare tactics on the American people to manipulate them in to supporting a war they intended on having long before 9/11 ever happened.

PtrDr-
I know Republicans that I think are very intelligent people that do a lot of good, I happen to work for one! I may not agree with their complete philosophy on Government or economics, but that doesn’t mean I think their incompetent! For you to make a blanket statement that all democrats are ALWAYS HYPOCRITICAL brings to light your narrow way of thinking! Don’t you know any democrats? I think it is good that you will probably never rise above O-4 with the kind of logic you have, I don’t think that is conducive to good leadership skills!

[quote]good observations thunderbolt.
democrats are ALWAYS hypocritical and this is just one example.[/quote]

cough bullshit cough

Open up those little minds and at least try to fathom the differences in thinking and disagree with those.

A reply to each point.

  1. Genocide: the mass slaughter of Kurds the fault of Bush or Clinton? That’s hogwash. The responsibility is squarely on Saddam Hussein for these actions. I am disappointed we didn’t give the Kurds the backing we should have, but to equivocate and try absolve Saddam of his role in genocide is laughable. The slaughter occurred, and it was Saddam’s fault because he ordered it.

And to suggest there was no mass killing going on at the time we entered Iraq is nonsense. Iraq had elaborate systems of institutional torture, rape, and murder going in apparatus all the time. The only reason Saddam didn’t continue his venture against the Kurds was the enforcement of no-fly zones by US and British planes. To suggest that mass rape was happening in Bosnia but not in Iraq is to completely ignore everything we know about Iraq.

  1. Ulterior motives: this is conspiracy theory at its worst. I absolultey believe we had nothing material to gain in Bosnia.

But there is no evidence to suggest Bush went to war to fatten the pockets of Halliburton, etc. None. If you have it, present it.

Oh, and Bosnia has absolutely become and exercise in nation building. Troops are still there.

  1. Consequences: the Bosnian campaign did not require ground war. In Bosnia, the political environment was quite different - when boots hit the ground, the troops did not face the kinds of resistance they face in Iraq. Let me be clear - the war in Iraq could have been handled better (more troops, better ground plan), but an imperfect plan doesn’t negate the ‘rightness’ of the war.

  2. Excuse: as far as diverting attention, it seems to me the prosecution of the war is in full swing on every front. Iraq is a terminus for confronting our enemy. How can it be a diversion if it is one of the places we need to project power in order to win the war? Quite the contrary - it has helped us.

And the war in Iraq didn’t create legions and legions of new terrorists - they are already signed up.

What you suggest - appeasement (“Just try and not make the bad guys any more angry than they already are! There’ll just be more of them!”) is cowardly and ineffective. No thanks.

  1. WMD: ahhh, WMD. Rehashed over and over. So I’ll be brief: US intelligence, Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, George W Bush, Jacques Chirac, the US Congress, and the UN Security Council all believed that Iraq had unaccounted for WMD’s and was a threat to international peace and security.

The current administration is doing exactly what Clinton pursued, except more aggressively. If Bush duped the American people, as you claim, then the US Congress, a bipartisan effort made up of Democrats and Republicans, are complicit in the duping as well, since they authorized Bush to go into Iraq on the same information he had.

UN Resolution 1441 explicitly lays out the UNSC’s belief that Saddam had not disarmed, supported terror, and was a threat to the international peace - in plain language.


So back to the point - Al Gore was silent when Clinton started dropping bombs in Eastern Europe despite the fact that the UN had not approved the action.

So which is it - is it ok to flout international law, some of the time, all the time, most of the time, or none of the time?

Al Gore has cast himself in radical clothes - a far cry from his New Democrat success days. I can’t believe this hack was nearly President.

As I stated elsewhere, Democrats, who are by and large good people with good intentions, canot be trusted to defend the West.

Al Gore, sadly, is proof.

Elk…youve never been an officer. Keep quiet about things you know little of.

I will revise my comment: the FAR LEFT of the democrat party are ALWAYS HYPOCRITICAL. Ironically, its the only sin that bothers them when they think they percieve it in others!

Thunderbolt
I could go on and counter every counterpoint you made. We could probably do this for a month straight! Unfortunately we won’t know who is more correct for the next five years or so. If in five years we have never heard a pip-squeak from a terrorist and the middle east is a bastion of stability, I will eat crow and admit my viewpoint was wrong! Now will you be able to do the same if because of the actions of President Bush we will have escalating terrorist attacks and are potentially sucked into world war III due to the power vacuum left in Iraq or if we are left policing it for the next five year with American casualties! I know many guys in the army I live in a major army town. Anyway many of the guys I know have come back from Iraq and you would be surprised how many of them are voting for Kerry this year!

PtrDr
I’m not one of your subordinates, so don’t be giving me orders! Officer or not respect is earned, you have not earned mine!

PtrDR

I will revise my comment: the FAR LEFT of the democrat party are ALWAYS HYPOCRITICAL. Ironically, its the only sin that bothers them when they think they percieve it in others!

There is a psychological term for this. It is called projection:

“A defense mechanism in which the individual attributes to other people impulses and traits that he himself has but cannot accept. It is especially likely to occur when the person lacks insight into his own impulses and traits.”

This may explain the truth behind a comment a local conservative radio commentator makes that you can tell what the liberals are up to by what they accuse the conservatives of.

Elk Ive never asked or wanted your suport or respect. Why throw pearls to pigs? If anything I have asked you to NOT try to educate me in the medical field and NOT try to educate me about military matters. What is it you don’t GET about that? It’s pretty simple really…

ptrdr
So now I’m a pig… huh… I will continue to point out your hypocrisy’s as long as you keep flaunting them.

Should we start calling you General? Being a low level officer isn’t all that impressive – though admittedly I certainly do respect you for serving. You realize you come across like some blowhard when you keep saying things like that?

Shit, higher rank enlisted men have no respect for junior officers (in peacetime) though they do of course follow their orders. What makes you so special?

PtrDR: people on the right are just as hypocritical as the people on the left. hypocrisy goes with politics, religion, and personal belief. it goes with humanity.

[quote]PtrDR wrote:
I have asked you to NOT try to educate me in the medical field and NOT try to educate me about military matters.[/quote]

Yeah Elk, just give it up. Nobody else has been able to, what the hell makes you think you think you could?

[quote]Elkhntr1 wrote:
There was not an active mass killing machine going on at the present time.[/quote]
No, if you read George Packer’s article in the New Yorker, the killing and rape machine only got individuals, and daily, when they stepped out of line. Of course, the no-fly zones prevented Elk’s “active mass killing machine.” And the draining and burning of the marsh lands was his method of mass murder for the Marsh Arabs.

Halliburton did do much work in Bosnia. There is no evidence that the contracts for Iraq were lucrative, in fact the evidence shows a VERY SLIM profit margin (search earlier threads).

Explain to us why nation building or starting a “domino effect of democracy” is inherently wrong.

Ask your dear neoconservatives who advocated action in Bosnia long before Clinton took it.

[quote]3. Consequences or cost of our action:
In Bosnia we did not commit ground troops without an effective plan. It was an air campaign with extremally minimal casualties once the objective was completed U.N. cooperation was used to stabilize the situation.[/quote]
NATO actually helped stabilize the situation, and mostly our troops. The UN put their signature on it later, as will happen with Iraq.

An “effective plan” seems not to be your real issue here. You’re talking about the kind of resistance our troops would face on the ground, which was obviously going to be significant in Iraq and not in Bosnia. Note also, that the amount of civilians killed by our bombs will end up being MUCH greater in Bosnia than in the liberation of Iraq, and this (thank Gen. Clark, as Michael Moore did) is what spared our soldiers from facing a groundswell of resistance.

This assertion demands a whole separate thread, but it seems that everything “the Great Satan” does is not well received in the Arab world. And you’ve identified a threshhold where our actions start “creating a new group of potential terrorists”! Jeez, an oil economy that actually benefits all its citizens, a free press singular in the Arab world, total freedom of worship for the Shiites in their holiest cities, the end of the murderous reign of Baathist thugs will all eventually create a new group of potential terrorists.

[quote]5. WMD:
The current administratin used scare tactics on the American people to manipulate them in to supporting a war they intended on having long before 9/11 ever happened. [/quote]
I personally don’t give a crack’s ass about whether Iraq had WMD. I’m sorry the Bush administration made that case, but the pro-war meme “Saddam was a weapon of mass destruction” works fine for me. But realize that it’s just possible that the administration actually BELIEVED Saddam had WMD. And also realize that whether people in the government wanted the war beforehand doesn’t logically detract from legitimate reasons for the war. Gosh, sordid characters like Joe Lieberman and John McCain wanted Saddam Hussein and his sons dead and buried before President Bush’s “axis of evil” speech?!

Elk,

“I could go on and counter every counterpoint you made. We could probably do this for a month straight!”

True, we could carry on with the opinions, but not the facts. For example, the belief in WMDs by the folks I listed is indisputable.

But opinions, yes. And that’s good for the country.

“If in five years we have never heard a pip-squeak from a terrorist and the middle east is a bastion of stability, I will eat crow…”

Here is the problem in a nutshell. There is no utopian endgame for this problem. Judging the value of the war by utopian standards is the most frequent mistake of the Left. There won’t be a perfect Middle East, there won’t be a complete eradication of our enemies. Peace is managed, never achieved.

“Now will you be able to do the same if because of the actions of President Bush we will have escalating terrorist attacks and are potentially sucked into world war III…”

Nope, and here’s why: I always thought it would get worse before it got better. It has to. Secondly, the war in Iraq was never a sure thing - it is a huge gamble. What you fail to see is that with all the risks involved in taking the war to the Middle East, the Left…(wait for it)…never provides a credible alternative.

The Left hems and haws because utopia doesn’t sprout of the ground like crabgrass once Saddam in toppled. Yet all the Left has to offer is criticism, cynicism, and sarcasm. What is never offered is a better solution. This is the failure of the Left - spoiled idealists that sit comfortably in their chair, directing after the fact. This is no way to confront an enemy or conduct foreign policy.

On WWIII: the clash has already begun. There’s no such thing as a war on terror - terror is a tool. It is a war between Western civilization and an “ism” that wants to destroy Western civilization. If you don’t think so, read Osama bin Laden’s fatwas.

So, no, I wouldn’t dare apologize if the situation got worse after the war - I never expected instant earthly paradise. There are risks - but risks worth taking.

“you would be surprised how many of them are voting for Kerry this year!”

Not really. I try not to stereotype people - just like I don’t always assume Blacks will vote Democratic. I’m sure many servicemen and women will vote for Kerry. No big deal. It’s going to be a very close election, imo.

Brian wrote
Jeez, an oil economy that actually benefits all its citizens, a free press singular in the Arab world, total freedom of worship for the Shiites in their holiest cities, the end of the murderous reign of Baathist thugs will all eventually create a new group of potential terrorists.

Well Brian if those darn Shiites and other groups are gonna make out so well why do they keep shooting at us?

Brian wrote
I personally don’t give a crack’s ass about whether Iraq had WMD. I’m sorry the Bush administration made that case, but the pro-war meme “Saddam was a weapon of mass destruction” works fine for me.

So. the trend is set if our Goverment wants to Pre-emptively attack someone just tell a few lies scare the people, its okay, the ends justify the means, Is that what your saying Brian. I’m sorry Brian I don’t like being lied to either from the clerk at 7-11 or the President of the United States it just doesn’t sit will with me! Yes Brian, I know they were remnent shells here and there and that a terrorist could sneak one over, but if you think that still can’t happen even if Iraq was blown off the face of the planet your smoking bud with vegita!