Al Gore: Genuine Opposition of War, or Just Politics?


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Former US Vice President Al Gore spoke in San Francisco yesterday. He was the first prominent Democrat to to speak openly against launching an imminent US war on Iraq. He urged Congress to ask the President for more clarification before granting him the resolution he wants to go to war against Iraq. He said: "I think specifically the Congress should establish why the president believes that unilateral action would not severely damage the fight against terrorist networks." He further urged the Congress to change the wording in the proposed resolution so that it applies to Iraq only, and not to be use to extend the war into other countries. He added: "I believe that the resolution that the president has asked Congress to pass is much too broad in the authorities it grants and needs to be narrowed severely." Finally, Senator Gore offered his alternative, which is staying the course to finish the present war before jumping to another. "Great nations persevere and then prevail," Gore said. "They do not jump from one unfinished task to another. We should remain focused on the war against terrorism." He said.

While Gore's speech is a welcome attempt to object to the Bush administration war policy, it does not go far enough to oppose the war on Iraq. He just wants it to happen by stages, instead of two wars at the same time, as the Bush administration intends. He failed to say that it would be an unprovoked and naked aggression, as Iraq has not been linked to terrorism. He also failed to say that the war on Iraq will be fought on behalf of Israel, the only country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons and the first to introduce weapons of mass destruction to the region. He wanted President Bush to do it with a multilateral coalition, like what President Bush Sr. did in 1991. So, there is no genuine opposition to the war itself, rather to the way it is conducted. 

Anyway, Al Gore cannot say better than what he said because he was among the few Democrats who sabotaged the Democratic Party efforts to deny Bush Sr. the resolution he wanted to go to war. Senator Sam Nunn led Democrats, back then in 1990/91, in opposing the war as a means to eject Iraq from Kuwait. They argued that Iraq was willing to withdraw if given guarantees that it won't be attacked. The answers that Bush Sr. gave was "No way Jose, " and "No face saving." And if Al Gore and the few Democrats who betrayed their Party did not vote with Republicans, President Bush Sr. would not have had that resolution which authorized the use of force against Iraq. 

Twelve years later, Al Gore is trying to find a place for himself by appearing as if he a better alternative to George W. Bush, in 2004 presidential elections. He is asking Democrats in Congress to object to something he did not object to when he was there. It is less likely that they will listen, particularly with elections looming on the horizon, in November. Much more is needed from Al Gore and other Democrats if they want to present themselves as a viable alternative. They should oppose war openly and clearly and let the people decide which way to go, peace or war. But I'm not holding my breath.

"If you talk the talk, you have to walk the walk." Aren't these your words Al, during your 2000 presidential campaign? This is a welcomed step because it is a voice that finally broke the silence of the scared Democrats. But you have to follow it with a real position that opposes the war. Only then, you will be a true alternative to the war party. 




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