Column: Why We Should Pay Attention to Al Gore





Mr. Carpenter holds a Ph.D. in American History and is a syndicated columnist.

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Even if you still resent the former vice president for losing the 2000 election to a greenhorned featherweight of Chauncey Gardner proportions, you must give Al Gore credit for making an extraordinary contribution to political debate last week. For forty sustained minutes in his New York speech he substituted high dudgeon with calm, surgical reasoning and concluded that the president of the United States is a liar.

As is customary with career pols, he voiced this conclusion from a euphemistic posture, saying more times than "lockbox" that the president willfully and repeatedly has imposed "false impressions" on the American people -- not to mention the world. Still, Gore can be forgiven the rather tiresome game of euphemistic gyrations. As drama critic and fellow Tennesseean Joseph Wood Krutch once observed, "Any euphemism ceases to be euphemistic after a time." In short, the erstwhile Veep's unadorned message was loud and clear. George W. Bush lies his tush off.

I use the word "extraordinary" to describe Gore's speech for two other reasons as well. First, its thoughtful yet intense condemnation came from a moderate. The Bush camp will spin his words as typical leftist hysteria, of course, but Al Gore is no more a New Lefter or McGovern Liberal than the chair I'm sitting in. He's as middle-of-the-road as they come, and a plurality of voters understood that in 2000. And after a hellish 3 years of W.'s unwavering radicalism, the "moderate" case can now be made more forcefully than ever.

Hence the spoken truth about W. has transcended the easily assailable and hugely vulnerable Howard Deans of the opposition. The heretofore dozing and gutless giant that is the Democratic Establishment is stirring -- at last.

Even more extraordinary about Gore's speech, however, was that he placed his point-by-point critique of the Bush administration in broad context. Gore went far beyond merely itemizing how Bush II has been wrong about this, wrong about that, has lied about this and lied about that -- which it has. Every presidential administration has lied from time to time (and sometimes for good reason) and every one of them has engaged in "rhetorical excesses," as the speaker himself confessed. That's just politics.

"But," said Gore with precise logic and historical justification, "there is a big difference between that and a systematic effort to manipulate facts in service to a totalistic ideology that is felt to be more important than the mandates of basic honesty." Systematic, manipulative, totalistic, blithely ideological and fundamentally dishonest: these are descriptions whose implications for a representative democracy are historically, and presently, horrifying.

Gore further likened the administration to a "propaganda machine" hellbent on promoting "mythologies that grow out of … one central doctrine." You don't have to be a History Channel addict to get the point.

Indeed, Mr. Gore essentially labeled the administration a criminal cabal and international rogue. With respect to the domestic and fiscal front, he cited a Nobel Prize-winning economist as saying "this is the worst government the U.S. has ever had in its more than 200 years of history…. What we have here is a form of looting." Any form of looting is criminal. And Gore's castigating reference to America's "first pre-emptive war" spoke for itself.

Combine select-circle criminality with militaristic roguery, add a liberal dose of propagandistic inclinations, and you tell me what you get.

Despite his blanket denials, Al Gore may yet challenge George Bush. The former concluded his speech by encapsulating the Clinton-Gore administration's successes -- exactly, come to think of it, what so many urged him to do back in 2000. Once again, you don't need to be a history junkie to read between those lines.


© Copyright 2003 P. M. Carpenter

Mr. Carpenter's column is published weekly by History News Network and buzzflash.com.

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More Comments:


osama - 12/10/2003

fuck u u fucken gut


Dan Ciammaichella - 11/11/2003

Face facts man! Not one of the current candidates has a chance in hell of beating President Bush, unless Iraq and the economy go totally to hell in a handbasket. I have voted Republican my entire adult life, I voted for Bush and today I admit that my vote for him was the biggest mistake of my life and that I helped to put people in power who are now destroying our country. But, the fact still remains that none of the current Democratic candidates can beat Bush in 2004, with the exception of Dennis Kucinich, they are all devoid of spine, backbone, charisma and integrity. The only possible democratic candidate who can swing remorseful conservatives and independents like me is Al Gore. Believe me, his stature among people 'other-than-democrats' has risen significantly over the last 2 years. The Democratic party needs to get their heads out of their okoles, put aside their internal petty differences, and rally around a candidate that can actually beat Bush in 2004 by attracting conservatives and independents as well as the liberal base. Bottom line, you effect change in the direction of our country, the first step required is to wrest the White House from the traitors who now occupy it...and the only candidate you have than can do it is Al Gore. That's all I have to say. The choice is up to the Democratic party...if you want the vote of people like me, GIVE ME A DAMN CANDIDATE I CAN VOTE FOR!!! Otherwise, we can expect 4 more years of Bush and his neocon cronies.


Dave Thomas - 8/22/2003

What a waste of my time.


Roxman - 8/18/2003

Since when does holding congressional hearings have to do with building anything?

Remember, Those who can, do;
Those who can't, teach;
Those who can't even teach, go into politics.


Gerald A - 8/18/2003

Mr. Livingston betrays his shallow reading and understanding of national news (don't feel lonely - the national media depends on people just like you to survive.) HE DIDN"T CLAIM TO HAVE INVENTED THE INTERNET FOR CHRISTSAKES! Testimony by Vincent Cerf and numerous other high technology experts have acknowledged Al Gore's contributions to the development of the Internet - it started as a government funded military communications network and Senator Gore held the first hearings on the civilian applications of the system and sponsored legislation that did indeed permit the Internet to become what it is today. As to Gore's military career it amazes me that people (Mr. Livingston I presume) rip Gore a new one for only serving in the US Army in Vietnam as a military reporter ( he was issued a firearm, had to perform guard duty, - and never claimed he did anything more than honorably serve his country during a shooting war) but say nothing about "Top Gun Wannabe" GWB wiling away the hours in Texas (or parts unkown) in the National Guard during Vietnam - where's the consistancy of your argument? The lies and distortions concerning Al Gore have been well documented (read "The Daily Howler" for example). If Mr. Livingston doesn't like Gore - fine, but please base your opinion on something original and not distortions cut and pasted from the GOP playbook. Not a Republican indeed!


Jesse Lamovsky - 8/18/2003

Your point on U.S. military interventions going back to 1898 is taken. That having been said, for the most part (the notable exception being the campaign against Aguinaldo and the Philipino rebels, which was a straight-up colonial war), our military actions were small-scale and confined to this hemisphere, so they could be justified (however flimsily and wrongly) by the Monroe Doctrine. But the predominate thinking on foreign policy eschewed involvement in European wars.

Despite all this, the real sea change in American attitudes toward foreign affairs, in my opinion, did not take place until the end of World War II, and the beginning of our formal commitments to European and Asian allies in the form of NATO and SEATO, as well as our entry into the United Nations.


e - 8/18/2003

GORE: .......During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. .......

Transcript: Vice President Gore on CNN's 'Late Edition'
http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/03/09/president.2000/transcript.gore/

Cerf on Gore
Almost all of the complaints I've seen about Gore's statement do not come from the people who should have the most to say about it. The one who should know as well as anybody, Vint Cerf, had quite a different opinion, http://www.msnbc.com/news/249325.asp. He notes that Senator Gore was holding hearings about the Internet as early as 1986, and as a senator and later as Vice President has done as much as any politician to promote it. If I may paraphrase, Gore built the Internet in the same way as a mayor builds a bridge: neither by drawing up blueprints nor by welding steel; rather by facilitating its construction.


Dave Livingston - 8/18/2003

It is quite past me that anyone pays any attention whatsoever to anything said by Gore. He is a pathetic, truly pathetic, compulsive liar. He was reported to say he invented the internet, his sister was the very 1st Peace Corps Volunteer, he engaged in firefights soldiering in Viet-Nam. All were lies. Once on his radio taalkshow even Liberal Democrat Chis Matthews lambasted Gore for lying. Clearly the poor fellow is unstable as well as dishonest. You want him in the White House?

In '00 the voters who know him best, the people of Tennessee, rejected him, deprived him of his home state. Has a major party favorite son ever lost his home state in a Presidential election before? If so, it hasn't happened in my lifetime!

No, I'm not a Republican.


elena - 8/17/2003

you can tell Mr. Gore yourself to run by sending him a fax ....

Gore's office fax number is (615)327-1323 (outside of the USA, dial 1 prior to area code)

I sincerely believe Mr. Gore will reconsider if the Dem's vocalize their wishes...he wins in every poll to date which has his name added to the Dem candidacy list....so if you sincerely would like the opportunity to have him as the leader ...please make it vocal...

many Democrats at the http://www.draftgore.com/ have been making it very clear to the DEM candidates who solicit volunteer/cash support that their dedication rests on the Draft Gore movement ...

there are many ways to get involved.....I hope others do

should you know of anyone interested in joining the movement please forward this information...

hhtp://www.draftgore.com/
http://www.algoredemocrats.com/

elena Canadian for Gore

Sign this Petition to urge Al Gore to run for President in 2004, recently President Bush has lied about Iraq, gave billions in tax cuts to the rich causing states to raise taxes, and invaded our civil liberties. Polls still show STRONG support for Al Gore. Fight back by getting a strong Democrat in the race for President! Al Gore!

Never say die: Al Gore urged to make 2004 presidential run - reports
Wed Jul 30, 6:04 PM ET Add Politics - AFP to My Yahoo!

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Supporters are urging former US vice president Al Gore (news - web sites) to make another run for the White House, in the absence of a clear Democratic frontrunner in the early campaign season.

Gore, the Democratic party's candidate in the closely contested 2000 election, took himself out of contention for the November 2004 presidential race last December, after months of indecision.

CNN television and other US media reported Wednesday that supporters were lobbying Gore to toss his hat into the ring.

The Hill newspaper, a Washington-based political daily, reported Wednesday that former Democratic operatives are hoping to revive a Gore candidacy in the belief that US President George W. Bush (news - web sites) is a more vulnerable incumbent than he was just a few months ago.

The daily reported however that Kiki McLean, Gore's spokeswoman, denied that her boss was mulling a presidential candidacy.

There are nine declared Democratic contenders, but as yet no clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

to sign; http://www.petitiononline.com/Gore04/petition.html
____________

see also; MAINE VOICES: RAYMOND J. BLAIR
It's time: Democrats, turn to Gore
About the author
RAYMOND J. BLAIR of Cape Elizabeth, a lifelong Democrat, is a retired Maine journalist and ex-Washington political reporter.
articla at following url; http://www.pressherald.com/viewpoints/mvoice/030815draftgore.shtml


elena - 8/17/2003

you can tell Mr. Gore yourself to run by sending him a fax ....

Gore's office fax number is (615)327-1323 (outside of the USA, dial 1 prior to area code)

I sincerely believe Mr. Gore will reconsider if the Dem's vocalize their wishes...he wins in every poll to date which has his name added to the Dem candidacy list....so if you sincerely would like the opportunity to have him as the leader ...please make it vocal...

many Democrats at the http://www.draftgore.com/ have been making it very clear to the DEM candidates who solicit volunteer/cash support that their dedication rests on the Draft Gore movement ...

there are many ways to get involved.....I hope others do

should you know of anyone interested in joining the movement please forward this information...

hhtp://www.draftgore.com/
http://www.algoredemocrats.com/

elena Canadian for Gore

Sign this Petition to urge Al Gore to run for President in 2004, recently President Bush has lied about Iraq, gave billions in tax cuts to the rich causing states to raise taxes, and invaded our civil liberties. Polls still show STRONG support for Al Gore. Fight back by getting a strong Democrat in the race for President! Al Gore!

Never say die: Al Gore urged to make 2004 presidential run - reports
Wed Jul 30, 6:04 PM ET Add Politics - AFP to My Yahoo!

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Supporters are urging former US vice president Al Gore (news - web sites) to make another run for the White House, in the absence of a clear Democratic frontrunner in the early campaign season.

Gore, the Democratic party's candidate in the closely contested 2000 election, took himself out of contention for the November 2004 presidential race last December, after months of indecision.

CNN television and other US media reported Wednesday that supporters were lobbying Gore to toss his hat into the ring.

The Hill newspaper, a Washington-based political daily, reported Wednesday that former Democratic operatives are hoping to revive a Gore candidacy in the belief that US President George W. Bush (news - web sites) is a more vulnerable incumbent than he was just a few months ago.

The daily reported however that Kiki McLean, Gore's spokeswoman, denied that her boss was mulling a presidential candidacy.

There are nine declared Democratic contenders, but as yet no clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

to sign; http://www.petitiononline.com/Gore04/petition.html
____________

see also; MAINE VOICES: RAYMOND J. BLAIR
It's time: Democrats, turn to Gore
About the author
RAYMOND J. BLAIR of Cape Elizabeth, a lifelong Democrat, is a retired Maine journalist and ex-Washington political reporter.
articla at following url; http://www.pressherald.com/viewpoints/mvoice/030815draftgore.shtml


Josh Greenland - 8/17/2003

I think it goes back before WWII, maybe to 1898. The pre-WWII policy of isolation always seemed like hypocritical hogwash to me, since it was perfectly fine for an "isolationist" US to get south of the border and kick ass militarily in Latin America. After all, that area was "our back yard," so any interventions and attacks we did there didn't count.

You're right, the dominant American sentiment is pro-intervention. I agree with you that that's not a good thing.


Jesse Lamovsky - 8/17/2003

Your point on the veep's role in the administration is taken. That having been said, Mr. Gore should be willing to face up to the same kind of scrutiny that applied to Humphrey and Vietnam, and Bush Sr. and Iran-Contra. He may have been a role player, but he was still on the team, and as such, he should take a certain amount of responsibility.

What neither of us has said thus far is this: there is a consensus on American foreign policy, or at least a dominant opinion: interventionism is good/isolationism is bad. "After all," they say, always as if they're the first one to say it: "isolationism didn't work with the Nazis, did it?" Americans have been socialized for half a century on just the sort of thinking that got us into Kosovo and Iraq: we're a member of the "world community", as the lone superpower, we have a "responsibility" to the former, wars that take place 5,000 miles away are somehow tied in with our national security, NATO, UN, blah blah blah. The whole line of thinking is tied into World War II and there's always someone propping up Hitler's dead body and using it to frighten people. The dominant opinion IS for intervention. Until a change takes place in this way of thinking, which is to say the way most Americans have been taught to think; until this changes, we're going to be forever hopping willy-nilly all over the globe, trying to bomb away other peoples' problems.



Jesse Lamovsky - 8/16/2003

Good stuff, Mr. Moner!

Maybe all of our fellow posters who insist on drawing hairsplitting distinctions between Kosovo and Iraq should read this.


George Oilwell - 8/16/2003

"Why should people who supported the Kosovo adventure pretend to be shocked and appalled when another administration aggresses against another country, on the strength of its own set of justifications?"

Has anyone here pretended to be shocked and appalled? I don't think so.

I forget what fallacy that's called, but maybe someone here will rescue me.


Gus Moner - 8/16/2003

Kate Hudson
Thursday August 14, 2003
The Guardian
The legality of the war against Iraq remains the focus of intense debate - as is the challenge it poses to the post-second-world-war order, based on the inviolability of sovereign states. That challenge, however, is not a new one. The precursor is without doubt Nato's 1999 attack on Yugoslavia, also carried out without UN support. Look again at how the U.S. and its allies behaved then, and the pattern is unmistakable.
Yugoslavia was a sovereign state with internationally recognised borders; an unsolicited intervention in its internal affairs was excluded by international law. The US-led onslaught was therefore justified as a humanitarian war - a concept that most international lawyers regarded as having no legal standing (the Commons foreign affairs select committee described it as of "dubious legality"). The attack was also outside Nato's own remit as a defensive organisation - its mission statement was later rewritten to allow for such actions.
In Yugoslavia, as in Iraq, the ultimate goal of the aggressor nations was regime change. In Iraq, the justification for aggression was the possession of weapons of mass destruction; in Yugoslavia, it was the prevention of a humanitarian crisis and genocide in Kosovo. In both cases, the evidence for such accusations has been lacking: but while this is now widely accepted in relation to Iraq, the same is not true of Yugoslavia.
In retrospect, it has become ever clearer that the justification for war was the result of a calculated provocation - and manipulation- of the legitimate grievances of the Kosovan Albanians - in an already tense situation within the Yugoslav republic of Serbia. The constitutional status of Kosovo had been long contested and the Kosovan politician, Ibrahim Rugova, had peacefully championed the case for greater Kosovan Albanian self-government.
In 1996, however, the marginal secessionist group, the Kosovo Liberation Army, stepped up its violent campaign for Kosovan independence and launched a series of assassinations of policemen and civilians in Kosovo, targeting not only Serbs, but also Albanians who did not support the KLA. The Yugoslav government branded the KLA a terrorist organisation - a description also used by US officials. As late as the beginning of 1998, Robert Gelbard, US special envoy to Bosnia, declared: "The UCK (KLA) is without any question a terrorist group."
KLA attacks drew an increasingly heavy military response from Yugoslav government forces and in the summer of 1998 a concerted offensive against KLA strongholds began. In contrast to its earlier position, the US administration now threatened to bomb Yugoslavia unless the government withdrew its forces from the province, verified by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The US was now clearly determined to remove Milosevic, who was obstructing Yugoslavia's integration into the western institutional and economic framework.
Agreement was reached in October 1998 and 1,000 OSCE observers went to Kosovo to oversee the withdrawal of government troops. But the KLA used the pullback to renew armed attacks. In January 1999 an alleged massacre of 45 Kosovan Albanians by Yugoslav government forces took place at Racak. Both at the time and subsequently, evidence has been contradictory and fiercely contested as to whether the Racak victims were civilians or KLA fighters and whether they died in a firefight or close-range shootings.
Nevertheless, Racak was seized on by the US to justify acceleration towards war. In early 1999, the OSCE reported "the current security environment in Kosovo is characterised by the disproportionate use of force by the Yugoslav authorities in response to persistent attacks and provocations by the Kosovan Albanian paramilitaries." But when the Rambouillet talks convened in February 1999, the KLA was accorded the status of national leader. The Rambouillet text, proposed by the then US secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, included a wide range of freedoms and immunities for Nato forces within Yugoslavia that amounted to an effective occupation. Even the former US secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, described it as "a provocation, an excuse to start bombing". The Yugoslavs refused to sign; so bombing began on March 24 1999.
Despite claims by western leaders that Yugoslav forces were conducting "genocide" against the Kosovan Albanians, reports of mass killings and atrocities - such as the supposed concealment of 700 murdered Kosovan Albanians in the Trepca mines - were often later admitted to be wrong. Both Serb and KLA forces certainly carried out atrocities. But investigative teams did not find evidence of the scale of dead or missing claimed at the time, responsibility for which was attributed to the Yugoslavs. The damage inflicted by US and British bombing, meanwhile, was considerable, including civilian casualties estimated at between 1,000 and 5,000 deaths. Nato forces also used depleted uranium weapons - linked to cancers and birth defects - while Nato bombers destroyed swathes of Serbia's economic and social infrastructure.
Far from solving a humanitarian crisis, the 79-day bombardment triggered the flight of hundreds of thousands of Kosovans. Half a million Kosovan Albanians who had supposedly been internally displaced turned out not to have been, and of the 800,000 who had sought refuge or been forced into neighbouring countries, the UNHCR estimated that 765,000 had already returned to Kosovo by August of the same year. A more long-lasting result, however, was that half the Kosovan Serb population - approximately 100,000 - left Kosovo or was driven out.
So was the war worth it? Notwithstanding the Nato-UN protectorate established in Kosovo, the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia was no longer under threat - the Kosovans did not achieve their independence. Nor has western support for the KLA been mirrored in Kosovan voting patterns: the party of Rugova, who never backed the violent path, received a convincing majority in the elections in 2001.
Meanwhile, violence dogs the surviving minority communities, and in spite of the presence of 40,000 K-For troops and a UN police force, the Serb and other minorities (such as Roma) have continued to be forced out. More than 200,000 are now estimated to have left. In the short term, support for Milosevic actually increased as a result of the war, and the regime was only changed through a combination of economic sanctions, elections and heavy western intervention. Such interference in a country's internal politics does not generally lead to a stable and peaceful society, as evidenced by the recent assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, the most pro-western politician in the country.
As in Yugoslavia, so in Iraq: illegal aggression justified by spin and fabrication enables might to prevail and deals a terrible blow to the framework of international law. As in Yugoslavia, so in Iraq, people's well-being comes a poor second-best to the interests of the world's self-appointed moral and economic arbiters.
·Kate Hudson is principal lecturer in Russian and East European politics at South Bank University, London and author of Breaking the South Slav Dream: the Rise and Fall of Yugoslavia


Gus Moner - 8/16/2003

Your comments are helpful, still, I’d add these observations without meaning to detract from them.

Gore may have been in the administration at the time of the Serbian-Kosovan tiff. It does not mean he was on board. The Vice Presidency, until this administration, has historically been someone that VPs cannot dissent. He agrees or keeps quiet. I agree the intervention was spurious and settled nothing. The usurping of international law in this case was damming to the US and its allies.

I accept your disagreement. One thing is that a national consensus might not happen, as you wisely point up. Another is that it is not needed, and there I stick to my point. It is needed. Your suggestion for dealing with foreign policy seems a reasonable starting point and I support it.


Tom Gallatin - 8/15/2003



Jesse, I will agree that

"attacking countries that haven't attacked us is wrong, and it's un-American"

Where I dissent is in the corollary you attach to it:

"It was AS wrong in Kosovo as it is in Iraq." (emphasis added)


There are at least three problems with your reasoning here:

1. To my recollection at least, Bush and his controllers have never argued that Kosovo was a precedent.

2. In great contrast to Iraq (where the current crop of Washington chickenhawks, in their rush to war, brushed aside a whole set of credible alternatives to unilateral US-UK intervention made in the UN chambers), in Yugoslavia the US and the rest of Europe pretty much sat on their hands for many years while Milosevic did not play cat and mouse with inspectors but carried on a brutal campaign of mass murder across the Balkans. (The Bosnia deal in 1995 was a fluke made possible by the stalemate between Serbia and Croatia).

In the case of Kosovo there really was no alternative left but military action. It would have been unconscionable for NATO, with all its firepower, to sit back idly while genocide was occurring.
That would have been "unAmerican" too. There was no genocide underway in Iraq this year. I must reject a moral compass that equates using violence to curtail already occuring violence (Kosovo) on the one hand, with starting violence under the rationale of preventing FUTURE violence (Iraq), on the other.

I'm not saying that bombing bridges and embassies in Belgrade was the best, or even a justified, form of military action, but hundreds of thousands of lives were at stack, we saved them, and most Serbs do not now hate us like so many Iraqis do.

The failure of NATO to stop more recent Kosovar atrocities is a legitimate ground for criticizing the schizoid foreign policy of Dubya, it does not negate the legitimate humanitarian reasons for the earlier intervention to get rid of Milosevic. (By the way, what are the chances that Iraqis arrest Saddam and send him to The Hague ?)


3. You fall straight into the Elect (for the first time) Bush in 2004 campaign propagandizing if you equate the real multilateral NATO coalition in the Balkans with the bogus Rumsfeld "coalition" of a small number of Brits and a token sprinkling of other nationalities in Iraq.


The only way can see equating Kosovo and Iraq is by adopting pure 100% pacifism: any war is bad and all wars are equally bad.
That sort of belief, I submit, should be anathema to a thinking historian.

Tom




Jesse Lamovsky - 8/15/2003

I agree with Mr. Gallatin's assessment of the interests that sent the troops on to Baghdad. But I must persist in pointing out the similarities between Kosovo and Iraq. To wit: a president circumventing Congress and ordering an attack on a country that had never aggressed against us, under the guise of international law (remember, Iraq's flouting of UN resolutions figured prominently in President Bush's rationale for going to war), with the purpose of overthrowing, or at least reigning in, an anointed villian (Milosevic in Kosovo). True, the attack on the Serbs was ostensibly multi-lateral, but so was the attack on Iraq (if laughably so). Also, is Mr. Gallatin aware that since 1999 the KLA has instituted its own brand of ethnic-cleansing in Kosovo, burning Orthodox churches and forcing over 200,000 Kosovar Serbs and Roma (Gypsies) from their homes?

Anyway, I don't care how many allies we line up, and I don't care how pretty or elegant our reasoning is; attacking countries that haven't attacked us is wrong, and it's un-American. It was as wrong in Kosovo as it is in Iraq. The Clinton Administration had its own justifications for aggressing against Serbia. Why should people who supported the Kosovo adventure pretend to be shocked and appalled when another administration aggresses against another country, on the strength of its own set of justifications? It should be expected.


Thomas Gallatin - 8/14/2003


Good point re schizoid foreign policies, Jesse.

I will take issue with the notion of Kosovo as "precedent" for Iraq. The similarities are largely superficial, it seems to me. Wars and massacres went on for years in the Balkans before the U.S. was reluctantly dragged in, and only then on a painstakingly multilateral basis. The Iraq War was unilaterally initiated by the think tank cabal which largely runs foreign policy under a president woefully inexperienced outside of Texas and a secretary of state who is a career soldier without prior diplomatic experience.


Jesse Lamovsky - 8/14/2003

Of course we all have a right to speak and have our arguments debated on their merits. Looking at the Clinton Administration's policy in Kosovo is a good way of deconstructing the merits of Mr. Gore's arguments. And Kosovo was not an alternative to Iraq- it was a precedent. Like Iraq, it was an invasion of a sovereign country on the basis of humanitarian and security concerns that were spurious at best. Despite the much-touted NATO support Mr. Gallatin describes, the action itself was in violation of NATO's rules concerning military action only in the event of an attack on a member state.

I also must respectfully disagree with Mr. Moner's assessment that a "national consensus" on foreign policy is needed. I don't think such a consensus will ever happen- there are simply too many different people with too many bones to pick. What we need is a departure from our schizophrenic foreign policy that caters to special interests (the Israel Lobby; Florida Cubans) and a return to the sane policy the Founding Fathers adhered to: free trade and open relations with all- entangling alliances with none.


Dave Tabaska - 8/14/2003

Oh, that's easy. "International Law" is just merely the opposite of whatever the US and Britain are doing at any given time.


George Oilwell - 8/14/2003

The liberal corporate media won't give the public an opportunity to know whether or not Commander Bunnypants is a liar.

I take it you believe the boy is honest, is that right?

"The lie is in the intent, not the words."


TCG - 8/14/2003

How can anyone look at "Earth in the Balance" and believe Gore is 'balanced" or centrist ?? Second, much is made of Bush the Liar, but no examples are provided for comment. What is it, the 16 words? WMDs? Head Start? Compassionate Conservative? or what? Where or what is the line between a "lie" that all politicians tell and a "systematic effort to manipulate fact"? Is it just my hunch or is it that all Conservatives are compelled to a "systematic effort to manipulate fact" and liberals are merely given to a few harmless "lies"? At any rate, examples and reasons might be helpful. "Militaristic roguery" indeed, with a vote of Congress behind him no less, and how many UNSC votes as well.


Gus Moner - 8/13/2003

An intersting comment. It's made me think a bit more about Gore's complex situation. However, I doubt that which you have outlined is enough to reverse the result in 04. It would be an intersting rematch.

Comments on the media's behaviour are right on target, as were the comments on the senators.


Gus Moner - 8/13/2003

Quite frankly, we should pay attention to the acquired wisdom of ‘retired’ pols as well as others. The issues he spelled out are serious, they were well thought out and articulated. They merit consideration.

What post WWII US President or VP does not have blood on his hands? Do we not listen to Kissinger, Carter, etc.? We may agree or disagree with people but we all have a right to speak, be listened to and our arguments debated on their merits, not on our ‘history’ or politics.

The Dems are already doomed for 2004 with their lack of leadership, as 9 talking heads vying for the nomination demonstrate. It would be a miracle if Bush loses in ’04. Remember, Mr Gore got more votes than "nitwit Texas Governor" Bush in '00”. What happened with his selection is another matter. Should Gore run? Tough one.

I agree, “this country's foreign policy problems go a lot deeper than Iraq”. A national consensus, based on truth and not on superiority is badly needed.


Gus Moner - 8/13/2003

Thanks for the clarification, no need to apologise. We all get it wrong sometimes...


Howard N Meyer - 8/13/2003

The subject is the message.
From Left to Liberal to Middle to Neocon to Dinosaur
U S politicians and mainstream and running brook media
have ignored the International Rule of Law:
TEACHERS; Assign an essay
or a PH D thesis
on difference in attitude in U S and Brit on Rule of World Law


Thomas Gallatin - 8/12/2003


Jesse makes the point: If Gore "couldn't beat "nitwit Texas Governor" Bush in '00" why should we waste time trying to get him to reverse his decision not to run in 2004.

Amen.

But I must dissent from Jesse on the Kosovo intervention. That military action had the UNITED support of a SCORE of NATO countries and was taken to stop an ALREADY underway GENOCIDE.

I'm not saying that Clinton's foreign policy vis a vis Yugoslavia and other countries is beyond reproach, Far from it.
But an inability to see the vast difference between the successful effort to remove Milosevic, and the litany of blunders committed by the hypocrite chickenhawk Project for a New American Century and their stooge Dubya Bush, in failing to get any allies beyond a reluctant Britain to go after an already largely defanged Saddam, is a key reason why those most vocally opposed to the recent OIL (Operation Iraqi Liberation) failed to muster convincing reasons to force Congress (in October 2002 when they still had a say in the matter) to stop the outrageous and unneccessary squandering of America's international goodwill
at the hands of our dry drunk chief executive.


Gerad A. - 8/12/2003

Two "coconspirators" have escaped critical commentary in reactions to the former Vice President't speech at NYU last week. One, the U.S. Congress, which largely have vigorously supported all of the GWB actions overseas and domestically. Kerry, Lieberman, Gebhardt have no credibility running as alternatives to Bush in 2004. What their complicity in the Iraq war resolutions and tax cuts accomplished was no more than protecting their right political flanks at the expense of their honest judgement re: the Bush initiatives (if their revisionist statements can be believed that is). Secondly, the national media should be ungoing some serious "soul searching" at the present on their lack of journalistic integrity on analyzing what Bush was proposing during the campaign of 2000 and what he has rammed through Congress during the past 2 and 1/2 years. I know that Al Gore is aghast at all of his year-2000 predictions re: the Bush plans for our country having come to reality, but he certainly can't be denied some inner feeling of redemption that if the citizens of the United States had heard more serious journalism on tax policy and foreign relations instead of dishonest personal attacks ("creator of the internet", "love story", et al.), he would have carried way too many states for the election to have been stolen from the electorate. Gore may never become President, but sadly the jokes on us and we'll (and our children) will pay for it for many years into the future.


Jesse Lamovsky - 8/12/2003

Quite frankly, why should we pay attention to Al Gore on this matter? After all, he was part of an administration that carried on vicious sanctions against Iraq, sanctions which may have contributed to the deaths of as many as 500,000 Iraqi children. Also, the Clinton Administration carried out the unconstitutional, brutal military action against Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999. Mr. Gore has blood on his hands! Who is he to talk?

Also, if Mr. Carpenter is as much of a Democratic partisan as he seems to be, he should be praying that Mr. Gore sits out the 2004 race. All he would do is tear apart the party in the primaries. Can you imagine Gore against Howard Dean? It would be Humphrey-McGovern redux, and it would produce the same result for the Dems in November 2004 as it did in 1972. Besides, who in their right mind would nominate Gore anyway? If he couldn't beat "nitwit Texas Governor" Bush in '00, with all the advantages in his favor, how can he possibly beat "Man 'O War" Bush in '04?

This country's foreign policy problems go a lot deeper than Iraq. Instead of partisan rhetoric, we all need to take a long, hard look at how and why our foreign policy has deviated so far from the path laid out by the Founding Fathers, and what it has gotten us. And how we can change it.


George Oilwell - 8/12/2003

I was being sarcastic towards David Brooks, the newly announced op-ed artist coming soon to a NYT near you. Mr. Carpenter is far superior to the smug right-wing Brooks, in every way, and that is the point I wanted but failed to make.

I apologize.


Fred F. - 8/12/2003


Despite his sometimes tiresome tirades, I am glad that The Terminator did not kill off PJ and Al Gore (HNN fixed the error which was leading from the Carpenter headline to the Schwarzenegger "poll".

The speech reported here is on target and worthy of reproduction as in this column. The contents of the speech are also old news.

One important difference between the "hugely vulnerable" (whatever that means) Howard Dean and Al Gore is that Dean was saying the same things months ago, before the Spineless Democrats (Gephardt, Kerry, Lieberman, etc., who meekly voted for the outrageous Iraq blank check last October) decided he had a bandwagon they wanted to jump on.

Gore was a good journalist and a tolerable senator. Too bad he lacked the humility and good judgement to realize that he was not presidential material (even if he destroyed fewer brain cells boozing away his years at Harvard than Dubya did at Yale).





Gus Moner - 8/11/2003

Can't find anything to dispute in the article, so let's attack the author.


George Oilwell - 8/11/2003

Thank goodness for that. It's unfortunate that the NYT chose a right-winger to be their latest "Champion Of The Right" instead of Mr. Carpenter ("Champion Of What's Right").

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