On Wednesday, former Vice President Al Gore gave a tedious, long-winded, inane, vicious speech ripping President Bush — not just politically, but personally — full of distortions and disconnected from reality. He showed the nation and the world why we should be forever grateful that he lost in 2000: this man, gifted with absolutely zero self-awareness, has gone off the deep end.
Below you will find excerpts from Gore’s rant interspersed with some observations and notes of reality offered by yours truly.
George W. Bush promised us a foreign policy with humility. Instead, he has brought us humiliation in the eyes of the world.
- So, Mr. Gore, your plan now, with this speech, is to do what? Exacerbate that supposed humiliation?
He promised to “restore honor and integrity to the White House.” Instead, he has brought deep dishonor to our country and built a durable reputation as the most dishonest President since Richard Nixon.
- Surely he meant to say “. . . since Richard Nixon, except for that Clinton guy for whom I was Vice President.”
Honor? He decided not to honor the Geneva Convention. Just as he would not honor the United Nations, . . .
- President Bush was working to enforce 17 UN resolutions.
. . . international treaties, the opinions of our allies, . . .
- Mr. Gore are you referring to our many allies who joined us in the war in Iraq or just Russia and France?
. . . the role of Congress . . .
- Congress approved this war.
. . . and the courts, or what Jefferson described as “a decent respect for the opinion of mankind.”
- Though it wasn’t our reason for going to war, if you want “a decent respect for the opinion of mankind,” what about the freedom of the Iraqis no longer under the torturous thumb of Saddam Hussein? Do they not count as “mankind”?
He did not honor the advice, experience and judgment of our military leaders in designing his invasion of Iraq. And now he will not honor our fallen dead by attending any funerals or even by permitting photos of their flag-draped coffins.
- Which funerals should he attend? All of them? Just some? If so, which ones? Did the Clinton Administration allow a lot of flag-draped coffins to be on display?
[…] To begin with, from its earliest days in power, this administration sought to radically destroy the foreign policy consensus that had guided America since the end of World War II. The long successful strategy of containment was abandoned in favor of the new strategy of “preemption.”
- So, according to Gore, the strategy of “preemption” began in the early days of the Bush Administration? No, “preemption” began after September 11.
And what they meant by preemption was not the inherent right of any nation to act preemptively against an imminent threat to its national security, but rather an exotic new approach that asserted a unique and unilateral U.S. right to ignore international law wherever it wished to do so and take military action against any nation, even in circumstances where there was no imminent threat. All that is required, in the view of Bush’s team is the mere assertion of a possible, future threat – and the assertion need be made by only one person, the President.
- Waiting until the threat is “imminent” (defined by Webster as “ready to take place; especially: hanging threateningly over one’s head”) means, essentially, waiting until there are dead innocent citizens.
More disturbing still was their frequent use of the word “dominance” to describe their strategic goal, because an American policy of dominance is as repugnant to the rest of the world as the ugly dominance of the helpless, naked Iraqi prisoners has been to the American people. Dominance is as dominance does. Dominance is not really a strategic policy or political philosophy at all. It is a seductive illusion that tempts the powerful to satiate their hunger for more power still by striking a Faustian bargain.
- First, Bush = Nixon.
Now, Bush = Faust.
And as always happens – sooner or later – to those who shake hands with the devil, they find out too late that what they have given up in the bargain is their soul.
- It was not George W. Bush who agreed to be Bill Clinton’s Vice President.
One of the clearest indications of the impending loss of intimacy with one’s soul is the failure to recognize the existence of a soul in those over whom power is exercised, especially if the helpless come to be treated as animals, and degraded. […]
What happened at the [Abu Ghraib] prison, it is now clear, was not the result of random acts by “a few bad apples,” it was the natural consequence of the Bush Administration policy that has dismantled those wise constraints and has made war on America’s checks and balances. The abuse of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib flowed directly from the abuse of the truth that characterized the Administration’s march to war and the abuse of the trust that had been placed in President Bush by the American people in the aftermath of September 11th.
- Yes. Naturally. Of course the sadistic, perverted sexual actions of a few miscreants came directly from President Bush’s lust for more power. Makes perfect sense.
There was then, there is now and there would have been regardless of what Bush did, a threat of terrorism that we would have to deal with. But instead of making it better, he has made it infinitely worse. We are less safe because of his policies. . . . He has exposed Americans abroad and Americans in every U.S. town and city to a greater danger of attack by terrorists because of his arrogance, willfulness, and bungling at stirring up hornet’s nests that pose no threat whatsoever to us.
- Increased threat? How many terrorists have been killed, captured, “brought to justice,” or just plain stopped under the leadership of President Bush?
And by then insulting the religion and culture and tradition of people in other countries.
- Did I miss President Bush’s declaration of war on Islam?
And by pursuing policies that have resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children, all of it done in our name.
- We’re aiming at innocents, just like the terrorists, huh, Mr. Gore?
[…] The unpleasant truth is that President Bush’s utter incompetence has made the world a far more dangerous place and dramatically increased the threat of terrorism against the United States.
- I don’t remember ever hearing a former President or Vice President being so utterly uncouth.
[…] The soldiers who are accused of committing these atrocities are, of course, responsible for their own actions and if found guilty, must be severely and appropriately punished. But they are not the ones primarily responsible for the disgrace that has been brought upon the United States of America.
Private Lynndie England did not make the decision that the United States would not observe the Geneva Convention.
- If she and her fellow soldiers running Abu Grhaib did this on their own and not under the orders of the Administration, which is arguably very likely, then they are responsible for the disgrace and for violating the Geneva Convention.
Specialist Charles Graner was not the one who approved a policy of establishing an American Gulag of dark rooms with naked prisoners to be “stressed” and even – we must use the word – tortured – to force them to say things that legal procedures might not induce them to say.
- American Gulag?!?!?!?
First, Bush = Nixon.
Then, Bush = Faust.
Now, Bush = Stalin.
[…] President Bush set the tone for our attitude for suspects in his State of the Union address. He noted that more than 3,000 “suspected terrorists” had been arrested in many countries and then he added, “and many others have met a different fate. Let’s put it this way: they are no longer a problem to the United States and our allies.”
- That means they’re not killing Americans.
George Bush promised to change the tone in Washington. And indeed he did. As many as 37 prisoners may have been murdered while in captivity, though the numbers are difficult to rely upon because in many cases involving violent death, there were no autopsies.
- And did you know that Bush did the killing with is own hands?
[…] How dare the incompetent and willful members of this Bush/Cheney Administration humiliate our nation and our people in the eyes of the world and in the conscience of our own people. How dare they subject us to such dishonor and disgrace. How dare they drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud of Saddam Hussein’s torture prison.
- How does one respond to asininity like this? Is the former Veep completely unaware that he’s making a horse’s rear-end of himself? Or is he simply without shame?
David Kay concluded his search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq with the famous verdict: “we were all wrong.” And for many Americans, Kay’s statement seemed to symbolize the awful collision between Reality and all of the false and fading impressions President Bush had fostered in building support for his policy of going to war.
- THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION HAD AND BELIEVED THE SAME INFORMATION ABOUT SADDAM’S WEAPONS!!!
[…] The President convinced a majority of the country that Saddam Hussein was responsible for attacking us on September 11th.
But in truth he had nothing whatsoever to do with it. The President convinced the country with a mixture of forged documents and blatantly false assertions that Saddam was in league with Al Qaeda, and that he was “indistinguishable” from Osama bin Laden.
- How can he get away with statements like this?
[…] In my opinion, John Kerry is dealing with this unfolding tragedy in an impressive and extremely responsible way.
- Look out, John Kerry: association with Al Gore is not always the wisest choice.
[…] Kerry should not tie his own hands by offering overly specific, detailed proposals concerning a situation that is rapidly changing and unfortunately, rapidly deteriorating, but should rather preserve his, and our country’s, options, to retrieve our national honor as soon as this long national nightmare is over.
- Vagueness — that’s the key!
[…] We simply cannot afford to further increase the risk to our country with more blunders by this team. Donald Rumsfeld, as the chief architect of the war plan, should resign today. His deputies Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and his intelligence chief Stephen Cambone should also resign. The nation is especially at risk every single day that Rumsfeld remains as Secretary of Defense. Condoleeza Rice, who has badly mishandled the coordination of national security policy, should also resign immediately. George Tenet should also resign.
- In other words, let the terrorists determine who runs our country.
[…] Make no mistake, the damage done at Abu Ghraib is not only to America’s reputation and America’s strategic interests, but also to America’s spirit. It is also crucial for our nation to recognize – and to recognize quickly – that the damage our nation has suffered in the world is far, far more serious than President Bush’s belated and tepid response would lead people to believe. Remember how shocked each of us, individually, was when we first saw those hideous images. The natural tendency was to first recoil from the images, and then to assume that they represented a strange and rare aberration that resulted from a few twisted minds or, as the Pentagon assured us, “a few bad apples.”
But as today’s shocking news reaffirms yet again, this was not rare. It was not an aberration. Today’s New York Times reports that an Army survey of prisoner deaths and mistreatment in Iraq and Afghanisatan “show a widespread pattern of abuse involving more military units than previously known.’
Nor did these abuses spring from a few twisted minds at the lowest ranks of our military enlisted personnel. No, it came from twisted values and atrocious policies at the highest levels of our government. This was done in our name, by our leaders.
- Mr. Gore, if it is true that America’s reputation is seriously damaged simply as a result of Abu Ghraib, could you not, then, say the same thing about Islam’s reputation as a result of the Nick Berg beheading, the Daniel Pearl murder, the attacks on 9/11 and on the Khobar Towers and on the U.S.S. Cole, and suicide bombings? But you won’t, will you?
These horrors were the predictable consequence of policy choices that flowed directly from this administration’s contempt for the rule of law.
- Can you say “No controlling legal authority”?
[…] Our future is dependent upon increasing cooperation and interdependence in a world tied ever more closely together by technologies of communications and travel. The emergence of a truly global civilization has been accompanied by the recognition of truly global challenges that require global responses that, as often as not, can only be led by the United States – and only if the United States restores and maintains its moral authority to lead.
- That’s what we need — Globalism. Let’s make our sovereignty dependent upon the whims of the rest of the world.
[…] It is now clear that their obscene abuses of the truth and their unforgivable abuse of the trust placed in them after 9/11 by the American people led directly to the abuses of the prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison and, we are now learning, in many other similar facilities constructed as part of Bush’s Gulag, in which, according to the Red Cross, 70 to 90 percent of the victims are totally innocent of any wrongdoing.
- Exactly how many millions of prisoners has Bush ordered tortured and/or killed in his “Gulag”?
[…] Their appetite for power is astonishing. It has led them to introduce a new level of viciousness in partisan politics.
- What was it the “pot” called the “kettle”?
[…] In December of 2000, even though I strongly disagreed with the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to order a halt to the counting of legally cast ballots, . . .
- Ah, we must close with Gore’s obvious sour-grapes gripes. It puts everything else he says in context, doesn’t it?
. . . I saw it as my duty to reaffirm my own strong belief that we are a nation of laws and not only accept the decision, but do what I could to prevent efforts to delegitimize George Bush as he took the oath of office as president.
- How exactly did you so honorably discharge your duties as an election loser?
I did not at that moment imagine that Bush would, in the presidency that ensued, demonstrate utter contempt for the rule of law and work at every turn to frustrate accountability. . .
- As opposed to the Clinton Administration, right?
Thank God Gore lost.