Former Vice President Al Gore today invoked Martin Luther King’s legacy in a wide-ranging attack on President Bush’s handling of war on terror—accusing the president of breaking the law and calling the war in Iraq a “colossal mistake.”
Gore delivered an animated and passionate speech that latest nearly 90 minutes. His address was co-sponsored by the American Constitution Society and Liberty Coalition. MoveOn.org heavily promoted the event to its members.
Much of Gore’s speech was devoted to Bush’s national security initiatives, including the domestic eavesdropping program that Democrats have tried to seize as an issue for the 2006 midterm elections. Although Bush’s efforts are directed at suspected terrorists’ activities, Gore compared it to government wiretaps that were used on King’s phones.
He accused Bush of breaking the law and, while stopping short of suggesting impeachment, made clear his desire to make the issue a headache for the president.
“What we do know about this pervasive wiretapping virtually compels the conclusion that the president of the United States has been breaking the law—repeatedly and insistently,” Gore said.
“A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government,” he concluded.
Gore shifted gears throughout the speech—attacking the Iraq war, slamming Judge Samuel Alito and bashing the Medicare prescription drug program—but the underlying point was Gore’s view that Bush was accumulating a dangerous amount of authority.
He called on Congress to take back power from the White House. He said the Iraq war was but one example of Congress’ failure to provide a check on the administration.
“Recently, for example, we learned from just-declassified documents after almost 40 years that the Gulf of Tonkin resolution … was actually based on false information,” Gore said. “And we now know the decision by Congress to authorize the Iraq war 38 years later was based on false information.
“Now the point is that America would be better off knowing the truth and avoiding both of these colossal mistakes in our history,” Gore said. “And that is why following the rule of law makes us safer.”