Last Sunday, former Vice President Al Gore spoke before the Jiddah Economic Forum. He told the mostly Saudi audience that the United States had committed "terrible atrocities" against Arabs after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He stated that Arabs had been "indiscriminately rounded up" and detained in "unforgivable conditions." He criticized America’s new immigration policy, which more carefully scrutinizes Saudi visas, explaining, "The thoughtless way in which visas are now handled, that is a mistake." Finally, he concluded, "There have been terrible abuses, and it’s wrong. I want you to know that it does not represent the desires or wishes or feelings of the majority of the citizens of my country."
These are outrageous statements. And the silence from the left is deafening. Read more in my latest column.
Essentially, I contend that Congress ought to revivify sedition prosecutions. U.S. Code 18 Sec. 2388 currently governs sedition. It reads, in relevant part, "Whoever, when the United States is at war, willfully makes or conveys false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies …. Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both." The only question for Al Gore is whether he has the requisite intent under this statute. It would be tough to argue that he does not, in current context. Justice Holmes’ statement in Schenck v. U.S. (249 U.S. 47, 1919) should govern here: "When a nation is at war many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right."