Politics

Is Gore an Iraq Hawk?

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Over at The New York Sun, Eli Lake cites Al Gore's comments from last December's Today show interview and the ex-veep's relative silence on Iraq and concludes Al Gore is a not-so-secret warrior: 

So why is it that Hollywood's favorite Democrat would need more information to make a choice everyone in his party seems to have already accepted? Look no further than Mr. Gore's September 23, 2002, address to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, a speech that launched his transformation from goofy Columbia professor to anti-war hero. In it he said that one of the reasons he opposed the intervention, was because he did not trust President Bush to stay in Iraq once the Baathist state was dismantled.

"If we go in there and dismantle them—and they deserve to be dismantled—but then we wash our hands of it and walk away and leave it in a situation of chaos, and say, 'That's for y'all to decide how to put things back together now,' that hurts us," Mr. Gore said. This, incidentally, is the inverse of how Senator Obama advertises today on the stump his early Iraq war opposition. Mr. Obama says today, "I believed that giving this President the open-ended authority to invade Iraq would lead to the open-ended occupation we find ourselves in today."

More provocatively, Lake argues that being hawkish is good presidential campaign material:

Mr. Gore's record in public life aside, he is also a far shrewder politician than many are willing to admit. This Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Oscar winner must know that Americans—when faced in a presidential election with a choice between a dove and a hawk—have chosen the hawk every time since Johnson beat Goldwater. Even in 1976, Jimmy Carter, who became America's most supine commander in chief, won an easy contest against a president who at the time was afraid to meet publicly with Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

And at the end of the day, this may be the most inconvenient truth of all for those frantically trying to draft Mr. Gore to run for the White House.

Whole thing here.

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  1. All partisanship aside, this would be the most interesting split from party line I’ve seen in a long while if it were true.

  2. Jimmy Carter, who became America’s most supine commander in chief, won an easy contest against a president who at the time was afraid to meet publicly with Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn

    How is that again? Oh yea, the revisionists invaded the New York Sun too.

    Popular Vote: Carter 50% Ford 48%
    Electorial Vote: Carter 297 Ford 240

    I believe the phrasing should be narrow victory.

    Next thing we will be hearing is that Nixon was narrowly reelected president.

  3. Did Gore win an Oscar? I thought the prize went to the director of his propaganda piece. But if he did win it, I suppose it would be the first time a statue had been awarded to a statue.

  4. Re “Hawk always wins,” Carter was not more hawkish than Jerry, who was much more willing to use force than Carter. And was Clinton more hawkish that Bush 1? Please. In 1952, in 1968, and in 1992, the “war party” lost. Eli is simply defining “hawk” and “dove” to suit his preconceptions. Americans don’t like to lose wars, but, since WW II, at least, they like fighting them even less.

  5. How many carbon credits would it take to offset the greenhouse gas footprint for invading Iraq?

  6. Mike Laursen,

    More than I have in stock to sell. I need to go print, er, make some more.

  7. If Gore enters the race and enters it as a dove, he will have alot of splaining to do, Lucy.

  8. Gore being on record as threatening to do things competently probably isn’t the worst mark for a politician.

  9. I could imagine someone arguing that going to war and deposing Saddam was the right thing to do, but not under the leadership of Idiot. It’s not a particularly crazy argument. I would like to see SS and Medicare reformed, but I would think twice before allowing Idiot to do the job.

  10. They told me if I voted for Goldwater we’d end up with war in Vietnam. They were right.

  11. I thought the dove was the christian mascot?
    Isn’t uncle albert borned again?

    I personally have a Ghandi-ninja belief system.
    I am passive-aggressive

  12. Ghandi was the master of stabbing you in the back nonviolently. No need to add the ninja if you want to be passive-aggressive.

    But above all else, Gore is our Earth Daddy.

    Given past history, I’m almost ready to take the gamble that if we elected Gore, he’d do fewer stupid things with environmental and energy policy (contrary to his propaganda) than anybody else we could put in office. I’m more afraid of what his foreign policy would be, because he hasn’t taken a clear and strong enough stand on it.

  13. The name is “Gandhi”

  14. Let me reiterate that anyone who misspells Gandhi either (a) didn’t read the books too carefully and so can’t be trusted to have reasoned opinions on the man, or (b) obtained all of their Gandhi knowledge from listening to what group (a) said, and so can be trusted even less.

  15. I suppose you also give those who simply can’t type an even lower rung in hell.

    I’ve about him in history books, and found little to admire. But I suppose you’ll say I didn’t read the authenticated sources or some such. You know, like you have to read the right version of the bible too or you’ll never get it.

  16. Since Al was Bill’s chief drumbeater for taking down Saddam in ’98 I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out that he still thinks it would have been a really cool thing to do if only his whiz kids were handling it.

  17. Al Gore spoke out forcefully against this war before it started. So it would seem like he would have more street cred to be more hawkish now…

    The Dems may want to leave Iraq, but I think if a person like Gore could come along and flaunt his anti-war credentials, maybe people (Dems) would be more open to listening to his relatively hawkish views now.

    The fact that Gore supported the first Gulf War but opposed this stupid one means that he’s the opposite of John Kerry’s weird record of opposing the first one (under Bush 41) and supporting the second one.

    And if Gore could get the Democratic nomination, it would just be a matter of comparison between himself and the GOP nominee. So even if Gore was more hawkish than say, the democratic base, he could still be more dovish than whoever the GOP put forward, like say, if it was McCain.

  18. “The fact that Gore supported the first Gulf War”

    Gore supported the first Gulf war because the Republicans gave him more time to speak in favor of it than the Democrats were going to give him to speak against it. This shows that he is willing that people be killed if he can benefit personally from it.

  19. This shows that he is willing that people be killed if he can benefit personally from it.

    I thought his position that all of us freeze in the dark with his hand on the thermostat showed that too?

  20. “They told me if I voted for Goldwater we’d end up with war in Vietnam. They were right.”

    They told me if I voted for John Kerry we’d lose the war in Iraq, terrorism would increase, and there would be no grand democratic revolution in the Middle East.

  21. The fact that Al Gore is relatively hawkish, but still opposed the invasion of Iraq, is only remotely surprising to people who’ve drunk deep the Fox News Kool Aid.

  22. “Mr. Gore’s September 23, 2002, address to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, a speech that launched his transformation from goofy Columbia professor to anti-war hero. In it he said that one of the reasons he opposed the intervention, was because he did not trust President Bush to stay in Iraq once the Baathist state was dismantled.”

    “If we go in there and dismantle them – and they deserve to be dismantled – but then we wash our hands of it and walk away and leave it in a situation of chaos, and say, ‘That’s for y’all to decide how to put things back together now,’ that hurts us,” Mr. Gore said.”

    In case you missed it, read the quote above. Gore said the regime deserved to be overthrown. He was only concerned that Bush wouldn’t finish the job. It sounds pretty hawkish to me. He was in favor of getting us involved in Iraq, just as Bush was. So if you are opposed to our involvement in Iraq as I am, you should also be opposed to Gore.

  23. Saying that a regime deserves to be overthrown is not the same thing as saying that we should go and do it, there are all sorts of moral and practical concerns other than just saying that Saddam’s regime deserved to be overthrown, I mean hell, virtually everyone can agree that Saddam’s regime deserved to be overthrown. I imagine that there are more than a couple of regimes in the world right now that I feel deserve to be overthrown, but that doesn’t mean I think we should go and do it.

    Plus, wouldn’t it be plausible to say that Reagan wanted communism (and along with it, the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall) to fall? I think that’s pretty non-contraversial right? Yet Reagan didn’t launch a war to accomplish it. The negatives of a war in that case were allot more obvious before hand, but it just illustrates that saying a regime deserves to be changes, and even being for regime change, is not necessarily the same thing as being for what George W. Bush did in Iraq.

  24. We don’t have to sit here and guess whether or not Gore would have invaded Iraq. All we have to do is read the speech. There’s very little room for misunderstanding what Gore was saying.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2002-09-23-gore-text_x.htm

    You link to an article by a highly partisan ideologue of an op-ed columnist who uses tight edits to inaccurately spin the contents of Gore’s speech. This column doesn’t include a link to the speech, so as to better mislead his readers. So what do you do? You write a post airing his spin, and you don’t provide a link to the speech, either. Huh?

    Now you’ve got Herb S. declaring that Gore was “only” concerned that Bush wouldn’t finish the job, when anyone who actually had the speech in front of him couldn’t possibly come away with that impression.

    I’m curious – did you go back and look at Gore’s speech before you blogged this?

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