Is Gore an Iraq Hawk?


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.