Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Truth About the War in Iraq and Al Gore

The Huffington Post
The Truth About the War in Iraq and Al Gore
Trudi Loh

It is sometimes said that good ideas have many fathers but bad ideas are always orphans. And so it is with the retrospective of the decision to go to war in Iraq. As everyone from the White House and Secretary of Defense to members of Congress and the media engage in revisionist history concerning who said what and who knew what about the decision to invade Iraq, it is important to hold everyone's feet to the fire.

The integrity of our democracy requires it. The American people should demand it. Joe Scarborough, the self-styled straight-talking host of Scarborough Country, contributed to annuals of revisionism last Thursday (May 4, 2006) when he suggested that Al Gore was a Johnny-come-lately in his opposition to the War in Iraq. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is that, on September 23, 2002, in a speech at the Commonwealth Club -- long before the invasion of Iraq and before members of Congress voted to give President Bush authority to invade -- Vice President Al Gore unequivocally and emphatically stated his opposition to a War in Iraq and set forth a multitude of reasons why.

Among his reasons were

that 1) We should focus our efforts on building a multinational coalition to fight terrorism and the enemies who were responsible for 9/11 and not become distracted; 2) A war with Iraq had the potential to seriously damage our ability to win the war against terrorism and weaken our ability to lead the world in this new century; 3) Although Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction would continue for as long as Saddam was in power, the existing U.N. resolutions passed 11 years ago were completely sufficient to contain that potential threat; and, 4) We should focus on stabilizing Afghanistan so that terrorists would not be able to slip back across the border and set up camp there again. Al Gore told the truth despite the political costs. In contrast, members of Congress checked President Bush's poll numbers before deciding whether to vote to authorize a war in Iraq. Al Gore took the unpopular position, but clearly the correct one. He took no small amount of flak from his own party for raising the pressure on them not to issue a blank check and to at least require the administration to put forth the an assessment of how it thought the course of a war would run. Instead, Congress rushed to vote yes, to show its patriotic bona fides -- just in time for the November election. Not that you would know any of this by reading or listening to the mainstream press such as Scarborough Country. They gloss over or ignore Al Gore's courageous and insightful (and early) opposition to the War. So it is up to Blogworld to set the record straight. Blog on.