When he was in office and responsible for protecting us, Al Gore was absent from the war on terror.
As vice president, he was part of an administration that failed to respond to the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993; that cut and ran when Al Qaeda ambushed US Army Rangers in Mogadishu; that called for regime change in Iraq when Saddam expelled the UN weapons inspectors but then failed to remove Saddam or to get him to allow the UN inspectors back in; that failed to respond to the murder of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia or the attack on an American warship in Yemen; that reacted to the blowing up two U.S. embassies in Africa by firing missiles at an aspirin factory in the Sudan and empty tents in Afghanistan; that refused to kill or capture Osama bin Laden when it had a dozen chances to do so; and that did not put in place simple airport security measures, its own task force recommended, that would have prevented 9/11.
In short, to every act of war against the United States during the 1990’s, the Clinton-Gore response was limp-wristed and supine. And worse. By refusing to concede a lost presidential election, thereby breaking a hundred-year tradition, Gore delayed the transition to the new administration that would have to deal with the terrorist threat. As a result of the two-month delay, the comprehensive anti-terror plan that Bush ordered on taking office (the Clinton-Gore team had none) did not arrive on his desk until the day before the 9/11 attack.
Yet it is characteristic of Gore’s myopic arrogance that he would wag his finger at the Bush administration for its failure to anticipate the 9/11 attack. “It is useful and important to examine the warnings the administration ignored,” Gore writes in his self-referentially titled new book, The Assault on Reason.
Like his Democratic colleagues, Gore sees himself as a restorer of “reason” to an America that is on its way to perdition thanks to the serpent in the Rose Garden. According to Gore, Bush is the arch deceiver: “Five years after President Bush made his case for an invasion of Iraq, it is now clear that virtually all the arguments he made were based on falsehoods.”
The First Big Bush Lie, according to Gore, is that the Bush administration went to war to remove Saddam Hussein’s WMD or, as he puts it: “The first rationale presented for the war was to destroy Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.”
This familiar Democratic claim is itself probably the biggest lie of the Iraq War, rather than anything the president or his administration has said. In fact, the first – and last – rationale presented for the war by the Bush administration in every formal government statement about the war was not the destruction of WMD but the removal of Saddam Hussein, or regime change.
This regime change was necessary because Saddam was an international outlaw. He had violated the 1991 Gulf War truce and all the arms control agreements it embodied, including UN resolutions 687 and 689, and the 15 subsequent UN resolutions designed to enforce them. The last of these, UN Security Council Resolution 1441, was itself a war ultimatum to Saddam giving him “one final opportunity” to disarm – or else. The ultimatum expired on December 7, 2002, and America went to war three months later.
Contrary to everything that Al Gore and other Democrats have said for the last four years, Saddam’s violation of the arms control agreements that made up the Gulf War truce – and not the alleged existence of Iraqi WMD – was the legal, moral and actual basis for sending American troops to Iraq.
Al Gore and Bill Clinton had themselves called for the removal of Saddam by force when he expelled the UN weapons inspectors in 1998, a clear violation of the Gulf truce. This was the reason Clinton and Gore sent an “Iraqi Liberation Act” to Congress that year; it is why the congressional Democrats voted in October 2002 to authorize the president to use force to remove him; and it is the reason the entire Clinton-Gore national security team, including the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central Intelligence, supported Bush when he sent American troops into Iraq in March 2003.