Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 25, 2002
WAR: Contempt For Gore
Contempt for the Gore speech is still pouring in from the conservative quarters of the blogosphere; Andrew Sullivan's take was almost identical to my own, and OxBlog has a good roundup including Michael Kelly's just slightly over the top assault on Gore (Kelly writes, "If there is a more reprehensible piece of bloody shirt-waving in American political history than this attempt by a man on the sidelines to position himself as the hero of 3,000 unavenged dead, I am not aware of it." -- well, I think I might start with using Oklahoma City to bash Newt Gingrich, for one, and there are certainly others.)
I noted yesterday Gore's contention that if the U.S. disregards international institutions by declaring pre-emptive war on Iraq, other nations will follow suit and invade whoever they want. There's a fundamental fallacy in this -- they won't because we will stop them. If some regional-power yahoo, like Bashar Assad or that Turkmen idiot, feels like invading one of his neighbors, the mental picture of 250,000 Iraqi soldiers getting carpet-bombed and buried under sand dunes and running for their lives out of Kuwait ten years ago may come to mind. So may the fact that the Taliban was put to the mountains in a matter of weeks by an angry superpower. But in Al Gore's world, the only thing holding back the deluge is U.N. resolutions, and nobody would dare violate those, nosiree Bob!
I'll let The Wall Street Journal sink the final dagger here:
Some of our Democratic friends have said to us since the trauma of 9/11 that any U.S. President would have had to respond the way Mr. Bush has. A President Gore would have been just as determined and shown the same moral clarity. Mr. Gore has just told the country what he thinks about that argument.
Gore's defenders have a choice: admit that he would not have been as steadfast as Bush - or worse, admit that his position while out of office is not the same one he would have had in office.