02 June 2004

Go, Al!

If you didn't catch it, check out Al Gore's firebreathing speech in which he calls a spade a spade.

How did we get from September 12th, 2001 — when a leading French newspaper ran a giant headline with the words “We Are All Americans Now,” and when we had the goodwill and empathy of all the world — to the horror that we all felt in witnessing the pictures of torture in Abu Ghraib?


There was then, there is now and there would have been regardless of what Bush did, a threat of terrorism that we would have to deal with. But instead of making it better, he has made it infinitely worse. We are less safe because of his policies. He has created more anger and righteous indignation against us as Americans than any leader of our country in the 228 years of our existence as a nation — because of his attitude of contempt for any person, institution or nation who disagrees with him.

He has exposed Americans abroad and Americans in every U.S. town and city to a greater danger of attack by terrorists because of his arrogance, willfulness and bungling at stirring up hornet's nests that pose no threat whatsoever to us. And by then insulting the religion and culture and tradition of people in other countries. And by pursuing policies that have resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children, all of it done in our name. President Bush said in his speech Monday night that the war in Iraq is “the central front in the war on terror.” It's not the central front in the war on terror, but it has unfortunately become the central recruiting office for terrorists. [Dick Cheney said, “This war may last the rest of our lives”.]

The unpleasant truth is that President Bush's utter incompetence has made the world a far more dangerous place and dramatically increased the threat of terrorism against the United States. Just yesterday, the International Institute of Strategic Studies reported that the Iraq conflict “has arguably focused the energies and resources of al-Qaida and its followers while diluting those of the global counterterrorism coalition.” The ISS said that in the wake of the war in Iraq al-Qaida now has more than 18,000 potential terrorists scattered around the world and the war in Iraq is swelling its ranks.


The worst still lies ahead. General Joseph Hoar, the former head of the Marine Corps, said, “I believe we are absolutely on the brink of failure. We are looking into the abyss.”

When a senior, respected military leader like Joe Hoar uses the word "abyss," then the rest of us damn well better listen.

Frustrating as it must be to be the Pete Best of American politics, sitting on the sidelines as a lesser man screws up a job that was rightfully his, I still get the feeling that it must be kind of fun to be Al Gore these days. He has bottomless legitimacy as a player in the political scene — how many people can say they've won a presidential election? — but he now has the freedom from comes from knowing that he doesn't have to answer to anybody, and can say what he really thinks.

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