This news item in the Washington Times reports that Joseph Lieberman, John Edwards, and the desperate Bob Torricelli have disagreed with Al Gore’s remarks about President Bush’s policy on Iraq. Tom Daschle, on the other hand, has echoed them. The Times story also points to additional conflicting statements by Gore about Iraq (see the post from the Weekly Standard below). According to the Times, in a February 2002 speech before the Council on Foreign Relations, Gore acknowledged that the war on terrorism would require a “final reckoning” with Saddam. Yet as President Bush moves towards the required final reckoning, Gore accuses him of trying to please the “far right at the expense of solidarity among all Americans” and with our allies. Gore could try to reconcile these statements by arguing that the final reckoning should await the destruction of Al Qaeda. But, as Rocket Man explained a few days ago, if a final reckoning with Saddam is required, it is because of the danger he poses to our security. That being the case, the reckoning cannot await a hypothetical future day when Al Qaeda is out of business.
And what can Gore mean when he criticizes President Bush for developing his policy “at the expense of solidarity among all Americans?” Most Americans believe that Saddam poses an intolerable threat to the security of this nation and to the safety of its citizens. A policy that ignored this threat, or that entrusted dealing with it to U.N. inspectors, or that postponed dealing with it until the last Al Qaeda terrorist is rounded up clearly would not create “solidarity among all Americans.”
Given the incoherence of his speech and all of his flip-flops, it is hard to avoid concluding that Gore has now calculated he can become president only if the war with Iraq goes badly, in which case he will need to have opposed that war from the beginning. This is a debatable calculation on Gore’s part. The first President Bush lost the 1992 election less than two years after his highly successful war against Iraq. But, as a presidential candidate, Al Gore is no Bill Clinton.
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