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Al Gore on War & Peace

2000 Democratic Nominee for President; Former Vice President


Bush engaged in mass deception of the US public about Iraq

The current White House has engaged in an unprecedented and sustained campaign of mass deception--especially where its policies in Iraq are concerned. Active deception by those in power makes true deliberation & meaningful debate by the people virtually impossible. When any administration lies to the people, it weakens America’s ability to make wise collective decisions about our Republic.

It is important to understand how such a horrible set of mistakes could have been made in a great democracy. And it is already obvious that the administration’s abnormal and un-American approach to secrecy, censorship, and massive systematic deception is the principal explanation for how America embraced this catastrophe.

Five years after Pres. Bush first made his case for an invasion of Iraq, it is now clear that virtually all of the arguments he made were based on falsehoods. We were told by the president that war was his last choice. But it is now clear that it was always his first preference.

Source: The Assault on Reason, by Al Gore, p.103-104 May 16, 2007

Renounce policy of holding US citizens as enemy combatants

Gore said Bush should renounce his policy, which has been used twice, of indefinitely detaining American citizens that the president designates “enemy combatants.” Gore said the suspected Al Qaeda members held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should be allowed to petition for status as prisoners of war, and he argued that Congress should authorize any military tribunals used against suspected terrorists. Bush has asserted the right to try suspected terrorists before such tribunals but has not yet done so.
Source: Ronald Brownstein, Los Angeles Times Nov 10, 2003


Al Gore on Balkans

Maintain presence in Balkans; Bush would destabilize NATO

Al Gore and Secretary of State Albright today denounced a proposal by Bush to withdraw US ground forces from their peacekeeping mission in the Balkans. They painted the idea as risky and misguided and said it could lead to instability in the region and even, over time, to the possible dissolution of NATO. “Governor Bush’s proposal would be more than a major untested shift in America’s foreign policy for the last half-century,” Gore said. “It would be one that could jeopardize fragile alliances. It would be a damaging blow to NATO.“

”I believe it demonstrates a lack of judgment and a complete misunderstanding of history to think that America can simply walk away from security challenges in Europe,“ Gore said of the Bush proposal. Gore said that withdrawing from the peacekeeping operation in the Balkans could cause a questioning of American leadership of NATO and that the lack of American leadership over time ”would lead to the collapse of NATO and eventually threaten the peace in Europe.“

Source: Steven Holmes, NY Times Oct 22, 2000

Military’s role is nation building in Balkans and elsewhere

Gore says Balkan peacekeeping is one of NATO’s primary tasks and an example of the operation that the American military needs to undertake to support American diplomacy in the post- cold-war world. In addition, the armed forces should prepare for peacekeeping missions, delivering relief supplies and rebuilding institutions in war-ravaged nations, activities that the Pentagon calls nation building. To help the military carry out such a broad array of tasks, Gore says, he would earmark $80 billion of the federal surplus for military programs over 10 years. An additional $20 billion would be spent on international programs.
Source: Michael R. Gordon, NY Times Oct 21, 2000

Genocide is a strategic interest & warrants intervention

GORE [to Bush]: [Regarding] when it’s appropriate for the US to use force around the world, at times the standards that you’ve laid down have given me the impression that if it’s something like a genocide or ethnic cleansing, that that alone wouldn’t be the kind of situation that would cause you to think that the US ought to get involved with troops. There have to be other factors involved for me to want to be involved. But by itself, that, to me, can bring into play a fundamental American strategic interest because I think it’s based on our values.

BUSH: If I think it’s in our nation’s strategic interests, I’ll commit troops. I thought it was in our strategic interests to keep Milosevic in check because of our relations in NATO, and that’s why I took the position I took. I think it’s important for NATO to be strong and confident. I felt like an unchecked Milosevic would harm NATO. So it depends on the situation, Mr. Vice President.

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

Bosnia: Be proud that we stopped ethnic cleansing

GORE: Let’s take the case of Bosnia. Here we had the most violent and bloody war in Europe since World War II, in an area of Europe that spawned the conflicts that became World War I. A growing instability that threatened to touch off a chain reaction that would spill over border after border and lead to a much wider conflict and disorder. And at the heart of the festering wound was what they called, in the repugnant phrase they coined, ethnic cleansing. It was a hard decision for the United States to get involved. But it was in my view, clearly, the right decision.

Q. Was it too late?

GORE: It was later than it should have been. But it wasn’t too late, no. And I think our country should feel very proud of what we did. Without the loss of a single American life in combat, we brought the bloodshed to an end, and gave them the chance to rebuild their lives and their communities.

Source: Press Interview in Ohio Oct 4, 2000

Russians won’t ask Milosevic to step down

BUSH: The Russians [should] convince Milosevic it’s in his best interest and his country’s best interest to leave office. The Russians have got a lot of sway in that part of the world, and we’d like to see them use that sway to encourage democracy to take hold.

GORE: Under some circumstances, that might be a good idea. But I’m not sure that it’s right for us to invite the president of Russia to mediate this dispute there, because we might not like the result that comes out of that. They currently favor going forward with a runoff election. I think that’s the wrong thing. I think the governor’s instinct is not necessarily bad, because we have worked with the Russians in a constructive way, in Kosovo, for example, to end the conflict there. But I think we need to be very careful in the present situation before we invite the Russians to play the lead role in mediating.

BUSH: Well, obviously we wouldn’t use the Russians if they didn’t agree with our answer.

GORE: Well, they don’t.

Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

Will decide about Milosevic based on 24 years of experience

Q: How should the voters go about deciding which one of you is better suited to make the kind of decisions in the military and foreign policy area, like with Milosevic?

GORE: Well, they should look at our proposals and look at us as people and make up their own minds. When I was a young man, I volunteered for the Army. I served my country in Vietnam. My father was a senator who strongly opposed the Vietnam War. But I went anyway, because I knew if I didn’t, somebody else would have to go in my place. I served on the House Intelligence Committee, specialized in looking at arms control. I served on the Senate Armed Services Committee. For the last eight years, I’ve served on the National Security Council.

And when the conflict came up in Bosnia, I saw a genocide in the heart of Europe.. Look, that’s where World War I started, in the Balkans. My uncle was a victim of poison gas there. Millions of Americans saw the results of that conflict. We have to be willing to make good, sound judgments.

Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

US must support Serbia in kicking out Milosevic

Q: If President Milosevic refuses to leave office, how should the US respond?

GORE: Milosevic lost the election. I think we should support the people and put pressure to recognize the lawful outcome of the election. When Milosevic leaves, Serbia will be able to have a normal relationship with the world. The people of Serbia have acted bravely in kicking this guy out. Milosevic has been indicted as a war criminal, and he should be held accountable. We have to take measured steps because the sentiment within Serbia is still against the US because they still have some feelings lingering from the NATO action there. But make no mistake about it: We should do everything we can to see that the will of the Serbian people, expressed in this extraordinary election, is done.

BUSH: It’s time for the man to go. The US must have a strong diplomatic hand with our friends in NATO. That’s why it’s important to make sure our alliances are as strong as they possibly can be, to keep the pressure on Milosevic.

Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

Supported early action in Bosnia; no “Vietnam syndrome”

Gore’s war experience left him wary of the reflexive anti-interventionism--the so-called Vietnam Syndrome--that characterized Democratic attitudes towards foreign policy in the 1970s and 1980s. As Vice President, he was a strong and early proponent of military action in Bosnia. In Congress he supported intervention in the Persian Gulf and Grenada and, in some instances, aid to the Nicaraguan contras. “We’ve over-learned the lessons of Vietnam,” he said in 1984.
Source: Inventing Al Gore, p. 87-8 Mar 3, 2000

Serbs committing crimes against humanity.

Gore reminded everyone [in a campaign speech in Salem NH] that he is a Vietnam veteran and spoke of the war in Kosovo. He denounced the crimes against humanity being committed by the Serbs.
Source: Boston Sunday Globe, 5/2/99, p. A6, col. 5 May 2, 1999

Ethnic cleansing means mass murder and we will stop it

“Ethnic cleansing” is a phrase intended to mask the stench of its true meaning: the combination of mass murder and mass expulsion. “Ethnic cleansing” means that a dictator can simply throw away the people he does not need-like so much dirt and disease. It dehumanizes along ethnic lines, so that murder and displacement become scientific, antiseptic, something other than atrocity. So I say to Milosevic: we are not fooled by your hateful rhetoric. We see through your veil of evil-and we will stop it.
Source: Speech on 50th Anniversary of NATO, Ellis Island, NY Apr 21, 1999

Moral interests apply to all; NATO can act on it here

Some will say that because we cannot help people everywhere, we should help people nowhere. I believe that is wrong. We should work toward the day when there will be both the moral alertness and the political will on every continent to respond to human suffering. But this much is clear: In Europe today, we see the need to act. Thanks to NATO, we have the means to do it. Slobodan Milosevic is one person standing in the way.
Source: Speech on 50th Anniversary of NATO, Ellis Island, NY Apr 21, 1999

Ignoring Milosevic destabilizes Europe & world justice

We cannot allow Milosevic to “ethnically cleanse” an entire region -- to carry out, in other words, mass murder and mass expulsion against those of a different ethnicity and religion. We cannot do so because it would jeopardize the stability of Europe, and could plunge us into a wider war. And we cannot do so because it will jeopardize our efforts to bring freedom and justice to the world - to spread human dignity abroad, just as we have struggled to do so here at home.
Source: Speech on 50th Anniversary of NATO, Ellis Island, NY Apr 21, 1999

Moral interests dictate that we fight Milosevic’s evil

In 1989, Milosevic stripped the autonomy Kosovo had been granted under Tito. Over the next ten years, Milosevic started four wars - each with the same objective: to murder, terrorize, and expel non-Serbs. Now he has created a crisis of staggering dimensions: up to 1.2 million Kosovar Albanians are displaced. Let us call this what it is: it is evil. Our strategic interests are important. But so are our moral interests. We must not allow Milosevic to succeed.
Source: Speech on 50th Anniversary of NATO, Ellis Island, NY Apr 21, 1999

Bomb until Serb forces withdraw & refugees return.

We will roll back Milosevic’s reign of terror - and we will not stop until he withdraws his forces, allows the refugees to return, and accepts an international security force to protect all Kosovars, including the Serb minority, as they work toward the self-government they once enjoyed and still deserve. If he refuses to back down, we will continue to target and degrade the military capacity he uses to repress and torture the people of Kosovo.
Source: Speech on 50th Anniversary of NATO, Ellis Island, NY Apr 21, 1999


Al Gore on Mideast

Palestine: Arafat should restrain protest violence

On the renewed flare up of Arab-Israeli violence in the West Bank and Gaza, Gore said there is still a chance to move toward peace, but urged Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to restrain protesters. “I want to call on Chairman Arafat to issue instructions to those who have been perpetrating the violence to cease and desist. It is time to start building again on the relative progress of the previous few days. That can still be done to end the violence and damp down tensions,” Gore said.
Source: New York Times Oct 15, 2000

Iraq: Support opposition to overthrow Saddam

GORE: We have to keep a weather eye toward Saddam Hussein because he’s taking advantage of this situation [in Israel] to once again make threats and he needs to understand that he’s not only dealing with Israel, he is dealing with us.

BUSH: The coalition against Saddam has fallen apart or it’s unraveling, let’s put it that way. The sanctions are being violated. We don’t know whether he’s developing weapons of mass destruction. He better not be or there’s going to be a consequence, should I be the president.

Q: You could get him out of there?

BUSH: I’d like to, of course. But it’s going to be important to rebuild that coalition to keep the pressure on him.

Q: You feel that as a failure of the Clinton administration?

BUSH: I do.

GORE: We have maintained the sanctions. I want to go further. I want to give robust support to the groups that are trying to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Some say they’re too weak to do it. But that’s what they said about those opposing Milosevic in Serbia.

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

US bonds with Israel endure; we should broker

Q: What is the U.S. role in the Mideast conflict?

GORE: The first priority has to be on ending the violence. We need to call upon Syria to release the three Israeli soldiers who have been captured. We need to insist that Arafat send out instructions to halt some of the provocative acts of violence that have been going on. It’s a very tense situation there. But in the last 24 hours, there has been some subsiding of the violence. Our country has been very active with regular conversations with the leaders there. And we just have to take it day to day right now. But one thing I would say where diplomacy is concerned. Israel should feel absolutely secure about one thing. Our bonds with Israel are larger than agreements or disagreements on some details of diplomatic initiatives. They are historic, they are strong and they are enduring. And our ability to serve as an honest broker is something that we need to shepherd.

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

Don’t let OPEC take advantage of Americans

Gore said Americans “are being taken advantage of in an unfair way” by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). “The basic question is whether or not you’re going to have a president who is willing to fight for the people big oil and foreign oil, and I’ve never hesitated to do that.” Oil prices on the international markets hit a 10-year high this week, which could undermine the economic strength that has underpinned Gore’s campaign.
Source: CNN.com Sep 20, 2000

Israel: support full UN participation

Gore reminded some 2,000 AIPAC delegates that he has spoken to the UN Security Council, and he said he privately advocated for Israel’s full UN participation with Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Source: Sandra Sobieraj, Associated Press, in L.A. Times May 23, 2000

Iraq: support Saddam’s opposition, until he’s gone

Gore said he had met--and will meet again next month--with Iraqi opposition forces in order to “see Saddam Hussein gone.” In the next meeting, Gore said, “I will encourage them to further unite in their efforts against Saddam.” He said, “We have made it clear that it is our policy to see Saddam Hussein gone.”
Source: Sandra Sobieraj, Associated Press, in L.A. Times May 23, 2000

Committed to the survival & security of Israel

[In the 1988 presidential campaign, Gore] denounced Jesse Jackson for his embrace of Yasser Arafat and assailed front-runner Michael Dukakis as “absurdly timid” for not confronting him. “I categorically deny Jackson’s notion that there’s a moral equivalency between Israel and the PLO,” he said. “In a Gore administration, no one will have reason to doubt America’s commitment to the survival and security of Israel.” Gore rejected the newest White House proposal of a land-for-peace deal.
Source: Inventing Al Gore, p.209 Mar 3, 2000

Supported Gulf War; costs of war less than alternative

[In Jan. 1991], with nearly 400,000 troops bug into the Saudi desert, Bush was asking Congress to approve the use of force in the Persian Gulf. Although Gore tended to oversell the hawkish aspects of his record in 1988, he had never been a “Vietnam Syndrome” Democrat, reflexively opposing any projection of American force. He was also squarely on record against the threat posed by Iraq. In the fall of 1988 he had twice called on the Reagan administration to take a hard line against Saddam for his use of chemical weapons against Iran and his own Kurdish population.

On the Senate floor in 1991, Gore said, “I have struggled to confront this issue. [and] to strike a balance. The risks of war are horrendous. The real costs of war are also horrendous. But what are the costs and risks if the alternative policy does not work? I think they are larger, greater, more costly.” Gore joined 9other Democrats who broke ranks on a 52-47 vote to authorize the use of force in the Persian Gulf.

Source: Inventing Al Gore, p.238-9 Mar 3, 2000

New technologies will reduce dependence on foreign oil

Q: What would you do to bring down gas prices?
A: Both the producers and the consuming nations have an interest in stable prices over time. But we have an interest in being less dependent on sources of oil from [the Mideast]. I helped to put in place a program called the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, which commits the big three auto makers in our country to getting new vehicles into the marketplace that have three times the efficiency of today’s vehicles. That’s part of the answer.
Source: Democrat debate in Los Angeles Mar 1, 2000

Supported continuing 1998 air strikes in Iraq

President Clinton’s decision to abort air strikes against Iraq was hardly based on the unanimous counsel of his advisers. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Defense Secretary William Cohen opposed backing down. And, according to The Wall Street Journal, so did Vice President Al Gore.
Source: The New Republic, 12/7/98, p.16, col. 1, “Fuerth In Line” Dec 7, 1998

Supported Bush’s 1991 bombing of Iraq

Back in 1991 many of [then Senator] Gore’s aides warned him to forget his shot at the White House if he bucked his party and voted to in favor of President George Bush’s plan to bomb Iraq. [Gore’s chief foreign policy adviser Leon] Fuerth, however, argued that the war was good policy, and Gore, to his subsequent benefit, followed Fuerth’s advice.
Source: The New Republic, 12/7/98, p.16, col. 2, “Fuerth In Line” Dec 7, 1998

Other candidates on War & Peace: Al Gore on other issues:
Nominees:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Dec 07, 2008