Monday, February 13, 2006
Jihad sympathizer Gore
Tarranto of the WSJ points us to a great post by blogger TigerHawk on Gore's seditious anti-American speech on foreign sole to mostly Muslim Arabs. I couldn't do better than TigerHawk's prose on the man who could have been president so I include much of them here following some of Gore's more destructive comments:
Former Vice President Al Gore told a mainly Saudi audience on Sunday that the U.S. government committed "terrible abuses" against Arabs after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and that most Americans did not support such treatment. Gore said Arabs had been "indiscriminately rounded up" and held in "unforgivable" conditions. The former vice president said the Bush administration was playing into al-Qaida's hands by routinely blocking Saudi visa applications."The thoughtless way in which visas are now handled, that is a mistake," Gore said during the Jiddah Economic Forum.
This is asinine both substantively and procedurally.
Substantively, the idea that cracking down on Saudi visa applications is "playing into al Qaeda's hands" is laughable. Had we scrutinized Saudi visas a little more carefully in 2001, thousands of Americans who died on September 11 that year might well have lived. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on that day were Saudi nationals. If we had denied some or all of them visas, exactly how would that have "played into al Qaeda's hands"?
Perhaps Gore is suggesting that notwithstanding the obvious benefits of our tough visa policies, if they irritate the House of Saud, or just the average wealthy Saudi, the Saudis will abandon the fight against al Qaeda out of pique. If so, his point is absurd. The House of Saud and al Qaeda are at war, and have been going at each other with hammer and tongs since May 2003. Whether or not some Saudis are offended by American visa policies, that inconvenience -- or indignity, even -- is nothing compared to the mortal threat of the jihadis.
Procedurally, Gore's speech is repugnant. It is one thing to say such things to an American audience in an effort to change our policy. Whether or not one agrees with Gore on the substance, if he wants to change American policy to let in more Saudis the only way he can do that it is to campaign for that change among influential Americans. It is, however, another thing entirely to travel to a foreign country that features pivotally in the war of our generation for the purpose of denouncing American policies in front of the affected foreign audience. It is especially problematic to mess with Saudi political opinions, which are subject to intensive influence and coercion by internal actors and the United States, al Qaeda, and Iran, among other powers. Supposing that some Saudis were inclined to be angry over the American visa policy, won't they be more angry after Al Gore has told them that they're being humiliated? How is that helpful?
Finally, Gore's outrage at the American treatment of Arab and Muslim captives may be genuine, and it may even be worthy of expression in the United States, where we aspire to do better than press accounts suggest we have done. But whatever nasty things we have done in exceptional cases in time of war, they pale in comparison to the standard operating procedure in Saudi Arabia. So this is what Gore has done: he has traveled to Jiddah to explain to the elites of an ugly and tyrannical regime that the big problem in the world isn't the oppression of Arabs by Arabs throughout the Middle East and North Africa, but the mistreatment of a few hundred Arabs in the United States. This is like visiting Moscow in 1970 and denouncing the United States in front of a bunch of Communist Party deputies for the killings at Kent State. Indeed, the differences in that comparison reflect badly on Gore.
There is simply no defense for what Gore has done here, for he is deliberately undermining the United States during a time of war, in a part of the world crucial to our success in that war, in front of an audience that does not vote in American elections. Gore's speech is both destructive and disloyal, not because of its content -- which is as silly as it is subversive -- but because of its location and its intended audience. He should be ashamed. But he won't be. The leadership of the Democratic party should disavow Gore's Jiddah speech. But it won't.