Gore's 'Assault on Reason' an Assault on Bush

The "radical Right" is a "political faction disguised as a religious sect, and the president of the United States is heading it."

Bush "takes an astonishingly selfish and greedy collection of economic and political proposals and then cloaks them with a phony moral authority."

The Bush White House "has engaged in an unprecedented and sustained campaign of mass deception -- especially where its policies in Iraq are concerned."

"[It] sometimes seems as if the Bush-Cheney administration is wholly owned by the coal, oil, utility and mining companies," Gore charges at one point.

And Gore argues that the president does not need enhanced domestic surveillance powers he has sought and received, often in secret, just competent use of the information already available.

He points out, for instance, the fact that 9/11 terrorists Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almidhar were already on a State Department/INS watch list.

He does not flatly state that 9/11 would not have occurred during a Gore administration. But, he writes, "whenever power is unchecked and unaccountable, it almost inevitably leads to mistakes and abuses. In the absence of rigorous accountability, incompetence flourishes."

Then, using a study from the Markle Foundation, Gore shows how "better and more timely analysis" -- not the increased data sought by the Bush administration -- would have led to other hijackers Salem Alhazmi, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Al-Shehhi and so on. Bush received that dire warning in August 2001, Gore notes at two different points in the book -- "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." -- which he refers to as "a headline more alarming and more pointed than any I saw in eight years of six-days-a-week CIA briefings."

Gore notes that he took pre-9/11 warnings seriously, even if Bush did not. After all, "unilateral action to protect the nation from a sudden an immediate threat" is "inherent power that is conferred by the Constitution to the president," Gore says, noting that as vice president he "made that very point to President Clinton when he had the opportunity to seize an al Qaeda operative who was planning an attack against us. And the president took my advice, though the individual we attempted to capture escaped."

But instead, Gore writes, incompetence rules the day and Bush has "taken us much further down the road toward an intrusive 'Big Brother'-style government -- towards the dangers prophesied by George Orwell in his book 1984 -- than anyone ever thought would be possible in the United States of America."

Gore Redux: In or Out?

What might cause some to speculate that Gore isn't ruling out a third White House run (he also campaigned as a centrist "New Democrat" in 1988) is the cautious wording he uses about two claims against the administration, sensitive ones regarding Bush's religious views and whether or not the war in Iraq was a war for oil.

Gore raises those points, but even among his many incendiary charges doesn't claim them as his own.

"There are many people in both political parties who worry that there is something deeply troubling about President Bush's relationship to reason, his disdain for facts, and his lack of curiosity about any new information that might produce a deeper understanding of the problems and policies that he is supposed to be wrestle with on behalf of the country," Gore writes.

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