As an example of the failed democratic conversation, Gore said Monday that prior to the war in Iraq, "if we had a full debate and a full airing of the pros and cons of the invasion that brought out the fact that Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with attacking us on 9/11 then we would have been much less likely to have these troops trapped over there now in the midst of a civil war."
But in the book Gore sheds his inner Marshall McLuhan for his inner Michael Moore, saying that if "Bush and Cheney actually believed in the linkage (between Iraq and al Qaeda) that they asserted -- in spite of all the evidence to the contrary presented to them contemporaneously -- that would by itself in light of the available evidence, make them genuinely unfit to lead our nation. On the other hand, if they knew the truth and lied, massively and repeatedly, isn't that worse? Are they too gullible or too dishonest?"
(Gore said Monday that the 2006 midterm successes of the Democrats were not an example of democracy's conversation failing, but "a belated response to some of the perceived mistakes of the current administration. But I think the threshold for change was way too high.")
Gore writes that since "Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack…then that means the president took us to war when he didn't have to and that over 3,000 American service members have been killed…unnecessarily."
When asked if that meant U.S. troops had died in vain, Gore said Monday that "those who serve our country are honored in memory" but that the issue is "there is hardly anybody left in America…who doesn't believe that it was a terrible mistake to invade a country that didn't attack us. But all of the evidence necessary to make that judgment before we invaded was available…We have been making a series of really important, really big mistakes, and the question is how can we reinvigorate the role of 'We the People' in American democracy so that we're part of the conversation and so that those (in power)…are listening to reason, are looking at the facts and not brushing past them."
It seems likely that even if Gore opts not to run for president in 2008, this book may serve to drive presidential candidates, including Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Barack Obama, D-Ill., and former Sen. John Edwards, even further to the left, both in rhetoric and substance. The former Tennessee congressman and senator accuses his former colleagues on Capitol Hill of complicity with what he sees as nefarious deeds committed by the Bush administration. The book opens with Gore wondering why Senate Democrats were so silent during the debate before going to war in Iraq and toward the end faults them for being so silent about the administration's warrantless surveillance program.
He doesn't assail any Democrats by name. Bush, however, he names. Over and over.
"President Bush has repeatedly violated the law for six years," Gore charges, regarding the warrantless surveillance program. He argues that the president does not need the enhanced domestic surveillance powers he has sought and received, often in secret, but that the competent use of the information already available would have been sufficient. Such as, for instance, the fact that Sept. 11 terrorists Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almidhar were already on a State Department/INS watch list.