He does not flatly state that Sept. 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 quicker analysis -- not the increased data sought by the Bush administration -- would have led to other hijackers. Salem Alhazmi, then Mohammed Atta and Marwan al Shehhi. And so on.
But instead, Gore writes, incompetence rules the day and Bush has pushed for Orwellian powers a la "1984."
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 them, but even among his many incendiary charges, doesn't claim them as his own.
As for what now? Gore says the nation, indeed the world, is at a fork in the road. Gore calls for the United States to rejoin the international community and lead the war on crises involving global warming, water, terrorism and pandemics such as HIV/AIDS. He calls for a repeal of the Patriot Act, and for the Bush administration to disclose all of its interrogation policies. He wants more transparency in political TV commercials and an expediting of the shift from television toward the Internet as a method of communication.
Gore told ABC News Monday he's focused not on running for president but on solving the climate crisis, but "in order to solve the climate crisis, I'm convinced that we're going to have to address these cracks in the foundation of democracy, these basic problems with the way we're approaching decision-making."
After Random House published 200,000 copies of "Putting People First: How We Can All Change America" -- the soporific campaign tome purportedly written by then-Gov. Bill Clinton and then-Sen. Al Gore -- the ill-fated re-election campaign of then-President George H.W. Bush filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission. Republicans alleged that the book deal constituted an illegal corporate contribution to the Democratic ticket, which didn't directly profit financially from the book though the publicity certainly didn't hurt. How quaint that book must now seem to those Republicans.