Al Gore on Iraq

Chris Cilliza, author of the excellent blog The Fix at WashingtonPost.com has suggested that Al Gore may be a candidate for President again in 2008. He could be right about that. He claims that one point that will make Gore credible is that he has been consistently against the Iraq war. On that, Cilliza is certainly wrong.

It is true that unlike Hillary Clinton, John Edwards or Evan Bayh Gore was not in the Senate when the Iraq war resolution was voted on, and therefore did not vote for it. However, he did speak out on the subject.

For example, on 23 September 2002 Gore said:

“Back in 1991, I was one of a handful of Democrats in the United States Senate to vote in favor of the resolution endorsing the Persian Gulf War. And I felt betrayed by the first Bush administration’s hasty departure from the battlefield.”

On 12 February 2002 he said:

“In 1991, I crossed party lines and supported the use of force against Saddam Hussein, but he was allowed to survive his defeat as the result of a calculation we all had reason to deeply regret for the ensuing decade. And we still do.”

Up until 2002 Gore was seen as being a consistent hawk on the subject of Iraq. And his own words reinforced this. He went so far as to strongly imply that he felt George H W Bush should have proceeded with regime change in 1991, though that was not Gore’s view at the time.

On 18 April 1991 he said:

“I want to state this clearly. President Bush should not be blamed for Saddam Hussein’s survival to this point. There was throughout the war a clear consensus the United States should not include the conquest of Iraq among its objectives. On the contrary, it was universally accepted that our objective was to push Iraq out of Kuwait, and it was further understood that when this was accomplished, combat should stop."

It seems the only consistent thing about Gore’s view on Iraq is that he keep rewriting his own history on this subject – as on many others.

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