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A Failure Fans the Flames By: Ben Johnson
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, February 14, 2006

WHEN DAVID HOROWITZ AND I WROTE THE ARTICLE “AL GORE OR AL JAZEERA?” we intended the title as parody. Two years later, Gore has morphed into parody, and our parody has become prophecy fulfilled.

On Sunday, former Vice President Al Gore stood on the sands of the nation that produced Osama bin Laden – a nation where schoolgirls were herded back into a burning building so they would not appear in public without a burqa and where the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion is considered an appendix to the Koran – and criticized his own country. America, he told the sheikhs at the Jiddah Economic Forum, is committing “terrible abuses” against Arabs, who are being “indiscriminately rounded up” in a way that is “unforgivable.”


Gore warned that, under the Bush administration, Arab Americans are “indiscriminately rounded up, often on minor charges of overstaying a visa or not having a green card in proper order, and held in conditions that were just unforgivable.


Forget that, as usual, Gore is completely off-base. Most immigrants who hail from nations that sponsor terrorism and who have violated U.S. immigration laws – whether by lying on their forms, overstaying their visas, or not being where they said they would be – are deported. The 500-odd detainees in Guantanamo Bay are being held because the evidence suggests they have familiarity with terrorists and may have knowledge of future terror attacks. There, these detainees are mothered by supportive, sisterly “interrogators” between prayer services and dinners of chicken and rice pilaf. As Lt. Gen. Randall “Mark” Schmidt and Brig. Gen. John Furlow told the Senate Armed Services Committee last July, “No torture occurred” at Gitmo.


Bill O’Reilly of Fox News invited Gore to enumerate specific episodes of “unforgivable” U.S. behavior. Given the opportunity to put up or shut up, Gore declined on both counts.


What is most disturbing is Al Gore’s traveling to a foreign – and hostile – country to denounce his commander-in-chief while we are fighting a War on Terror initiated by citizens and expatriates of that nation. However disconnected from reality Gore has become, he must know calling the president’s actions – which must, after all, be carried out by American soldiers – “unforgivable” invites and justifies jihad against our GIs. His words verify the Islamists’ every dark imagination about Judeo-Crusader perfidy. And when speaking in a religious theocracy that is also the world’s leading exporter of Wahhabi Islam, the term “unforgivable” carries a specific denotation: specifically, that these crimes cry unto Allah in the heavens and can only be atoned by the shedding of infidel blood. Standing a stone’s throw from Mecca (pun intended), Gore told Islamists they must give no quarter to the Great Satan.


The former veep then denounced Bush’s post-9/11 policy of denying visas to most Saudi applicants. “The thoughtless way in which visas are now handled, that is a mistake,” he said. “The worst thing we can possibly do is to cut off the channels of friendship and mutual understanding between Saudi Arabia and the United States.”


During the Clinton-Gore administration, when that “channel of friendship” was free to run its natural course, it yielded 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11. Many of those people, too, had overstayed their visas or had immigration irregularities, but Al, Bill, and Hillary had better things to do than “indiscriminately” chase down such petty violators. Bill was too busy fretting over “Clinton fatigue” to arrest Osama bin Laden; why would he track down a few Saudi students with an interest in aviation?


Gore reassured his Saudi audience that Bush’s Nazi practices do not “represent the desires or wishes or feelings of the majority of the citizens of my country.” In addition to sneaking in a gratuitous and megalomaniacal reference to his winning the popular vote in 2000, Gore signaled a willingness to overturn this policy, should anyone present want to make an investment in 2008.


Wherever Gore had given such an indefensible speech, it would have been indefensible: the fact that he chose to denounce his country on foreign soil during a time of war should make his asininities all the more repugnant.


The speakers who followed Gore to the podium underscored the banality of his polemical rant. Cherie Blair, the wife of Tony Blair, said Saudi discrimination against women was “undermining economic potential,” a plea seconded by Irish President Mary McAleese. In a closed Kingdom, two women dared to call for freedom, while Gore used his bully pulpit to condemn the freest nation on earth.


Gore’s inflammatory remarks carried additional weight, coming from a former vice president who still harbors presidential aspirations.


The scathing, scalding excesses of Al Gore and Jimmy Carter represent deplorable departures from American tradition. Previous ex-presidents and ex-vice presidents have followed the longstanding custom not to criticize their successors. In modern history, most have not had to, due either to their personal popularity or innate human dignity. Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, and Walter Mondale were elected to – or at least nominated for – positions of national importance after their electoral defeats. Most American presidents have meekly followed George Washington’s noble example of retiring in solitude and turning the reins of power over to others. Bush-41 was exemplary; so, too, Gerald Ford. Both narrowly lost to faux moderate Southern governors, then suffered in silence through inept administrations that left America vulnerable to Islamist attacks. In modern history, only three ex-presidents have broken that cardinal rule not to criticize the current Chief Executive: Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Carter, and, Bill Clinton.


Bill Clinton and Al Gore’s actions – or rather, inaction – when al-Qaeda warlords dragged the bodies of 18 U.S. soldiers through the streets of Somalia emboldened Osama bin Laden to attack again at the Khobar Towers, then the Twin Towers. The Clinton-Gore-Carter triumvirate’s appeasement of North Korea’s nuclear ambitions taught Iran a valuable lesson. And Al Gore’s 36-day public pouting session in November-December 2000 undoubtedly assured al-Qaeda that the West was so decadent, self-indulgent, and politically paralyzed by the Left that we were ripe for attack. Now, Gore is telling those jihadists and their financiers they are still on the side of the angels.


For radical Islamists, Al Gore has become the gift that keeps on giving.

Ben Johnson is Managing Editor of FrontPage Magazine and co-author, with David Horowitz, of the book Party of Defeat. He is also the author of the books Teresa Heinz Kerry's Radical Gifts (2009) and 57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry's Charitable Giving (2004).

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