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GOP Anger at President Gore's War Actions
November 15, 2001
by Bernard Weiner

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WASHINGTON, DC — The Congressional Republican leadership today harshly criticized President Gore's war policies in Afghanistan.

"Amercia clearly had to respond to the September 11 attacks," said Senate minority leader Trent Lott, "but, as with Democrats historically, the President has been too willing to send America's young men into harm's way, without enough advance planning. This is risky business, and I wish the President had encouraged us to have full and free debate and lengthy hearings in the Congress before taking his precipitate action."

"Didn't the Democrat Party leaders learn anything from Vietnam?" said GOP House Whip Tom Delay. "You need a good exit strategy before going into a place like Afghanistan - especially right before the winter snows in the mountains - or else you'll get sucked into that hostile environment just like LBJ did in Vietnam."

"We are looking like a superpower bully, hitting villages and aid agencies and innocent civilians," said House Majority Leader Dick Armey, "bombing days after our generals have asserted that we have total air superiority. Don't the Democrats see how fragile our coalition is? We risk having all the Muslim countries abandoning us if we don't stop."

Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh saw Bill Clinton's fingerprints all over the Gore administration's war planning: "Clinton sent Cruise missiles into bin Laden's training camps after the embassy attacks and bombed another Muslim country, the Sudan, to deflect attention from his sexually immoral behavior. No wonder that towel-head is angry at us."

GOP leaders were all over President Gore and Attorney General Tribe for "persistent violations of civil liberties," especially on what they called the government's "crackdown on privacy rights" online and its determination to stop the sale of assault rifles and explosives.

"It's just like liberals to use our current national crisis as a means of trying to force through their anti-gun, big-government agenda, while our troops are engaged abroad," said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. "It's unpatriotic and violates the need for bipartisanship during this wartime crisis. Besides, if the bin Laden forces invade, we're going to need all the machine guns and explosives ordinary citizens can amass."

Gingrich and Lott were especially incensed at the Democrats for "trying to ram through liberal judges" nominated for the many vacancies on the federal bench.

President Gore responded to many of the charges in a press release today.

"When I proposed we call the September 11 attacks what they were, an act of war on the part of the terrorists, the Republicans said I acted too hastily and was rushing the country into a battle for which we were ill-prepared, that I was too eager to send our young men and women into dangerous foreign adventures. They urged a go-slow approach.

"When I ordered Attorney General Tribe to round up suspected terrorists, foreign and domestic, and hold them for questioning, the GOP leaders said I was running roughshod over the Constitution. (That attitude did begin to change, I must say, after Senator Lott received a letter containing weapons-grade anthrax.)

"When our economy, already sliding into recesssion, went into the tank after September 11, the main solutions proposed by the Republican leadership were huge cuts in the capital-gains and income-tax rates.

"I imagine their attitudes would be very much different if Gov. Bush had won the election. Instead of acting at the behest of their special-interest constituencies and the far-right wing of the party, they would be, as our administration has been, governing from the middle and trying to unite the Congress behind the war effort.

"Given the serious nature of our country's war on terrorism, we can be sure that the Republicans would not be trying to go under the radar by tying their right-wing agenda to national-security bills - to open up ANWAR for oil drilling, to rush their conservative judges onto the federal courts, to object to federalizing our nation's airport security forces, etc. If, under the current circumstances, the Republicans, or us Democrats, were to try to do anything like that, the country would rise up in righteous patriotic anger, as they should."

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