Anger at President Gore's War Actions
by Bernard Weiner
WASHINGTON, DC — The Congressional Republican leadership
today harshly criticized President Gore's war policies in
"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
"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
"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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