Gore becomes hysterical
If I were a Republican partisan above all else, I would be gleefully cheered by Al Gore's hysterical speech condemning Bush administration policies. After all, how many fence-sitting Americans are going to be moved toward the Democratic side by such outrageous lunacy? But because I am not a 100% loyal partisan, my main reaction is to tremble at the thought that millions of Americans actually think like Gore. Once again, let me state that sincere dissent is not unpatriotic, even in war time. It's one thing to question motives and protest against the war, but it is quite another thing to call the entire operation in Iraq a deceptive sham. That comes perilously close to giving aid and comfort to the enemy, just when our nation ought to be uniting in the face of renewed threats of mass terrorism. Gore's demand that the entire national security team resign was likewise far too shrill to be taken seriously. Here's a scary thought: This man could have been our president! Perhaps he's just trying to make John Kerry look good by comparison.
Hysterical gestures aside, what about the legitimate points Gore was trying, so clumsily, to raise? Has Paul Wolfowitz lost what was left of his credibility? Probably. Should Don Rumsfeld take responsibility for the Abu Ghraib disgrace and go retire? Maybe. Is Condi Rice as effective in policy making as she was in the academic world? Probably not. What is virtually certain is that the situation in Iraq is far better than one would gather by listening to the mainstream news media. As President Bush's dead seriousness about the June 30 transfer of sovereignty becomes clear, the transition has shifted into high gear. Things will get increasingly chaotic in coming weeks, and the fact that the outcome is quite uncertain is actually a good thing, because it undercuts the suspicions of many that the U.S. government is just setting up a puppet government. Most Iraqi elites, both religious and secular, now realize that the ball is in their court, and if they don't get their act together soon, their country will be a mess for decades to come. President Bush is to be commended for persevering in the face of untoward criticism, and for creating the preconditions for a free -- and perhaps someday stable -- Iraq. It may not happen, but the potential rewards of a favorable outcome there would be truly enormous. Don't give up hope yet, O ye Americans of short attention span!