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Monday, June 04, 2007

Scary thought: Al Gore could be in charge

By Dennis Byrne
Chicago Tribune

If Al Gore had been president ...

President Al Gore today asked the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution of "concern" over the nuclear arms race between Iran and Iraq.

"Both countries are perilously close to possessing nuclear weapons," Gore said at a White House press conference. "Nuclear warfare between these two historic enemies would be a tragedy for everyone."

President Gore requested the resolution after the countries' two dictators, Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, renewed threats of annihilation against each other over disputed Persian Gulf territory. Two decades ago, the two nations fought a prolonged war involving the use of chemical weapons over dominance of the strategically important gulf region, and both nations years ago dropped any pretense that their nuclear programs had peaceful purposes.

Gore said former President Jimmy Carter, who now is Gore's UN ambassador, would present new, softer language than what's contained in the 14 previously rejected resolutions proposed by the United States. Gore indicated that the resolution would drop a U.S. request for a multinational summit of Middle East nations and instead seek mediation by the International Anger Management Institute.

Former Sen. Fred Thompson, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, said in response, "Great, just what we need, another futile request for a feeble declaration from an international body incapable of agreeing on the time of day. Ever since 9/11, the Gore administration's toothless foreign policy has led to more attacks by Islamic terrorists, killing thousands more Americans on our own soil and worsening the sectarian violence in the Middle East.

"All because no one seems capable of saying, 'Enough.' "

Gore has persistently argued that only multilateral talks involving the European community and all Muslim countries can settle the growing conflicts that threaten to drastically reduce the amount of crude oil available to a worsening American economy. Because of the uncertainty of supplies from the region, mandated caps imposed on U.S. off-shore oil fields, a moratorium on all domestic crude oil exploration and new production, and the crippling of domestic refining capabilities by a host of new government regulations, the nation now finds itself in the grip of an unprecedented energy crisis, with average gasoline prices soaring to a near-record $8.35 a gallon. As unemployment climbed to 9.3 percent -- the highest since the early 1980s -- and energy-driven inflation has bounded to 9.1 percent -- reminiscent of the "stagflation" that characterized Carter's presidency -- Gore's presidential approval ratings have hit a rock-bottom 25 percent.

Despite the dire economy, Gore renewed his threat to veto any legislation that would lessen costly measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as required by the Kyoto treaty. "This will be seen by our allies as a betrayal, and tarnish America's good name worldwide," Gore said. The president sidestepped repeated questions about why America should carry the burden, even though no European nation has met carbon dioxide emission standards, and China and India, which have leapfrogged America as the world's leading polluters, have not attempted to control their emissions.

Gore also threatened to veto the so-called USA Patriot Act, proposed legislation that would strengthen America's intelligence-gathering capabilities. A bipartisan coalition crafted the legislation in the wake of repeated terrorist attacks on American cities, including the horrific use of hijacked airplanes to destroy the Capitol and Chicago's Sears Tower. One of the most important features of the Patriot Act would be the interception of communications between domestic terrorists and Al Qaeda operatives operating freely in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In other matters, Gore:

*Said he would present a "comprehensive" proposal to deal with the genocide in Darfur "at the appropriate time." He specifically ruled out the use of force because "it wouldn't look good." Besides, "we can handle only one genocide at a time," referring to Hussein's continued slaughter of Kurds and Shiites.

*Warned against any Israeli attempts to use force to stop Iraq and Iran from developing nuclear weapons. "Israel must understand that force would doom hopes for a multinational summit to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian-Lebanese-Syrian war. The American people want a realistic foreign policy, one that rejects the use of force in any form," he said.

*Said he would not comment on a newly published book, "An Assault on Reason," by his defeated 2000 and 2004 presidential opponent George W. Bush in which Bush assailed the Gore presidency as "the worst in history." Gore, however, cracked a smile when a reporter reminded him that Bush said the book was not "political."


David said...

Satire is supposed to be surprising, shocking, and humorous. When it fails, the author is sadly unaware, in the same way that someone tone deaf can't hear his own sour notes.

Anonymous said...

Cute. But so misinformed you might as well be asserting that Italy would be ruling the world had we not entered World War II.

It's exactly this sort of useless diatribe that will result in another Clinton in the White House.

Anonymous said...

To You-
You could put Paris Hilton, Joseph Stalin or Micky Mouse in charge, and it wouldn't be worse then what we have now.

To my hometown paper,where you appear:
In my 35 plus years of reading the trib, I have seen more then my share of ridiculous columns and opinions from all sides of the political spectrum. Never, have I read a more ludicrous and amateurish column then this one by David Byrne, There is not enough byte space on the internet to begin to refute his preposterous claims of what would happen if Al Gore had won. The only scenario that could be worse then Byrnes fictional fever dream is the real world we live in today, on the watch of Byrnes man, Bush. I understand and accept that the trib is a conservative paper, and take with a bushel of salt your tortured defenses of this administrations Iraq policy, but I expect well thought out, reasoned opinion when I read the editorial page, right or left. This column would not even merit a "C" in a high school journalism class, and does not belong in a respected paper.

Graham said...

You say stupid things in such a desperate manner that saying these stupid things must be a source of essential nourishment for you.

Or could it be the case that thinking thoughts so incomprehensibly moronic is so painful that it causes you to bawl and shriek the way you do?

Whatever the motivation is behind your stupidity, I'm shocked that the Chicago Tribune prints your addlepated glop. Are you holding some high-ranking Tribune executive's family hostage? There must be some hidden reason like that.

Until somebody can provide the help you need, please refrain from publishing your twerpy tomes and resort to something less self-immolation.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Byrne,

In reference to your column appearing in the June 4 editions of the Chicago Tribune, apparently you are suffering the ill-effects of a dream caused by eating cold pizza too close to bedtime.

Let’s look at the scary reality of the actual worst president in history. In 2000, after “winning” a questionable election, George W. Bush was derelict in his duties, studiously ignoring the many warnings of potential terrorist attacks on US soil.

After 9/11, when he held the good will and support of the civilized world in his hands, he squandered it, diverting resources from tracking down and destroying the actual terrorists into an idiotic war against Iraq – a war with at best questionable justification (justification which keeps changing as each justification in turn is proven invalid – no WMD, no connection to 9/11, no connection with al Qaeda, etc.) And at that, the war was badly miscalculated, mismanaged, and continues to waste lives and treasure while increasing hatred of America throughout the world and stimulating terrorists.

We diverted our resources and credibility from Afghanistan to Iraq, and victimized our own soldiers (“the army you have”) by badly equipping them and badly managing them, and then by badly serving them when they came back home wounded.

And of course, he created the most gigantic bureaucracy in American history, the Department of Homeland Security, which simply absorbed numerous smaller bureaucracies and cemented them together with a massive infusion of bureaucratic overhead and big budgets. Drop by Chicago Union Station and see how your tax dollars are protecting us with the shiny new Amtrak Mobile Command Center (aka a large greyhound-style bus) sitting in the station, too big to fit all the way down the driveway.) This is the sort of boondoggle conservatives used to decry, before being mesmerized by the actual worst president in American history.

And we have the spectacle of the shredding of civil liberties with warrant-less wiretaps and other police state activity, so egregious that even conservative Republican political appointees at the Justice Department couldn’t stomach it, giving us the spectacle of presidential lickspittle Alberto Gonzales in a high speed drive to an ICU to try to force a drugged up and ailing Attorney General to touch his hand to a pen and sign off on a pack of lies about it.

And one might wonder where a conservative finds constitutional justification for “signing statements” that violate both the letter and spirit of the Constitution. So much for strict interpretation. Your nightmare liberals never this kind of damage to the constitutional fabric of this country.

And you whine about the “nightmare” of $8.00 a gallon gasoline, which is to say the price the rest of the world pays – yes, the first world too, whose economies are doing so much better than ours despite that price, thanks to the economic mismanagement of the actual worst president in history, who conspires to provide tax breaks to billions-of-dollars-in-profit-making corporations so that there is no incentive to get off of fossil fuel – which, by the way, merely increases our reliance of Arab oil (like the Bush family’s good buddies the Saudis), which money is funding the very terrorists who are trying to attack us. This is a national security issue, not a corporate issue.

Columnists are paid to opine, and more power to them. However, in this case, your opinion might be better served by a dose of Pepto-Bismol to rid yourself of that bad pizza dream.

Brule Laker said...

This is one of the stupidest columns I've ever read. This makes you the Jay Mariotti of the editorial pages

Anonymous said...

huh? how does one with clearly inaccurate information get published on

Mark Johnson said...

This article is so true on so many fronts. How many resolutions would have Saddam violated by now if Gore had been president. Every day I count my lucky stars that he was not elected president. Great stroy.

alan b said...

The pathetic absurdity of your fantasy regarding a Gore presidency is dwarfed by the notion with which you end the piece: that George W. Bush is capable of writing a book.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

In my 35 plus years of reading the trib, I have seen more then my share of ridiculous columns and opinions from all sides of the political spectrum. Never, have I read a more ludicrous and amateurish column then this one by David Byrne, There is not enough byte space on the internet to begin to refute his preposterous claims of what would happen if Al Gore had won. The only scenario that could be worse then Byrnes fictional fever dream is the real world we live in today, on the watch of Byrnes man, Bush. I understand and accept that the trib is a conservative paper, and take with a bushel of salt your tortured defenses of this administrations Iraq policy, but I expect well thought out, reasoned opinion when I read the editorial page, right or left. This column would not even merit a "C" in a high school journalism class, and does not belong in a respected paper.

tivo said...

Loved it!

Aquinas defined man as a rational risible animal. The Dems are not rational (nor or many Reps either). But PC multicultural ecotwits are risible.


Bill H. said...

Everyone is entitled to their opinion but this column is truly pathetic. The fact that you are published in a major newspaper makes it, in my opinion, irresponsible. Just more repulsive scare tactics, very sad.

Michael Victor said...

Your uninformed prognostications are the major reason why we, the US, are in such a dire predicatment today. It is because of opinions like yours that make America the laughing stock of the world today. The fact that Bush won two terms and has managed to pretty much launch the US back into the dark ages is not enough for you, huh? You have to make him seem better than he actually is by assuming what the world would be like if the real victor of the 2000 election were in office. I see through your charade! No matter how much you try, you will in no way be able to convince the American public and the world that what Bush has done over the last 7 years was in any way the correct course or at all succesful. All you are doing is confirming the black eye that Bush has permanently scarred America with by assuming that America and the world would potentially be in worse shape (not relatively possible) under the leadership of Al Gore. Why not write an article espousing how world peace would have been achieved had Bob Dole won election in 1996? Or better yet, about how cancer would have been cured if George H.W. Bush had won a second term in 1992. Your uninformed opinions and, even worse, the fact that you are allowed an outlet for your right wing Bush-can-do-no-wrong scare tactics make Americans everwhere look naive, uninformed, and uneducated.

Gene said...

WOW, great piece of ficton there Dennis. Where did you dig up the facts to support your poor attempt at satire? The same place the facts for WMD's in Iraq came from? All sides of every debate and opinion should be welcome, but the Trib should be ashamed to run such dribble, it's not befitting of a professional publication.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the comments here far more than the column itself. What more can I say that hasn't already been said, other than "You're an idiot Dennis Byrne!"

Anonymous said...

The reality is that with rare exceptions, war is obsolete.

The true shock and awe of Iraq has been that the most sophisticated military power on earth has been utterly flummoxed by a bunch of guys assembling cheap explosive devices in their garages and detonating them with cellphones.

More than 30,000 Americans have died or been injured in combat to date - with May the third-deadliest month in the war so far - and the tragedy is that our national security is more precarious than ever.

The war has made it worse. Under most circumstances, being the predominant military power in the world and in human history will not solve 21st-century problems such as the rise of stateless nations, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, climate change, mass south-north migrations, globalization and the threat of pandemics.

It takes diplomacy, strategic economic policy and cooperation to solve critical problems that have no respect for national boundaries.

Just Steve said...

One of the more interesting elements of the ridiculous work of fiction is the placement of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the President of Iran. If it had not been for the movements of W he most likely would not have been the President of Iran. But for the invasion of Iraq and W's unwillingness to negotiate with Iran placed them in the precarious position of believing they needed a stronger, less moderate leader.

But you keep on that believing that the World is so much better with the guy we have in office now.

Anonymous said...

So I guess you think this type of stupid, lazy, meanspirited fiction is appropriate. So here goes: "Scary thought: Dennis Byrne could be a Irish Catholic priest. On 22 October 2005 a government-commissioned report compiled by a former Irish Supreme Court judge delivered a damning indictment of the handling of clerical sex abuse in the Irish diocese of Ferns. The report revealed over 100 cases of child sex abuse in the small diocese, involving a number of clergymen, including Monsignor Micheál Ledwidth, the former head of the National Catholic seminary, Maynooth College.

Anonymous said...

Seems like this one hit a sour note. I personally thought it was quite well thought out.

Any dispute that Jimmy Carter is once again very active in politics ? He was just in the press last week for breaking an unwritten rule of former presidents not criticizing sitting ones ? Anyone care to defend this by showing *any* previous US president criticizing a sitting president ?

Many Americans are already up in arms with gas at $3.50 a gallon, let alone $8, which I think would have been a definite possibility if the US had endorced Kyoto and moved ahead with it.

As for WMD, going after the real villains, etc., I think it's clear what Bush *did* do. He "drained the swamp." By putting the battle field in Iraq, he moved it from New York, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and Los Angeles. Iraq has become a sinkhole of terrorists. If they want to swarm into there, so be it. It makes it much easier to find them.

And before you saddle Bush with everything from floods to to draughts to the Bartman Ball, keep in mind he couldn't have done it with the support of Senators Kennedy, Clinton, and Kerry. They all voted to authorize the war. If there was any doubt about what war means, and that this particular war could last decades, these are the three true idiots (as well as Dick Durbin) who should be thrown out of office.

Patrick O'Brien said...

I may, or may not agree with your scenario, but then, alternative histories are never known. However, unlike some, who are quick to jump on your words, I believe at least myself, understand your meaning.

Thank you for the extra perspective, and sticking your neck out to say something that some consider sacrilegious.

Keep up the good, and thoughtful work.

Tony said...

Diplomacy and intelligence. Wow, what a nightmare that would be.

Jerry Vasilatos said...

Hey Dennis... here's something your fantasy didn't include which would have negated everything else you wrote.

Had Al Gore been president, 9/11 would have never HAPPENED.

You're an idiot.

cdl said...

Dear Mr. Byrne,

How did you manage to link together so brilliantly such a remarkable chain of absurdities?

Dominic Schwartz said...

Sometimes I feel like I don't give my all to my job, and no doubt this is the feeling permeating through our author this evening. I am certainly no dire liberal, however I find this article to be particularly disturbing. Could this really be the fall back logic for right wingers? Is this the justification for our current state of affairs? I just don't understand how I am safer since the Iraq invasion. I would love to be able to double or triple down on the Taliban. Unfortuntely this is no longer an option. Bottom line Mr. Byrne, "Krauthammer" would have a hard time following this latest column.

Brian Owen said...

Dear Mr. Byrne:

It is interesting that you feel compelled to speculate about how bad Al Gore would be if he were
president in view of the fact that we don't have to speculate about how bad President Bush is. It's
right there in front of us every day: he and his administration predictably have made a huge mess
of virtually everything they have touched. A President Gore could not possibly have done any worse
than the Bush Administration. It's as if the Bush Administration is deliberately trying to take
this country down the tubes.

Very truly yours,

Brian Owen

Crazy Politico said...

Why did I know that 90% of the whining comments you got would come from "anonymous".

To the folks complaining X or Y is a problem because of W, remember that BC and AG turned down an offer to have OBL turned over to them.

Gore was part of the administration that codified "Stovepiping" amongst intelligence agencies, that's was shown by the 9-11 commission to be one of the root causes of our lack of knowledge about what was coming.

Dennis got it right, it just bugs the whiners on the left when they read the truth.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dennis,
Please list the books on the modern Middle East that you have read. And please tell us, about how many people from the Middle East do you know well. Thanks.

David said...

Gotta admire your courage, humility, and self confidence (can those last two coincide?) in printing this criticisms on your own site.
I don't know that I would.

Chicago Jim said...

Yes Dennis, thank goodness the Supreme Court awarded the Presidency to Bush in 2000. Thank you for your insight into what might have happened had they not installed a mean, arrogant, weak, lazy, hypocritical, lying idiot and his cabal to the nation's highest office in the land.

I suggest you read a column written in 2001 by Bob Fertik - The Top 10 Reasons Why Al Gore Would Have Made A Better Wartime President. It is a far more thoughtful and reasoned commentary based on facts. Enjoy.

Steve34 said...

That was one of the most irresponsible aticles I've read in a long time. To make such outrageous hypotheticals serves no purpose. You can call it "satire" and maybe that makes it "o.k." to some people. But this was a specific attack and not very funny. So it cannot simply be excused as satire.

I could just as easily say, "If Gore was president, we would have fought, and only fought, the good fight, in Pakistan and Afhanistan, and we'd have Bin Laden by now. We would not have soiled our reputation as a just nation throughout the world by launching a preemptive strike (based on lies) against a sovereign nation that had an "admittedly evil" but rightful ruler.

"We would still have a balanced budget and instead of wasting 100's of billions of dollars on an immoral war, we would have fixed problems on the home front by providing better funding for education, health care and job growth."

The point is, Dennis, you just don't know.

Anonymous said...

Pure unadulterated drivel. If you can get the Trib to pay for this trash, my guess is that we've all got a chance to get paid by them. I'm only glad I read the Trib online and they get none of my hard-earned money to pay for this tripe.
David Byrne: Stick to the day job - puhlease!

Dennis Byrne said...

Let’s see; have I excluded anyone from the above blizzard of insults? Like all the people who replied intelligently to the column? Hardly; what you see is what I received, to my disappointment. Not much from the intelligence department.

I had hoped for at least one correspondent who would have engaged my main argument: That if Saddam Hussein had not been removed, a very ugly and dangerous conflict might have developed between Iraq and Iran—two countries that already have used weapons of mass destruction (chemical) against each other.

Is there some reason to think that Saddam would have twiddled his thumbs while Iran was on the road to developing a nuclear bomb? Is there some reason to think that Iran could have procured the knowledge and materials to develop a nuclear weapon while Iraq could not? Is there some reason to think that the United Nations and “diplomacy” could have prevented Iraq from proceeding along those lines? Is there some reason to think that the UN could have accomplished in Iraq what it hasn’t in North Korea?

I put “diplomacy” in quotes because those who urge it usually do so in vague, useless terms. They never seem to go beyond explaining how talking would help. For example, for negotiations to work, two contending parties must be able to grant something that the other party wants. So, do we have something to give to the Iranians (and an Iraq headed by Saddam) in exchange for not pursing nuclear or other massively destructive weapons?

It is not enough to simply argue that Saddam had no “WMDs,” ergo we should never have gone to war. It is necessary to discuss realistically how an impotent UN or our “multi-lateral partners” would have been anymore successful in preventing war between two nuclear-armed Middle East powers than they have done to end the genocide in Darfur.

Some have wondered: What inspired me to write about this what-if possibility in the first place? It was the constant prattle about how a president Al Gore would not have taken us to war. Or as Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen said: “Gore would not have taken the United States to war in Iraq. He would have finished the job in Afghanistan -- it was al-Qaeda and its enablers, the Taliban, who attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001, not Saddam Hussein, no matter how vile he might have been.”

I’m not the one who brought up the fantasy of what Gore would have done as president. I’m merely continuing the thought, one that was brought up by those incapable or unwilling to carry a thought to its logical conclusion.

Further discussion is invited.

RAK said...

Okay, Mr. Byrne, let me try to engage you on your main argument: Saddam Hussein would have continued to be the boxed-in paper tiger that he had been for the previous decade or so. For a tiny fraction of the cost of this insane war (both monetarily and in lives lost), we could have flooded Iraq with troop-backed weapons inspectors and continued to prevent him from gaining any sort of nuclear capability that he would have liked to have but hadn't even come remotely close to obtaining in the decade-plus since the first Gulf War.

Dennis Byrne said...

"we could have flooded Iraq with troop-backed weapons inspectors..."?

Which is an act of war. Who would have authorized this act of war: Gore, the UN, our European allies? How is what you are suggesting is different than sending an invading army, except for putting our troops in greater harms way?

Midwestern Progressive said...

What a load og hogwash - truly.

What inspired me to write about this what-if possibility in the first place? The "constant prattle" of how Al Gore would not have taken us to war?


At the risk of having my comment deleted, I call BS on that.

Gore probably would have taken us to war - we'll never really know, will we?

My guess, and it is only a guess, is that he probably would not have taken America to war with a toothless paper tiger who had nothing to do with either Al Qaeda or with September 11.

And if he had taken America to war, I cannot imagine an administration would could have done a worse job of it than the administration you continue to support, Dennis Byrne.

The Bush administration has well and truly screwed this war up, has it not? Or does your denial impulse run so deeply that you cannot see that?

It is likely, in my view, that under a President Gore, American would not torture prisoners of war, as is done in our name under George Bush.

It is likely that under President Gore, America would not be spying on domestic "terrorist" groups like PETA and the Quakers, as is being done in our names by George Bush's administration.

You'll never admit it, but your "satire" piece was nothing but a ridiculous hit job on a guy who is, notably, not the Commander in Chief.

All veiled behind your pious claim to "carry a thought to its logical conclusion."

You call for people to "reply intelligently" to the column.

Here's an idea: how about, you go first. It seems to me that the comments here rise exactly to the level of intelligence in the column.

RAK said...

How is that an act of war? We already had weapons inspectors in Iraq before Bush ordered them to leave. Remember Hans Blix?

republican steve said...

Hi Dennis,
your so right on! Gore and all the democrats are so stupid, If he was in charge this country would be the garbage can to, just like the entire rest of the world.

Midwestern Progressive said...

your so right on! Gore and all the democrats are so stupid...

Well well, Dennis, it seems you finally got the "intelligent" comments you wanted.....heh

The spelling and grammar? Not so much.....enjoy your little echo chamber here....

(Oh, and I realize that my previous comment had typos.....please forgive those, or don't. As Republican Steve might say, "your not being fair.")


John Stoner said...

I'm about to spend way more time responding to this than it deserves, but here goes:

We know Saddam had no WMDs in 2003. by what timeline was he supposed to have a credible nuclear threat in 2007?

Also, as others have said, Ahmadinejad probably wouldn't be President of Iran if we hadn't gone into Iraq. The previous Iranian government--which was remarkably cooperative early in the Afghan conflict--opened an opportunity for diplomatic relations. Would Gore have taken it? Hard to say.

Would Iran have pursued nukes anyway? Maybe. But frankly, I'm a lot more comfortable with Iranian nukes than Pakistani ones. At least Iran is a nation, in all senses of the word. If/when Musharraff falls, you will read this column very differently. And I don't imagine our Iraq misadventure will give us points in that situation.

And the thing about terrorists crashing more planes into American targets... how is that supposed to happen, again? I have a feeling a Gore administration would have forced the airlines to put in the armored cockpit doors too. Too obvious to miss. Actually, the airlines would have done it anyway, or they would have a pilot strike on their hands.

There's a reason why that only happened on one day: because that kind of tactic only works once. It's too easy to defend against. Once the cockpit doors are armored and the passengers know the hijackers could be suicidal, that tactic is done for.

Stephen Schade said...

Mr. Byrne:

Al Gore was right about both Gulf Wars and was ahead of the curve on the Internet and global warming. With such good, sound judgment, he would not have gotten the country into the mess you described. Moreover, all of the last six major recessions have occurred under Republican presidents, so it is highly unlikely that one would have occurred in a Gore term.

As for an Iran-Iraq war, neither one has the stomach for it after suffering so greatly in the first one. That they remember it is in stark contrast to our inability to recall Vietnam.

As for the Bomb, every nation has a right to it. We have it and are the only country ever to actually use it. Why should anyone trust us?

gary said...

That's the best you got? This administration is so bad, you can no longer find things to say to support it. Instead you follow in the Rove tradition of scaring us with what might have happened if the other guys were in power, knowing that no one can prove or dis-prove your wild hypothesis.


lynnlorenz said...

Al Gore would never taken us to war. He was too busy inventing the internet.