Thursday, January 30, 2014

What Would President Gore Have Done After 9/11?


I've often wondered: if Al Gore had been allowed to assume the presidency that he won in the 2000 election, how would he have responded after the 9/11 attacks? Actually, I think it's pretty likely 9/11 would never have happened in the first place under President Gore.

Gore was (and is) a reader and a scholar, you see. One of those dreaded "Liberal book learners." Unlike Bush, Gore didn't make decisions "based on his gut." Gore read about and studied the issues. He listened to experts. Oh, the horror!

And on Aug. 6, 2001, when the CIA hand-delivered a Presidential Daily Brief to President Gore, he would have actually read the goddamn thing (particularly after glancing at the alarming headline, "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in U.S.")

Unlike Bush, Gore wasn't fond of endless 5-week vacations on the taxpayer's dime. So it is entirely possible that Gore wouldn't have been on vacation at the time. I'm think it's also highly likely that if Gore had been on vacation, he'd have cut it short to deal with the PDB.

What's important, though, is that President Gore would have take action. For example, it's a virtual certainty that he would have called a meeting of his top security people. (Maybe such a high-level security meeting would have brought attention to issues like the FBI's July 2001 reporting about suspicious Middle Eastern men who were learning to fly passenger airliners at U.S. aviation schools).

I'd also suspect that President Gore would have ordered possible terror targets like airports to step up security a notch.

Sadly, none of this actually happened. Of course, that's because in the previous year, a blatantly pro-GOP Supreme Court in 2000 awarded Bush a presidency in an election that Gore won by over half a million votes.

And so when Aug. 6, 2001 rolled around, Bush was handed the fateful Bin Laden PDB and took no action, as he continued to enjoy his 5 week vacation.

And so 3,000 Americans died on 9/11. And later, hundreds of thousands of civilians were slaughtered in the trillion-dollar fiasco called the Iraq War.

Of course, Bush and his supporters have long maintained that, "No one could have predicted the Sept. 11 attacks."

That, of course, is utter bullsh*t.

As David Plotz explained in a piece on Slate, there were in fact, "tons of warnings of exactly this kind of attack."

"The (2003) congressional report on the 9/11 intelligence failures lists a dozen pre-9/11 indications that terrorists were plotting a suicide hijacking. For example, in 1994 Algerians hijacked an Air France airliner with the intention of crashing it into the Eiffel Tower. (They were tricked by French officials into landing in Marseilles to refuel, where they were overpowered.) In 1995, police in the Philippines uncovered an al-Qaida plot to fly a plane into CIA headquarters. (One of the plotters: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.) A year later, al-Qaida had the idea of flying a plane from outside the United States and crashing it into the White House. Two years later, al-Qaida planned to fly a plane from outside the United States and crash it into the World Trade Center. And so on."

I suppose it could be debated endlessly as to whether a President Gore could have helped prevent the 9/11 attacks. I personally believe it is likely. But in reality, we will never know.

We do, however, know that President Gore almost certainly wouldn't have marched the U.S. into invading the wrong country after 9/11. This is where Gore's "book learning" would have come in handy for the nation. I think it's likely that Gore wouldn't have been under the misconception, shared by the Bush crowd, that Saddam somehow was connected to 9/11. (In fact, he likely would have known that, in fact, Saddam and Bin Laden were bitter enemies).

I suppose, in fairness, it's possible that even this can't be known for certainty.

But there is one thing that is absolutely certain. President Gore would have taken firm decisive action to protect America (and the world) from a threat that is actually vastly larger than Al-Qaeda.

That is: the oncoming major threat to humanity called Global Warming.


Grung_e_Gene said...

Let's see... been Impeached and convicted and removed from office. Joe Lieberman would have transitioned into a rightwinger earlier and launched the Neocon wars in the Middle East.

But, to your overall point yes I do believe President Gore would have responded prior to the event but, we can never know because Gore erroneously thought he was doing the correct thing and that the twp parties were still peopled with gentlemen.

Anonymous said...

If you had Dr. Walter Bishop's Multiverse-Viewing Window, you'd know.


Syrbal/Labrys said...

I've been reading Mayer's "Dark Side"…and yeah, 9-11 might not have happened at all if Gore had won. The Clinton Administration rather desperately tried to warn Bush and Crew and was ignored. Gore would not have ignored the warning...

Marc McDonald said...

Hi WageslaveZ, thanks for your comment. Your reference to Walter Bishop threw me for a loop initially. But I now realize the show you're referring to---sounds interesting, I'll check it out.

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Syrbal/Labrys, thanks for stopping by. Yes, Mayer's "Dark Side" was a true (and scary) classic. Those were truly some of the darkest days of our republic.

richard peterson said...

I agree with you that Gore wouldn't have made the foolhardy deceitful attack on Iraq, and wouldn't have twiddled his fingers on climate change. We are mostly, perhaps entirely, in agreement on 9/11: Based on our current information, we both think Gore would have not twiddled his thumbs, and probably would have prevented 9/11. But you say we can't know for sure, at least right now. Ok, but I think a lot of information about what Bush had been told has been hidden, some of which has been uncovered, and more may someday be uncovered, and it may then show that Bush had even better warning than we know now, enough to make it possible to stop 9/11 with higher security, airport shutdowns, or something else.

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Richard, thanks for stopping by and for your comment.
>>it may then show that Bush had even
>>better warning than we know now

This is a good point and I totally agree. I'd bet money that there were many other warnings.