In 2002, with American troops on the ground in Afghanistan, backed up by air support, President Gore goes on national television to inform the American people.
Gore Under Fire by Eric LippsHe continues to insist that the U.S. incursion is not aimed at Kabul, but only at Al Qaeda's operation within Afghanistan's borders. What he does not tell them is that there are troubling reports that Al Qaeda cells outside Afghanistan may be readying attacks against Gulf-region governments friendly to the U.S. Intelligence analysts warn that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are particularly at risk.
President Gore's revelation that U.S. military forces have entered Afghanistan is pursuit of Al Qaeda triggers fierce controversy.
Many in both parties in Congress are angered that he has taken this action without consulting them first. Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts says, "I supported Al Gore in the 2000 election. When the dispute over its results was resolved in his favor, I was relieved, for I believed his would be a steadier hand than that of his opponent. His unilateral decision to launch a war, however--and make no mistake, that is what he was done--reveals a troubling recklessness which I fear will cost this nation dearly". The aging Democratic icon is applauded, even by some GOP colleagues who almost never agree with him.
In the media, Gore's action splits both conservatives and liberals, with some on each side approving and some condemning the Afghan intervention. Among opponents, liberals tend to agree with Kennedy's charge of recklessness, while on the right, fire-breathers such as Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter snarl that Gore is merely trying to 'look tough' and will find some way to 'surrender to the terrorists,' as Limbaugh puts it on an installment of his radio program.
Vice-President Joseph I. Lieberman responds to the critics by asking, "What would you have us do? We were attacked on our home soil. Americans were killed, and many more would have died if our law-enforcement agencies had not managed to intercept some of the would-be attackers. We know where those who planned this slaughter are hiding, and we know they'll try again if we give them a chance". Privately, some of the invasion's harshest critics suggest that in defending the invasion the VP is more concerned with the interests of Israel, of which he has been an outspoken supporter, than with those of the United States.