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White House still upset Germany's Schroeder won reelection
Reuters
September 24, 2002

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Tuesday it will take some time to repair U.S.-German relations strained by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's campaign rhetoric opposing U.S. Iraq policy.

President Bush has not made a congratulatory phone call to Schroeder after he won election on a platform that Germany will not assist any U.S.-led attack on Iraq over Baghdad's suspected weapons of mass destruction.

The White House made clear that relations were still strained despite Schroeder's decision not to reappoint Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin to his cabinet after she was reported to have said Bush was like Adolf Hitler in seeking to use war to detract from domestic issues.

"It's just going to sort itself out over time," Fleischer told reporters of the U.S.-German relationship.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Monday snubbed his German counterpart by refusing a meeting on the sidelines of an informal NATO defense ministers gathering in Warsaw, Poland.

Secretary of State Colin Powell took a phone call from Germany's foreign minister, Joschka Fischer.

Bush was insulted by the Hitler comparison as well as Schroeder's repeated denunciations of a possible U.S.-led attack on Iraq.

Fleischer said the United States would work with Schroeder just as the government does with any elected leader.

"But nobody should be under illusions or mistakes that now that the election is over that everything goes back to the way it was. That's not the natural result of the manner in which that campaign was waged. And I think that's plain for everybody to know and see," Fleischer said.

Commentary:
Bush tells us he believes in democracy, which is the biggest lie of all. Bush only likes democracy's that kiss his butt. The people of Germany elected a leader, but because Bush doesn't like him, his administration won't even talk to them.

It's time for these little boys to grow up.


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Transcript of Gore's speech
Washingtonpost.com
Monday, Sept. 23, 2002

Following is the text of former vice president Al Gore's speech before the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco:

GORE: I certainly appreciate the warmth of your welcome, and I want to thank Gloria Duffy (ph) for that generous, and I hasten to add, overly generous introduction. But Tipper and I both enjoyed listening to that.

(LAUGHTER)

And to George Dobbins (ph), the program director, and Connie Shapiro (ph), our moderator today.

Also, I want to thank Mayor Willie Brown for his help in helping to establish this on relatively short notice. I appreciate his friendship.

Thanks for your kind words about my service as vice president. I really felt it was a tremendous honor. I enjoyed the job.

I have to tell you that I did some research about the vice presidency and found that quite a number of my predecessors did not really fully appreciate the job, and some of them resigned. Just to give one example before I get into my speech here, John C. Calhoun actually resigned the vice presidency in 1825 to become a senator from South Carolina. And as many of you know, he subsequently lost that seat to Strom Thurmond . . .

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

. . . who's still there.

(LAUGHTER)

I want to talk about the relationship between America's war against terrorism and America's proposed war against Iraq.

Like most Americans, I've been wrestling with the question of what our country needs to do to defend itself from the kind of focused, intense and evil attack that we suffered a year ago September 11th. We ought to assume that the forces that are responsible for that attack are even now attempting to plan another attack against us.

I'm speaking today in an effort to recommend a specific course of action for our country, which I sincerely believe would be better for our country than the policy that is now being pursued by President Bush. Specifically, I am deeply concerned that the course of action that we are presently embarking upon with respect to Iraq has the potential to seriously damage our ability to win the war against terrorism and to weaken our ability to lead the world in this new century.

To begin with, to put first things first, I believe that we ought to be focusing our efforts first and foremost against those who attacked us on September 11th and who have thus far gotten away with it. The vast majority of those who sponsored, planned and implemented the cold-blooded murder of more than 3,000 Americans are still at large, still neither located nor apprehended, much less punished and neutralized. I do not believe that we should allow ourselves to be distracted from this urgent task simply because it is proving to be more difficult and lengthy than was predicted.

Great nations persevere and then prevail. They do not jump from one unfinished task to another. We should remain focused on the war against terrorism.

(APPLAUSE)

And, I believe that we are perfectly capable of staying the course in our war against Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, while simultaneously taking those steps necessary to build an international coalition to join us in taking on Saddam Hussein in a timely fashion. If you're going after Jesse James, you ought to organize the posse first, especially if you're in the middle of a gunfight with somebody who's out after you.

I don't think we should allow anything to diminish our focus on the necessity for avenging the 3,000 Americans who were murdered and dismantling that network of terrorists that we know were responsible for it. The fact that we don't know where they are should not cause us to focus instead on some other enemy whose location may be easier to identify.

We have other enemies . . .

(APPLAUSE)

We have other enemies, but we should focus first and foremost as our top priority on winning the war against terrorism.

Nevertheless, President Bush is telling us that America's most urgent requirement of the moment right now is not to redouble our efforts against Al Qaida, not to stabilize the nation of Afghanistan after driving his host government from power, even as Al Qaida members slip back across the border to set up in Afghanistan again.

Rather, he is telling us that our most urgent task right now is to shift our focus and concentrate on immediately launching a new war against Saddam Hussein. And the president is proclaiming a new uniquely American right to preemptively attack whomsoever he may deem represents a potential future threat.

Moreover, President Bush is demanding, in this high political season, that Congress speedily affirm that he has the necessary authority to proceed immediately against Iraq and, for that matter, under the language of his resolution, against any other nation in the region regardless of subsequent developments or emerging circumstances.

Now, the timing of this sudden burst of urgency to immediately take up this new cause as America's new top priority, displacing our former top priority, the war against Osama bin Laden, was explained by – innocently, I believe – by the White House chief of staff in his now well-known statement, and I quote, "From an advertising point of view, you don't launch a new product line until after Labor Day," end quote.

Nevertheless, all Americans should acknowledge that Iraq does, indeed, pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf region, and we should be about the business of organizing an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction. Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter, and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.

Now let's be clear: There's no international law that can prevent the United States from taking action to protect our vital interests when it is manifestly clear that there's a choice to be made between law and our survival. Indeed, international law itself recognizes that such choices stay within the purview of all nations.

I believe, however, that such a choice is not presented in the case of Iraq. Indeed, should we decide to proceed, our action can be justified within the framework of international law rather than requiring us to go outside the framework of international law.

In fact, even though a new United Nations resolution might be helpful in the effort to forge an international consensus, I think it's abundantly clear that the existing U.N. resolutions, passed 11 years ago, are completely sufficient from a legal standpoint, so long as it is clear that Saddam Hussein is in breach of the agreements made at the conclusion of the Persian Gulf War.

Now one of the simple points I want to make here today is that we have an obligation to look at the relationship between our war against terrorism and this proposed war against Iraq.

We have a goal of regime change in Iraq; we have had for a number of years. We also have a clear goal of victory in the war against terror.

In the case of Iraq, it would be difficult to go it alone but it's theoretically possible to achieve our goals in Iraq unilaterally.

Nevertheless, by contrast, the war against terrorism manifestly requires a multilateral approach. It is impossible to succeed against terrorism unless we have secured the continuing, sustained cooperation of many nations.

Now, our ability . . .

(APPLAUSE)

And here's one of my central points. Our ability to secure that kind of multilateral cooperation in the war against terrorism can be severely damaged in the way we go about undertaking unilateral action against Iraq.

Now, if the administration has reason to believe otherwise, it ought to share those reasons with the Congress, since it is asking Congress to endorse action that might well impair a much more urgent task; that is, continuing to disrupt and destroy the international terror network.

Now, back in 1991, I was one of a handful of Democrats in the United States Senate to vote in favor of the resolution endorsing the Persian Gulf War, and I felt betrayed by the first Bush administration's hasty departure from the battlefield even as Saddam began to renew his persecution of the Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south, groups that we had, after all, encouraged to rise up against Saddam.

But look at the differences between the resolution that was voted on in 1991 and the one this administration is proposing that the Congress vote on in 2002. The circumstances are really completely different.

Just to review a few of them briefly, in 1991, Iraq had crossed an international border, invaded a neighboring sovereign nation and annexed its territory.

Now, by contrast, in 2002, there has been no such invasion. We are proposing to cross an international border. And, however justified it may be, we have to recognize that this profound difference in the circumstances now compared to what existed in 1991 has profound implications for the way the rest of the world views what we are doing, and that in turn will have implications for our ability to succeed in our war against terrorism.

What makes Saddam dangerous is his effort to acquire weapons of mass destruction. What makes terrorists so much more dangerous than they have ever been is the prospect that they may get access to weapons of mass destruction. There isn't just one country that is attempting to get access, nor is there just one terrorist group. We have to recognize that this is a whole new era, and the advances in the technology of destruction require us to think anew.

As Abraham Lincoln famously said, "As our case is new, we must think anew and then we will save our country."

Another difference: In 1991, there was a resolution that had been passed by the United Nations. This time--although I don't think we need one if he's in breach, as he is--we nevertheless went to the United Nations to ask for one, and thus far we have not been successful in getting it.

Next, in 1991, the first President Bush patiently and skillfully put together a broad international coalition. Now, his task was easier than the one that confronts this President Bush, in part, because Saddam had invaded another country.

But for whatever reason, back then, every Arab nation except Jordan--of course, Jordan was in Iraq's shadow next door--but every other Arab nation supported our military effort, was a part of the international coalition and some of them supplied troops. Our allies in Europe and Asia supported the coalition without exception.

This year, by contrast, many of our allies in Europe and Asia are thus far openly opposed to what President Bush is doing. And the few who do support us have conditioned their support, most of them, on the passage of a new U.N. resolution.

Fourth, the coalition that was assembled back in 1991 picked up all of the significant costs of the war, while this time the American taxpayers will be asked to shoulder hundreds of billions of dollars in costs on our own.

Fifth, back in 1991 President George H.W. Bush purposely waited until after the mid-term elections of 1990 in order to push for a vote at the beginning of the new Congress in January of 1991. President George W. Bush, by contrast, is pushing for a vote in this Congress immediately before the election.

Now, that in itself is not inherently wrong, but I believe that puts a burden on the shoulders of President Bush to dispel the doubts many have expressed about the role that politics might be playing in the calculations of some in the administration.

I have not raised those doubts, but many have. And because they have been raised, this has become a problem for our country's effort to build a national consensus and an international coalition.

Already, just to cite one example, the German-American relationship has faced a dire crisis because of the reprehensible comments of a minister in that government about President Bush's alleged motivations as she saw it.

Now, they've apologized and perhaps we can move on past that. But look at the entire German election campaign. It revealed a profound and troubling change in the attitude of the German electorate toward the United States.

We see our most loyal ally, Tony Blair, who I think's a fantastic leader, getting into what they describe as serious trouble with the British electorate because of similar doubts that have been raised.

Now, rather than making efforts to dispel these concerns at home and abroad about the role of politics in the timing of policy, the president is on the campaign trail two or three days a week, often publicly taunting Democrats with the political consequences of a no vote. The Republican National Committee is running pre-packaged advertising based on the same theme.

All of this apparently in keeping with a political strategy clearly described in a White House aide's misplaced computer disk which advised Republican operatives that their principal game plan for success in the election a few weeks away was to, quote, "focus on the war."

Vice President Cheney, meanwhile, has indignantly described suggestions of any such thing as reprehensible and then the following week took his discussion of the war to the Rush Limbaugh Show.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

I believe that this proposed foreshortening of deliberation in the Congress robs the country of the time it needs for careful analysis of exactly what may lie before us. Such consideration is all the more important because the administration has failed thus far to lay out an assessment of how it thinks the course of a war will run, even as it has given free run to persons, both within and close to the administration, to suggest at every opportunity that this will a pretty easy matter. And it may well be.

But the administration has not said much of anything to clarify its idea of what would follow regime change or the degree of engagement that it is prepared to accept for the United States in Iraq in the months and years after a regime change has taken place.

Now, I believe that this is unfortunate, because in the immediate aftermath of September 11th, more than a year ago, we had an enormous reservoir of good will and sympathy and shared resolve all over the world. That has been squandered in a year's time and replaced with great anxiety all around the world, not primarily about what the terrorist networks are going to do, but about what we're going to do.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, my point is not that they're right to feel that way, but that they do feel that way.

And that has consequences for us. Squandering all that good will and replacing it with anxiety in a year's time is similar to what was done by turning a $100 billion surplus into a $200 billion deficit in a year's time.

(APPLAUSE)

Now we have seen the assertion of a brand new doctrine called preemption, based on the idea that in the era of proliferating weapons of mass destruction and against the background of a sophisticated terrorist threat the United States cannot wait for proof of a fully established mortal threat, but should rather act at any point to cut that short.

Now, the problem with preemption is that, in the first instance, it is not needed in order to give the United States the means to act in our own defense either against terrorism in general or against Iraq in particular. But that's a relatively minor issue compared to the longer-term consequences that I think can be foreseen for this doctrine.

To begin with, the doctrine is presented in open-ended terms, which means that if Iraq is the first point of application it is not necessarily the last. In fact, the very logic of the concept suggests a string of military engagements against a succession of sovereign states--Syria, Libya, North Korea, Iran--none of them very popular in the United States, of course, but the implication is that wherever the combination exists of an interest in weapons of mass destruction, together with an ongoing role as host to or participant in terrorist operations, the doctrine will apply.

It also means that if the Congress approves the Iraq resolution just proposed by the administration, it would be simultaneously creating the precedent for preemptive action anywhere, any time this or any future president, as a single individual, albeit head of state, decides that it is time.

Vice President Cheney said after the war against terrorism began, quote, "This war may last for the rest of our lives." Well, I, kind of, think I know what he meant by that, but the apprehensions in the rest of the world that I spoke of earlier are not calmed down any by this doctrine of preemption that they are now asserting.

By now, the Bush administration may be beginning to realize the national and international cohesion are, indeed, strategic assets. But it's a lesson long delayed and clearly not uniformly and consistently accepted by senior members of the Cabinet.

From the outset, the administration has operated in a manner calculated to please the portion of its base that occupies the far right, at the expense of solidarity among all of us as Americans and solidarity between our country and our allies.

On the domestic front, the administration, having delayed for many months before conceding the need to pass Joe Lieberman's bill and create an institution outside the White House to manage homeland defense, has actually been willing to see this legislation held up for the sake of an effort to coerce the Congress into stripping civil service protections from tens of thousands of federal employees.

Now, which is more important, passing the Homeland Security Department act, or satisfying a relatively small yet internally powerful member of the right-wing coalition that has as its number one priority dismantling labor unions? Now, if that's the most important priority in that legislation, that explains why they're refusing to let the bipartisan consensus in favor of it go forward.

Now, far more damaging is the administration's attack on fundamental constitutional rights that we ought to have and do have as American citizens.

(APPLAUSE)

The very idea that an American citizen can be imprisoned without recourse to judicial process or remedy, and that this can be done on the sole say-so of the president of the United States or those acting in his name, is beyond the pail and un-American. And it ought to be stopped.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, regarding other countries, the administration's disdain for the views of others is well documented, and need not be reviewed here. It is more important to note the consequences of an emerging national strategy that not only celebrates American strength, but actually appears to glorify the notion of dominance. The word itself has been used in the counsels of the administration.

If what America represents to the world is leadership in a commonwealth of equals, then our friends are legions. If what we represent to the world is an empire, then it is our enemies who will be legion.

At this fateful juncture in our history, it is vital that we see clearly who are our enemies, and that we intend to deal with them. It is also important, however, that in the process we preserve not only ourselves as individuals, but our nature as a people dedicated to the rule of law.

Now, here's another of the main points I want to make: If we quickly succeed in a war against the weakened and depleted fourth-rate military of Iraq, and then quickly abandon that nation, as President Bush has quickly abandoned almost all of Afghanistan after defeating a fifth-rate military power there, then the resulting chaos in the aftermath of a military victory in Iraq could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam.

Here's why I say that. We know that he has stored away secret supplies of biological weapons and chemical weapons throughout his country. As yet, we have no evidence, however, that he has shared any of these weapons with terrorist groups. If the administration has evidence that he has, please present it, because that would change the way we all look at this thing.

But if Iraq came to resemble Afghanistan in its current depleted state, with no central authority – well, they have a central authority, but their central authority, because of the administration's insistence that the international community not be allowed to assemble a peacekeeping force large enough to pacify the countryside, that new government in Afghanistan controls a few precincts in one city, and the warlords or drug lords control the whole rest of the countryside.

What if, in the aftermath of a war against Iraq, we faced a situation like that, because we've washed our hands of it? What would then happen to all of those stored reserves of biological weapons all around the country?

What if the Al Qaida members infiltrated across the borders of Iraq the way they are in Afghanistan? Then the question wouldn't be, "Is Saddam Hussein going to share these weapons with a terrorist group?" The terrorist groups would have an enhanced ability to just walk in there and get them.

Now, I just think that if we end the war in Iraq the way we ended the war in Afghanistan, we could very well be much worse off than we are today.

And when you ask the administration about this, what's their intention in the aftermath of a war--Secretary Rumsfeld was asked recently about what our responsibility would be for restabilizing Iraq in the aftermath of an invasion. And his answer was, and I quote, "That's for the Iraqis to come together and decide."

Now, on the surface, you can understand the logic behind that. And this not an afterthought. This is based on administration policy.

I vividly remember that during one of the campaign debates in 2002 Jim Lehrer asked then Governor Bush whether or not America, after being involved in military action, should engage in any form of nation building. And the answer was, and I quote, "I don't think so. I think what we need to do is to convince people who live in the lands they live in to build the nations."

"Maybe I'm missing something here. We're going to have a kind of nation-building corps in America?"

"Absolutely not."

Now, my point is, this is a Bush doctrine. This is administration policy. Given that it is administration policy, we have to take that into account as a nation in looking at the likely consequences of an overwhelming American military victory against the government of Iraq.

If we go in there and dismantle them--and they deserve to be dismantled--but then we wash our hands of it and walk away and leave it in a situation of chaos and say, "Oh, that's for you all to decide how to put things back together now" . . .

(LAUGHTER)

. . . that hurts us.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, here we are in the city where the United Nations was established, even before the U.N. was established. You look back over the last 85 to 100 years, there is lots and lots of evidence about why it's almost as important to win the peace following a war as it to win the war itself.

Couple of examples: The absence of any enlightened nation-building after World War I led directly to the conditions which made Germany vulnerable to fascism and the rise of Hitler and made all of Europe vulnerable to his evil design.

By contrast, when the world's leaders met here in San Francisco after World War II, there was an enlightened vision embodied in the Marshall Plan, the U.N., NATO and all of the other nation-building efforts after World War II. And that, in turn, led directly to the conditions that fostered prosperity and American leadership throughout the world.

Another example: Two decades ago, the Soviet Union claimed the right to launch a preemptive war in Afghanistan. And we properly encouraged and then supported the resistance movement, which a decade later succeeded in defeating the Soviet army's effort.

Unfortunately, however, when the Russians left, we abandoned the Afghans, and the lack of any coherent nation-building program led directly to the conditions which allowed the Taliban to take control and to bring in Al Qaida and give them a home and a base for their worldwide terrorist operation. That's where they planned the attack on us a year ago, September 11th.

Now, incredibly, in spite of that vivid lesson, after defeating the Taliban rather easily, and despite pledges from President Bush that we would never again abandon Afghanistan, we have done precisely that. And now the Taliban and Al Qaida are quickly moving back in.

Now, a mere two years later, after we abandoned Afghanistan that first time, Saddam Hussein launched his invasion of Kuwait. And our decision, following a brilliant military campaign, to abandon the effort prematurely to destroy Saddam's military allowed him to remain in power.

Now, this needs to be debated and discussed by the Congress.

You know, what this tells me is that the Congress should require as part of any resolution that it considers some explicit guarantees on whether or not we're proposing to simply abandon the Iraqi people in the aftermath of a military victory there, or whether or not we're going to demand as a nation that this doctrine of wash your hands and walk away be changed so that we can engage in some nation building again and build the kind of peace for the future that our people have a right to expect.

(APPLAUSE)

I think specifically the Congress should establish why the president believes that unilateral action would not severely damage the fight against terrorist networks.

I believe that the resolution that the president has asked Congress to pass is much too broad in the authorities it grants and needs to be narrowed severely.

The president should be authorized to take action to deal with Saddam Hussein as being in material breach of the terms of the truce and therefore a continuing threat to the security of the region. To this should be added that his continued pursuit of weapons of mass destruction is potentially a threat to the vital interests of the United States.v

But Congress should also urge the president to make every effort to obtain a fresh demand from the Security Council for prompt, unconditional compliance by Iraq within a definite period of time. If the council will not provide such language, then other choices remain open.

But in any event, the president should be urged to take the time to assemble the broadest possible international support for his course of action.

Anticipating that the president will probably still move toward unilateral action . . .

(END AUDIO FEED)

Commentary:


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Gore in California Speech Warns Against Iraq Attack
Reuters.com
September 23, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Former Vice President Al Gore came out strongly on Monday against any precipitous U.S. attack on Iraq, saying the Bush administration has embarked on a dangerous course that could alienate allies and derail America's war on terror.

Gore, who narrowly lost the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush, said in a major speech here that the Republican administration risked undermining international rule of law by setting its sights on "regime change" in Baghdad. He lashed out at Bush support for pre-emptive strikes, calling it "a go it alone, cowboy-style" approach to foreign policy.

"Great nations persevere and then prevail, they do not jump from one unfinished task to another," Gore said, warning that the war against terrorism was far from over.

"I do not believe that we should allow ourselves to be distracted from this urgent task (the war on terror) simply because it is proving to be more difficult and lengthy than first predicted," Gore told an enthusiastic audience at the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco.

Bush presented to Congress last week a report summarizing a the White House's security doctrine that has evolved since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and lies behind President Bush's campaign to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

The doctrine places fighting terrorism at the center of U.S. security policy and moves away from Cold War policies of deterrence and containment. It seeks to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction and calls for pre-emptive strikes when necessary.

Gore, the only potential 2004 Democratic presidential contender who has not spoken out on Iraq in recent weeks, broke his silence with a spirited broadside against Bush administration policies, which he said were sowing fear and confusion around the world.

"If you are going after (famed Wild West outlaw) Jesse James, you ought to organize the posse first," Gore said.

"FEAR, ANXIETY AND UNCERTAINTY"

Gore said the new Bush administration policy of seeking pre-emptive strikes against possible security threats painted the United States as a unilateralist bully and undermined international goodwill sparked by the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

"That has been squandered in a year's time and replaced with fear, anxiety and uncertainty all around the world -- not about what the terrorist networks are going to do, but about what we're going to do," Gore said.

Gore conceded that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was a potential threat and said that Washington should seek the rest of the world's support in devising a plan to deal with him "in a timely fashion."

He said he believed the United States had the right, under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, to take action against imminent threats and could move against Iraq if it truly felt Baghdad's alleged drive to acquire weapons of mass destruction put its interests in immediate danger.

But he said a quick war with Iraq now could create more problems than it solves -- costing taxpayers billions of dollars, fanning international fears about U.S. unilateralism, and leaving post-war Iraq as unstable, dangerous and disorganized as post-war Afghanistan.

"The resulting chaos in the aftermath of a military victory with Iraq could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than does Saddam," Gore said.

"If we end the war in Iraq the way we ended the war in Afghanistan, we could very well be in a position where we are worse off than we are today."

A REINVIGORATED DEBATE

Gore, who received round after round of resounding applause from his solidly Democratic San Francisco audience, said he had not yet made up his mind about running again for president in 2004 -- adding that he planned to make a final decision by December.

But he said he intended to step up his "democratic debate" with the Republican administration, and said it was up to all Americans "to keep our wits about us and keep our values right."

Gore urged Congress to take a closer look at Bush's proposals before giving its approval for any Iraqi action, and urged the president to address what he called "numerous doubts" about whether Washington's war talk was aimed in part at delivering Republican votes in the November mid-term election.

Gore saved some of his sharpest words for the newly announced doctrine of pre-emption -- a strategy which calls on U.S. forces to strike first against potential threats and ensure unchallenged U.S. military superiority.

Calling the new policy a "go it alone, cowboy-type" approach to foreign policy, Gore said Bush risked shaking the very foundations of the international political order by flouting laws and disregarding world opinion.

"The very logic of the concept suggests a string of military engagements against a succession of sovereign states," Gore said.

"If other nations exert the same right, then the rule of law would quickly be replaced by the reign of fear."

Commentary:
Gore is clearly a statesman who's thinking beyond the next election. He has little or nothing to gain from attacking this press-loved moron. I suppose men of character Must do what is right no matter what the political fallout. It's too bad Bush can't talk about anything but fear and war. Bush offers us no hope, no vision and no sense of where we're going. This is what we get when judges decide counting votes by hand is unconstitutional (even though Florida did it again in the last primary with no supreme court rulings stopping them).


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Bush Says UN Risks Being Nothing but Debaters
Reuters.com
September 23, 2002

TRENTON, N.J. (Reuters) - President Bush pressed the U.N. Security Council on Monday to approve a tough new resolution against Iraq, saying to do otherwise would make the council look like "nothing but a debating society."

Bush kept up the pressure on the United Nations, stating again the council must act or the United States will. Iraq declared that U.S. attempts for a new resolution "have bad intentions and wicked aims" and the United Nations should not be a platform for "launching aggression" against Baghdad.

But Bush, to raucous cheers from a boisterous crowd in an Army National Guard hangar, declared: "We will not allow the world's worst leaders to threaten us with the world's worst weapons."

Iraq's announcement a week ago that it would accept U.N. weapons inspectors without conditions has complicated Bush's attempts to persuade the Security Council to approve a new resolution demanding Iraq disarm or face possible attack.

Bush emphasized the threat posed by Iraq during a daylong trip to New Jersey to help raise $1.5 million for Republican Doug Forrester's campaign to unseat New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Torricelli in Nov. 5 mid-term elections.

Torricelli is one of the U.S. Senate's most vulnerable Democrats, tarred by accusations he improperly accepted gifts. Some polls show the race in a dead heat.

Bush, who presented his case against Iraq to the United Nations on Sept. 12, said his message was that "either you can become the League of Nations, either you can become an organization which is nothing but a debating society, or you can be an organization which is robust enough and strong enough to help keep the peace -- your choice.

"I want to see strong resolutions coming out of that U.N., a resolution which says the old ways of deceit are gone, a resolution which will hold this man to account, a resolution which will allow freedom-loving countries to disarm Saddam Hussein before he threatens his neighborhood, before he threatens freedom, before he threatens America and before he threatens civilization," Bush said.

At a Forrester fund-raiser later, he said the United Nations soon "will tell the world whether or not they're going to be relevant, or whether or not they're going to be weak."

"For the sake of world peace, I hope they're relevant. However, for the sake of freedom and peace, if the United Nations will not deal with Saddam Hussein, the United States and our friends will."

Bush tried unsuccessfully last week to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to join with him on a resolution. Russia has said existing resolutions should be sufficient to handle the threat posed by Iraq. As one of the Security Council's permanent five members, Russia holds veto power.

But U.S. officials remained optimistic the council would approve a new resolution, backed by force, to allow unfettered inspections of suspected sites for weapons of mass destruction. Secretary of State Colin Powell was continuing to pursue the diplomatic effort with the expectation a proposed resolution would begin circulating this week.

The United States accuses Iraq of developing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and is trying to link Baghdad to the Sept. 11 attacks by saying Iraqi President Saddam Hussein could supply his weapons to terrorists.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer also said Bush would be amenable to a change in his proposed congressional resolution authorizing use of military force against Iraq.

Several lawmakers objected to language authorizing use of force to "restore international peace and security in the region," which could mean the administration could strike any country.

Fleischer said, "If the Congress decides that the boilerplate diplomatic language that's been contained in previous United Nations resolutions is not appropriate, we'll work with them."

Commentary:
Bush says the UN risks being nothing but debater because it hasn't passed a resolution. This coming from a man who hasn't offered a resolution to the UN for consideration. Why does the press let him get away with this? Are they morons too?


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Justice Appeals Oregon's Assisted Suicide Law *
An Impeachable Offense
FoxNews.com
September 23, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO — The federal government resumed its bid to ban Oregon doctors from helping terminally ill patients commit suicide, filing papers Monday with an appeals court in an effort to strike down the only such law in the nation.

Attorney General John Ashcroft is seeking to sanction and perhaps hold Oregon doctors criminally liable if they prescribe lethal doses of medication, as the voter-approved Death With Dignity Act allows.

"The attorney general has permissibly concluded that suicide is not a legitimate medical purpose," Justice Department attorney Jonathan H. Levy wrote in the appeal filed at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

A federal judge in Portland, Ore., blocked the Justice Department in April from punishing Oregon doctors -- such as stripping them of their ability to dispense medication if they prescribe lethal doses of medication to the terminally ill.

The case is a classic states' rights battle, with Oregon defending its assisted-suicide law against attacks from the Justice Department.

In a sharp rebuke to Ashcroft, Jones ruled in April that the Controlled Substances Act -- the federal law declaring what drugs doctors may prescribe -- does not give the federal government the power to say what is a legitimate medical practice.

Ashcroft first declared the federal government had such power on Nov. 6, 2001, and the government reiterated that point Monday, arguing the act "prohibits physicians from prescribing controlled substances except for legitimate medical purposes."

The government wrote Monday that Jones did not have such authority when he declared "the citizens of Oregon, through their democratic initiative process, have chosen to resolve the moral, legal and ethical debate on physician-assisted suicide for themselves by voting -- not once, but twice -- in favor of the Oregon act."

Oregon voters first approved the act in 1994 and overwhelmingly affirmed it again three years later when it was returned to the ballot following a failed legal challenge.

The law allows terminally ill patients with less than six months to live to request a lethal dose of drugs after two doctors confirm the diagnosis and judge the patient mentally competent to make the request.

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, who is a physician, signed the law in 1998. Since then, Oregon has reported that at least 91 people have used the law to end their lives. Most of them suffered from cancer.

Ashcroft's Nov. 6 directive also banned any lethal prescriptions on grounds they did not qualify as medication under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers challenged Ashcroft in federal court last fall. Ashcroft's directive reversed a 1998 opinion by former Attorney General Janet Reno.

The state argues that regulating and licensing doctors generally has been the sole responsibility of the states, which license doctors to practice medicine. Oregon said Congress intended only to prevent illegal drug trafficking by doctors under the Controlled Substances Act, and it left any decisions about medical practice up to the states.

Myers spokesman Kevin Neely said Oregon vigorously would defend the will of state voters.

"The federal government doesn't have authority to say what is a legitimate medical purpose," Neely said.

Marc Spindelman, an Ohio State University College of Law scholar, isn't so sure about the state's argument. If Oregon's position is upheld, that would mean the states might be allowed to prohibit abortion, he said.

"If it's the case that states have the right to regulate medical practice, why then couldn't states regulate other medical practices, potentially, even including abortion?" Spindelman asked. "It's in conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court that said the states couldn't ban abortion."

Oregon has about a month before it must file opposition papers. The court has not said when it would hear the appeal.

Also pending before the San Francisco circuit court is an appeal from doctors challenging Justice Department sanctions -- including losing their ability to prescribe medication -- if they recommend patients use medical marijuana. California, Oregon and six other states allow sick patients to use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.

The assisted suicide case is Oregon v. Ashcroft, 02-35587. The medical marijuana case is Conant v. Walters, 00-17222.

Commentary:
Let's start with the basics. States don't have right, only people do. The constitution doesn't give states or any other governing institutions rights, instead states have powers. The right to die in Oregon simply says an individual has the right to decide for himself if he wants to die, instead of more big government. At the core of Ashcroft decision is his belief that government has the power to decide what rights we have and don't have. This belief is not supported by the Constitution. (this is listed as an impeachable offense in previous articles).


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Tight State Budgets Are Forcing Medicaid Cuts
Reuters.com
September 20, 2002

WASHINGTON (Reuters Health) - More than half the states in the US are planning to reduce eligibility for the Medicaid health program for the poor or to reduce benefits, according to a survey of state Medicaid directors released Thursday.

"The situation is really quite severe," said Vern Smith, a former Michigan Medicaid director, whose firm, Health Management Associates, conducted the survey for the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. The survey was released at a briefing on Capitol Hill sponsored by the commission and the Alliance for Health Reform.

The survey of Medicaid directors in all 50 states and the District of Columbia found that, faced with increasingly tight budgets, states in 2002 mostly exhausted one-time cash infusions like rainy-day funds or tobacco settlement money.

Faced with increasing enrollments and continuing double-digit cost increases--Medicaid spending rose 12.8% last year--and revenues that are flat or declining, states have no choice but to impose cuts, the survey found.

For fiscal 2003, 18 states plan to reduce or restrict Medicaid eligibility, including Missouri, which dropped more than 32,000 adults on July 1; Nebraska, which plans to cut 25,000 children and adults from its rolls; and New Jersey, which stopped accepting applications for its "Family Care" program.

The survey found 15 states reducing benefits, primarily dental services for adults, but also restrictions on home health care, podiatry, chiropractic services, eyeglasses, psychological counseling and translator services.

At the same time, states are also making what Kristin Testa, of the advocacy group Children's Partnership, referred to as "backdoor cuts," making it more difficult for eligible people to sign up for benefits. California, for example, has decided not to implement a program that would let families sign their children up for medical benefits at the same time they sign up for the school lunch program.

Smith said the number of states making cuts is significant, particularly given that states "know that cutting eligibility is a self-inflicted wound," since it deprives states of federal matching money.

Joy Wilson of the National Conference of State Legislatures said her organization will soon release a survey of state budget officers that will show the situation is not improving. "State revenues are continuing to decline overall, and many states are looking at across-the-board cuts" that will include more Medicaid reductions, she said.

In July, the US Senate overwhelmingly approved a $9 billion increase in spending for Medicaid and other social service programs. But the amendment was part of a generic drug bill the House appears unlikely to consider. Efforts are underway to include the $9 billion in a Medicare provider payment package expected to pass before Congress adjourns for the year.

Commentary:
When times were good states (run mostly by republican governor's) gave away tax revenue instead of saving for tough times. A core problem with conservatism is its inability to remain in power while being fiscally responsible (IE: tax cuts).


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Seniors Having Tougher Time Seeing Docs
Reuters.com
September 05, 2002

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Senior citizens in America, whether they have Medicare or are privately insured, are having a more difficult time getting to see a physician, a new study finds.

Medicare beneficiaries and privately insured seniors alike report delays in getting needed care and longer waits for appointments, the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC), a nonpartisan policy think tank, reported in a study released on Thursday. At the same time, the percentage of doctors accepting new patients has slipped for both people on Medicare and the privately insured, it said.

The findings suggest that "system-wide" issues appear to be at play, which may have nothing to do with Medicare. That revelation could create a dilemma for Congress as it considers whether to raise physicians' Medicare rates: Cut too deeply and beneficiaries' access problems may worsen, but raising rates may not solve the problem either.

"The question for Congress is, What's the tipping point for compromising physicians' willingness to care for Medicare patients?" says HSC President Paul Ginsburg. "Additional Medicare cuts of the magnitude expected over the next few years are likely to increase beneficiaries' access problems, especially in markets where private insurers pay significantly more than Medicare for physician services."

Physicians balked at a 5.4% cut in Medicare fees that took effect in January and are pressing for "giveback" legislation to boost their payments. If the Medicare payment formula is left unchanged, they'll face further reduction over the next several years.

The HCS study shows that access problems are increasing both for Medicare patients and privately insured Americans ages 50 to 64, the so-called "near-elderly." More than 40% of people on Medicare in 2001 had to wait a week or more for an appointment when they were sick, up from 34.6% in 1997, for example. The percentage of near-elderly reporting long wait times also rose during that period to 36.3% from 29.9%.

National access measures tell only part of the story. The study also finds that access problems vary depending on where people live. Alwyn Cassil, a spokeswoman for HSC, said local market conditions might be among the many non-Medicare factors affecting people's access to care. Demand for physician services and how well private payers reimburse for doctor services are other possible factors in the equation.

"The message for policymakers is these access problems are larger than just Medicare and thinking that Medicare can fix it in isolation is probably not realistic," she told Reuters Health. "But at the same time additional cuts of the magnitude being proposed could very well contribute to further deterioration of access."

Commentary:
How much longer can healthcare providers withstand government cuts? I suppose we all know what happens when the government doesn't pay its fair share for the elderly, the rest of us end up paying for it. Do they really think they're saving money by shifting who pays for it? Hillary and Bill were right when they proposed healthcare reform. How long will it take for republicans to accept this fact?


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$54 Billion Budget Gap in August
Reuters.com
September 20, 2002

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - While the U.S. government ran a smaller budget gap in August than in the same month a year ago, the year-to-date deficit climbed over $200 billion with one month left in the fiscal year, the Treasury Department said on Friday.

In its monthly look at the government's bottom line, the Treasury said August posted a $54.71 billion deficit, narrowing from August 2001's $79.99 billion shortfall. The number was in line with forecasts by private and government analysts.

Revenues were up slightly in comparison with August 2001, while outlays fell sharply. Both reflected one-time factors in the timing of federal benefit payments and income tax rebate checks in August 2001.

With one month to go, the budget remains on track to post its first deficit since 1997. Through August, the government was $200.18 billion in the red, a reversal of the $91.77 billion surplus in the same period last year.

The government's fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. The White House's Office of Management and Budget has said it anticipates a $165 billion deficit for the year, while the Congressional Budget Office is projecting a slightly smaller gap of about $157 billion.

The switch from surplus to deficit has led to political wrangling in Washington. The Bush administration has blamed the deterioration on several factors, including a decline in revenue from a sluggish economy and increased spending for security and the war on terrorism. Democrats have blamed the shift in large part on the effects of the 10-year, $1.35 trillion tax cut that started going into effect last year.

With only a few weeks until the start of the next fiscal year, work on the 2003 budget is still far from complete on Capitol Hill.

Through the first 11 months of the budget year, government revenue totaled $1.661 trillion, down 9.4 percent from the same period a year ago. The government's major revenue channels, individual and corporate income taxes, have both fallen sharply. Personal income tax collections have dipped by 16 percent while business taxes have dropped by 18.4 percent.

Federal spending has increased at the same time, rising 6.9 percent to $1.861 trillion through August. Defense spending accounted for much of that, increasing by $38.67 billion compared with the same 11-month period ending in August 2001.

Commentary:
Blame the war or look at the facts; "CBO estimates that legislation enacted to date in response to September 11 increased spending in 2001 by about $3 billion and reduced revenues by $0.5 billion. In 2002, we estimate a spending increase of $34 billion and a net revenue decrease of $0.2 billion."

According to conservative beliefs, tax cuts should increase revenue. Needless to say, revenue has been going down proving one of two things, either tax cuts don't increase revenue or Bush's tax cut was a really bad tax cut (IE: targeted to the wrong people). The deficit for this year is expected to be the largest since 1994. Borrowing money so the rich can have tax cuts is bad economics, bad fiscal policy and immoral.


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Bush Drops Opposition to Commission
Reuters.com
September 20

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration on Friday reversed course and embraced setting up an independent commission to investigate the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as bipartisan support mounted in Congress for such a probe.

"I am writing to express the administration's strong support for the establishment of a 9/11 commission that will build upon the work of the Congressional intelligence committees' joint inquiry," Bush legislative aide Nicholas Calio said in a letter to House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican.

President Bush had opposed a special commission, citing concerns about possible intelligence leaks that could damage national security and tying up officials involved in the war on terrorism.

But momentum for an independent inquiry has grown in recent months.

The House voted in July to approve a commission. Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut plans to offer his own proposal next week to create a bipartisan commission to examine what happened in the intelligence community prior to the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States that killed more than 3,000 people.

"I'm confident that we have the support to adopt it." Lieberman said on Thursday.

Calio wrote that Bush's overriding concern in the immediate aftermath of the attacks was to take steps to prevent any further incidents and to restructure the federal government to meet the threats posed by would-be terrorists.

Bush supported the congressional inquiries, but felt that another probe or commission at the same time would be duplicative and "divert the attention and resources of both the Congress and relevant executive agencies away from their important work of combating terrorism."

"Now that the work of the intelligence committees is nearing its end, we must take the appropriate next steps," Calio wrote.

The letter suggested an independent commission consider not only intelligence matters but also other issues such as coordination between the intelligence community and nonnational security agencies, border security and visa issues, commercial aviation and the role of state and local governments.

"A focused inquiry into these matters will help strengthen our ability to prevent and defend against terrorism and protect the security of the American public," Calio said.

House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt of Missouri said he was encouraged by the White House reversal and expressed confidence that "a completely independent, bipartisan inquiry" would settle "many troubling questions about the lead-up to that day."

"In this instance, knowledge will help us heal as a nation and better prepare ourselves in the war against the terrorists," he said in a written statement.

Commentary:
Much of this article is fiction or lies. Bush did NOT support a congressional investigation but instead did everything in his power to stop it and as outlined the article Senators Say Bush is impeding investigation (impeding an investigation of congress is listed as an impeachable offense in this link).

After a year of stone-walling and doing everything in his power to stop any investigation, Bush is relenting only after Congress allowed families to testify and THEY demanded an independent commission. We can classify this one under cover-up, stone-walling, and "lack of leadership."


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Bush Asks Congress to OK Possible Attack on Iraq
Reuters.com
September 19, 2003

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush on Thursday asked the U.S. Congress to authorize a military strike against Iraq and the ouster of President Saddam Hussein, in a move that would present a united front to the world.

Bush also made clear his growing impatience with the United Nations, warning that Washington was prepared to act on its own, or with its allies, if the Security Council failed to come up with tough, new action requiring that Iraq disarm.

In a proposed congressional resolution, entitled "To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq," Bush asked for approval from Congress to use "all means he determines to be appropriate including force."

"If you want to keep the peace, you've got to have the authorization to use force," Bush said after meeting with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vice President Dick Cheney and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice in the Oval Office.

"It's a chance for Congress to say, 'We support the administration's ability to keep the peace.' That's what this is all about," Bush said.

It appeared clear that some version of the resolution would easily be approved in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate in the coming weeks, giving Bush political cover to use military forces in his showdown with Saddam over Iraq's suspected chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Approval would not be a sign of imminent military action.

Appearing before the House International Relations Committee, Powell also urged Congress not to weaken the draft language and to approve the resolution by wide margins.

"I think it would be very unfortunate if we got a lukewarm response or if, in the next several weeks, members eviscerated it and watered it down so that we were not playing a certain trumpet in the United States," Powell said. "It would undercut my efforts."

A senior administration official said it was hoped that passage of the resolution will show "the seriousness of purpose of the United States, and to underscore that the United Nations Security Council should act."

Bush challenged the United Nations "to be more than a debating society," saying he wanted it "to have backbone."

"For the sake of peace, for the sake of freedom, for our country, if the United Nations will not act the United States and our friends will," Bush told Republican governors on Thursday night. "We owe it to our children, we owe it to our grandchildren to make sure that the dictator in Iraq never threatens our country ... with the world's worst weapons."

SECURITY COUNCIL SPLIT

Senate Republican leader Trent Lott of Mississippi predicted a large bipartisan vote in favor of the resolution and said it could get to the Senate floor by early October.

As Bush sought congressional backing, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld served notice that U.S. air power alone could not wipe out Iraq's suspected weapons of mass destruction, saying any American attack would require ground troops.

Rumsfeld and the nation's top military officer, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, also told the Senate Armed Services Committee they could not guarantee that Iraq would not use chemical or biological weapons against those troops.

Iraq's offer on Monday to readmit U.N. arms inspectors, made under heavy international pressure, has divided the Security Council and weakened Bush's drive for a new mandate for unfettered inspections backed by the threat of force.

Russia and France have questioned the need for a new resolution, complicating Powell's attempts to negotiate tough language requiring Iraq to disarm or face the consequences.

Bush ridiculed a speech by Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri in which he accused the United States of fabrications in order to attack Iraq and take control of Middle East oil.

"I didn't hear it, but let me guess: 'the United States is guilty, the world doesn't understand, we don't have any weapons of mass destruction.' It's the same old song and dance that we've heard for 11 long years," Bush said.

The proposed congressional resolution cited a "high risk" that Iraq will employ weapons of mass destruction in a surprise attack against the United States, or provide them to international terrorists who would strike U.S. targets.

And trying to draw a link between Iraq and last year's Sept. 11 attacks, the document said members of al Qaeda are known to be in Iraq and that the attacks in New York and Washington "underscored the gravity of the threat that Iraq will transfer weapons of mass destruction to international terrorist organizations."

CONGRESS RECEPTIVE, BUT QUESTIONS REMAIN

The draft resolution restated the U.S. policy of "regime change" -- Saddam's ouster -- and laid out these goals: enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions; defend the national security interests of the United States against the threat posed by Iraq, and restore peace and security in the region.

The wording will be debated by members of Congress. Initial reaction was generally positive, with an eye toward passage before Nov. 5 elections, probably within the next two weeks.

"We will look at what the administration is proposing and make our own determination as to whether it is something to support," said Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat.

Some members expressed doubts. Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana said he feared the wording was too broad and could be used to go beyond Iraq. "I am for a generous grant of authority to the president in dealing with Iraq and Saddam Hussein. If you are going beyond Iraq, then I think we need to have a little more scrutiny," he said.

Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Russell Feingold said the administration's language was unacceptable, too broad, and did not adequately define the mission.

"It appears to actually authorize the president to do virtually anything anywhere in the Middle East, a proposal that no doubt will alarm many of our most important allies in the fight against terrorism," Feingold said.

White House officials made clear they intended the resolution to deal only with Iraq.

Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, said the language looked fine to him and predicted it would pass overwhelmingly.

Publicly challenging U.S. skepticism over the utility of weapons inspections, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said the inspectors could "easily determine" whether or not Iraq was pursuing weapons of mass destruction.

"It's not a question of trust or mistrust. It's a question of facts," he said ahead of Pentagon talks with Rumsfeld.

Commentary:
Let me see if I get this right. Bush wants to go to war because Saddam may get weapons of mass destruction someday and he might use them against the US or our interests. What a worthless premise. To base the entire foreign policy of the US on what someone might do is as stupid as basing a tax cut on projected surpluses. Good grief has this country gone mad?

Any congressman or senator that authorizes Bush to go to war without exhausting all other avenues (IE: such as weapon's inspectors) is as unfit for office as Bush.


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