Former Vice President Al Gore is bitterly disappointed he was not elected president.
Periodically, he expresses his disappointment in ways that gives us reason to be thankful he
The most recent was last weekend, when he traveled to Saudi Arabia to make a speech denouncing
the United States. The occasion was the annual Jeddah economic forum, which is sponsored in
part by the family of Osama bin Laden (which claims to have distanced itself from the family
Mr. Gore has not disclosed how much he was paid for his words of wisdom. It probably is less
than the $267,000 former president Bill Clinton was paid for speaking to the group in 2002, but
odds are his fee was in six figures.
Whatever Mr. Gore's speaking fee was, his hosts likely thought it a bargain, considering what
the former vice president had to say.
The U.S. committed "terrible abuses" against Arabs after 9/11, Mr. Gore said. Arabs were
"indiscriminately rounded up, often on minor charges of overstaying a visa and not having a
green card in proper order, and held in conditions that were just unforgivable."
According to the Arab American Anti Discrimination Committee, about 1,200 Arabs were arrested
after 9/11. Of these, 725 were held on immigration violations, 100 on unrelated criminal
charges, and 360 for possible links to terrorism.
The Census Bureau says there are about three million Arabs in the United States. The number
"indiscriminately rounded up" after 9/11 is much less than one tenth of one percent of that
Mr. Gore didn't say what he thought was "unforgivable" about the conditions in which the Arabs
were held, but his source probably was a June, 2003 report by the Justice Department's
inspector general, or, rather, erroneous news accounts of the report.
The Los Angeles Times said most detainees were held for months without charges. In fact, only
24 were held for more than a month before being charged, and 59 percent were charged within
three days, the IG report said.
Most Americans remember that 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudis, but Mr. Gore seems to
have forgotten. He deplored the cancellation of "Visa Express," the expedited program without
background checks through which several of the hijackers entered the United States.
|FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO INFLUENTIAL NEWSLETTER|
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
In a footnote on page 492 of its report, the 9/11 Commission said Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who
planned the attacks, told interrogators most of the hijackers he selected were Saudis because
they had the easiest time getting visas. According to statistics gathered by the Government
Accountability Office, before 9/11 only three percent of Saudi applicants were interviewed
prior to being issued a visa, and only one percent were refused.
The Bush administration "is playing into al Qaida's hands" by subjecting Saudi visa applicants
to special scrutiny, Mr. Gore said.
"The worst thing we can possibly do is to cut off the channels of friendship and mutual
understanding between Saudi Arabia and the United States," he said.
Some Americans think it would be worse to let into the country terrorists bent on perpetrating
The former vice president's speech attracted little attention from the news media, but drew
condemnation from Web loggers who were appalled both by what he said and where he said it.
"Only Al Gore could come up with the idea of criticizing Bush for not sucking up to the Saudis
enough," sighed law professor Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit), who had been a volunteer on Mr.
Gore's 1988 presidential campaign.
"It is one thing to say such things to an American audience in an effort to change our
policy...It is another thing entirely to travel to a foreign country that features pivotally
for the war for our generation for the purpose of denouncing American policies," said
One wonders what possessed the former vice president to say what he said where he said it.
Perhaps he is so embittered by his narrow 2000 loss that he doesn't mind saying things helpful
to America's enemies if they might be hurtful to George W. Bush. Perhaps he is desperate for
money and will say whatever his paymasters want to hear in the hopes of garnering future
invitations. And maybe he just isn't all that bright. He did flunk out of both law school and
Whatever the reason, Mr. Gore's remarks will not assist Democrats in persuading swing voters
they can be trusted with national security... which may be why his remarks drew so little
attention from the news media.