Friday, February 17, 2006

More on Al Gore

The commentary on Al Gore's recent comments in Saudi Arabia continue. The Las Vegas Review-Journal calls Al's remarks bizarre.

"Mr. Gore said Arabs in the United States have been "indiscriminately rounded up, often on minor charges of overstaying a visa or not having a green card in proper order, and held in conditions that were just unforgivable."

This goes beyond being politically unwise. It is bizarre.

In an Arab world where torture, beheadings and the cutting off of hands are considered normal sanctions not just for real felonies but also for "heresy" and other thought crimes, what on earth must Mr. Gore's listeners have imagined he meant by "terrible abuses"? What must an audience familiar with prison conditions in Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia picture when Mr. Gore speaks of "unforgivable" conditions?

One doubts they were picturing a warm dry cot, indoor plumbing and three square meals a day while an illegal immigrant who had knowingly outstayed his visa waited for a scheduled court hearing.

In the excess of caution following Sept. 11, were a few American residents of Arab extraction interrogated or even picked up and held incommunicado? Yes. Is it acceptable to criticize such abuses? Of course. Go to it.

But Al Gore clearly has a problem. The son of a famous father, Mr. Gore is "deeply insecure about his ability, stature and credentials," political consultant Dick Morris wrote in the New York Post during the 2000 campaign, in an essay headlined "Why Gore lies."

"He feels that he needs to go the extra mile to burnish his image even if he has to make things up," wrote Mr. Morris -- himself no paragon of rectitude, let us hasten to add."

I have some serious concerns about the statr of Mr. Gore's mental health. One has to wonder about that. given his propensity to make wild eyed accusations and just plain idiotic comments.

Jack Kelly offers has a few things to say on
Al's speech.

"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 number.

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.

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."

Al made some wild assed accusations and Mr. Kelly easily refutes those accusations with facts, some thing Al has not been near in recent years. The 9/11 Commission specifically faulted the ease of immigration from Saudi Arabia as one of the conditions that permitted 9/11 to occur. How soon old Al forgets. Perhaps Al's ties to Occidental Petroleum had some thing to do with his memory loss.

Tom Bevans over at RCP has a couple of comments as well.

It is my opinion that Gore is sucking up to the far left of the dem party. The part of the party controlled by, George Soros and supported by Kos and his ilk. Sadly, Al still thinks he is Presidential timber. Sorry to tell you this Mr. Gore, but what you are is just a pile of discarded wood with serious dry rot. - Sailor

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