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Al Gore

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Terrorism relies on the stimulation of fear for political ends. Indeed, its specific goal is to distort the political reality of a nation by creating fear in the general population that is hugely disproportionate to the actual danger that the terrorists are capable of posing. Ironically, President Bush's response to the terrorist attack of September 11 was, in effect, to further distort America's political reality by creating a new fear of Iraq that was hugely disproportionate to the actual danger Iraq was capable of posing.

 
Al Gore

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September 11 had a profound impact on all of us. But after initially responding in an entirely appropriate way, the administration began to heighten and distort public fear of terrorism to create a political case for attacking Iraq. Despite the absence of proof, Iraq was said to be working hand in hand with al-Qaeda and to be on the verge of a nuclear weapons capability. Defeating Saddam was conflated with bringing war to the terrorists, even though it really meant diverting attention and resources from those who actually attacked us.
When the president of the United States stood before the people of this nation and invited us to "imagine" a terrorist attack with a nuclear weapon, he was referring to terrorists who actually had no connection to Iraq. But because our nation had been subjected to the horrors of 9/11, when our president said "imagine with me this new fear," it was easy enough to bypass the reasoning process that might otherwise have led people to ask, "Wait a minute, Mr. President, where's your evidence?"

 
Al Gore
 

The war on terror is an abstraction. But the terrorists are real people and they are not all alike. Most of the people attacking our soldiers in Iraq originally had nothing to do with al Qaeda. They have been generated by the policies of the Bush administration. We have been spared a terrorist attack at home but it is quite a stretch to attribute that to the invasion of Iraq. The insurrection in Iraq, however, is a somber reality and it doesn't make us safer at home. Our security, far from improving as President Bush claims, is deteriorating.

 
George Soros
 

We are turning into a nation of whimpering slaves to Fear fear of war, fear of poverty, fear of random terrorism, fear of getting down-sized or fired because of the plunging economy, fear of getting evicted for bad debts, or suddenly getting locked up in a military detention camp on vague charges of being a Terrorist sympathizer.

 
Hunter S. Thompson
 

In his response, Foreign Minister Jack Straw said that September 11 had not come in response to any Western attack, and was itself in part responsible for the Iraq War. Straw seems unaware that according to the September 11 Commission report, al-Qaeda conceived 9/11 in some large part as a punishment on the US for supporting Ariel Sharon's iron fist policies toward the Palestinians. Bin Laden had wanted to move the operation up in response to Sharon's threatening visit to the Temple Mount, and again in response to the Israeli attack on the Jenin refugee camp, which left 4,000 persons homeless. Khalid Shaikh Muhammad argued in each case that the operation just was not ready. As for Straw's contention that September 11 caused the Iraq war, he should be reminded that Paul O'Neil reported that the very first Bush cabinet meeting he attended, in late January 2001, was "all about Iraq" and that the 9/11 Commission found no evidence for operational cooperation between Saddam's Iraq and al-Qaeda.

 
Juan Cole
 

You messed up with me, birdie. No? You don't know much about history. You don't know much about anything, you know? A great ignorance is what you've got. You are ignorant, Mr. Danger. You are an ignorant. You are a donkey, Mr. Danger ... By that I mean, you know, to say it with all its letters, to Mr. George W. Bush. You are a donkey, Mr. Bush. I'm going to tell you something, Mr. Danger. You are a coward, you know? You are a coward. Why don't you go to Iraq and command your army? It's so easy to command an army from afar. If you ever come up with the crazy idea of invading Venezuela, I'll be waiting for you in this savanna, Mr. Danger. Come on here, Mr. Danger. Come on here. Come on here, Mr. Danger. Coward, assassin, genocidal... Genocidal, you are a genocidal. You are an alcoholic, a drunk.. A drunk, Mr. Danger. You are immoral, Mr. Danger... You are the worst ever, Mr. Danger ... The worst of this planet, the very worst is called George W. Bush. God save the world from this menace. Because he is an assassin. A sick man, a psychologically ill man, I know it. Personally, he is a coward. But he has a lot of power. He has a lot of power. And look at what's happening in Iraq. Yesterday the world marched against the war... 70%, according to the surveys I've seen, of your own people, Mr. Danger, are against you, against the war. You are a liar, Mr. Danger. You are killing children, Mr. Danger, who aren't responsible for your illnesses, of your complexes. Your soldiers in Iraq are bombing cities. Just yesterday we were watching images of five children who were murdered by you soldiers. They're not the murderers. You are the murderer, coward!

 
George W. Bush
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