Al Gore

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We have to go far — quickly. And that means we have to quickly find a way to change the world's consciousness about exactly what we're facing, and why we have to work to solve it.

Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. (born 31 March 1948) is an American politician and social activist. The son of Albert Gore and the husband of Tipper Gore, he was the 45th Vice President of the United States of America and winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, which he shared with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Quotes[edit]

We Americans write our own history. And the chapters of which we're proudest are the ones where we had the courage to change.
  • We Americans write our own history. And the chapters of which we're proudest are the ones where we had the courage to change. Time and again, Americans have seen the need for change, and have taken the initiative to bring that change to life.
  • During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.
    During a quarter century of public service, including most of it long before I came into my current job, I have worked to try to improve the quality of life in our country and in our world. And what I've seen during that experience is an emerging future that's very exciting, about which I'm very optimistic, and toward which I want to lead.
The day I made that statement, I was tired because I had been up all night inventing the Camcorder.
  • The day I made that statement, I was tired because I had been up all night inventing the Camcorder.
    • Joking about reports that he had claimed to have invented the internet, as quoted in The Boston Globe (9 April 1999)
  • I have ridden the mighty moon-worm!
    • Guest appearance on Futurama episode "Crimes of the Hot" (10 November 2002)
It wasn't, "We the conglomerates." It wasn't, "We the corporations." It was, "We the people."
  • American troops and American taxpayers are shouldering a huge burden with no end in sight because Mr. Bush took us to war on false premises and with no plan to win the peace.
    • "How to Debate George Bush" in The New York Times (29 September 2004)
  • Please don't recount this vote.
  • We would not have invaded a country that did not attack us. We would not have taken money from the working families and given it to the most wealthy families. We would not be trying to control and intimidate the news media. We would not be routinely torturing people.
We need to solve the climate crisis, it's not a political issue, it's a moral issue. We have everything we need to get started, with the possible exception of the will to act, that's a renewable resource, let's renew it.
  • The very first words that we, the American nation, spoke were right here in Philadelphia. You know those words: "We the people." It wasn't, "We the conglomerates." It wasn't, "We the corporations." It was, "We the people."
    • As quoted by the Philadelphia Daily News (21 October 2005)
  • My fellow Americans, people all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis, it's not a political issue, it's a moral issue. We have everything we need to get started, with the possible exception of the will to act, that's a renewable resource, let's renew it.
  • The planet has a fever. If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. If the doctor says you need to intervene here, you don't say, "Well, I read a science fiction novel that told me it's not a problem." If the crib's on fire, you don't speculate that the baby is flame retardant. You take action.
I'm involved in a different kind of campaign myself — to make sure that the climate crisis is the number one issue on the agenda of candidates in both parties.
  • I'm involved in a different kind of campaign myself — to make sure that the climate crisis is the number one issue on the agenda of candidates in both parties. And I know that sounds like an unrealistic goal right now, but I will wager that by the time the elections of November 2008 come around, it will be the number one issue in both parties.
  • I've chosen not to challenge the rule of law, because in our system there really is no intermediate step between a Supreme Court decision and violent revolution. When the Supreme Court makes a decision, no matter how strongly one disagrees with it, one faces a choice — are we, in John Adams' phrase, a nation of laws, or is it a contest made on raw power?
  • I've kind of fallen out of love with politics. ... Whatever experience and talents I've gained over the years — I think it may well be that the highest and best use of that is to try to bring enough awareness of the solutions to the climate crisis and enough of a sense of urgency that we come together across party lines on behalf of our children.
  • Of course, the popular vote was in my favour, and the outcome in the electoral college was not driven by an effort to count every vote that was cast, because the counting was truncated by a Supreme Court decision. In the American system, unfortunately there is no intermediate step between a Supreme Court decision and violent revolution.
    Given those two remaining alternatives, I took the advice of Winston Churchill, who said that the American people generally do the right thing after first exhausting every available alternative. Choosing to live under the rule of law seemed to be the only alternative remaining, even though I strongly, strongly disagreed with the Supreme Court decision. Historians and scholars will put that decision in its own separate category.
  • There's an old African proverb that says "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." We have to go far — quickly. And that means we have to quickly find a way to change the world's consciousness about exactly what we're facing, and why we have to work to solve it.
  • The great Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen, wrote, "One of these days, the younger generation will come knocking at my door." The future is knocking at our door right now. Make no mistake, the next generation will ask us one of two questions. Either they will ask: "What were you thinking; why didn't you act?" Or they will ask instead: "How did you find the moral courage to rise and successfully resolve a crisis that so many said was impossible to solve?"
  • The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk. And even more — if more should be required — the future of human civilization is at stake.
  • Like an audience entertained by a magician, we allow ourselves to be deceived by those with a stake in persuading us to ignore reality.
    • "Without a Trace" (review of The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert), New York Times Sunday Book Review, 10 February 2014, page BR1

IPI speech (2000)[edit]

Address to the International Press Institute, Boston, Massachusetts (30 April 2000)
We are now in a new era. To label this time "the post-Cold War era" belies its uniqueness and its significance. We are now in a Global Age.
  • This is a time of great opportunity for our country. Our economy is the envy of the world. Living standards are rising — and the gap between the rich and the poor is closing for the first time in 20 years. America is a powerful engine for the global economy, because we have met our responsibility to balance our budget, to begin paying down our debt, and to embrace our role in supporting free markets and economic growth among all nations.
  • For all of my career, I have believed that America has a responsibility to lead in the world. That's why I was one of only a few Democrats in the United States Senate to vote in support of the use of force to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.
  • We are now in a new era. To label this time "the post-Cold War era" belies its uniqueness and its significance. We are now in a Global Age. Like it or not, we live in an age when our destinies and the destinies of billions of people around the globe are increasingly intertwined. When our grand domestic and international challenges are also intertwined. We should neither bemoan nor naively idealize this new reality. We should deal with it.
  • Today, at the dawn of the 21st Century, we need a foreign policy that addresses the classic security threats — and understands the new ones as well. We need a new approach for a new century — grounded in our own economic and security interests, but uplifted by what is right in the world. We need to pursue a policy of "forward engagement" — addressing problems early in their development before they become crises; addressing them as close to the source of the problem as possible; and having the forces and resources to deal with those threats as soon after their emergence as possible.
We need not only a new generation of weapons. We need a new generation of thinking.
  • First, America must have a strong defense. We must never forget that our national defense is about much more than the land within our borders. Just as we fought and conquered totalitarianism during World War Two — just as we fought and conquered communism during the Cold War — we are defending the idea of freedom itself.
  • But we need not only a new generation of weapons. We need a new generation of thinking.
    That means strengthening and renewing our key alliances.
  • In the Global Age, we must be prepared to engage in regional conflicts selectively — where the stability of a region important to our national security is at stake; where we can assure ourselves that nothing short of military engagement can secure our national interest; where we are certain that the use of military force can succeed in doing so; where we have allies willing to help share the burden, and where the cost is proportionate. America cannot be the world's policeman. But we must reject the new isolationism that says: don't help anywhere, because we can not help everywhere.
We need to intensify cooperation with civilized governments all over the world to combat the common threat of terrorism.
  • We need to intensify cooperation with civilized governments all over the world to combat the common threat of terrorism.
  • The disruption of the world's ecological systems — from the rise of global warming and the consequent damage to our climate balance, to the loss of living species and the depletion of ocean fisheries and forest habitats — continues at a frightening rate. Practically every day, it becomes clearer to us that must act now to protect our Earth, while preserving and creating jobs for our people.
    And at the very same time that these threats are developing, the traditional nation-state itself is changing — as power moves upwards and downwards, to everything from supra-national organizations and coalitions all the way down to feuding clans. Susceptible to tyrants willing to exploit ethnic and religious rivalries, the weakest of these states have either imploded into civil war or threatened to lash out across their borders.
    To meet these challenges requires cooperation on a scale not seen before. A realistic reading of the world today demands reinvigorated international and regional institutions. It demands that we confront threats before they spiral out of the control. And it requires American leadership — to protect our interests and uphold our values.
A responsible foreign policy must harness all our economic and military might — but it must also make use of our values and principles.
  • I believe that now we have a profound responsibility to open the gates of opportunity for all the world's people so that they can become stakeholders in the kind of society we would like to build at large in the world and at home. Let me be clear: promoting prosperity throughout the world is a crucial form of forward engagement.
    We know how to launch this renaissance — for what has worked to spark the economic boom here in the United States is, at its essence, the way we can spark the fires of growth abroad. The difference is one of degree, not kind.
  • We must also promote global access to the Internet. We need to bridge the digital divide not just within our country, but among countries. Only by giving people around the world access to this technology can they tap into the potential of the Information Age.
  • We need not only open trading systems, but systems that work for people around the world — taking into account not only the bottom line, but the well-being of working men and women, the protection of children against sweatshop labor, and the protection of the environment.
  • I believe that we must not waste this moment. A responsible foreign policy must look outward from a stance of forward engagement, to our broadest hopes for the world — not just inward, to our narrowest fears.
    A responsible foreign policy must harness all our economic and military might — but it must also make use of our values and principles.
  • If we meet our great responsibility, I believe we can not only deter aggression and create an ever more secure and widening world of security — but we can also shape, step by step, a future of liberty and opportunity across the world.

Concession speech (2000)[edit]

Televison address (13 December 2000)
While there will be time enough to debate our continuing differences, now is the time to recognize that that which unites us is greater than that which divides us.
  • Just moments ago, I spoke with George W. Bush and congratulated him on becoming the 43rd president of the United States. And I promised him that I wouldn't call him back this time. I offered to meet with him as soon as possible so that we can start to heal the divisions of the campaign and the contest through which we've just passed.
  • Now the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken. Let there be no doubt, while I strongly disagree with the court's decision, I accept it. I accept the finality of this outcome which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College. And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession. I also accept my responsibility, which I will discharge unconditionally, to honor the new President-elect and do everything possible to help him bring Americans together in fulfillment of the great vision that our Declaration of Independence defines and that our Constitution affirms and defends.
  • This has been an extraordinary election. But in one of God's unforeseen paths, this belatedly broken impasse can point us all to a new common ground, for its very closeness can serve to remind us that we are one people with a shared history and a shared destiny.
  • I know that many of my supporters are disappointed. I am too. But our disappointment must be overcome by our love of country.
    And I say to our fellow members of the world community, let no one see this contest as a sign of American weakness. The strength of American democracy is shown most clearly through the difficulties it can overcome.
  • This is America. Just as we fight hard when the stakes are high, we close ranks and come together when the contest is done. And while there will be time enough to debate our continuing differences, now is the time to recognize that that which unites us is greater than that which divides us. While we yet hold and do not yield our opposing beliefs, there is a higher duty than the one we owe to political party. This is America and we put country before party; we will stand together behind our new president.
  • I've seen America in this campaign, and I like what I see. It's worth fighting for and that's a fight I'll never stop. As for the battle that ends tonight, I do believe, as my father once said, that "No matter how hard the loss, defeat might serve as well as victory to shape the soul and let the glory out."

Our Larger Tasks (2002)[edit]

Address to the Council on Foreign Relations : "A Commentary on the War Against Terror: Our Larger Tasks" (12 February 2002)
Tonight I reaffirm that support of the President's conduct of the military campaign in Afghanistan, and I appreciate his candor in telling the American people that this will be a long struggle — for which the nation must be braced and its political leadership united across party lines.
  • A lot of people have let me know they wished I had been speaking out on public affairs long before now. But in the aftermath of a very divisive election, I thought it would be graceless to do so and possibly damaging to the nation.
    And then came September 11th.
    In the immediate aftermath, I expressed full support for our Commander-in-Chief, President George W. Bush. Tonight I reaffirm that support of the President's conduct of the military campaign in Afghanistan, and I appreciate his candor in telling the American people that this will be a long struggle — for which the nation must be braced and its political leadership united across party lines.
  • If yesterday marked the five month anniversary of the darkest day in American history, today — the Day After — must mark the anniversary of one of the greatest days in American history: because on September 12, a bruised and battered nation began to fight back. Some fought back by rushing to aid and rescue the few surviving victims of the tragedy — and to aid and comfort the grieving and bereaved.
  • What are the next steps in the war against terrorism? And beyond immediate next steps, what is the longer-range plan of action? And finally, what should be done to deal with root causes of this threat?
  • As important as identifying Iraq, Iran and North Korea for what they are, we must be equally bold in identifying other evils that confront us. For there is another Axis of Evil in the world: poverty and ignorance; disease and environmental disorder; corruption and political oppression. We may well put down terror in its present manifestations. But if we do not attend to the larger fundamentals as well, then the ground is fertile and has been seeded for the next generation of those born to hate us, who will hold these things up before the world's poor and dispossessed, and say that all these things are in our image, and rekindle the war we are now hoping to snuff out.
  • The evil we now confront is not just the one-time creation of a charismatic leader and his co-conspirators, or even of a handful of regimes. What we deal with now is today's manifestation of an anger welling up from deep layers of grievance shared by many millions of people.
    Military force alone cannot deal with this. Public diplomacy alone cannot drain this reservoir. What will be needed is a far reaching American strategy for encouraging reform, and for engaging day in and day out with societies that are trying to cast off the curse of bitter experience relived continuously. Hope for the future is the only way to put out these fires.
  • Disrespect, the feeling that what one has to offer in life has been rejected, the feeling that one has joined history's losers can make us as human beings more vulnerable to evil.
  • We must acknowledge that the utter poverty of hundreds of millions of people is not a matter for compassion only, but a threat in the long term to the growth and vigor of the global economic system. We must see it as a part of our charge to help create economic opportunity so that the gap between the richest and poorest does not grow ever wider.
Our most important immediate task is to continue to tear up the Al Qaeda network, and since it is present in many countries, it will be an operation, which requires new forms of sustained cooperation with other governments.
  • Our most important immediate task is to continue to tear up the Al Qaeda network, and since it is present in many countries, it will be an operation, which requires new forms of sustained cooperation with other governments.
    Even if we give first priority to the destruction of terrorist networks, and even if we succeed, there are still governments that could bring us great harm. And there is a clear case that one of these governments in particular represents a virulent threat in a class by itself: Iraq.
    As far as I am concerned, a final reckoning with that government should be on the table. To my way of thinking, the real question is not the principle of the thing, but of making sure that this time we will finish the matter on our terms. But finishing it on our terms means more than a change of regime in Iraq.
  • In 1991, I crossed party lines and supported the use of force against Saddam Hussein, but he was allowed to survive his defeat as the result of a calculation we all had reason to deeply regret for the ensuing decade. And we still do. So this time, if we resort to force, we must absolutely get it right. It must be an action set up carefully and on the basis of the most realistic concepts. Failure cannot be an option, which means that we must be prepared to go the limit. And wishful thinking based on best-case scenarios or excessively literal transfers of recent experience to different conditions would be a recipe for disaster.
  • It is important that America not just stand tall against terrorists, but America must also stand for economic opportunity and democratic freedoms. America must stand for human rights. America must stand for the rights of women. America must stand for environmental protection and energy conservation.
    The Administration in which I served looked at the challenges we faced in the world and said we wished to tackle these "With others, if possible; alone, if we must." This Administration sometimes seems inclined to stand that on its head, so that the message is: "With others, if we must; by ourselves, if possible."
  • One of the truly bad things about our politics is that it incites each administration to attack every last thing its predecessor has done, and to either tear down what was left or rename it so that its parentage can be forgotten. We did some of that — but we also kept a lot of what we inherited from the first Bush administration and we protected it and built upon it. The struggle against terror may last for a very long time, even past a shift of parties in power.
  • When all is said and done, I hope that when the people of our country next return the White House for a time to the Democratic Party, our leadership then will be big enough to salute the present administration for what it will have done that is wise and good. And to build upon it forthrightly.
    Towards that end, we must now expand our concept of what is needed to reach the goals upon which we all agree. The United States needs to create a world made more just and more hopeful, not just a world made more profitable for ourselves. I hope that this President's record makes it damn hard for the competition to complain about his record in foreign policy. That may be bad for the loyal opposition. But it's good for the people, who deserve it. And I promise my support for whatever he may do in support of that prayer.

DNC Address (2004)[edit]

Address to the Democratic National Convention (26 July 2004)
  • I'm going to be candid with you. I had hoped to be back here this week under different circumstances, running for re-election. But you know the old saying: you win some, you lose some. And then there's that little-known third category.
    But I didn't come here tonight to talk about the past. After all, I don't want you to think that I lie awake at night counting and recounting sheep. I prefer to focus on the future, because I know from my own experience that America's a land of opportunity, where every little boy and girl has a chance to grow up and win the popular vote.
  • I love this country deeply, and even though I always look to the future with optimism and hope, I do think it's worth pausing for just a moment as we begin this year's convention, to take note of two very important lessons from four years ago.
    The first lesson is this: Take it from me; every vote counts. In our democracy, every vote has power. And never forget that power is yours. Don't let anyone take it away from you or talk you into throwing it away.
    And let's make sure that this time every vote is counted. Let's make sure that the Supreme Court does not pick the next President, and that this President is not the one who picks the next Supreme Court.
    The second lesson from 2000 is this: What happens in a presidential election matters — a lot. The outcome profoundly affects the lives of all 293 million Americans, and people in the rest of the world, too. The choice of who is president affects your life and your family's future.
  • I sincerely ask those watching at home tonight who supported President Bush four years ago: did you really get what you expected from the candidate you voted for? Is our country more united today? Or more divided? Has the promise of compassionate conservatism been fulfilled? Or do those words now ring hollow?
    For that matter, are the economic policies really conservative at all? For example, did you expect the largest deficits in history, year after year? One right after another? And the loss of more than a million jobs?
  • Regardless of your opinion at the beginning of this war, isn't it now abundantly obvious that the way this war has been managed by the administration has gotten us into very serious trouble? Wouldn't we be better off with a new President who hasn't burned his bridges to our allies, and who can rebuild respect for America in the world? Isn't cooperation with other nations crucial to solving our dilemma in Iraq? Isn't it also critical to defeating the terrorists?
  • We have to be crystal clear about the threat we face from terrorism. It is deadly. It is real. It is imminent. But in order to protect our people, shouldn't we focus on the real source of this threat: the group that attacked us and is trying to attack us again: Al Qaeda, headed by Osama bin Laden? Wouldn't we be safer with a President who didn't insist on confusing Al Qaeda with Iraq? Doesn't that divert too much of our attention away from the principal danger?
  • One of our greatest strengths as a democracy is that when we're headed in the wrong direction, we can correct our course. When policies are clearly not working, we, the people, can change them. If our leaders make mistakes, we can hold them accountable — even if they never admit their mistakes.
    I firmly believe America needs new leadership that will make us stronger at home and respected in the world.

NYU Speech (2004)[edit]

Address at New York University (25 May 2004) Full text online
How did we get from September 12th, 2001, when a leading French newspaper ran a giant headline with the words "We Are All Americans Now" and when we had the good will and empathy of all the world — to the horror that we all felt in witnessing the pictures of torture in Abu Ghraib?
  • George W. Bush promised us a foreign policy with humility. Instead, he has brought us humiliation in the eyes of the world.
    He promised to "restore honor and integrity to the White House." Instead, he has brought deep dishonor to our country and built a durable reputation as the most dishonest President since Richard Nixon.
    Honor? He decided not to honor the Geneva Convention. Just as he would not honor the United Nations, international treaties, the opinions of our allies, the role of Congress and the courts, or what Jefferson described as "a decent respect for the opinion of mankind." He did not honor the advice, experience and judgment of our military leaders in designing his invasion of Iraq. And now he will not honor our fallen dead by attending any funerals or even by permitting photos of their flag-draped coffins.
An American policy of dominance is as repugnant to the rest of the world as the ugly dominance of the helpless, naked Iraqi prisoners has been to the American people.
  • How did we get from September 12th, 2001, when a leading French newspaper ran a giant headline with the words "We Are All Americans Now" and when we had the good will and empathy of all the world — to the horror that we all felt in witnessing the pictures of torture in Abu Ghraib?
    To begin with, from its earliest days in power, this administration sought to radically destroy the foreign policy consensus that had guided America since the end of World War II. The long successful strategy of containment was abandoned in favor of the new strategy of "preemption." And what they meant by preemption was not the inherent right of any nation to act preemptively against an imminent threat to its national security, but rather an exotic new approach that asserted a unique and unilateral U.S. right to ignore international law wherever it wished to do so and take military action against any nation, even in circumstances where there was no imminent threat. All that is required, in the view of Bush's team is the mere assertion of a possible, future threat — and the assertion need be made by only one person, the President.
  • More disturbing still was their frequent use of the word "dominance" to describe their strategic goal, because an American policy of dominance is as repugnant to the rest of the world as the ugly dominance of the helpless, naked Iraqi prisoners has been to the American people. Dominance is as dominance does.
  • Dominance is not really a strategic policy or political philosophy at all. It is a seductive illusion that tempts the powerful to satiate their hunger for more power still by striking a Faustian bargain. And as always happens — sooner or later — to those who shake hands with the devil, they find out too late that what they have given up in the bargain is their soul.
  • One of the clearest indications of the impending loss of intimacy with one's soul is the failure to recognize the existence of a soul in those over whom power is exercised, especially if the helpless come to be treated as animals, and degraded.
  • There is good and evil in every person. And what makes the United States special in the history of nations is our commitment to the rule of law and our carefully constructed system of checks and balances. Our natural distrust of concentrated power and our devotion to openness and democracy are what have lead us as a people to consistently choose good over evil in our collective aspirations more than the people of any other nation.
Our founders were insightful students of human nature... they understood that every human being has not only "better angels" in his nature, but also an innate vulnerability to temptation — especially the temptation to abuse power over others.
  • Our founders were insightful students of human nature. They feared the abuse of power because they understood that every human being has not only "better angels" in his nature, but also an innate vulnerability to temptation — especially the temptation to abuse power over others.
    Our founders understood full well that a system of checks and balances is needed in our constitution because every human being lives with an internal system of checks and balances that cannot be relied upon to produce virtue if they are allowed to attain an unhealthy degree of power over their fellow citizens.
  • What happened at the prison, it is now clear, was not the result of random acts by "a few bad apples," it was the natural consequence of the Bush Administration policy that has dismantled those wise constraints and has made war on America's checks and balances.
  • The abuse of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib flowed directly from the abuse of the truth that characterized the Administration's march to war and the abuse of the trust that had been placed in President Bush by the American people in the aftermath of September 11th.
    There was then, there is now and there would have been regardless of what Bush did, a threat of terrorism that we would have to deal with. But instead of making it better, he has made it infinitely worse. We are less safe because of his policies. He has created more anger and righteous indignation against us as Americans than any leader of our country in the 228 years of our existence as a nation — because of his attitude of contempt for any person, institution or nation who disagrees with him.
  • President Bush said in his speech Monday night that the war in Iraq is "the central front in the war on terror." It's not the central front in the war on terror, but it has unfortunately become the central recruiting office for terrorists.
  • The unpleasant truth is that President Bush's utter incompetence has made the world a far more dangerous place and dramatically increased the threat of terrorism against the United States. Just yesterday, the International Institute of Strategic Studies reported that the Iraq conflict " has arguably focused the energies and resources of Al Qaeda and its followers while diluting those of the global counterterrorism coalition." The ISS said that in the wake of the war in Iraq Al Qaeda now has more than 18,000 potential terrorists scattered around the world and the war in Iraq is swelling its ranks.
  • The war plan was incompetent in its rejection of the advice from military professionals and the analysis of the intelligence was incompetent in its conclusion that our soldiers would be welcomed with garlands of flowers and cheering crowds. Thus we would not need to respect the so-called Powell doctrine of overwhelming force.
    There was also in Rumsfeld's planning a failure to provide security for nuclear materials, and to prevent widespread lawlessness and looting.
    Luckily, there was a high level of competence on the part of our soldiers even though they were denied the tools and the numbers they needed for their mission.
  • Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki told Congress in February that the occupation could require "several hundred thousand troops." But because Rumsfeld and Bush did not want to hear disagreement with their view that Iraq could be invaded at a much lower cost, Shinseki was hushed and then forced out.
The soldiers who are accused of committing these atrocities are, of course, responsible for their own actions and if found guilty, must be severely and appropriately punished. But they are not the ones primarily responsible for the disgrace that has been brought upon the United States of America.
  • The soldiers who are accused of committing these atrocities are, of course, responsible for their own actions and if found guilty, must be severely and appropriately punished. But they are not the ones primarily responsible for the disgrace that has been brought upon the United States of America.
    Private Lynndie England did not make the decision that the United States would not observe the Geneva Convention. Specialist Charles Graner was not the one who approved a policy of establishing an American Gulag of dark rooms with naked prisoners to be "stressed" and even — we must use the word — tortured — to force them to say things that legal procedures might not induce them to say.
    These policies were designed and insisted upon by the Bush White House.
  • Indeed, the secrecy of the program indicates an understanding that the regular military culture and mores would not support these activities and neither would the American public or the world community. Another implicit acknowledgement of violations of accepted standards of behavior is the process of farming out prisoners to countries less averse to torture and giving assignments to private contractors.
    President Bush set the tone for our attitude for suspects in his State of the Union address. He noted that more than 3,000 "suspected terrorists" had been arrested in many countries and then he added, "and many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way: they are no longer a problem to the United States and our allies."
    George Bush promised to change the tone in Washington. And indeed he did.
  • President Bush owes more than one apology. On the list of those he let down are the young soldiers who are themselves apparently culpable, but who were clearly put into a moral cesspool. The perpetrators as well as the victims were both placed in their relationship to one another by the policies of George W. Bush.
    How dare the incompetent and willful members of this Bush/Cheney Administration humiliate our nation and our people in the eyes of the world and in the conscience of our own people. How dare they subject us to such dishonor and disgrace. How dare they drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud of Saddam Hussein's torture prison.
  • One of the Generals in charge of this war policy went on a speaking tour in his spare time to declare before evangelical groups that the US is in a holy war as "Christian Nation battling Satan." This same General Boykin was the person who ordered the officer who was in charge of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay to extend his methods to Iraq detainees, prisoners.
Going it alone may satisfy a political instinct but it is dangerous to our military, even without their Commander in Chief taunting terrorists to "bring it on."
  • As a nation, our greatest export has always been hope: hope that through the rule of law people can be free to pursue their dreams, that democracy can supplant repression and that justice, not power, will be the guiding force in society. Our moral authority in the world derived from the hope anchored in the rule of law. With this blatant failure of the rule of law from the very agents of our government, we face a great challenge in restoring our moral authority in the world and demonstrating our commitment to bringing a better life to our global neighbors.
  • These horrors were the predictable consequence of policy choices that flowed directly from this administration's contempt for the rule of law. And the dominance they have been seeking is truly not simply unworthy of America — it is also an illusory goal in its own right.
    Our world is unconquerable because the human spirit is unconquerable, and any national strategy based on pursuing the goal of domination is doomed to fail because it generates its own opposition, and in the process, creates enemies for the would-be dominator.
    A policy based on domination of the rest of the world not only creates enemies for the United States and creates recruits for Al Qaeda, it also undermines the international cooperation that is essential to defeating the efforts of terrorists who wish harm and intimidate Americans.
  • Unilateralism, as we have painfully seen in Iraq, is its own reward. Going it alone may satisfy a political instinct but it is dangerous to our military, even without their Commander in Chief taunting terrorists to "bring it on."
Make no mistake, it is precisely our moral authority that is our greatest source of strength...
  • Our future is dependent upon increasing cooperation and interdependence in a world tied ever more closely together by technologies of communications and travel. The emergence of a truly global civilization has been accompanied by the recognition of truly global challenges that require global responses that, as often as not, can only be led by the United States — and only if the United States restores and maintains its moral authority to lead.
  • Make no mistake, it is precisely our moral authority that is our greatest source of strength, and it is precisely our moral authority that has been recklessly put at risk by the cheap calculations and mean compromises of conscience wagered with history by this willful president.
  • The same dark spirit of domination has led them to — for the first time in American history — imprison American citizens with no charges, no right to see a lawyer, no right to notify their family, no right to know of what they are accused, and no right to gain access to any court to present an appeal of any sort. The Bush Administration has even acquired the power to compel librarians to tell them what any American is reading, and to compel them to keep silent about the request — or else the librarians themselves can also be imprisoned.
    They have launched an unprecedented assault on civil liberties, on the right of the courts to review their actions, on the right of the Congress to have information to how they are spending the public's money and the right of the news media to have information about the policies they are pursuing.
  • The abhorrent acts in the prison were a direct consequence of the culture of impunity encouraged, authorized and instituted by Bush and Rumsfeld in their statements that the Geneva Conventions did not apply. The apparent war crimes that took place were the logical, inevitable outcome of policies and statements from the administration.
    To me, as glaring as the evidence of this in the pictures themselves was the revelation that it was established practice for prisoners to be moved around during ICRC visits so that they would not be available for visits. That, no one can claim, was the act of individuals. That was policy set from above with the direct intention to violate US values it was to be upholding. It was the kind of policy we see — and criticize in places like China and Cuba.
  • One of the most tragic consequences of these official crimes is that it will be very hard for any of us as Americans — at least for a very long time — to effectively stand up for human rights elsewhere and criticize other governments, when our policies have resulted in our soldiers behaving so monstrously. This administration has shamed America and deeply damaged the cause of freedom and human rights everywhere, thus undermining the core message of America to the world.
  • President Bush offered a brief and half-hearted apology to the Arab world — but he should apologize to the American people for abandoning the Geneva Conventions.
    He also owes an apology to the U.S. Army for cavalierly sending them into harm's way while ignoring the best advice of their commanders.
    Perhaps most importantly of all, he should apologize to all those men and women throughout our world who have held the ideal of the United States of America as a shining goal, to inspire their hopeful efforts to bring about justice under a rule of law in their own lands.
    Of course, the problem with all these legitimate requests is that a sincere apology requires an admission of error, a willingness to accept responsibility and to hold people accountable.
    And President Bush is not only unwilling to acknowledge error. He has thus far been unwilling to hold anyone in his administration accountable for the worst strategic and military miscalculations and mistakes in the history of the United States of America.
  • In December of 2000, even though I strongly disagreed with the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to order a halt to the counting of legally cast ballots, I saw it as my duty to reaffirm my own strong belief that we are a nation of laws and not only accept the decision, but do what I could to prevent efforts to delegitimize George Bush as he took the oath of office as president.
    I did not at that moment imagine that Bush would, in the presidency that ensued, demonstrate utter contempt for the rule of law and work at every turn to frustrate accountability…
    So today, I want to speak on behalf of those Americans who feel that President Bush has betrayed our nation's trust, those who are horrified at what has been done in our name, and all those who want the rest of the world to know that we Americans see the abuses that occurred in the prisons of Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo and secret locations as yet undisclosed as completely out of keeping with the character and basic nature of the American people and at odds with the principles on which America stands.

An Inconvenient Truth (2006)[edit]

I am Al Gore, and I used to be the next president of the United States of America.
Main article: An Inconvenient Truth
  • I am Al Gore, and I used to be the next president of the United States of America.
    [laughter]
    I don't find that particularly funny.
  • I've been trying to tell this story a long time, and I feel as if I've failed to get the message across.
That one picture exploded in the consciousness of humankind...
  • There are good people, who are in politics — in both parties — who hold this at arm's length, because if they acknowledge it and recognize it, then the moral imperative to make big changes is inescapable.
  • They looked up and they snapped this picture, and it became known as "Earthrise" And that one picture exploded in the consciousness of humankind. It led to dramatic changes. Within 18 months of this picture being taken the modern environmental movement had begun.
    • On the first pictures of the Earth as a full globe taken by the Apollo 8 crew.
  • The struggles, the victories that aren't really victories, the defeats that aren't really defeats, they can serve to magnify the significance of some trivial step forward, exaggerate the seeming importance of some massive setback.
  • Making mistakes in centuries and generations past would have consequences that we could overcome. We don't have that luxury anymore.
  • Old Habits plus Old Technology have predictable consequences. Old Habits, that are hard to change, plus New Technology can have dramatically altered consequences.
  • We have to think differently about war. Because the new technologies so completely transform the consequences of that old habit that we can't just mindlessly continue the patterns of the past.
  • It takes a sudden jolt sometimes for us to become aware of a danger. If it seems gradual, even if it really is happening quickly, we're capable of just sitting there and not responding, and not reacting.
  • It's just human nature to take time to connect the dots. I know that. But I also know there can be a day of reckoning, when you wish you had connected the dots more quickly.
  • There are three misconceptions in particular that bedevil our thinking. The first: isn't there a disagreement among scientists as to whether the problem is real or not? Actually... not really.
  • I guess the thing I've spent more time on than anything else in this slide show is trying to identify all those things in people's minds that serve as obstacles to them understanding this. And whenever I feel like I've identified an obstacle I try to take it apart, roll it away, move it, demolish it, blow it up. I've set myself a goal: communicate this real clearly. The only way I know to do it is city by city, person by person, family by family, and I have faith that pretty soon that enough minds are changed that we cross a threshold.
  • We have everything we need, save perhaps, political will. But, you know what ... political will is a renewable resource. ... The solutions are in our hands. We just have to have the determination to make them happen.
  • I believe this is a moral issue. It is your time to seize this issue. It is our time to rise again, to secure our future.

NYU Law School speech (2006)[edit]

Address at New York University Law School (18 September 2006)
For the last fourteen years, I have advocated the elimination of all payroll taxes — including those for social security and unemployment compensation — and the replacement of that revenue in the form of pollution taxes — principally on CO2.
  • Many scientists are now warning that we are moving closer to several "tipping points" that could — within as little as 10 years — make it impossible for us to avoid irretrievable damage to the planet's habitability for human civilization. In this regard, just a few weeks ago, another group of scientists reported on the unexpectedly rapid increases in the release of carbon and methane emissions from frozen tundra in Siberia, now beginning to thaw because of human caused increases in global temperature. The scientists tell us that the tundra in danger of thawing contains an amount of additional global warming pollution that is equal to the total amount that is already in the earth's atmosphere.
  • It is, in other words, time for a national oil change. That is apparent to anyone who has looked at our national dipstick.
  • For the last fourteen years, I have advocated the elimination of all payroll taxes — including those for social security and unemployment compensation — and the replacement of that revenue in the form of pollution taxes — principally on CO2. The overall level of taxation would remain exactly the same. It would be, in other words, a revenue neutral tax swap. But, instead of discouraging businesses from hiring more employees, it would discourage business from producing more pollution.
    Global warming pollution, indeed all pollution, is now described by economists as an "externality." This absurd label means, in essence: we don't need to keep track of this stuff so let's pretend it doesn't exist.
    And sure enough, when it's not recognized in the marketplace, it does make it much easier for government, business, and all the rest of us to pretend that it doesn't exist. But what we're pretending doesn't exist is the stuff that is destroying the habitability of the planet.
  • This is an opportunity for bipartisanship and transcendence, an opportunity to find our better selves and in rising to meet this challenge, create a better brighter future — a future worthy of the generations who come after us and who have a right to be able to depend on us.

The Assault on Reason (2007)[edit]

Online excerpts in TIME (16 May 2007) & All Things Considered (NPR) (25 May 2007)
  • Television's quasi-hypnotic effect is one reason that the political economy supported by the television industry is as different from the vibrant politics of America's first century as those politics were different from the feudalism that thrived on the ignorance of the masses of people in the Dark Ages.
    Our systematic exposure to fear and other arousal stimuli on television can be exploited by the clever public relations specialist, advertiser, or politician.
  • It is well documented that humans are especially fearful of threats that can be easily pictured or imagined. For example, one study found that people are willing to spend significantly more for flight insurance that covers "death by terrorism" than for flight insurance that covers "death by any cause." Now, logically, flight insurance for death by any cause would cover terrorism in addition to a number of other potential problems. But something about the buzzword terrorism creates a vivid impression that generates excessive fear.
  • Social scientists have found that when confronted with either an enormous threat or a huge reward, people tend to focus on the magnitude of the consequence and ignore the probability.
  • 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?"


  • 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.
  • History will surely judge America's decision to invade and occupy a fragile and unstable nation that did not attack us and posed no threat to us as a decision that was not only tragic but absurd. Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator, to be sure, but not one who posed an imminent danger to us. It is a decision that could have been made only at a moment in time when reason was playing a sharply diminished role in our national deliberations.
  • For the first time in American history, the Executive Branch of our government has not only condoned but actively promoted the treatment of captives in wartime that clearly involves torture, thus overturning a prohibition established by General George Washington during the Revolutionary War.
    It is too easy — and too partisan — to simply place the blame on the policies of President George W. Bush. We are all responsible for the decisions our country makes. We have a Congress. We have an independent judiciary. We have checks and balances. We are a nation of laws. We have free speech. We have a free press. Have they all failed us? Why has America's public discourse become less focused and clear, less reasoned? Faith in the power of reason — the belief that free citizens can govern themselves wisely and fairly by resorting to logical debate on the basis of the best evidence available, instead of raw power — remains the central premise of American democracy. This premise is now under assault.
  • It is simply no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse. I know I am not alone in feeling that something has gone fundamentally wrong. In 2001, I had hoped it was an aberration when polls showed that three-quarters of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for attacking us on Sept. 11. More than five years later, however, nearly half of the American public still believes Saddam was connected to the attack.
  • At first I thought the exhaustive, nonstop coverage of the O. J. Simpson trial was just an unfortunate excess — an unwelcome departure from the normal good sense and judgment of our television news media. Now we know that it was merely an early example of a new pattern of serial obsessions that periodically take over the airwaves for weeks at a time: the Michael Jackson trial and the Robert Blake trial, the Laci Peterson tragedy and the Chandra Levy tragedy, Britney and KFed, Lindsay and Paris and Nicole.
    While American television watchers were collectively devoting 100 million hours of their lives each week to these and other similar stories, our nation was in the process of more quietly making what future historians will certainly describe as a series of catastrophically mistaken decisions on issues of war and peace, the global climate and human survival, freedom and barbarity, justice and fairness. For example, hardly anyone now disagrees that the choice to invade Iraq was a grievous mistake. Yet, incredibly, all of the evidence and arguments necessary to have made the right decision were available at the time and in hindsight are glaringly obvious.
Any new dominant communications medium leads to a new information ecology in society that inevitably changes the way ideas, feelings, wealth, power and influence are distributed and the way collective decisions are made.
  • In the world of television, the massive flows of information are largely in only one direction, which makes it virtually impossible for individuals to take part in what passes for a national conversation. Individuals receive, but they cannot send. They hear, but they do not speak. The "well-informed citizenry" is in danger of becoming the "well-amused audience."
  • Any new dominant communications medium leads to a new information ecology in society that inevitably changes the way ideas, feelings, wealth, power and influence are distributed and the way collective decisions are made.
  • We have created a wealthy society with tens of millions of talented, resourceful individuals who play virtually no role whatsoever as citizens. Bringing these people in — with their networks of influence, their knowledge, and their resources — is the key to creating the capacity for shared intelligence that we need to solve our problems.
  • The remedy for what ails our democracy is not simply better education (as important as that is) or civic education (as important as that can be), but the re-establishment of a genuine democratic discourse in which individuals can participate in a meaningful way — a conversation of democracy in which meritorious ideas and opinions from individuals do, in fact, evoke a meaningful response.
  • Fortunately, the Internet has the potential to revitalize the role played by the people in our constitutional framework. It has extremely low entry barriers for individuals. It is the most interactive medium in history and the one with the greatest potential for connecting individuals to one another and to a universe of knowledge. It's a platform for pursuing the truth, and the decentralized creation and distribution of ideas, in the same way that markets are a decentralized mechanism for the creation and distribution of goods and services. It's a platform, in other words, for reason. But the Internet must be developed and protected, in the same way we develop and protect markets — through the establishment of fair rules of engagement and the exercise of the rule of law. The same ferocity that our Founders devoted to protect the freedom and independence of the press is now appropriate for our defense of the freedom of the Internet. The stakes are the same: the survival of our Republic. We must ensure that the Internet remains open and accessible to all citizens without any limitation on the ability of individuals to choose the content they wish regardless of the Internet service provider they use to connect to the Web. We cannot take this future for granted. We must be prepared to fight for it, because of the threat of corporate consolidation and control over the Internet marketplace of ideas.
  • The democratization of knowledge by the print medium brought the Enlightenment. Now, broadband interconnection is supporting decentralized processes that reinvigorate democracy.

Quotes from Interviews[edit]

When asked about how scary the message about global warming should be, Gore replied:

I think the answer to that depends on where your audience's head is. In the United States of America, unfortunately we still live in a bubble of unreality. And the Category 5 denial is an enormous obstacle to any discussion of solutions. Nobody is interested in solutions if they don't think there's a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis. [1]

From a Charlie Rose interview (4 November 2009):[2]

AL GORE: And even though it has gone through this exhaustive 20-year peer review process with the 3,000 best scientists in the world unanimously endorsing it, every national academy of sciences in a developed country on this planet endorsing it, still, based on some radio talk show host or some odd orthogonal argument...
CHARLIE ROSE: Let me rephrase the question, then. Is there anybody that you know who you respect who comes to a different conclusion than you do?
AL GORE: Not on the basics of global warming science, no. Science magazine did a review of every peer review article for the previous ten years, a large sample of more than 10 percent. None of them disagreed with this consensus.
  • The interior of the earth is extremely hot - several million degrees.
    • From interview he gave to Conan O'Brien in The Tonight Show [3] on 11th November 2009. The real temperature in the inner core is about 9032 - 10832 ºF (5000-6000 ºC).

Quotes about Gore[edit]

  • Al Gore has been warning and educating us about the dangers of climate change for decades. He saw this coming before others in public life and never stopped pushing for action to save our planet, even in the face of public indifference and attacks from those determined to defend the indefensible. His tireless advocacy and his Academy Award-winning film have inspired countless people around the world to join the fight against climate change. I am thrilled by this well-deserved recognition and am grateful to the Nobel Committee for awarding the Peace Prize to him and to those doing ground-breaking work at the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • I want to congratulate our former Vice President Al Gore for winning the Nobel Peace Prize today. No other person has worked harder or done more to draw much needed attention to the crisis of global climate change, one of the most critical issues facing our planet. Future generations will thank him for his work to save our way of life. But the fight is far from over. His example should motivate each one of us to commit ourselves to doing everything we can in our own lives to save our precious planet.
  • Mr. Gore lost the presidency, but in the dignity and grace with which he gave up his legal fight, he united America. Then, faced with what to do with the rest of his life, he took up a personal crusade to combat climate change, even though the odds were stacked against him, his soapbox was small, his audiences were measured in hundreds, and his critics were legion. Nevertheless, Mr. Gore stuck with it and over time has played a central role in building a global consensus for action on this issue.
  • Parson Al winning the Nobel Peace Prize was as predictable as his Oscar for Best Documentary, and represents the final debasement of a once-prestigious award.
  • Algore has conferred upon himself the biggest ticket of his life in the Nobel Prize. Nothing says "I'm smart" quite like an award from a bunch of socialist Swedes, in the community that Algore runs around in. Much the same way as the Nobel Prize gave credence to Jimmy Carter's anti-Semitism and Yasser Arafat's peace campaign, Algore now has that same credibility for the religion of global warming. In my mind, in a fair and honest world, the recipient of this award — the reason for this award being awarded, manmade global warming — should debunk it, because the Nobel committee has lost all credibility long before they gave this award to Algore and the United Nations. Sadly, this will probably, in the minds of the ignorant and those who pay scant attention, lend convenience to the whole phony hoax that is manmade global warming.

External links[edit]

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