Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Alternate history is a fascination of mine. Here's my view of what would have happened if Al Gore had become president:

The Gore Years, 2001-2005

When the Florida Supreme Court effectively created a mechanism to ensure a victory for Vice-President Al Gore, Texas Governor George W. Bush conceded and on January 20, 2001, Albert Arnold Gore, Jr., was inaugurated as the 43rd President of the United States.

Like his predecessor, Bill Clinton, Gore pressed an agenda of tax increases and a liberal social policy. He radically extended the scope of stem cell research and proposed legislation to ensure that by 2010 30% of all motor vehicles would be electrically powered.

Gore’s agenda was cut short by the devastating attacks of September 11, 2001. Four US airliners were commandeered as used as weapons. The Twin Towers were destroyed in New York City and a portion of the Pentagon was destroyed just outside of Washington, DC. A fourth plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field when the passengers and crew attempted to seize control of the craft from the hijackers. In all, over 3,000 people died.

President Gore addressed the nation that night promising that the attackers would be brought to justice. It was quickly established that Al Queda, a terror organization headed by Usama bin Ladin, was responsible. Bin Ladin’s base was in the Taliban-ruled nation of Afghanistan.

Gore launched aerial strikes against Taliban and Al Queda targets in Afghanistan within a week. Gore also sought UN sanctions against Afghanistan. Over the next six months, US forces raided a number of sites in Afghanistan, but the Afghan government and terrorist network remained largely intact.

Gore pursued a dual policy of targeted military response as well as work through the UN, NATO, and other international organizations. However, Muslims radicals all over the Mid-East were emboldened by what they regarded as the anemic response of the West. A pro-Taliban coup overthrew the Pakistani government and Pres. Mubarak of Egypt was assassinated by Egyptian Jihad.

Only July 4, 2002, a second terror attack occurred when a massive truck bomb destroyed the mid-portion of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. 139 people were killed. 24 hours later, a crop-dusting plane spread deadly botulism over tourists at Disney World in Florida. 233 died.

Coups continued to reshape the Mid-East in a more radical direction. Coups changed governments in Bahrain, Yemen and finally on Dec. 19, 2002, in Saudi Arabia.

On December 27, in what it described as a defensive first-strike, Israel attacked Saudi Arabia. In a matter of hours, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, Iran and Afghanistan declared war on Israel. Civil war broke out in Jordan, and Islamist forces entered the country from the Northeast and South. Israel responded by crossing the Jordan and taking the capital of Amman.

On January 2, 2003, a single nuclear weapon was launched from a mobile site in occupied Jordan toward Tel Aviv. Over 295,000 people perished.

Israel responded with a devastating barrage of tactical nuclear weapons against Baghdad, Damascus and Mecca and concentrations of Arab military forces threatening its eastern frontiers. Over 696,000 perished in these raids. This show of force effectively ended the war, but at a terrible price.

Gore dispatched peacekeepers to the devastated areas. He also pressed war crimes charges via The Hague against a long list of offenders, but of the 293 listed by the US government, only 47 had actually been seized.

By late 2003, Gore public approval ratings had sunk to less that 40% of the American people. On January 3, Sen. Tom Daschle (D-ND) announced that he would seek to take the nomination from Pres. Gore.

George W. Bush, having completed his term as governor of Texas, had announced that he would seek the nomination of the Republican Party.

May 30, 2004 saw yet another deadly terror attack on US soil when a series of 12 pipe bombs killed 92 people at the Mall of American in Minneapolis.

Gore narrowed beat off Daschle’s attempt to take the nomination, but was soundly defeated by Bush in November. Bush took 47 states and won by 13% of the popular vote. Bush assumed office promising an all-out War on Terrorism.

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