Al Gore denounces every George W. Bush proposal as a “risky scheme.”
On Saturday, the Vice President took his criticism of the Bush defense
plan to the United States Military Academy at West Point, this nation’s
premiere training ground for the next generation of army officers.

Mr. Gore didn’t mention his Republican rival by name in his
commencement address at Michie Stadium, but told the graduating class of
second lieutenants, “An approach that combines serious unilateral
reductions with an attempt to build a massive defense system would create
instability and thus undermine our security.” Translation: If we use the
best available technology to defend the people of this country, it might
be threatening to Russia or China.

The reaction from the future leaders of our next fighting force was
underwhelming. Instilled in every soldier is a respect for authority.
They listened attentively and applauded politely, especially when Gore
called for higher military pay, but his central message was not lost on
these young cadets. It was classic: Let’s put down our weapons and we
will all be friends.

Gore told this audience, “The administration has been working on the
technology for a national missile defense system designed to protect all
50 states from a limited attack at the hands of a rogue state.” This
runs counter to their military training. When you prepare for war, you
look at worst case — not best case — scenarios. If you attack, you
better attack with full force. Likewise, if someone attacks you, assume
it will be all out war and prepare accordingly.

This administration wants us to defend us from two-bit thugs like
Saddam Hussein and Slabodan Milosevic, in other words, possible pin
pricks from rogue nations. However there is no plan to defend this
country against countries that have the power to destroy us. The only
defense against these countries in the Clinton/Gore bag of tricks is to
appease them. That is why President Clinton is going to Moscow this
week, with his hat in his hand, to try to get the Russians on board the
START II arms reduction agreement. The Russians have said they will not
abide by this treaty if the United States violates or withdraws from the
1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty we signed with the old Soviet Union,
which bans national missile defenses.

Under the terms of this agreement, each country is allowed to defend
only one site. The Soviets put up a multi-layered missile defense around
Moscow, which covers the country’s most densely populated area and
happens to be the seat of the Russian government. We put up a
missile defense around Grand Forks, North Dakota, which covered a few
missile silos and a few cows. It eventually was discarded. Meanwhile,
the Russians kept improving their missile defense system, which is the
only such defense in the entire world against these powerful weapons.
Under the terms of the ABM treaty, we are vulnerable; the Russians are
not. Clinton and Gore want to keep it that way.

While in Moscow, Mr. Clinton will ask Russian President Vladimir Putin
to amend the ABM treaty to allow us to defend ourselves against a few
incoming missiles from North Korea, Iraq or other “rogue” states, but not
against the big stuff in the Russian arsenal. George W. Bush says he is
willing to scrap the ABM treaty in order to defend this country against
any threat.

The Clinton/Gore plan is based on appeasement, hope and a lot of luck.
The George W. Bush plan is based on peace through strength. Who has the
risky defense scheme?

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