OK, Al Gore did not invent the Internet. J.C.R. Licklider and Leonard Kleinrock of MIT are the real “Fathers of the Internet” according to the Internet Society (ISOC). But the vice president saw the potential of the Net as an education and business tool, voicing his support and sparking the unprecedented growth of a new industry.
Al Gore didn’t receive any of the Academy Awards won by “An Inconvenient Truth”: one for “Best Documentary (Feature)” and the other for Melissa Ethridge’s original song “I Need to Wake Up.” But it was the vice president’s book and activism that awakened us to the acceleration of global warming and the harmful effects of carbon-based fuels.
Al Gore did win the Nobel Peace Prize, along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for bringing a “sharper focus on the processes and decisions that appear to be necessary to protect the world’s future climate, and thereby to reduce the threat to the security of mankind.” He finally got his “win.” It took seven years, a book and a movie, but he finally won. No argument here.
Mr. Gore joins former presidents Jimmy Carter, Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, and 18 other Americans in this elite circle of peacemakers. But does global warming qualify under Alfred Nobel’s ideal of awarding this prize “to the person (or organization) who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations”? I agree with the Committee and would say “yes.”
This is a crushing blow to President Bush’s heartless entrance to this environmental battle. The majority of the planet knows the war in Iraq concerns our fight for energy, not democracy. That is not true for the war we forget about, the war in Afghanistan against the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
The funny thing is that the hero of the Republican Party, Ronald Reagan, stood tall, and worked with 160 nations to phase out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone layer depletion materials to protect the environment. President Nixon started the Environmental Protection Agency. It is a shame that a fellow Republican is destroying the grand efforts of these two presidents.
This is the second time the Nobel Committee sent a signal of disapproval for our sitting president. In 2002, just prior to our invasion of Iraq, the Committee awarded the Peace Prize to President Jimmy Carter for “his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts.” Bush would rather fight than talk.
Even with his film being challenged in a British court, Gore has effectively “turned up the heat” of the discussion, not only on the ecological dangers of our involvement, but of the social and economic threats, all leading to conflict over fossil fuels.
I greatly admire men of peace, including those who serve in our armed forces and our military leaders who understand that war may be the only method to preserve peace. Sending troops into the mountains and deserts of Afghanistan was for the right reasons. Using military strength in Bosnia-Herzegovina to stop the genocide was in the name of peace. Great men and women of war are also great men and women of peace.
The failure of theentire government, Republicans and Democrats, to support any U.N. or African Union actions to end the genocide in Darfur only supports the argument that human rights is not the issue. Oil is the issue. We are fighting for fuel. There are few oil reserves in Darfur. We (and I include myself here) talk a good game, that the U.S. needs to become fuel independent, but we love our cars, computers, air conditioning and all the other energy-devouring essentials that we just can’t live without.
Maybe Al Gore should run for president in 2008. Or maybe not. But he did win the Nobel Peace Prize, and that is victory enough.
David Rosman is a business and political communications consultant, professional speaker and instructor at Columbia College. He welcomes your comments at ProfDave1011@netscape.net.