The first decade of the 21st century is one that America may wish it could start over. On January 1, 2001 this nation started down a path that would lead to many egregious actions by its leaders while great opportunities fell by the wayside. We can't reverse history but we can use a fictional scenario to imagine how things might have been under different leadership that could have taken the nation in a totally different direction.
So let's turn back the clock back to November 7, 2000 and recreate that contentious presidential election featuring Bush versus Gore. And in this fictional scenario let's say that in this election the Democratic candidate, Al Gore, handily defeated the Republican G.W. Bush. Now, what if that had actually happened? How different would America be today?
We should recall that on January 1, 2001 as America entered the 21st century this nation had the wind at its back and was looking forward to a future filled with endless opportunities. At that time America was doing well; the economy was in good shape even though the stock market was still in the throes of the "internet bubble", the nation was not involved in any major military conflict and, believe it or not, the nation had a budget surplus of $230 billion.
So to continue this scenario, former V.P. Al Gore Jr. was inaugurated on January 20, 2001 to become our 43rd president. We should recall that Gore would probably have won that election except for the deceitful decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to "select" Bush as president. Would Gore have been a good president? Well, let's just say this. He or almost any intelligent, well-grounded candidate would almost certainly have possessed better sense, better judgment and better wisdom than Bush, the orchestrator of this wasted decade.
Now let's fast forward to the period just before the tragedy of September 11, 2001 and try to think about how that dastardly crime might never have occurred. Imagine if a President Gore had been given the explicit warnings that Bush had received about an impending attack on America by Osama Bin Laden. It is very likely that he and his advisers would have taken appropriate actions to prevent it. How many presidents would have ignored such a distinct warning? Only one.
But let's say that for various, unknown reasons the president would not have been given any warning and, as a result, the attacks on the WTC occurred. What would have followed? I doubt very much that Gore would have lost his bearings and sense of reasoning, and would have recklessly and preemptively invaded and occupied an entire nation, Afghanistan, with a massive military force to go after a relatively small group of suspected terrorists.
It's more likely that he and his advisers would have used appropriate U.S. intelligence agencies to identify and locate the terrorists and then dispatch American Special Forces to go after them. It is entirely conceivable that, with more intelligent thinking replacing reckless rush to judgment, that more than 100,000 U.S. troops would not have been mired down in that quagmire for over ten years; that hundreds of billions of dollars would not have been wasted.