(CNSNews.com) -The following was issued May 27 by Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson, a West Point graduate and Vietnam vet
Vice President Al Gore gave the commencement address today at the West Point United States Military Academy. Here's what he should have said, but didn't: "I'm sorry."
"I'm sorry that for the last seven years, you've had to abide an Administration that didn't properly value the military's commitment -- at tremendous personal cost and peril -- to defending the freedoms we cherish, and to advancing the cause of liberty around the world.
"I'm sorry we had no discernible foreign policy to guide you.
"I'm sorry that we haven't honored and respected our men and women in uniform as we should have.
"I'm sorry that 12,000 of your fellow soldiers are so poorly paid that they're on food stamps.
"I'm sorry that a third of them have to live in housing that even the Inspector General of the Defense Department calls 'substandard.'
"I'm sorry that we've regularly over-committed and under-funded our armed forces.
"I'm sorry we've run our national security policy by reading the public opinion polls.
"I'm sorry that we've used the military as a laboratory for social policy, rather than as the fighting force it's meant to be.
"I'm sorry I said I would sacrifice military preparedness on the altar of political correctness -- and that I wouldn't have someone like Colin Powell on my staff if he didn't agree with me.
"I wish I could say all this was an oversight. But it wasn't.
"You have to understand: I'm running for President right now, and that means I have to do the flag-waving, rah-rah, 'we love the military' thing because I want the votes of people who believe in that stuff -- probably the overwhelming majority of Americans.
"That's one of the things I learned from my mentor, Bill Clinton -- a man who once wrote that he 'loathe[d] the military,' but who today loves nothing better than to have his picture taken with a bunch of men and women in uniform, while he's wearing that cool leather 'Commander in Chief' bomber jacket that goes with the job. By the way, he really likes it when the Marine Corps Band plays 'Hail to the Chief,' too.
"But a lot of the people who have worked hardest for Clinton and Gore don't care for any of this. They don't like the military at all, when you come right down to it. They barely tolerate it, as a 'necessary evil.'
"You know them -- they're the ones who have protested every military deployment from Vietnam to the Persian Gulf War. They think there really aren't any evil people in the world -- they cringed when Reagan called the Soviet Union an 'evil empire.' They think that no one really wants to do us harm or, if they do, it's for a pretty good reason. They think there's no problem that can't be solved if Americans will just offer a few more concessions.
"These are the same people who, when Bill and I first came into office, told military officers we didn't want them wearing their uniforms around the White House.
"One White House staffer even had the audacity to tell a general -- a graduate of West Point, I might add, who happened to be one of the most decorated men on active duty -- that she wouldn't talk to 'people in uniform.'
"Most of you probably didn't support us in the past, and won't support me in the future, no matter how aggressively I pander to you now.
"So ... congratulations, Class of 2000! Good luck ... and ... oh, yes ... I'm sorry."