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Gore Wants to Mobilize US Against Biological Attack
Reuters ^ | October 24, 2002 | John Whitesides

Posted on 10/24/2002 2:53:18 PM PDT by Sweet_Sunflower29

Former Vice President Al Gore called on Thursday for a broad public health act to mobilize defenses against a possible biological attack, saying the existing threat will grow with a U.S. invasion of Iraq.

In the latest in a string of policy speeches as he ponders another White House run in 2004, Gore cited intelligence estimates that the threat of a bioterror attack from Iraq would jump to "pretty high" after a U.S. strike on Baghdad.

"We need a national defense public health act to respond to the immediate threat in the wake of an attack against Iraq," Gore said in a speech at the George Washington University Medical Center.

"This initiative would not only act as a new line of defense against bioterrorism, it would also improve the way we prevent and detect many other health care problems," he said.

The 2000 Democratic presidential nominee said there was an "immediate and urgent need to act" given the possibility of a biological attack and the implications of the possible threat from Baghdad in the wake of U.S. military action.

"Unfortunately much attention has been focused on mobilizing public opinion for war, but not enough attention has been focused on mobilizing America's first line of defense against biological warfare -- our public health system," he said.

The broader debate about the millions of Americans who lack proper health care and health care insurance should "take a back seat temporarily" while the United States revamps its public health care system to improve its detection and response to a biological weapons attack, he said.

The public health act he envisioned would also integrate preventive health care services into the main health care system, improve communication about the outbreak of dangerous diseases and bolster inspections to prevent attacks on the U.S. food and water supply, he said.


Gore did not give a price tag on the initiative, but an aide said later the initial cost of instituting the public health changes would be about $10 billion.

Gore said it was "unfortunate" the intelligence estimate conveyed to Congress about the increased biological threat after U.S. military action in Iraq was not made public during debate in Congress on an Iraq war resolution.

But the estimate was made public two days before the vote on the resolution, in a CIA letter to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat.

A Gore spokesman said the comment was meant to refer to information about North Korea's attempt to obtain a nuclear weapons, which became public after the vote in Congress. That link was mistakenly cut from the speech, he said.

The address to an overflow crowd in an auditorium at the college was the third in little more than a month by Gore, who lost a bitter presidential race to Republican George W. Bush.

Gore, who has promised to make a decision by the end of the year on whether to challenge Bush in 2004, earlier delivered high-profile speeches questioning Bush's military plans against Iraq and his stewardship of the economy.

Gore also criticized Bush's plan outlined this week to lower the cost of prescription medications, saying it was a "placebo" that would not save patients as much as a Democratic-backed alternative languishing in Congress.

He said the health community has been "lulled into a false sense of complacency" while infectious diseases are on the rise and antibiotic-resistant diseases flourish.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: albertgoreii; albertgorejunior; algore; algoreisnotmyprez; nolegalauthority
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To: Undertow
shut up al, just shut up

Speaking from his medicine cabinet, Al Gore announces sweeping new health care proposals but forgets that he is no longer in government.
doh !

41 posted on 10/24/2002 10:12:47 PM PDT by John Lenin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

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