Mike Gravel has stepped into the tempest in New York surrounding Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit for the United National General Assembly meeting, and the controversial leader’s request to lay a wreath at Ground Zero, which was denied due to security concerns cited by the NYPD.
Gravel then went on to say that it is dangerous not to make a clear distinction between those who attacked the United States on Sept. 11 and those whom President Bush labeled as a member of the ‘Axis of Evil’. Gravel’s main argument springs from an intelligence report describing “Iran’s covert war against the Taliban and its al-Qaida allies.” Gravel regrets that after the United States received help establishing ties with the Northern Alliance during the war in Afghanistan, the Bush administration decided to reject further Iranian resistance rather than work together to hunt down Osama Bin Laden. According to Gravel, there is a great missed opportunity in not letting him “send a message to the Muslim world that 9/11 was an atrocity that everyone, including fundamentalist Muslims, should mourn.”
Back on the campaign trail, Gravel wrapped up a trip through Nevada. While competing with casinos for money in Las Vegas, Gravel impressed the city paper Las Vegas Sun with his anti-war experience acquired during his battles in congress to end the war in Vietnam. Sun reporter J. Patrick Coolican expressed his surprise in what he heard from this ‘fringe’ candidate: Gravel has “a voice more powerful in a 90-minute conversation than in the sound bites of televised debates, where he’s come across as slightly wild-eyed and eccentric.” While in Nevada, Gravel stopped by KNPR studio to discuss the Iraq war, the other candidates, and his plan for direct democracy among other things.