Presumably Gore wrote this while out from under the protective glare of his bodyguard.
During his tour of Vietnam, the senator's son was assigned a series of bodyguards whose mission it was to ensure that Gore's war injuries would be limited to any paper cuts he might sustain while filing his illiterate scribblings for the Stars and Stripes.
Though Gore's flacks insist that there is "no evidence" Gore noticed anything usual about having a Man Friday serving him mint juleps in wartime, somehow Gore did screw up the courage after only three months of this horror to raise his hand and ask to go home. (The Army grants requests like that all the time: "Can I go home now?")
If Gore didn't know, he was alone in his ignorance. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, soldiers (the ones without bodyguards) used to taunt Little Lord Fauntleroy about his privileged treatment.
Unlike so many Vietnam veterans, the vice president has managed to emerge from his war trauma and open up with the media about the experience. He told Vanity Fair magazine: "I took my turn regularly on the perimeter in these little firebases out in the boonies. Something would move, we'd fire first and ask questions later." He informed The Washington Post: "I was shot at. I spent most of my time in the field." He told The Baltimore Sun: "I carried an M-16" and "I was fired upon."
In point of fact, Gore was never shot at, and never fired a shot in anger. His weapons of choice were white-out and a typewriter ribbon, not an M-16. Though the Los Angeles Times broke the bodyguard story about a year ago, the adversary press never really leapt on it. The Times article was pretty spectacular, citing a number of Gore's fellow servicemen who said that they "were assigned to make sure this son of a prominent politician was never injured in the war."
But then a Gore supporter ("reporter," for short) quickly got one such Man Friday on the record admitting that he was technically called Gore's "security escort" -- not his "bodyguard." That ended the media's interest in the story.
Since then, Gore has felt no compunction about running campaign ads brimming over with photos of GI Al with his prop backpack and M-16. (The bodyguards have been airbrushed out.)
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