I'm a dunce when it comes to history, politics... now I think about it, most things. Anyway, I thought I'd have a stab at an alternate history of the past few years.
Plagued by rumours of an affair with a campaign staffer in the run up to the 1996 election, Bill Clinton lost the Presidential election to Senator Bob Dole. Dole ran a disastrous administration. His job approval ratings plummeted to 38% after several public blowouts over foreign and economic policy with his cabinet, resulting in an unsuccessful and controversial drastic mid-term cabinet shuffle. Dole's approval ratings took another blow as the bottom began to fall out of the dot-com market. While mostly a victim of circumstance, Dole was widely blamed for the failing economy.
Dole's Presidency saw many Republicans turn their backs on the party, allowing Al Gore to
win 54% of the vote in 2000. Riding a huge wave of public approval, Gore was able to cut employment rates to their lowest level in 20 years, and oversaw the largest increase in home ownership in history.
All this changed on September 11th, 2001, when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York, killing thousands. Evidence linked many of the terrorists with Saudi Arabia, and on November 25th 2001, a coalition of nations - led by the US, and joined by the UK, Spain, France, Germany and 15 other nations - began a ground assault in the northern provinces of Saudi Arabia, believed to be the stronghold of the terrorist organisation Al Qaeda.
Crown Prince Abdallah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud supported limited attacks on suspected Al Qaeda camps, but declared that Saudi airspace was a no-fly zone for the coalition air forces. The coalition, limited to ground assaults, fought a losing battle both at home and abroad. Casualties skyrocketed when the fighting moved into the cities, culminating in the disastrous battle of Ha 'il which resulted in the deaths of over 200 coalition troops, including 165 Americans. The coalition troops were not adequately prepared for guerilla warfare, and the lack of aerial support severely hampered reconnaissance. Meanwhile, the PR battle at home caused Gore to haemorrhage support.
By July of 2002, the remaining Al Qaeda fighters had fled north into Iraq, where they were believed to have taken control of the southern city of Basra and its surrounding area. However, Saddam Hussein refused to allow coalition troops to enter the country.
On the heels of the unsuccessful campaign in Saudi Arabia, Gore was unable to win support for a
war in Iraq. Coupled with strained relations with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, it was believed that Gore should avoid the Middle East altogether. Withdrawing behind US borders, the Democrats concentrated on improving the US economy. Despite some success, Gore narrowly lost the 2004 election to George W Bush, son of former President George H. W. Bush.
On December 15th, 2004, the second terrorist attack on US soil in the 21st century destroyed the Golden Gate Bridge, killing over 500 commuters. On 15/12, Bush famously declared that 'no longer will citizens of the US fear attack at home. We will hunt down and destroy Al Qaeda, and all those who support it.' On 1st January 2005, Bush declared war on Iraq.