Jimmy Carter on Bush and the Middle East

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Submitted by powayseller on August 17, 2006 - 1:20pm

Here's a Spiegel interview with Jimmy Carter.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Carter, in your new book you write that only the American people can ensure that the US government returns to the country's old moral principles. Are you suggesting that the current US administration of George W. Bush of acting immorally?

Carter: There's no doubt that this administration has made a radical and unpressured departure from the basic policies of all previous administrations including those of both Republican and Democratic presidents.

SPIEGEL: For example?

Carter: Under all of its predecessors there was a commitment to peace instead of preemptive war. Our country always had a policy of not going to war unless our own security was directly threatened and now we have a new policy of going to war on a preemptive basis. Another very serious departure from past policies is the separation of church and state, which I describe in the book. This has been a policy since the time of Thomas Jefferson and my own religious beliefs are compatible with this. The other principle that I described in the book is basic justice. We've never had an administration before that so overtly and clearly and consistently passed tax reform bills that were uniquely targeted to benefit the richest people in our country at the expense or the detriment of the working families of America.

SPIEGEL: You also mentioned the hatred for the United States throughout the Arab world which has ensued as a result of the invasion of Iraq. Given this circumstance, does it come as any surprise that Washington's call for democracy in the Middle East has been discredited?

Carter: No, as a matter of fact, the concerns I exposed have gotten even worse now with the United States supporting and encouraging Israel in its unjustified attack on Lebanon.

SPIEGEL: But wasn't Israel the first to get attacked?

Carter: I don't think that Israel has any legal or moral justification for their massive bombing of the entire nation of Lebanon. What happened is that Israel is holding almost 10,000 prisoners, so when the militants in Lebanon or in Gaza take one or two soldiers, Israel looks upon this as a justification for an attack on the civilian population of Lebanon and Gaza. I do not think that's justified, no.


Under Bush, our nation has taken on the largest budget deficits. He is the first president in over 100 years to have 0 vetoes. The join Republican controlled government has increase the size of government in size, budget, and scope. The Medicare bill will almost guarantee a doubling of taxes. He strayed far from Republican ideals, A real disappointment. Why doesn't someone call an impeachment hearing?

Submitted by rocketman on August 17, 2006 - 1:32pm.

Are you JUST starting to see the true side of this idiot and his cabinet? I wash my hands - I never voted for him.

Submitted by hs on August 17, 2006 - 1:43pm.

Either did I.
"Why doesn't someone call an impeachment hearing?"
That is my question, too.

Submitted by Carlsbadliving on August 17, 2006 - 1:47pm.

Too many people have been brainwashed.

Submitted by Diego Mamani on August 17, 2006 - 1:55pm.

Yes, impeachment. And Cheney and Rumsfeld should be tried for crimes against humanity. Their unprovoked, lies-driven invasion of Iraq has caused countless deaths (over 100,000). Even today, there's almost daily carnage there. All that chaos was unleashed by the real axis of evil: dubya-cheney-rumsfeld. Saddam was a crook and a dictator, but he was no madman, and he kept order in his country.

Now we are in a Catch 22: we are damned if we stay in the hell we created in Iraq, but if we leave, the Taliban-style fanatics will take over. Either way we are infinitely worse than had Saddam stayed in power. And hatred of the USA increases by the day, because of these injustices. This certainly makes us less secure, for decades to come. Satan (if he or she exists) should be very proud of this axis of evil (see above).

BTW: The 100,000 deaths are based on conservative and scientific estimates published by The Lancet, a highly respected British medical journal.

Submitted by MANmom on August 17, 2006 - 1:59pm.

Why are you posting this on this forum, start your own web sight if you want to talk politics...THIS IS A HOUSING BLOG...or did I miss something? Stick to the housing issues. PS, proof your writing before you post, it just looks like you don't know what you are talking about and didn't do your research - regardless of if you are right or wrong. Oh, and it is "Der Spiegel."

Submitted by Diego Mamani on August 17, 2006 - 2:02pm.

Yes, MANmon, proof your writing. It is website, not "web sight." And you did miss something: this is the Off Topic subforum.

Submitted by powayseller on August 17, 2006 - 2:09pm.

I never liked Bush. I would prefer a president who had better than a C average in school. His poor public speaking and monkey face are not my main issue; rather, his lack of intelligence and vision is what I really dislike. His fundamentalist views, instead of making him more humanitarian, make him shut out all those who are not believers as he. I know the military and pro-gun people like him, because he gives a large military budget. Many of his advisors have resigned, he has no economic policy at all, and he has left a mess in positions and policies in his wake.

Here is more from Jimmy Carter:

SPIEGEL: One main points of your book is the rather strange coalition between Christian fundamentalists and the Republican Party. How can such a coalition of the pious lead to moral catastrophes like the Iraqi prison scandal in Abu Ghraib and torture in Guantanamo?

Carter: The fundamentalists believe they have a unique relationship with God, and that they and their ideas are God's ideas and God's premises on the particular issue. Therefore, by definition since they are speaking for God anyone who disagrees with them is inherently wrong. And the next step is: Those who disagree with them are inherently inferior, and in extreme cases -- as is the case with some fundamentalists around the world -- it makes your opponents sub-humans, so that their lives are not significant.

Another thing is that a fundamentalist can't bring himself or herself to negotiate with people who disagree with them because the negotiating process itself is an indication of implied equality. And so this administration, for instance, has a policy of just refusing to talk to someone who is in strong disagreement with them -- which is also a radical departure from past history. So these are the kinds of things that cause me concern. And, of course, fundamentalists don't believe they can make mistakes, so when we permit the torture of prisoners in Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, it's just impossible for a fundamentalist to admit that a mistake was made.

SPIEGEL: So how does this proximity to Christian fundamentalism manifest itself politically?

Carter: Unfortunately, after Sept., there was an outburst in America of intense suffering and patriotism, and the Bush administration was very shrewd and effective in painting anyone who disagreed with the policies as unpatriotic or even traitorous. For three years, I'd say, the major news media in our country were complicit in this subservience to the Bush administration out of fear that they would be accused of being disloyal. I think in the last six months or so some of the media have now begun to be critical. But it's a long time coming.

SPIEGEL: Take your fellow Democrat Senator Hillary Clinton. These days she is demanding the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. But she, like many others, allowed President Bush to invade Iraq under a false pretext.

Carter: That's correct."

The problem with Bush, as I've said many times, is his lack of ability and/or willingness to negotiate with our perceived enemy. He has alienated more countries and endangered American safety even more by thinking he is "too good to talk to them". The Democrats are no better. Now, that the war is obviously going bad, they are calling for resignations. Why didn't they make this call several years ago? Why did they allow the war to go forward? Hillary's call for Rumsfeld to resign in politically motivated. She is not doing this in the best interest of the country; but in the best interest of her selfish plan for election.

Another thing we must all realize it is really a 2 party system. Although we have other party candidates on some ballots, the laws make it extremely difficult for a Libertarian, Natural Law Party (my favorite party), Communist, Socialist, or other politician to make it on the ballot. They have to gather tens of thousands of signatures within a few weeks timeframe (ONLY within those few weeks), to even get their name on the ballot.

The Republicans and Democrats basically control the system and make it impossible for any other party to get elected to President. If you ever read the ideas of other parties, you will realize that the difference between Republican and Democrate is like the difference between a Protestant and a Methodist; basically, they are the same. I would love to get a whole new set of ideas sometime, and a choice of more than 2 parties on the presidential ballot. Wouldn't that be true freedome?

Submitted by PerryChase on August 17, 2006 - 2:18pm.

Bush is a nutcase. He has walked away from all conservative ideas such as small government and low government intrusion on people's lives for a police state that benefit his hard core followers.

We'll all be paying for his misguided policies for decades to come.

It's very interesting to me that his voters in the red states are low income rural folks who don't benefit from his social policies (and whose children he's sending to war). Why are they voting againts their interests?

A group of generals and diplimats are now calling Bush's Middle East policy a major failure. George Soros is also speaking out against the Administration.

At least Nixon was a pragmatist and not a theocrat like W. Nixon (Kissinger) took a great ennemy like China and made it a friend. We should do the same with Iran.

Submitted by PerryChase on August 17, 2006 - 2:43pm.

" I would love to get a whole new set of ideas sometime, and a choice of more than 2 parties on the presidential ballot. Wouldn't that be true freedome? "

Yes, it would be more freedom to have more political parties. However that would mean trying to build fragile coalitions to govern. I believe that one reason that the American model economic model is successful is because we have little discent. We have some rancor in our political debate but pretty much everyone eventually falls into line. That allows us to work, work, work more efficiently.

I think that, with technological advances that allows the government to track everyone, we might be headed to a Star Trek kinda life where everyone is "happy" but then again everyone has to ask for the captain's permission to go to the "hollow deck"

Having traveled around the world, I notice that, in America, friends rarely disagree. If they did disagree they wouldn't be friends anymore. In other parts of the world, friends and family would sit down at the dinner table and vehemently disagree. Yet they still love each other and remain friends. For example, in America, a socialist and a capitalist could never be friends.

Submitted by picpoule on August 17, 2006 - 3:05pm.

Well, you guys are true blue Californians, which is absolutely dominated by Democrats. Yes, Bush has authorized spending a lot of money, but we're fighting a war against Islamic Nazism. It's money well spent to me. And anyway, spending -- it's a big yawner. What politician doesn't want to spend money? It always kills me when I hear liberals complain about spending today. You guys love spending money! Let's be honest, do you think there would be less spending with Democrats holding power? All you have to do is look at California, which is run by Democrats who control the purse, and see what a basketcase the state is in.
Bush is far from perfect, but Jimmy Carter was the absolute worst President we've had in recent history. He didn't support the Shah of Iran -- who admittedly, was no angel. But at least the Shah was friendly to the West and the people of Iran were not living under the crushing oppression of the Ayatollahs, Shariah law and the religious police. And Iran was funding terrorism around the world. Carter could have tried to persuade the Shah to adopt democratic reforms. But he didn't even try. In my opinion, Jimmy Carter was an idiot wimp who had no idea what to do when Iranian "students" took over our embassy in Tehran and held 66 Americans for 444 days. Under Jimmy Carter, we got to see the failed Operation Eagle Claw, which caused the death of 8 of our servicemen who were trying to rescue the hostages. All the while, the Ayatollahs laughed at Carter's wimpishness and took heart in how weak he was. Emboldened by his weakness, Iran became a state supporter of international terrorism, which the Ayatollahs unleashed around the globe enthusiastically. In my view, we're in the fix we find ourselves in today because of Jimmy Carter and his weakness in the face of those despicable Ayatollahs who today are busy taking down satellite dishes, rounding up homosexuals and Jews, hanging young girls who can't resist the advances of older men, and perpetrating other crimes and civil liberty violations on the Iranian people. In his Der Speigel article, Jimmy Carter shows us once again the utter nincompoop he is and always has been.

Submitted by Carlsbadliving on August 17, 2006 - 3:12pm.

Under Jimmy Carter, we got to see the failed Operation Eagle Claw, which caused the death of 8 of our servicemen who were trying to rescue the hostages.

I can't wait until 8 of our serviceman die under the watch of George W. Oh wait, I think that might have already happened.

Submitted by speedingpullet on August 17, 2006 - 3:21pm.

I'm with you there PerryChase.

When the US first went into Iraq, I made the mistake of disagreeing with somebody about the 'reasons' behind it.

Oh.My.God....I seriously think the guy I was talking to would have shot me if he'd been able to. As it was, our co-workers had to seperate us...well him from me, anyway. I won't go into the names and epithets he threw at me, except to say that my way of thinking was very 'unpatriotic and unamerican'...

That was my first introduction to poltical 'discussions' over here. Now I normally keep my mouth shut - which is difficult for me.

Growing up in England, you'd quite often have an 'argument' - ie a discussion with another person who did not share your own views - that would be interesting and exhilhirating - views would be exchanged, hopefully each side would learn a little bit about the other's, and after agreeing to disagree it would be time to get another round in ;-)

Over here, I often find that my viewpoint is left of Stalin's. My own fault for living in 'socialist' Great Britian, i guess. Consequently, due to my leftist leanings, and the lack of debating skills of many people here (present company on Pigginton's excluded) I try not to open my mouth when things get 'hot'. Being a card-carrying agnostic, I find the religiosity in the States both baffling and a little bit scary, as most of the UK has no religious leanings at all.

As for third/fourth/fifith political parties...you win some, you lose some.

On the other side of the spectrum, you get the kind of mess that plagues Italy and Israel - new parliaments almost every year. Proprotional Represtational politics is even more bloody than a two-party state, as you need to woo other parties to your 'side' in order to have enough representation to govern.

The UK almost makes it with three parties - Labour, Conservative and Liberal. however, Liberals have not had a good run of it in the last 50 years or so, so for all intents and purposes the main choice is either Labour or Tory (Conservative).

I wish that the parties over here would actually make a stand for what they think. So much time on both sides seems to be taken up with trying to cuddle up to the middle ground. Republicans and Democrats are now so similar in ideology that its hard to decide which party to vote for. Democrats seem to want the same electorate as the Republicans, and will throw away any signs of 'leftist/socialst/liberal' leanings, in order to be exactly like thier Republican counterparts.

My feeling on the coming vote is....'meh'.

Submitted by picpoule on August 17, 2006 - 3:23pm.

We're in a war, so yeah, servicemen are going to die. Unfortunately.

Submitted by bgates on August 17, 2006 - 6:34pm.

More servicemen died during the last year of the Carter presidency than during any year of the Bush presidency. (I don't think the last year was an aberration, but I don't have the data available for 1977-79.)

What those deaths accomplished was the removal of two dictatorships. Some of the violence since the removal of Saddam and the Taliban has been due to Iranian agents, who would be less of a problem if the Iranian regime had been confronted earlier, by any of W, Clinton, HW Bush, Reagan, or, yes, Carter.

Submitted by bgates on August 17, 2006 - 6:38pm.

Perry, let's negotiate. I'll be Iran, you be the US. What's your offer?

Submitted by PD on August 17, 2006 - 7:03pm.

I find it ridiculous that so many people point to GW as the originator of Islamic hate toward the US. What a short and selective memory! But I’m not surprised. Americans tend to be very stupid when it comes to knowledge of history.
Jimmy Carter is and always was a wimp. Although he certainly is flapping his yap like he knows something, he was singularly ineffective when faced with problems in the Islamic world during his presidency.

Submitted by rankandfile on August 17, 2006 - 7:14pm.

If anyone is a conspiracy theorist, it's me. But some of you other posters make me look as pragmatic as Rich. Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld are the real axis of evil? George Soros is also speaking out against the administration? You've got to be kidding me. Believe me, I am ticked off at the current administration for many things; namely doing nothing on illegal immigration, doing nothing about Terri Schiavo, and not running a lean government. But those of you who criticize the things that are being done to combat terrorism are the same ones who criticize and say he did nothing when we were hit on 9/11. Hypocrites! When you start criticizing someone by commenting on their looks, you've already lost the argument. I expect a better effort than that from you, Powayseller.

Submitted by PerryChase on August 17, 2006 - 7:20pm.

It's funny that Real Estate is like Iraq. The bulls are hoping for a soft landing but we all know that the crash won't be pleasant. The confluence of misguided decisions has made the situation beyond repair.

I'm just sitting back and watching the events unfold.

The world is sitting back letting America fail just like us Piggingtons are watching greedy buyers loose their shirts in the coming RE debacle.

Bush did nothing for Terri Shiavo? The Republicans did everything their could to interfere in a family matter. So much for little government intrusion.

Submitted by justme on August 17, 2006 - 7:22pm.

The 2-party system that we have is a result of
single-representative election districts, which makes it
pretty much impossible for a third party to get any
representatives elected.

This fact is known as Duverger's law in Political Science.
There are some interesting articles on this topic in
Wikipedia. The technical name they use is "single-member
district plurality system (SMDP)".

What would it take to change election laws so that there is
at least 20 representatives per district? Nothing short of a
minor revolution, I think.

But if successful, parties down to 5% would then have a
chance to get represented, and we could have some real
democracy around here.

Add on a parliamentary system, and we would depose (!) the
president when necessary. The advantage of the parliamentary
system is that one can get rid of all the current members of
the executive branch by a simple vote of no-confidence,
unlike the need for impeachment trials, which are also
impeded by the implicit 2-party system.

Having at least a few (4-5) major parties ensures that each
party must actually stand for something to be
successful. Party list elections ensures that the system
cannot be corrupted one representative at a time, which is
what happens in the US. If a representative of some party
behaves corruptly or criminally, the party will lose votes,
and/or the representative will not be nominated on the next
party election list. Since there are >2 parties, there will
be competition for being the less corrupt party, unlike now
where both parties are corrupt and can get away with it.

I'm dreaming of something better than what we have -- many
countries in Europe and other parts of the world are
successfully and peacefully governed within a system that
supports multiple parties and truly proportional
representation, down to a small level of granularity (5% in
Germany, for example).

Submitted by bgates on August 17, 2006 - 7:28pm.

Come on, liberal smart guys!

Diego - "Saddam was a crook and a dictator, but he was no madman, and he kept order in his country." How do you know that? Were there independent media reports from Fallujah about how safe it was in the 90's? Have you seen Baghdad police records documenting crime rates? Or do you think that if the tv news and western newspapers didn't tell you about something, it must not be happening?

ps - "I would prefer a president who had better than a C average in school. " That's what Kerry had. Bush got a Harvard MBA. What did you do?
"Many of his advisors have resigned," and I'm sure you can come up with a list, because it's so unlike you to make an unsupported assertion.
"his lack of intelligence and vision"
Have you read
it's the first speech outlining his vision that comes to mind, but there are others.

"lack of ability and/or willingness to negotiate with our perceived enemy. " OK, you guys can do much better. Step up. I'm Ahmadinejad. I want nuclear energy, and I want Israel moved to Denmark or Alaska or somewhere. I am sure you are paying attention to my arguments, because of the green aura coming from my head.

Counter-offers? How about speedingpullet, who complimented the level of discourse after reading comments no deeper than 'idiot' and 'Satan would be proud'. Surely one of you wouldn't mind a spirited debate.

Submitted by bgates on August 17, 2006 - 7:33pm.

"Terri Shiavo? The Republicans did everything their could to interfere in a family matter." Her parents wanted her kept alive, her husband who was living with and had children by another woman wanted to pull the plug. Did you know that?

"The world is sitting back letting America fail" and don't you think they should be helping the Iraqi people?

But come on, Perry- you said you wanted negotiations with Iran. Let's hear it. What's your proposal? Do you know what Bush's is?

Submitted by rankandfile on August 17, 2006 - 8:05pm.

Bgates, I think that more could've been done concerning Terry Schiavo. He's the stinkin' President for crying out loud and his brother is the governor of Florida. If they wanted her to be put back on life support, it would have been done in a heartbeat. Family matter? My friend, there are no clear cut lines as you may be implying. Was not the Andrea Yates case a "family matter"? Perhaps we should just let people kill their own if they want. It's THEIR own and not ours, afterall- right? What right do we have interefering?

Submitted by bgates on August 17, 2006 - 8:08pm.

Rank, I was responding to someone else. Read the thread.

Submitted by PerryChase on August 17, 2006 - 8:48pm.

I used to vote for Republicans because I thought that they were principled and stood for:
The constitution,
Individual rights,
State rights,
Free trade,
Small government,
Pay as you go,
Medical choice,
No nation building, etc…

It turns out I was wrong. Republicans are just opportunists who want to push their oppressive agenda onto others. Talk about flip-flop! The Republicans made a complete 180 on everything that they stood for.

As far as foreign policy is concerned, Kissinger (under Nixon) advocated the pragmatic policy of engagement. Brzezinski (under Carter) is the one who wanted a more interventionist approach to foreign policy. Kissinger has been speaking out a lot lately on Iraq. While he won’t directly criticize the Bush Administration, he’s making oblique remarks on how misguided the current policy is. I’m no particular friend of Kissinger (he’s a mean smart weasel) but he’s a brilliant pragmatic diplomat who can solve problems.

I don't blame the rest of the world for letting us squirm in Iraq. We didn't ask for their input when we went in and broke all the pottery. Why would they pickup the pieces?

On Terri Shiavo, her husband was the legal guardian. The state courts, all the way to the Florida Supreme Court, ruled in the husband’s favor. Family matters belong in State Courts. The Federal government and the Congress should stay out of family matters (remember state rights? ).

Submitted by bgates on August 17, 2006 - 8:57pm.

We asked for the world's input. Bush went to the UN. Several nations (UK, Australia, Spain, Poland, Italy, South Korea, to name the most prominent) joined us. Iraq was busted before, and it's busted now. How is it in anyone's interests to have Iraq in its current condition, except someone who wants to see the US weakened? And if a nation wants to see the US weakened, isn't it foolhardy to try to get their diplomatic or military support?

For Iran, do I understand that your 'policy' would be, "send Kissinger"? Do you have an independent thought? You said earlier that you thought we should negotiate with our enemies. I've given you Ahmadinejad's perspective. What's your response? Terri Schiavo? Focus, buddy!

Submitted by PerryChase on August 17, 2006 - 9:17pm.

BTW, most everyone, except the Brits, in the coalition of the willing pulled out. South Korea doesn't even support us on North Korea.

I don't think that Europeans and others want to see us weakened. They simply resent cleaning-up our mess and have us take the credit. Think about your bossy colleague at work. Would you want to help him so he can get a promotion at your expense?

Negotiating with Iran requires opening up diplomatic channels. That would be a good first step. Otherwise, we'll continue to have fighting by proxy in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine.

W is steadfast in his policy. We'll see if he prevails. Those of us who disagree with the Bushies have not choice but to give them the benefit of the doubt.

bgates, Bush has the power now. So you have your way. You should be the happy one.

I'm willing to let history be the judge.

Submitted by rankandfile on August 17, 2006 - 9:15pm.

My bad, Bgates...Should've read more. I think I am the one to blame for bringing Terri Schiavo into this. I don't know how much more I will respond to this thread because it is pointless trying to reason with people on certain issues. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

Submitted by salo_t on August 17, 2006 - 9:20pm.

So all of a sudden Bush takes office and he's ready to go to war with Iraq "there's WMD's there" and he tries to convince the world. The evidence is weak at best but he's on a mission and pulls the patriot card. Next thing you know your either for the war or a terrorist. Then all of a sudden there we are involved in a major war in Iraq but to date no proof of WMD's has been found but guess what? While Bush was wrapped up in Iraq north Korea goes ahead and develops the very thing Bush was trying to prevent. I'm waiting still for the logic? I'm prior military so I know a clusterf**k when I see one and this administration is the epitome of clusterf**k.

Submitted by PerryChase on August 17, 2006 - 9:34pm.

Anyone who uses the word clusterf**k is a friend of mine. :)
My best buddy who's a naval officer supported beating the sh*t our of those Arabs. But now he can't see anything but a clusterf**k -- a quagmire we can't extricate ourselves from.

Submitted by bgates on August 17, 2006 - 9:38pm.

The fact that many nations have since pulled out doesn't change the fact they supported us initially, which means you were wrong when you claimed Bush didn't try to get world support.

You are disgustingly shallow when you compare the task of saving 25 million people from random terrorism and civil war with helping a bossy colleague.

"Negotiating with Iran requires opening up diplomatic channels," on the other hand, is sheer genius. You really need to take that insight to the State Department, it could be just the breakthough we need. Once they know to open up channels, they will just need to fill in the minor details, like, oh, WHAT TO SAY.

'My way' is not to have Bush in power. 'My way' is to see America's interests defended, which I think Bush has done imperfectly, yet far better than the alternatives. I would be happier if there were more alternatives, instead of circle-jerks about impeachment hearings that collapse into silence and an offer to "give them the benefit of the doubt" when confronted with even my meager debating ability.

But I accept that you recognize you've lost this argument, and yeah, I'm kinda happy about that.

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