Another Carter lament Posted by: McQ
on Monday, November 14, 2005
Jimmy Carter has again lashed out with an op/ed. While mostly unsupported by facts it is long on lament and the misrepresentation of issues and positions.
At the same time, our political leaders have declared independence from the restraints of international organizations and have disavowed long-standing global agreements — including agreements on nuclear arms, control of biological weapons and the international system of justice.
We're still engaged with the UN and its programs although we've been deeply, and rightfully, critical of them. We're also stil involved in agreements concerning nuclear arms and bio weapons and we've never agreed with much of the recent "international system of justice" as epitomized by the ICC. Unlike Carter, who apparently would gladly compromise it, the present political leaders, on both sides of the isle (for the most part) aren't interested in handing over our sovereignty to some bureaucracy in Europe.
Instead of our tradition of espousing peace as a national priority unless our security is directly threatened, we have proclaimed a policy of "preemptive war," an unabridged right to attack other nations unilaterally to change an unsavory regime or for other purposes. When there are serious differences with other nations, we brand them as international pariahs and refuse to permit direct discussions to resolve disputes.
If Iraq was a proclaimation of a policy of "preemptive war", it would seem to me it only made Kosovo, Panama and Grenada (and, had they not backed down, Haiti) official. This is nothing new, and in each case the use of force worked (or the threat of its use as in the case of Haiti). So this is another fairy tale of which the left is so fond.
Regardless of the costs, there are determined efforts by top U.S. leaders to exert American imperial dominance throughout the world.
So, now, per Carter, we're imperialists. He says that with one breath and then claims:
These revolutionary policies have been orchestrated by those who believe that our nation's tremendous power and influence should not be internationally constrained. Even with our troops involved in combat and America facing the threat of additional terrorist attacks, our declaration of "You are either with us or against us!" has replaced the forming of alliances based on a clear comprehension of mutual interests, including the threat of terrorism.
Revolutionary policies? Well if you buy the premise I suppose. Notice the only passing attention Carter gives to the impetus for all of this ... 9/11. This seems to be the latest ploy among the anti-war left. Completely leave out or radically downplay the impact of 9/11 in our policy decisions. Make the complaint as context free as possible. Claim this is all done out of some grand imperial design based in "revolutionary policies" which have been "orchestrated" from the beginning. Heck, with that line of reasoning, it's not that big a leap to Cynthia McKinney's "Bush knew" about 9/11.
And then, Mr. Egalitarian laments the fact, apparently, that we don't have a draft:
Another disturbing realization is that, unlike during other times of national crisis, the burden of conflict is now concentrated exclusively on the few heroic men and women sent back repeatedly to fight in the quagmire of Iraq. The rest of our nation has not been asked to make any sacrifice, and every effort has been made to conceal or minimize public awareness of casualties.
Minimize public awareness? They announce every casualty with a press release through DoD. That's how they've always done that. My guess is this has a trail back to the old charge of "they bring the wounded to the US at night and secretly take them to hospitals" canard shot down earlier in the year.
Further, we're under the crushing heel of totalitarian legislation:
Instead of cherishing our role as the great champion of human rights, we now find civil liberties and personal privacy grossly violated under some extreme provisions of the Patriot Act.
Of course, not a single example is provided of these gross violations Mr. Carter contends exist.
The one pearl in an otherwise swinish op/ed is his point about torture, and even it's is wrapped in misinformation:
Of even greater concern is that the U.S. has repudiated the Geneva accords and espoused the use of torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, and secretly through proxy regimes elsewhere with the so-called extraordinary rendition program. It is embarrassing to see the president and vice president insisting that the CIA should be free to perpetrate "cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment" on people in U.S. custody.
No one has repudiated the Geneva Conventions, what has been asserted, and I think rightfully so, is that they don't apply to many of those who've been captured taking up arms.
But the "torture debate" has been something which hasn't helped the administration's image. And while I accept the argument that much of what the administration is arguing continues to be mischaracterized as being pro-torture, I think the intellectually honest among us have to admit that their treatment of the issue has been confusing at best and negligent at worst.
But Carter's one semi-salient point, doesn't make up for the rest of the garbage:
Instead of reducing America's reliance on nuclear weapons and their further proliferation, we have insisted on our right (and that of others) to retain our arsenals, expand them, and therefore abrogate or derogate almost all nuclear arms control agreements negotiated during the last 50 years. We have now become a prime culprit in global nuclear proliferation. America also has abandoned the prohibition of "first use" of nuclear weapons against nonnuclear nations, and is contemplating the previously condemned deployment of weapons in space.
This redefinition of proliferation is both amazing and an example of studied deception. Proliferation has always been connected with the spread of nuclear weapons. The point of the nuclear non-proliferation treaties was to keep them from spreading into other states which don't now have them. While it is one thing to complain that the US has been expanding rather than contracting its nuclear arsenal (and I think there are good arguments for reducing the arsenal) that isn't a "proliferation" issue. Nor is first use. Nor is deployment in space. Those are all arms control issues.
But a nation, faced with other nations who feel no compunction to follow such constraints as non-proliferation treaties, etc., that doesn't plan for the future ala nuclear weapons, isn't doing what is necessary to protect its citizens. Carter, among many on the left who espouse unilateralism in areas such as nuclear arms, has never ever seemed to be able to grasp the down side of his lament. We have countries, enemies, who are developing both nuclear capablities and the delivery means necessary to target this nation. Pretending that isn't so and not having a response would be criminal.
Protection of the environment has fallen by the wayside because of government subservience to political pressure from the oil industry and other powerful lobbying groups. The last five years have brought continued lowering of pollution standards at home and almost universal condemnation of our nation's global environmental policies.
This simply isn't true. I noted this story last week:
Canada lags behind the United States when it comes to clamping down on air pollution, says an environmental watchdog.
Pollution Watch says the United States reduced air pollution emissions by 45 per cent between 1995 and 2003, while Canada reduced air pollution emissions by 1.8 per cent over the same period.
"There is evidence that U.S. facilities are outperforming Canadian facilities," said Paul Muldoon, with the Canadian Environmental Law Association, a partner with Pollution Watch.
Note the dates. Also remember that many countries who so ridiculed the US for not signing Kyoto are now realizing the US was right not to do so and are looking for outs themselves. Mr. Carter seems to have missed that.
Carter then hits fiscal irresponsiblity claiming "favors for the rich", increases in Congressional pay (while the minimum wage remains at $5.15) and the "fundamentalist shift" in both the religious community and government.
Hit the search engine on the blog and you'll see our multiple posts on fiscal irresponsibility. You'll also see us attack something Carter doesn't touch ... the fiscal irresponsiblity of the Medicare pill bill. Carter, true to form, isn't really against fiscal irresponsibility as much as he is to what he perceives as such irrepsonsibility that might benefit a class he's not politically or ideologically aligned with.
I love his ending:
As the world's only superpower, America should be seen as the unswerving champion of peace, freedom and human rights. Our country should be the focal point around which other nations can gather to combat threats to international security and to enhance the quality of our common environment. We should be in the forefront of providing human assistance to people in need.
It is time for the deep and disturbing political divisions within our country to be substantially healed, with Americans united in a common commitment to revive and nourish the historic political and moral values that we have espoused during the last 230 years.
After spending hundreds of words aiding and abetting the poltical divisions in our country with distortions, misrepresentations, and mischaracterizations, he calls for healing?
Heh ... I thank all that is holy that the most this fellow can ever do anymore is write op/eds, even bad ones.
After his performance as president I don’t know why anyone in their right mind would even give a damn what he thinks about anything.... much less print what he thinks.
But honestly... What do you really expect from the man who appointed the most socialist administration in American history, pardoned the Vietnam draft dodgers, was completely impotent during the Iranian crisis, Energy crisis, economic malaise, and Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, officially recognized and legitimized the communist regime in the People’s Republic of China, and handed over the strategically vital Panama Canal to a third world nation (which now seems intent on handing it over to the Chinese Communists).
There are few living human beings whom I hate, but Carter is one of them. Not only was he Our very worst president, but he is our worse ex-president. Going to get a Nobel Prize for badmouthing the foreign policy of a sitting president. Unbelievable gall!!!! He is the living definition of dishonorable.
Interesting last quote from Carter. If one turns the "shoulds" present tense, it could be a speech by the current president. And it would be credible!
I.e., "As the world’s only superpower, America [is] the unswerving champion of peace, freedom and human rights. Our country [is] the focal point around which other nations... gather to combat threats to international security and to enhance the quality of our common environment. We [are] in the forefront of providing human assistance to people in need [e.g. after the tsunami]..."
Carter has always seen America not just as a glass half empty but as one completely drained. His op ed is simply a retread to his infamous ’malaise’ speech.
Even with our troops involved in combat and America facing the threat of additional terrorist attacks, our declaration of "You are either with us or against us!" has replaced the forming of alliances based on a clear comprehension of mutual interests, including the threat of terrorism.
So according to the worst president of the 20th century, you can be against us as long as we have an alliance based on mutual interests, the exact thinking which lead to 9-11.