The Warrior Scholar

This is a blog about current events - a way to provide a constructive outlet for some of the thoughts I have on the issues of the day. It's also a way to generate some discussion and to get my ideas out into the world. Enjoy!

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Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

I'm a doctoral candidate in Virginia, with a love of history and politics. My dog is a great companion, and my family always keeps me in good spirits.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Carter and the Middle East

President Carter may be getting a tad old in the mind these days. On a recent interview with Chris Matthews, he states "I think another parallel is that in some ways the Revolutionary War could have been avoided. It was an unnecessary war." EXCUSE ME?? This is coming from the President that incompetently kept the United States hostage to the Iranians for 444 days in 1979? This was the President who was in charge when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan? This was the President that helped destabilize our allies by proclaiming that he was going to start pushing for human rights against them, but not against the Soviets? So, he started off saying that the Revolutionary War was a bad idea. Here's some more nuggets of wisdom...

Carter: "Had the British Parliament been a little more sensitive to the colonial's really legitimate complaints and requests the war could have been avoided completely, and of course now we would have been a free country now as is Canada and India and Australia, having gotten our independence in a nonviolent way. I think in many ways the British were very misled in going to war against America and in trying to enforce their will on people who were quite different from them at the time." Does anyone need some Democratic talking points here? A more sensitive war on terrorism? Don't think so...

Carter on Iraq: "And also when we were so destructive in going into Iraq with tens of thousands of innocent civilians killed and now it's still, up until this moment now many months later there is still a great deal of animosity toward American troops. And there is no doubt that American troops' presence is stimulating additional violence." There are so many ways this is wrong it boggles the mind. Let's go from the top:

1. The war in Iraq was the most constrained major war (from a collateral damage perspective) than any war previously. Through the use of precision munitions, civilian casualties were kept to historically amazingly low numbers. President Carter is taking a huge slap at the professionalism of our forces (implying incompetence and wanton destruction).

2. Civilian casualties: In a single night of bombing Tokyo during World War II, we killed 100,000 Japanese civilians. The most rabid anti-war protest groups credit between 8-12,000 - including those shot by the Iraqis! Carter actually has the arrogance to claim "as a historian" that he is making these claims! Saddam, for a low estimate, killed about 300,000 of his own civilians - five times that of Hiroshima. From Carter's criteria, its ok to kill your own people, but don't kill any trying to overthrow a merciless dictator. Got it.

3. The Americans are the problem. OK - so, we pull out now and let Iraq fall apart? Hmm...maybe not a good plan. How about the French and Germans seeing that it is in their national interest for a stable Middle East, so they kick in? Hmm...not happening. How about having the local powers like Iran take over and stabilize the situation? Hmm...not a good idea. So, Carter's solution is...?

Carter: "Obviously, the only way out of this quagmire that we have formed in Iraq now is to have some guarantee of withdrawal of American troops and turning their premises of the Iraqis over to them politically and to the international community to help on an equal basis and a shared basis with many allies both in economic and military concerns in the future."

Beyond embarrassing himself with the "quagmire" comment (usually a good indicator for a Vietnam PTSD response), that means that we...do what President Bush has us doing now! As a former statesman should know, when you tie a policy to your withdrawal plan, then your opponents just try to wait you out. Since Carter identifies the United States as the problem, I can see where he is coming from. I guess that Saddam was just an "innocent bystander", not threatening to unleash his minions across the Middle East and try to take over the region.

Maybe I should remind him of the American policy on the Middle East. This was stated in the President's State of the Union Address: "Let our position be absolutely clear: an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America. And such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force." - President Carter, 23 January 1980. This statement was notable because it was the first commitment since the Vietnam war to put US forces in harm's way outside NATO and other treaty obligations.

How about President Clinton? On 29 September 1998, he signed the Iraq Liberation Act. The Act stated that they wanted to remove Saddam Hussein from office and replace the government with a democratic institution.

I would think that President Carter and President Clinton should be happy that Bush is actually carrying out their policies. President Carter really embarrassed himself with this interview.

3 Comments:

Blogger FloridaMOM said...

Unbelievable fantasy talk from Carter. I was stopped dead in my reading when you reported he said we could have gained independence through a more peaceful means like Canada and India. When did they gain independence? Carter is like so many people today: truly misguided and faulty thinking.

11:18 AM  
Blogger FloridaMOM said...

Unbelievable fantasy talk from Carter. I was stopped dead in my reading when you reported he said we could have gained independence through a more peaceful means like Canada and India. When did they gain independence? Carter is like so many people today: truly misguided and faulty thinking.

11:18 AM  
Blogger FloridaMOM said...

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11:18 AM  

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