Then there is Carter’s apparent belief in conspiracy theories. Consider his view that "Israel looks upon this as a justification." The implication is that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did nothing, day and night, since taking office a few months ago but look for a pretext -- a "justification" -- to murder babies in southern Lebanon. This claim, distinctly reminiscent of a blood libel (Jews kill babies), merely reveals how extreme is Carter’s bias against the Jewish state.
Related to this is Carter’s contempt for the Bush administration. "This administration has not attempted at all in the last six years to negotiate or attempt to negotiate a settlement between Israel and any of its neighbors or the Palestinians," he insists. But didn't this administration publicly support the concept of a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Did it not also receive and publicly support Palestinian Authority President Abbas?
Carter’s unerring instinct for capitulation is also evident. "There has to be some exchange of prisoners," he counsels. "There have been successful exchanges of prisoners between Israel and the Palestinians in the past and that's something that can be done right now." Israel has made that mistake before, releasing jailed terrorists only to meet with a resurgence of terrorist violence. Doing so again would, presumably, yield similar results. Remember Einstein's words: Insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results. This is Carter’s solution to Israel’s war with Hezbollah.
At no point does Carter let the facts cloud his vision. "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, according to Carter, the Bush administration is "fundamentalist" because it is "just refusing to talk to someone who is in strong disagreement with them." One wonders if this is the same Bush administration that has pushed for six-party talks with North Korea and has submitted to the European consensus of conducting negations with the Iranian regime?
Carter carries on in this vein. "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." "We" means, presumably, the US government: The same government that prosecuted cases of prisoner abuse at both Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib prisons, and did not "permit torture" there -- except according to Carter's fellow Nobel laureate, Amnesty International.
Never one to refuse a cheap shot at the expense of his country, Carter complains: "Unfortunately, after Sept. 11, 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." Why patriotism and intense suffering are unfortunate we are not told. Carter just "knows" that they are. But who in the administration ever painted "anyone who disagreed with the policies as unpatriotic or even traitorous"? Again, Carter does not tell us.
There was a time, long ago, when Jimmy Carter was described as the "best former president," a judgment that rested largely on his reputation for building housing for the homeless. But every day Carter seems more and more like the former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, now the volunteer lawyer of such clients as Sendero Luminoso's Abimael Guzman, Milosevic, and most recently Saddam. Carter, for his part, has blessed Hugo Chavez's phony reelection.
Not that Carter considers himself a marginal figure. "I think I represent the vast majority of Democrats in this country," he has said. "I think there is a substantial portion of American people that completely agree with me." It remains to be seen, however, whether Carter has any constituency outside the Lamont wing of the Democratic Party.
Americans corrected one mistake when they evicted Carter from office in 1980. As the midterm elections near, one can only hope that they don’t make another.
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