Thursday, November 30, 2006

President Carter's Take on Iraq

From Young Turks on Air America radio:

Well, you know, it (Iraq) has been a disaster. I think the administration and the present administration and even the neo-cons who orchestrated the invasion of Iraq, all look back on it and know it was a very great tragedy.

Its alienated most of the nations of the world away from us, dropped the esteem for America - the popularity of America, the trust of America to unprecedented lows, and now of course what we are trying to do is not to succeed in our original plans but to get out of Iraq with a minimal loss of life and prestige.

I think in many ways anyone that would argue that is was a success or a good decision, would be totally wrong. I'm not going to criticize President Bush because I agree with him on many things, but I believe that this was one of the biggest mistakes in foreign affairs that I've ever known. - Jimmy Carter; 39th President of the United States

President Carter added tonight on Anderson Cooper 360 that perhaps the greatest tragedy of all that gets left out of most discussions is what Iraq did to our efforts in Afghanistan. He said that we had the opportunity to defeat the terrorists there in that country, to rebuild it, and maybe even make it a model of self government, with the support of the world rather than snubbing the world as we did in Iraq.

There's a custom that ex-Presidents don't "criticize" sitting ones, so I'm sure that many people are furious with both Clinton and Carter for their words lately. But let's face it, folks. Its quite obvious how history is going to remember George W. Bush (and Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Clarke), and it ain't going to be too sporty. Carter isn't remembered all that grandly himself, and he'll look like Honest Abe Lincoln alongside Dubya someday.

So to expect these men to play dead and not speak up is foolish. At some point it becomes their duty to do so. And honestly, if Bush goes much further into denial and continues to plow us further into destruction, I expect his own father to become a bit more assertive. To call Clinton and Carter's words partisan at this point is off base. It is akin to calling people partisan for wanting to find an end to Vietnam in the 70's.

Shameless personal plus that can't be verified, but I'm telling it anyway: In late 2002 and early 2003, I wasn't blogging, but I was very active on political message boards. I had been a Republican since college up until then. I began to see how people with a hard right view took the position of "kill em all". I also recognized that Hans Blix, the ultimate authority on WMD, said we were wrong, and our government suddenly decided he had no credibility.

I therefore took a very early stance against what I saw coming. I remember distinctly posting once that all of a sudden Iraq was being talked about by all the radio hacks at once, and they were using the same talking points. I said that it sounded like a PR campaign for an attack and I didn't like it. Soon afterward as the covert spin became overt, I asked how you would ever know you "won" something like that if the Iraqi's didn't "throw flowers" as Bush claimed.

I said that if dark skinned people attacked and occupied our country, I would be a freedom fighter, and I doubted that the dark skinned people felt any different about us occupying them. (I also pointed out that one of the tenets of Southern Republicans was NRA membership and their right to bear arms "in case they had to revolt or defend themselves". These are the very people who call the insurgents
"terrorists" today and seem to not have any clue that they would be the first ones to take to the streets if this happened here.)

Of course, the right wing of the political board I was on hated me. They believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that they were responsible for 9/11. Although both of these have been proven false....they probablystill do.

Its classic "don't bother me with the facts" arguing. And I can't stand it. I just wrote about two Democrats below who are accused of taking bribes. If the facts convict them, I want them out of office as badly as I want Cheney out. Ok, not true...but only because Cheney can do MUCH more damage due to his position.

The question is: What will it take to make them listen? And what will it take to get Republicans in Congress to speak up alongside America? The truly amazing thing is that John McCain was named today as the "front runner" for '08, and he appears to be willing to favor the war as long as Bush wants to stay there.

What is winning? Four years later, its the same question.

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