May 20, 2007
Jimmy Carter, in what I perceive as the former Presidents effort at deflecting the failures of his administration and subsequent labeling as our Worst President and Worst ex-President, lashed out at George W. Bush recently, labeling his administration as the “worst in history.”
Reflecting on the four years of the Carter Administration, my thoughts drifted back to the 1976 campaign. I was still in the U.S. Army, assigned to HHB XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery, Aviation Section at Simmons Army Airfield in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Being born a Southerner myself I kind of liked the idea of a “Georgia Boy,” a fellow Southerner, winning the Presidency. I recalled a TV spot during the campaign where the speaker stated words in support of Carter, “Will we let the North beat us again?”
Even his now infamous November 1976 Playboy magazine interview gave him the appearance of a ‘down to earth’ person the country could well use as we were coming out of the failure of Viet Nam and Watergate scandal.
Little did I realize just how misplaced my support was and how inept a President he was to be. In fact, his first official act as President, amnesty for Viet Nam draft dodgers, was the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ for continuance of my Army career, after slightly more than eight years active duty.
Those of us old enough to remember can recall the double digit inflation, return of gas lines, 55 mph maximum speed limits everywhere, high interest rates charged, failed peace talks, Iranian hostage crisis for 444 days, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and even the start of the Iraq/Iran war.
Researching for old articles to help shake the cobwebs from my aging brain, I was to discover that what I thought was the ineptness of Carter would pale in comparison to steps he took that we didn’t know about. Steps that not only created more unrest in the Middle East than there already was, but that still haunt us today as we are fighting worldwide Terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with the possibility of Iran becoming embroiled in the fight.
It is no secret that Carter failed to support the Shah of Iran, leading to his downfall and the ascension to power of radical Shia clergyman, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Carter even encouraged some 150 of the Shah's top military commanders to acquiesce to the Ayatollah and not to fight him. This act of Carter's human rights program and ‘appeasement’ cost all of them their lives as one of the Ayatollah’s first acts was to have them all murdered.
Against the advice of senior U.S. Embassy staff in Tehran, Carter decided to Admit the Shah into the U.S. sparking violent protests from Iranians that subsequently led to the storming of our Embassy in Tehran and the Iranian Hostage Crisis. An attempted rescue mission failed, resulting in the death of 8 of our Brave Military and the loss of 3 helicopters and one C-130 Cargo plane. The hostages would remain in captivity until moments after the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan, who handily defeated Carter in the November 1980 election.
Much lesser known, I came to discover while sifting through a site solidly opposed to President Bush’s inclusion of Iraq in the War on Terror, is that through the rulers of Saudi Arabia, Carter encouraged Saddam Hussein to invade Iran, which Saddam did in September 1980, leading to their bloody 8 year war.
Carter was lagging behind Reagan in the 1980 campaign due in large part to his ineffectiveness in freeing the hostages held in Iran. There were also unconfirmed rumors, subsequently ruled spurious by Congressional investigation, that the Reagan campaign was secretly negotiating with Iran on their own to release the hostages. A declassified 1981 report from Secretary of State, Alexander Haig to President Reagan, confirms that Carter gave the “green light” to Saddam through the Saudi’s for the invasion of Iran.
If this “green light” to Saddam Hussein isn’t enough to raise eyebrows, in October 1980, after the invasion of Iran by Saddam Hussein’s forces, and with the full approval of Carter, his administration unfroze Iranian assets he earlier had frozen and gave approval to resume shipments of arms and spare parts for Military equipment originally sold to Iran under the Shah’s regime. Haig comments on this in the 1981 ‘report’ above as well.
What became known as the Iran Contra Affair, which the Democrat party used to try to undermine Reagan’s administration, was actually started under the Carter administration and continued by Reagan.
In 1998, Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, gave an interview which appeared in the French publication, 'Le Nouvel Observateur' discussing U.S. involvement in the Soviet Afghanistan War, also starting in 1980. When asked about CIA involvement in Afghanistan prior to the Soviet Invasion, Brzezinski replied, “According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.”
Further asked about whether this was a provocation of the Soviets to invade Afghanistan, he answered, “We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.”
As we all know, the Mujahideen gave birth to the Taliban, a separate group of Afghani warlords and religious students who broke away to impose radical Islam as the ruling party in Afghani government. It was also the Taliban that harbored and gave sanctuary to Osama Bin Laden.
Expressing no regrets over Carter’s pre-Soviet involvement in Afghanistan, Brzezinski asserted, “That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War.”
Pressed further about regrets, Brzezinski stated, “What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”
While this isn’t Carter himself speaking, National Security Advisors do not operate independently of President’s. Robert Gates, current Secretary of Defense, former head of the CIA and then executive assistant to National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, confirms in a December 2004 BBC interview that “..early in 1979, the United States government began considering providing covert support to the potential opposition in the mujahideen in Afghanistan and, beginning in July, actually the president authorised that kind of support.”
In reading these accounts it struck me that none are pro-Bush or even supportive of the current ongoing war, which I have to call a culmination of efforts, policies and moves put into motion by the Carter Administration. More plainly, we are still mopping up the mess of Carter’s 4 years of ineptness in the Oval Office.
And now, Carter has the unmitigated gall to label George W. Bush’s administration, clearly not the greatest, as the “worst?”
Oh Jimmuh, What Have You Done?
UPDATE: Cominig under fire for the comments, Carter has taken the usual Democrat track, Carter says comments were ‘careless’. Also typical for the Democrat party, he explains his comments on the 'Today Show' as, "They were maybe careless or misinterpreted."
Sunday, May 20, 2007
May 20, 2007
Posted by Lew Waters at 6:00 PM