FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Jimmy Carter’s Penance?

by MISSY BEATTIE

In a New York Times (NYT) opinion piece, Jimmy Carter opens with: “The United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights.”

I read these words and focus on the present tense of “is”.  And I think:  When was this country ever anything but an imperialist nation?  When was the US anything but an enemy of human rights?  And I think about the blood on the hands of Jimmy Carter whose presidency was a devastating illustration of inhumanity.

Here’s a significant example:  It was Jimmy Carter and his National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski who were responsible for the rise of the Taliban and arming and training the mujahideen.  Brzezinski wrote the ending of Carter’s State of the Union Address, delivered on January 23, 1980:

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.

Afghanistan, in the late 1970s, was a secular country, providing free education to men and women.  And it was allied with the Soviet Union.  When the US recruited Islamic fundamentalists to come to Afghanistan for CIA training, the Soviets were drawn into war.

The Reagan Administration continued its predecessor’s aggression in Afghanistan.

Carter’s legacy includes not only Osama bin Laden and the majahideen, but, also, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Khmer Rouge, and the Shah of Iran.

Later, after leaving office, Carter, assumed the role of “impartial” election monitor. He traveled to Haiti after arranging a meeting with Bertrand Aristide who was running for president of the country and demanded that Aristide withdraw.  Aristide’s offense:  He was supported by an overwhelming majority of Haitians and wasn’t a puppet of the US government.  Refusing, Aristide went on to win the election but, later, was ousted in a coup supported by the US.  Carter’s original choice, Marc Bazin, backed by the US, was appointed Prime Minister. Carter defended General Raoul Cedras, a member of the governing junta responsible for the murder of thousands of Haitians who supported Aristides, saying, “I believe he [Cedras] would be a worthy Sunday school teacher.”

In 2006, Simon and Schuster published Carter’s book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, in which the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize states, “Israel’s continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land.”

I’ve wondered, often, if this, along with the former president’s work with Habitat for Humanity, is his attempt at redemption.

Carter closes his NYT piece with this call to action:

As concerned citizens, we must persuade Washington to reverse course and regain moral leadership according to international human rights norms that we had officially adopted as our own and cherished throughout the years.

It’s impossible, though, for “concerned citizens” to make our voices heard in a “Washington” that listens and is lulled only to and by Wall Street greed.  Certainly, Carter knows this.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore, Maryland.  Missy can be reached at: missybeat@gmail.com

 

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

May 05, 2016
David L. Glotzer
Welcome to Fortified Europe: the Militarization of Europe’s Borders
Adam Szetela
Beyoncé’s “Formation” and the Boutique Activism of the Left
Bruce Lerro
Lost at Sea: Left Liberals Have No Party
Paul Cochrane
Hot Air in the Saudi Desert: a Kingdom in Descent?
Brian Terrell
My Visit to a Las Vegas Jail
Judith Deutsch
The Military’s “Securitization” of Climate Change
Phyllis Bennis
Kunduz Bombing: Proof the Pentagon Should Not Be Allowed to Investigate Itself for War Crimes
Chad Nelson
When Compassion is Terrorism: Animal Rights in a Post-911 World
Dan Arel
Making Sanders’ Dream a Reality Through Political Activism
Kent Paterson
Ten Years Later: Reflections on the Legacies of Immigrant Spring
Serge Halimi
Why Firefighters are Against Free Trade
Andrew Stewart
Green Bernie or Green Party Machine?
Binoy Kampmark
Yuri Gagarin in Space: the Politics of Cosmic Discovery
Hayes Rowan
This Naming of Things
May 04, 2016
Kshama Sawant
It’s Not About Bernie: Why We Can’t Let Our Revolution Die in Philadelphia
Conn Hallinan
Baiting the Bear: Russia and NATO
Joshua Frank
Hanford’s Leaky Nuke Tanks and Sick Workers, A Never-Ending Saga
Paul Craig Roberts
TIPP: Advancing American Imperialism
Ted Rall
Hillary to Bernie Supporters: Don’t Vote for Me!
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton and Wall Street’s Neoliberal War on Latin America
Leslie Scott
The Story of Jill Stein: Putting People, Peace and the Planet Before Profits
Ann Garrison
Building the Greens Into a Mass Party: Interview with Bruce Dixon
Tom Clifford
Crying Rape: Trump’s China-Bashing
Lawrence Davidson
Getting Rid of Bad Examples: Andrew Jackson & Woodrow Wilson
Ellen Brown
Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California?
Nelson Valdes
Is Fidel Castro Outside or Part of Mainstream Thinking? A Selection of Quotes
Jesse Jackson
Don’t Send Flint Down the Drain: Fix It!
Nathan Riley
Help Bernie Keep His Halo
Rivera Sun
Remembering Nonviolent History: Freedom Rides
Clancy Sigal
Rachel and the Isolationists: How Maddow Blew It
Laura Finley
Changing the Conversation About “The Woman Card”
CJ Hopkins
Coming this Summer … Revenge of the Bride of Sophie’s Choice
May 03, 2016
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Resumé: What the Record Shows
Michèle Brand – Arun Gupta
What is the “Nuit Debout”?
Chuck Churchill
The Failures of Capitalism, Donald Trump and Right Wing Terror
Dave Marsh
Bernie and the Greens
John Wight
Zionism Should be on Trial, Not Ken Livingstone
Rev. John Dear
A Dweller in Peace: the Life and Times of Daniel Berrigan
Patrick Cockburn
Saudi Arabia’s Great Leap Forward: What Would Mao Think?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Electoral Votes Matter: Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders vs Donald Trump
Chris Gilbert
Venezuela Today: This Must Be Progress
Pepe Escobar
The Calm Before the Coming Global Storm
Ruth Fowler
Intersecting with the Identity Police (Or Why I Stopped Writing Op-Eds)
Victor Lasa
The Battle Rages on in Spain: the Country Prepares for Repeat Elections in June
Jack Rasmus
Is the US Economy Heading for Recession?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail