Every time an ex-president dies a demon gets his wings. It’s a time-honored tradition in these hallowed halls of Babylon. Lucifer himself could drop dead and provided that motherfucker spent no less than a hot minute in the Oval Office, every self-proclaimed journalist from the Wall Street Journal to Penthouse Forum would be lined around the block to polish his horns with their filthy flicking tongues. In fact, fuck Satan, just look to Ronald Reagan if you don’t believe me. That B-grade cowboy slung crack to grade school kids for rapists in Nicaragua and limp-wristed Bay area liberals are still tripping over the AIDS quilt to throw themselves sobbing on his casket.
Naturally, being the terminally jaded cunt that I am, I have made it my own private jihad in life to pop a squat over the graves of the powerful and unleash a hot steamy piss on their sacred soil. I have plenty of reverence for the dead, but nobody lights a candle for Hitler during Suicide Awareness Month. What the hell makes our monsters so fucking special? A cult of personality is a cult of personality and if I’m not game to deface a few monuments then I might as well turn in my slingshot with my shoplifted copy of Never Mind the Bollocks and call it quits on being an anarcho-anything.
With that being said and may Bill Hicks have mercy on my soul for even saying this out loud, I’m finding myself feeling oddly pee-shy as old Jimmy Carter shuffles towards the light. As surreal as it may seem, at least for the past forty years, that soft-spoken peanut farmer appears to have led the life of a halfway-decent human being. While the Clintons would perform at a supper club for the Khmer Rouge if the price was right, Jimmy has spent the lion’s share of his long retirement from power building houses for the Dollar Tree class and literally eradicating diseases in countries that Anderson Cooper couldn’t even pronounce right with a goddamn Speak-and-Spell. The man will die in a one-story house he built with his own hands in a town even smaller and poorer than mine. I’m hard set to admit it but that motherfucker was a good ex-president. That does not however mean that he has a guaranteed table reserved for him passed the Pearly Gates between Gandhi and Dorothy Day.
Jimmy Carter does have a dark side, a downright hideous dark side in fact and that dark side is the 39th presidency of these United States of Babylon. While Jimmy may have spent the last four decades teaching Sunday school to pint-sized bumpkins, between 1977 and 1981 he spent four years dressing up an empire like Mr. Rogers and setting the stage for one of the most violent quarter-centuries in the storied history of its sick existence.
You can quite literally thank Jimmy Carter for Al-Qaeda. During the early hours of his presidency, Jimmy conspired with his twisted Machiavellian little National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski to arm, train and organize some of the Muslim world’s sickest lunatics to start a rampant garbage fire on the Soviet Union’s southern border in Afghanistan for the express purpose of luring Moscow into burning itself alive stomping out the flames.
Jimmy and Zbig have all but admitted this with Brzezinski gloating mincingly that “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.” Mission accomplished. The resulting fallout of the Carter Administration’s midwifing of the Mujahedin speaks for itself. $3 billion US tax dollars, 1. 5 million Afghan lives, two Twin Towers, a partridge, and a pear tree.
This was far from an isolated incident either. The all-knowing corporate zeitgeist generally considers the biggest triumph of Jimmy’s one-term tenure to be the 1978 Camp David Accord and its biggest folly to be his botching of the Iran Hostage Crisis but neither one of these incidents is generally given the proper context their casualties deserve.
The peace deal that President Carter organized between Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin wasn’t really a peace deal at all, at least not for the Palestinians. It was a bribe. Jimmy Carter agreed to arm Egypt’s colonels to the fucking teeth if they agreed to look the other way while Israel continued to slaughter their fellow Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank like lambs. Gamal Abdul Nasser would have shot Sadat himself if he were alive to witness this Noble Prize winning screw-job, the end result of which was a military dictatorship in Cairo that even the Arab Spring couldn’t upset and the Nakba that never ends.
As for Iran, few popular historical observers seem to pay much attention to the fact that the only reason hostages were even taken in the first place was that Jimmy had given sanctuary to one of the region’s cruelest dictators, a loathsomely venal creatures known as the Shah of Iran who Carter openly supported as he massacred student protestors during the Islamic Revolution and even threw a military coup to save him from the righteous wrath of the Mullahs.
Even fewer historical observers waste the ink to report that Jimmy’s most lasting response to this revolution was his establishment of the Carter Doctrine which officially made it a matter of public policy that the United States would treat any perceived threat to destabilize the Persian Gulf and its precious resources as a national security threat to be “repelled by any means necessary, including military force.” By 1981, Carter had reorganized a gargantuan chunk of the United States Military into a 200,000-man Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force which would later be used in two Gulf wars and usher in the age of ISIS.
But perhaps the darkest chapter of Jimmy Carter’s brief but eventful massacre on Capitol Hill occurred in 1980 in a Korean college town called Gwangju. After an assassination and a coup replaced a dictatorship in Seoul with a military dictatorship, South Korea exploded in a wave of largely peaceful student protests, demanding democracy on the peninsula. The boldest of these uprisings broke out in Gwangju, where students were joined by local blue-collar workers in an epic groundswell of resistance that reached 300,000 people in the streets. When soldiers attempted to violently shut these protests down, its partisans raided local arms depots and police stations to repel the troops, courageously holding their own for six days. Then Jimmy sent in the Black Berets.
While publicly condemning the increasingly gruesome crackdowns, documents released through the Freedom of Information Act have revealed that the Carter Administration used the US Military’s leadership over their joint command with the Korean Military to plan, lead and execute a colossal bloodbath with the hopes of avoiding a repeat of the Iranian Revolution. The Korean Army used American tanks to cordon off the city of Gwangju and after a 90-minute gun battle with the civilian militia organized by the protesters, these brave kids surrendered, the American-trained Korean Special Forces known as the Black Berets invaded and the massacre began. Homes were raided, mass graves were dug at the edge of town and some two thousand of the bravest people America never knew simply ceased to exist.
This is the side of Jimmy Carter that no one but his victims knows, and it makes the side of Jimmy Carter that we’ve all gotten to know over the last four decades incredibly hard to reconcile. It’s very tempting to believe that the better angels of Jimmy Carter’s nature are simply part of a conspiracy to wash the blood from a callous killer’s hands, but I honestly believe that the truth is far more complicated than that. Most of Jimmy’s post-presidential actions don’t seem designed for popular public fanfare. In fact, many of them have only provoked the ire of the manufactured consensus.
What did Jimmy have to gain from calling out his former homies in Israel for their apartheid ways other than being smeared by their lobby as an antisemite? Whose good graces were gained by preventing another American coup in Venezuela with the Carter Foundation’s endorsement of Hugo Chavez’s victory in his 2004 recall referendum? All of this smacks of something very different than your standard Washington whitewash. All of this smacks of legitimate liberal guilt attempts made by a man with a functioning conscience to redeem himself for the evils of his office and no single effort was more heroic or more thankless than the one Jimmy made in Pyongyang in 1994.
Few people remember that the Second Korean War was set to begin before the end of Bill Clinton’s first term in office. Hellbent on proving to the GOP that he wasn’t the dovish pussy they had painted him as, Bill was fully prepared to launch a preemptive strike against North Korea’s nuclear reactors. Ex-president Jimmy Carter was sent over to the DMZ to meet up with legendary Stalinist strongman Kim Il-Sung as part of an “unofficial” and largely symbolic pre-war PR stunt, but then old Jimmy went rogue.
Not only did he go off-script to reach a deal to prevent the war with a deal that Clinton never actually signed off on, but Carter even called a press conference to announce it live on CNN before the White House could squash it. What resulted was the framework for a nuclear freeze and the closest thing to peace that peninsula that President Carter once so violently fucked over has likely ever seen, 7 years of free trade and a Sunshine Policy that only ended with Dubya’s Axis of Evil. God only knows how many lives were saved in the process. Probably at least two thousand.
The Clintons never returned Jimmy’s phone calls again. He was ostracized by both the media and the DNC and only recently rehabilitated so Joe Biden could pose with the only Democrat old enough to make him look young. So, was Jimmy good or evil?
The truth likely lies somewhere between. While Jimmy’s post-presidential actions in Korea were undeniably inspiring, the fact remains that he has also never apologized for the horrors of the Mujahedeen, Hosni Mubarak or the Black Berets. All I can really tell you for sure is that the office Jimmy served in required the actions of a psychopath and the hideous legacy of these actions requires a very sophisticated cult of personality to turn every servant of American power into a saint upon the hour of their death. This institution is a danger that should not exist.
With that being said, I won’t be pissing on Jimmy Carter’s grave this year. For once, I would rather pray to Kali that the better angels of Jimmy’s nature are reincarnated in some species not eligible for office. I’d like to think that the saints of Gwangju would approve.