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[Jimmy Carter]


Former President Jimmy Carter speaks during a town hall meeting with wife Roslyn Carter (L) at the Carter Center in Atlanta, September 25, 2002. Carter said it would be a tragic and costly error for the U.S. to attack Iraq without the support of the U.N. Carter, a Democrat who served as president from 1977 to 1981, said removing Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from power would require a far more intensive effort than the 1991 Gulf War or the recent U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan. Photo by Tami Chappell/Reuters 









Former President Carter says little George is simply wrong

We all have our opinions about what should be done with Saddam.  But what is becoming more and more obvious is that the only world leader who is really beating the drums of war is little George.

Nobody really fears Saddam.  Everybody knows that for him to use his alleged weapons of mass destruction would be suicidal.  Everyone knows he cannot deliver an atomic bomb to the United States.  And everybody knows that if you poke at a rattlesnake, then it is your own doings if you get bit.  In other words, Saddam starting a war with chemical and biological weapons gets one response from the world community and Saddam using chemical and biological weapons to defend Iraq is something else.

The question here is whether Americans are going to let little George launch an unnecessary war against Iraq.  In the end, it is not going to be the world community that controls little George, it is going to be Americans.

John WorldPeace
September 26, 2002

Carter fears 'tragic mistake' War in Iraq may have 'enormous' costs, he says

By Mark Bixler, staff

September 26, 2002    The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

Former President Jimmy Carter warned Wednesday that the United States would make a "tragic mistake" if it attacks Iraq without the support of its allies.

He also said a military campaign to topple Saddam Hussein would put U.S. troops at greater risk than they faced in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and recent attacks in Afghanistan. Those efforts relied heavily on aerial bombardment, but Carter said air attacks alone will not dislodge the Iraqi dictator.

"To capture him, we would have to go into the streets of Baghdad," he said. "The costs would be enormous."

Carter made the remarks at a town hall meeting in Atlanta in which he reiterated criticism of laws restricting trade with Cuba and said the Bush administration has endangered civil liberties in its investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks.

He criticized the government's secret detention of hundreds of Middle Eastern and South Asian immigrants since Sept. 11. Most were charged with violations of immigration law that were once considered minor, such as overstaying a visa. None is accused of terrorism.

Carter said the government denied many of them access to a lawyer and failed to timely notify them of charges against them.

"They have been deprived in this country of their basic rights," he said.

He also questioned the decision to detain Taliban and al-Qaida fighters captured in Afghanistan at a U.S. Navy base in Cuba. Human rights groups have criticized the detentions because the fighters lack access to lawyers and have no recourse to challenge their detention in court.

Carter said people in U.S. custody deserve to know the charges against them and to have contact with lawyers and have a timely trial.

On Iraq, Carter joined other Democrats, including former Vice President Al Gore, in urging President Bush to act with caution.

Carter said he despises Saddam and would welcome his departure, but he said a unilateral U.S. attack could destabilize the Middle East, alienate allies and hurt relations with other nations.

"The loss of Iraqi civilian life would certainly be enormous," he said.

He urged the United Nations to require Iraq to comply with previous resolutions calling for inspections to detect weapons of mass destruction. If that happens and Saddam once again flouts the United Nations, Carter said, the United States "would have massive support of other nations to force Iraq to comply."

"It's absolutely crucial that we have unimpeded inspections," he said.

Several months ago, Carter became the first current or former U.S. president to visit Cuba in more than 40 years, and he had strong words about U.S. relations with the island nation. He said it's "absolutely ridiculous" that federal law prevents people from traveling to Cuba or selling most goods and services there.

The Troubling New Face of America: 

An Op-Ed by President Carter

Fundamental changes are taking place in the historical policies of the United States with regard to human rights, our role in the community of nations and the Middle East peace process -- largely without definitive debates (except, at times, within the administration). Some new approaches have understandably evolved from quick and well-advised reactions by President Bush to the tragedy of Sept. 11, but others seem to be developing from a core group of conservatives who are trying to realize long-pent-up ambitions under the cover of the proclaimed war against terrorism.

Formerly admired almost universally as the preeminent champion of human rights, our country has become the foremost target of respected international organizations concerned about these basic principles of democratic life. We have ignored or condoned abuses in nations that support our anti-terrorism effort, while detaining American citizens as "enemy combatants," incarcerating them secretly and indefinitely without their being charged with any crime or having the right to legal counsel. This policy has been condemned by the federal courts, but the Justice Department seems adamant, and the issue is still in doubt. 

Several hundred captured Taliban soldiers remain imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay under the same circumstances, with the defense secretary declaring that they would not be released even if they were someday tried and found to be innocent. These actions are similar to those of abusive regimes that historically have been condemned by American presidents. 

While the president has reserved judgment, the American people are inundated almost daily with claims from the vice president and other top officials that we face a devastating threat from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, and with pledges to remove Saddam Hussein from office, with or without support from any allies. As has been emphasized vigorously by foreign allies and by responsible leaders of former administrations and incumbent officeholders, there is no current danger to the United States from Baghdad. 

In the face of intense monitoring and overwhelming American military superiority, any belligerent move by Hussein against a neighbor, even the smallest nuclear test (necessary before weapons construction), a tangible threat to use a weapon of mass destruction, or sharing this technology with terrorist organizations would be suicidal. But it is quite possible that such weapons would be used against Israel or our forces in response to an American attack.

We cannot ignore the development of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, but a unilateral war with Iraq is not the answer. There is an urgent need for U.N. action to force unrestricted inspections in Iraq. But perhaps deliberately so, this has become less likely as we alienate our necessary allies. Apparently disagreeing with the president and secretary of state, in fact, the vice president has now discounted this goal as a desirable option.

We have thrown down counterproductive gauntlets to the rest of the world, disavowing U.S. commitments to laboriously negotiated international accords.

Peremptory rejections of nuclear arms agreements, the biological weapons convention, environmental protection, anti-torture proposals, and punishment of war criminals have sometimes been combined with economic threats against those who might disagree with us. These unilateral acts and assertions increasingly isolate the United States from the very nations needed to join in combating terrorism.

Tragically, our government is abandoning any sponsorship of substantive negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. Our apparent policy is to support almost every Israeli action in the occupied territories and to condemn and isolate the Palestinians as blanket targets of our war on terrorism, while Israeli settlements expand and Palestinian enclaves shrink.

There still seems to be a struggle within the administration over defining a comprehensible Middle East policy. The president's clear commitments to honor key U.N. resolutions and to support the establishment of a Palestinian state have been substantially negated by statements of the defense secretary that in his lifetime "there will be some sort of an entity that will be established" and his reference to the "so-called occupation." This indicates a radical departure from policies of every administration since 1967, always based on the withdrawal of Israel from occupied territories and a genuine peace between Israelis and their neighbors.

Belligerent and divisive voices now seem to be dominant in Washington, but they do not yet reflect final decisions of the president, Congress or the courts. It is crucial that the historical and well-founded American commitments prevail: to peace, justice, human rights, the environment and international cooperation.


How can we manifest peace on earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both sexes) in our vision of Peace?

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