James Pinkerton / Houston Chronicle – 2004-04-09 19:04:03
BROWNSVILLE (April 9, 2004) — Former President Carter on Thursday called the Bush administration’s decision to wage war against Iraq “ill-advised and unnecessary,” adding the resulting campaign “has turned out to be a tragedy.”
The former Democratic president also said Bush’s environmental policies are perhaps the worst in the nation’s history. Carter made the comments at the Rio RV Park after wrapping up a four-day birding trip with his wife, Rosalynn, in the lower Rio Grande Valley.
“President Bush’s war was ill-advised and unnecessary and based on erroneous statements, and has turned out to be a tragedy,” Carter said. “And my prayer has been that brave young American men and women, and others who are there, that their lives will be spared and there will be some peaceful resolution of the war.”
Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, also blamed what he called Bush’s pro-Israel policies for engendering animosity against America.
“The prime source of animosity towards the United States is the lack of progress in dealing with the Palestinian issue,” Carter said, adding that past US administrations since Harry Truman’s have maintained a “balanced position” in dealing with the rights of the Arab population within the Jewish nation.
“The present administration has not done so at all. We have been exclusively committed to the policies of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Israel, and have made no effort to try to have a balanced negotiating position between Israel and the Palestinians,” Carter said.
Carter, who brokered the historic 1978 Camp David accords that led to peace between Israel and Egypt, noted that President George H.W. Bush threatened to halt foreign aid when Israel began building settlements in Palestinian territory. “In the meantime, of course, the Israelis have established hundreds of settlements all over Palestinian land with no critical comment ever coming from the present Bush administration,” Carter said.
Carter, who placed 103 million acres of Alaskan land under federal protection during his term, also took the current White House to task on the environment.
“This national administration is the worst for conservation in my lifetime, maybe in history,” said Carter, whose family has farmed in Georgia since 1833. “In all the basic elements of preserving the purity of parks and wildlife lands, controlling the industries that are inclined to pollute … the decimation of forest lands.”
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)