The Associated Press – 2007-05-20 22:59:55
Bush’s Global Impact ‘Worst in History’: Carter
The Associated Press
(May 19, 2007) — Former US president Jimmy Carter has called President George W. Bush’s administration “the worst in history” in international relations, criticizing the White House’s policy of pre-emptive war and its Middle East diplomacy.
The criticism from Carter, which a biographer says is unprecedented for the 39th president, also took aim at Bush’s environmental policies and the administration’s “quite disturbing” faith-based initiative funding.
“I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history,” Carter told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in a story that appeared in the newspaper’s Saturday editions.
“The overt reversal of America’s basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including those of George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me.”
Carter spokeswoman Deanna Congileo confirmed his comments to the Associated Press on Saturday and declined to elaborate. Carter spoke while promoting his new audiobook series, Sunday Mornings in Plains, a collection of weekly Bible lessons from his hometown of Plains, Ga.
“Apparently, Sunday mornings in Plains for former President Carter includes hurling reckless accusations at your fellow man,” said Amber Wilkerson, Republican National Committee spokeswoman. She said it was hard to take Carter seriously because he also “challenged Ronald Reagan’s strategy for the Cold War.”
Carter came down hard on the Iraq war.
“We now have endorsed the concept of pre-emptive war where we go to war with another nation militarily, even though our own security is not directly threatened, if we want to change the regime there or if we fear that some time in the future our security might be endangered,” he said. “But that’s been a radical departure from all previous administration policies.”
Comments Unprecedented, Says Biographer
Carter, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, criticized Bush for having “zero peace talks” in Israel. Carter also said the administration “abandoned or directly refuted” every negotiated nuclear arms agreement, as well as environmental efforts by other presidents. Douglas Brinkley, a Tulane University presidential historian and Carter biographer, described Carter’s comments as unprecedented.
“This is the most forceful denunciation President Carter has ever made about an American president,” Brinkley said. “When you call somebody the worst president, that’s volatile. Those are fighting words.”
Carter also lashed out Saturday at British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Asked how he would judge Blair’s support of Bush, the former president said: “Abominable. Loyal. Blind. Apparently subservient.”
“And I think the almost undeviating support by Great Britain for the ill-advised policies of President Bush in Iraq have been a major tragedy for the world,” Carter told BBC radio.
© The Canadian Press, 2007
Carter Attacks Blair for ‘Blind’ Support of US in Iraq
LONDON (May 19, 2007) — Former US president Jimmy Carter on Saturday attacked outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair for his “blind” support of the Iraq war, describing it as a “major tragedy for the world”.
In an interview with BBC radio, Carter was asked how he would describe Blair’s attitude to US President George W. Bush. He replied: “Abominable. Loyal, blind, apparently subservient.
“I think that the almost undeviating support by Great Britain for the ill-advised policies of President Bush in Iraq have been a major tragedy for the world.”
Blair, who arrived in Baghdad Saturday on an unannounced visit, has suffered politically and personally since declaring his support for Bush after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
His backing of the war despite massive public opposition divided his governing Labour Party while the absence of weapons of mass destruction — the basis for war — and apparent manipulation of intelligence eroded trust.
There was further discontent last year when he joined Bush in refusing to back international calls on Israel to stop its bombing of Lebanon.
Carter, US president from 1977 to 1981, suggested Blair could have made a crucial difference to US political and public opinion by distancing himself during the build-up to the March 2003 invasion.
“I can’t say it would have made a definitive difference. But it would certainly have assuaged the problems that have arisen lately,” he said.
“One of the defences of the Bush administration, in America and worldwide — it’s not been successful in my opinion — has been that, okay, we must be more correct in our actions than the world thinks because Great Britain is backing us.
“I think the combination of Bush and Blair giving their support to this tragedy in Iraq has strengthened the effort and has made opposition less effective and has prolonged the war and increased the tragedy that has resulted.”
Carter has long been a critic of the war and has previously expressed his disappointment that Blair did not use his influence more wisely.
The former US leader, whose recent book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” criticises his country’s and Israeli policy, said the Iraq war had exacerbated tensions in the region and caused “deep schisms on a global basis”.
But while bemoaning a lack of progress on the “road map” to peace in the Middle East, Carter, who brokered the Camp David agreement between Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Menachem Begin, said the agreement was still viable.
On Iraq, he said he hoped the unpopularity of the “unwarranted invasion” in Britain and the United States would lead to a withdrawal of troop.
But Gordon Brown, who is due to take over from Blair as prime minister on June 27, has said it would be “wrong” to pull out the country’s troops immediately as Iraqis were assuming more control of security.
Blair made his last trip to Washington as premier on Thursday. Both he and Bush were defiant to the last over Iraq and said history would be the ultimate judge of their decision to invade.
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ACTION ALERT: 99.34% in Poll Favor Impeachment of Cheney
The dramatic spectacle of Alberto Gonzales trying to browbeat a deathly sick and barely conscious former Attorney General Ashcroft into signing off on White House law-breaking again demonstrates Dick Cheney’s central role in the commission of impeachable offenses. In a hearing this week, then-Acting Attorney General James Comey testified that Cheney and his chief of staff expressly criticised him for thwarting their attempted circumvent the Constitution. And then, Comey added, they went ahead and did it anyway.
There is nothing that will get to real policy change faster than confronting the vice president with a serious impeachment prosecution. And nothing will make it happen faster than if you will speak out now.
The number of votes in the National Cheney Impeachment Poll is now over 47,000 and still climbing steadily. And what’s most remarkable is that so far 99.34% of all freely chosen votes have been YES. And you can cast your vote too right now with one click.
Please note that we are not asking people in the National Cheney Impeachment Poll whether people think he will be impeached, we are asking if he SHOULD be impeached. Everyone already knows that Cheney is guilty of every impeachable offense imaginable.
Our only hurdle is to get people to actually admit it to themselves, to do their own duty, to save our democracy from its greatest threat ever, an unaccountable dictatorship run from a secret undisclosed location.
They say that one person can change the world. What can we do with upwards of 50,000 people already engaged in this? We can change the course of American political history, if each of us just does what we can. All we have to do in demonstrate by our numbers that the political will already is in place.
Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this message to everyone else you know.
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