Memo to Jimmy Carter: Pound nails, not Bush

Of all the criticisms Jimmy Carter shouldn't be making, the allegation about President Bush's foreign policy shortcomings tops the list. He should not need to be reminded that it was his botching of the Iranian hostage situation that helped get us where we are today.

While few would disagree about the president's failures in Iraq and Afghanistan and his inability to bring key European allies into the mix, only a brief glance at history will tell us where this whole mess began. But then Carter has been in denial about his role almost since the last vote was cast for his successor Ronald Reagan in 1980, leaving him to search for vindication by sticking his nose into every international crisis from Haiti to the Middle East in an ultimately successful campaign for a Nobel Peace Prize.

The former Navy officer turned politician turned peanut farmer turned politician can claim credit for winning a detente between Egypt and Israel that was no small achievement. He also is a nice man whose bitterness over what he felt was an unfair rejection by the voters finally spewed out in his ranking of Bush as the biggest Oval Office lunk head in history when it comes to overseas affairs and his slandering of British Prime Minister Tony Blair as a toady, breaking the rule about former presidents not speaking ill about the current holder of the job.

When Carter left office his ratings were as low or lower than Bush's, dipping into the 20s for job approval on a series of domestic and foreign policy blunders that left U.S. prestige abroad in a shambles and turned Iran into a theocratic state that fosters and finances terrorism and still does. His misguided stances included canceling U.S. participation in the Moscow Olympics because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, a silly protest that accomplished nothing and hurt only the American athletes who had trained for years.

But the capper, of course, came when he withdrew U.S. support for the ailing shah of Iran, a Western educated, pro-American monarch who had kept radical Muslims in line and provided stability throughout the area. This sometimes required what Carter saw as repressive measures by the shah's dreaded secret police. So what does this born again Georgian do? He helps unleash one of the most regressive radicals in modern history, the Ayatollah Khomeini, on Iran and the world. The secret police were amateurs compared to the oppressiveness this creature brought with him from exile in Paris.

The cleric, whose religious ideology was right out of the 11th century, then warned his benefactor not to permit the dispossessed shah to get medical treatment in the United States. That was too much even for Carter who ignored the edict. The ayatollah then gave his young militants the go-ahead to storm the American embassy, holding 52 hostages and making the U.S. a laughingstock for more than 444 days while Carter dithered, afraid of the consequences of military action. He finally OK'd an improbable plan for rescue but quickly abandoned it when a helicopter crashed killing nine of the team. The nation's wimp image, along with his, was certified.

Meanwhile, the new Persian dictators turn their attention to promoting anti-Americanism throughout the globe and establishing a rogue state about to reach critical mass with its nuclear development. At the same time they have tried, not unsuccessfully, to feed the insurgency in Iraq with financing and roadside bombs.

That Carter seemed to retreat a bit in normal political fashion after his remarks caused the White House to bite back, calling him "irrelevant," which under the circumstance seems mild albeit correct. He said he was speaking in a context that was misunderstood. Right. Actually, he has been openly critical of Bush in the past without eliciting a response from the White House.

Taken together, the mistakes in Middle East policy would fill volumes. But Carter, who cultivates an image of fairness and integrity, should understand better than anyone that our current problems have been a long time in the making, dating back to his own bad judgment. It probably is time for him to restrict himself to pounding nails in houses for the poor.



    Thomasson is using an old propaganda technique called “make them all the same”. The Republican party has committed high treason many times since Kissinger and Nixon sabotaged the 1968 Peace Talks so that Humphrey would still be stuck with the war. The great evil of the Democrats is that they have been enablers in the whole process. They are so frightened of the crooks on the right-wing, that they always back out. We are ruled by a not-so-hidden government of psychopathic billionaires and traitors both in and out of government.

    John Hanks, Laramie, Wyoming

  2. ericdmalone

    Thank you John for pointing out that Kissinger sabotaged the Paris Peace Talks in 1968 to help Nixon get elected.

    That is a little-known fact, that Nixon and Henry The K were responsible for extending the carnage and death in Vietnam unnecessarily for another 7 years until the helicopters left the roofs of Saigon in May 1975 under Ford.

    A good history of this incident is accounted in the film “The Trials of Henry Kissinger.” I highly recommend it for this, as well as the history of the first September 11…that is in 1973, when the US under Kissinger/Nixon helped to overthrow Salvador Allende in Chile and install our friendly fascist dictator, Augusto Pinochet.

    Eric Malone

  3. Donnat

    the same rights as any American to call Bush a madman, he is. You can’t gloss over it.


  4. Lee Davis

    Gee seems to me that there was a story that a deal was make by ronnieraygun so Carter would not win….

  5. Devlment

    I’m pleased to see that others have pointed out the reality of history, as it actually is, not as taught or commonly believed.

    All too often the US is guilty of interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country, and years later, that action comes back to haunt them.

    Carter’s miscue in attempting a rescue pales into insignifigance when compared to the boy wonder’s illbegotten adventure in the sand.

  6. Steve Horn

    Carter didn’t bring about the Iranian situation, nor was he responsible for the failure at freeing the hostages. The timing of the hostage release should have left the Republican operatives red faced.

    Carter may have failed in his attempts to free the hostages taken in Iran, but at least Carter had a foreign policy (beyond GW’s “pre-emptive strike idiocy).

    Faced with a failing economy, incredible inflation rates, the ghosts of Nixon and Ford and increased unrest in the Middle East I’d say that Carter did a hell of a job of trying to restore our nations faith in its government.

    What’s your hero George W. Bush brought about? Damn near a police state here in the US, the highest fuel prices in history, exodus of manufacturing jobs, a booming economy turned into a shambles (unless one happens to be well invested in the stock market OR an oil executive), loss of face in the international community, the invasion of two soverign states, failure to find Bin Laden, failure to stabalize Afghanistan, failure to stabalize Iraq, increased instability in Iran and North Korea- quite a track record.

    And lets not forget that Carter served with honor in a nuclear sub while Bush was busy drinking and snorting coke.

    Was Carter an effective manager? No – he was not – he didn’t surround himself with the best and brightest, which was probably his downfall as commander in chief, but compared side by side to the idiot currently in the oval office, Carter stands head and shoulders above Bush.

    As for tools – Carter knows how to use them, Bush just IS one.



  7. ericdmalone

    The failed hostage rescue attempt to which you refer (Desert One, also called Eagle Claw) was conducted by none other than Reagan-Bush loyalist and Iran-Contra Poster Boy Richard Secord.

    In Gary Sick’s excellent account of this debacle, “October Surprise,” it becomes apparent that Secord, acting with other members of the military and intelligence communites who hated Carter, probably sabotaged the mission by issuing “hangar queens” (older helicopters gathering dust) to ensure that they would not be able to perform this extremely complex mission.

    In addition, there is now physical evidence from the Russian KGB and other sources in French intel that show that George Herbert Walker Bush and others were selling weapons to the Iranians holding our people hostage…to *prevent* Carter from being elected by holding the hostages in prison until the exact moment Reagan put his hand on the Bible to take the oath of office in January 1981.

    That was pretty blatant as far as media marketing messages go, not to mention treasonous.

    At least Carter, despite his failings, was trying to do the right thing for this country, as opposed to the current occupant who has eviscerated the Constitution and made America a mockery worldwide, not to mention torturing and killing more people than I care to count.

    Eric Malone

  8. Doubtom

    Any failure of Carter was more due to Repugnican manipulations than any lack of ability on his part. All the forces we now see arrayed against the people i. e., corporations, media, corrupt officials are the same forces which they loosed against Carter to insure that he’d be a one-term president.
    Carter has ten times the intelligence of the current idiot-in-chief and without the intrusion of the Repugnicans he would have been re-elected.

    So Dan, I’ll be glad to ask Jimmy Carter to just pound nails if you’ll agree to go pound sand up your ass. You don’t even make a passable revisionist.

  9. Carl Nemo

    Dan I suggest you do some serious “dirt-digging” research before you post any material that attacks former President Carter concerning the Iranian Hostage crisis. Behind the scenes republican operatives; i.e., William Casey et. al were doing everything they could to see that Carter “failed” in his attempt to release our hostages! They even made sure any hostage release was delayed until their boy; i.e., Mr. “jelly-bean” Ronzo Reagan was sworn into office. Within five minutes of Reagan being sworn in 52 hostages were released and our ever-meddling buddies in Israel started supplying Iran with the weapons of war within a few days which the Carter administration had steadfastly refused to do. In fact this was the the very beginning of the infamous “Iran-Contra” crisis which went on for years before it’s public disclosure.

    Iran-Contra wasn’t simply about gun-smuggling, but our CIA and military being involved with drug-trafficking, the creation of “crack” cocaine even showing dealers how to make it and move it onto the streets of America. It was about massive amounts of money that really belong to the American taxpayer being deposited in offshore accounts and used for nefarious purposes on a world-wide basis. The Reagan era represents the greatest corruption of American ideals and the beginning of our massive indebtedness courtesy of the M.I. Complex and their facilitators such as H.W. Bush, then V.P./Mr. CIA and his easily controlled and quite confused President with onset dementia; i.e, Reagan. This entire entire Iranian hostage scam had all the earmarks of typical MIC/CIA/Israeli Intelligence meddling in the middle east at the expense of American taxpayer and lives, as always. People need to wake-up, including yourself, and realise we are the continual victims of an evil script; i.e., International-Social-Psycho drama courtesy of the CIA/NSA/DIA/Mossad/Shinbet operatives who are running dogs for incredibly wealthy planetary oligarchs who want to control the oil reserves of the Middle East regardless of consequences to the peoples of the world. I’m going to supply link and I hope you and others take time to read it.

    President Carter has every right as a citizen to speak up about our current fix, and if the current regime doesn’t like it…tough! What is a former president to do; join some type of defacto club of criminally inclined “good ol’ boys” that “hear, see, and speak” no evil as most former presidents. Carter gets “Five Gold Stars” in my book in addition to being the Commander-in-Chief, but I as a citizen elevate him to the rank of General over generals, why because he actually has some “principals”…! God Bless President Carter, and as far as the rest are concerned they can fry in hell, immediately if not sooner. I’ll send a fax to the devil recommending they can “pound nails” for eternity while President Carter supervises them. They are so incompetent they couldn’t drive a nail straight, much less know how to construct a home, nor run a nation in an honest fashion… : |

    Carl Nemo **==

    p.s. I’ve suspected for years that the choppers engaged in the mission to save the hostages in Iran were sabotaged too courtesy of the shadowy MIC/CIA “running dog” cabal.

  10. Elmo

    You left out the other things that Jimmy Carter has accomplished. He has every right to point out that the current administration has a powerful anti-Midas touch. Come January 20, 2009 at noon EST, George W. Bush will begin a post-Presidential career highlighted by brush clearing and bike riding.

  11. jzelensk

    The US, in one of Dwight Eisenhower’s first acts (with strong influence by Commie-hater John Foster Dulles), joined Britain in ousting Mohammed Mossadegh, the only democratically elected president in modern Iran. The purpose was to reverse Iran’s nationalization of oil facilities built by Britain and operated under exploitive terms in which Iran received a pittance for this non-renewable resource for many decades. We then installed the brutal Shah, who reigned till 1979. The Iranian people never forgot, and never forgave us.

    At that time I guess that Jimmy Carter was serving as a sailor in the US Navy.