At one time, people considered Jimmy Carter the most successful ex-president, building a far better reputation through his philanthropical work than he ever did in his single term in the White House. However, over the past ten to fifteen years, his meddling in foreign policy and continuous left-wing stridency has dimmed the luster of his charitable efforts. Despite being out of office at the time, he may wind up most responsible for North Korea having nuclear weapons.
One would think that would give him a legacy unmatched in recent times. Today he did what most of us thought impossible — he actually made his reputation worse. Carter took an opportunity to castigate the American military for its treatment of terrorist detainees while traveling overseas ona visit to our most strategic ally:
Former President Carter said Saturday the detention of terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay Naval base was an embarrassment and had given extremists an excuse to attack the United States.
Carter also criticized the U.S.-led war in Iraq as “unnecessary and unjust.”
“I think what’s going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the U.S.A.,” he told a news conference at the Baptist World Alliance’s centenary conference in Birmingham, England. “I wouldn’t say it’s the cause of terrorism, but it has given impetus and excuses to potential terrorists to lash out at our country and justify their despicable acts.”
I have covered the Guantanamo Bay dispute for the past several weeks, even before Dick Durbin attacked the joint task force of our military at Gitmo and their administration of the camp and treatment of its prisoners. Over and over again, the notion that Gitmo has done anything to “embarrass” the United States has been thoroughly debunked. The only people with egg on their faces are the politicians like Durbin and Ted Kennedy who bloviate about abuses in order to puff up their political credentials. An independent investigation confirmed that only three violations of American law and Geneva Convention standards had occurred at Gitmo in the thousands of interrogations that have taken place and the hundreds of detentions.
Carter’s second notion, that Gitmo has given terrorists a reason to kill, disputes not only common sense but history as well. Gitmo didn’t take in detainees until after the Afghanistan operation collected terrorists by the dozen in the field of battle. Before that had happened, Islamofascist terrorists had attacked the World Trade Center twice (1993 and 2001), Khobar Towers, two of our African embassies, and the USS Cole. Since we opened Gitmo, how many times have AQ terrorists attacked US assets, at home or abroad? And how does Gitmo explain attacks on Madrid, Istanbul, Morocco, and now London? The British should have laughed him off their island.
But even beyond the folly of Carter’s assertions, the fact that he decided to attack the military and the American administration while abroad marks him as particularly despicable. He went to the soil of our strongest ally and attempted to undermine their support for the war effort in Iraq. If he succeeds, then American soldiers will wind up facing even more danger in the country at a time when we hope to be readying the Iraqis to stand on their own. No American should do such a thing during wartime, especially an ex-President — even one as relentlessly clueless as Jimmy Carter.
Carter has long shredded his charitable reputation by reminding us how inept his grasp of foreign policy was and is. Now he has revealed himself as a man of low character and relative loyalty. That may surprise few at this point of his post-office career, but the extent of his perfidy still disappoints nonetheless.