Sunday, May 20, 2007


An Associated Press article quotes former president, Jimmy Carter, who has broken from the tradition of ex-presidents withholding criticism of a sitting president. Carter, who aimed his harshest words at Bush's Iraq war policy, also condemned Prime Minister Tony Blair. In a BBC radio interview, Carter described "the almost undeviating support" of the President's British ally as "a major tragedy for the world". The former president had strong words to describe Blair's support of Bush: "Abominable. Loyal. Blind. Apparently subservient".

Carter emphasized that a break of political continuity basically separates the Current Occupant of the White House from past administrations:
The overt reversal of America's basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me.

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 sometime in the future our security might be endangered...But that's been a radical departure from all previous administration policies.
The AP article continued:
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.

Carter also offered a harsh assessment for the White House's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which helped religious charities receive $2.15 billion in federal grants in fiscal year 2005 alone.

"The policy from the White House has been to allocate funds to religious institutions, even those that channel those funds exclusively to their own particular group of believers in a particular religion," Carter said. "As a traditional Baptist, I've always believed in separation of church and state and honored that promise when I was president, and so have other presidents, I might say, except this one."
Though Jimmy Carter's declaration comes belatedly against the White House and its Current Occupant, it does dramatize the building political crisis. This decision can be seen as requiring courage, and has already put former President Carter and First Lady Rosalyn Carter at the receiving end of threats, coming from American right-wing extremists.

UPDATE: Monday, May 21, 2007

Jimmy Carter today chose to modify his previous commentary that appeared in an Arkansas newspaper. Carter did not retract any of his sharp attack on Prime Minister Blair, but revised his remarks with respect to Bush, saying he intended no personal sort of criticism of the president.
Following a White House denunciation of Carter's original remarks, the Democratic former leader said he had intended to describe Bush as the worst president since scandal-plagued Richard Nixon.

"My remarks were maybe careless or misinterpreted. But I wasn't comparing the overall administration and certainly not talking personally about any president," Carter told NBC.

"I have been very careful and still am not to criticize any president personally," he said, while restating his opposition to Bush's policies on Iraq and the Middle East.

In a weekend commentary published by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Carter had written: "I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history."
--David Edwards, Raw Story


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