Thursday, October 11, 2007

Carter Blasts Bush, Scorches Cheney

Yesterday, former President Jimmy Carter went on record stating the United States tortures prisoners in violation of international law.

But first some background: The New York Times disclosed on October 4th the existence of secret Justice Department memorandums supporting the use of "harsh interrogation techniques", including "head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures."

In response to The Times article, President Bush defended the techniques last Friday and said, "This government does not torture people."

Yesterday, Carter went on CNN and all but called the President a liar.

The CNN interview was conducted by Wolf Blitzer, no friend of Carter's:

BLITZER: President Bush said as recently as this week the United States does not torture detainees.

CARTER: That's not an accurate statement. If you use the international norms of torture as has always been honored, certainly in the last 60 years, since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was promulgated. But you can make your own definition of human rights and say, we don't violate them. And we can — you can make your own definition of torture and say we don't violate it.

BLITZER: But by your definition, you believe the United States, under this administration, has used torture.

CARTER: I don't think it, I know it, certainly.

BLITZER: So is the president lying?

CARTER: The president is self-defining what we have done and authorized in the torture of prisoners, yes.

I suppose this means presidents no longer lie -- they merely "self-define". Yet, whatever one might think of his euphemisms, Carter pretty much stated what the world knows -- the US is torturing prisoners and the Administration is bullshitting. Carter, it seems, is one politician who is being honest with us -- and he's likely to get crucified for it.

After the CNN interview, Carter went on BBC World News America. This time his target was Dick Cheney:
He's a militant who avoided any service of his own in the military and he has been most forceful in the last 10 years or more in fulfilling some of his more ancient commitments that the United States has a right to inject its power through military means in other parts of the world.
You know he's been a disaster for our country. I think he's been overly persuasive on President George Bush and quite often he's prevailed.
At the rate he's going, I'm definitely going to miss Carter when he passes on. The man was a failed president, but I think he has since redeemed himself through his moral activism as an ex-president. Basically, he's turned himself into a statesman. And whether one agrees with him or not, one most likely does not get the impression that Jimmy Carter is hiding what he genuinely thinks or feels.

A couple more quotes from Carter -- this time on the GOP candidates for president:
They all seem to be outdoing each other in who wants to go to war first with Iran, who wants to keep Guantanamo open longer and expand its capacity -- things of that kind.

They're competing with each other to appeal to the ultra-right-wing, war-mongering element in our country, which I think is the minority of our total population.
Yesterday, Jimmy Carter spoke more truth to the world in two interviews than the Bush Administration speaks in twenty.


References:

Carter Says US Tortures Prisoners

Jimmy Carter Unplugged: Former President Takes Aim at Bush and Cheney

Jimmy Carter Calls Cheney a "Disaster" for US

Jimmy Carter: US Tortures Prisoners

12 comments:

Mystic Wing said...

Great post. I agree with everything you say, except that Carter was a lousy president.

At the time, he didn't look great. But if you compare him to the current Resident....Carter looks like Abraham Lincoln when compared to W.

amuirin said...

Paul, check 2nd part of video. They almost had a very congenial, uncontroversial interview, but what she said about American interests... so reflects this administrations lack of respect or concern for anyone who isn't a rich american citizen.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/10/11/emissary-from-the-death-s_n_68026.html

Paul said...

Good point, Mystic! Carter wasn't a completely failed president. In the first place, he has the Camp David Accord to his credit. In the second place, he didn't do anything that couldn't be cleaned up pretty quick. Bush, on the other hand, has probably damaged this country for a generation.

Paul said...

Thanks, Amuirin! I'll check that out.

Mahendra said...

Nice post, thanks for the informative sharing!

//Jimmy Carter spoke more truth to the world in two interviews than the Bush Administration speaks in twenty.//

Carter spoke more truth in two interviews than Bush did in two terms in office! :-)

Rambodoc said...

Whatever you may imagine in terms of seeing Carter as a global statesman, the fact is his pathetic handling of his country's foreign and domestic affairs while he was President, including the Iran hostage crisis, has forever robbed him of credibility. At least, in my eyes.

Webs said...

Whatever you may imagine in terms of seeing Carter as a global statesman, the fact is his pathetic handling of his country's foreign and domestic affairs while he was President, including the Iran hostage crisis, has forever robbed him of credibility. At least, in my eyes.

That's a shame, because those that makes mistakes but say intelligent things afterward have often learned from them. And to say you will never listen to him again seems to make the statement that he could have in no way learned from his mistakes.

So if he was your father and not a politician would you still think he could not have learned from the mistakes? I guess I just haven't figured out how political affiliation determines the logical basis of an argument.

Rambodoc said...

Webs, point taken. Well, you are talking of an American President. If he demonstrates, not just mistakes, but major moral deficiencies, it seems less likely he would have grown out of them and turned a new leaf, isn't it?
I agree there is that possibility, but what's the proof? Only in words...no, not impressive.
PS, would you trust Bush pontificating on peace processes with Arab states after ten years or so?

Mahendra said...

As an objective third-party, I did not see where "And to say you will never listen to him again" came from...

Webs said...

Mahendrea: I got that from the following:
"has forever robbed him of credibility"

But that aside I too generally distrust politicians. But that doesn't mean that some will try to do good things. Especially once they are out. I will give an ex-politician the benefit of the doubt.

Mahendra said...

Webs, thanks. I agree with you. I would also give the benefit of the doubt to ex-politicians.

stevo said...

Carter has done a lot since his term in office. I read a Rolling Stone interview with him from last spring where he discusses hanging our with Bob Dylan. He's a very interesting man, and a unique voice.