Saturday, July 30, 2005

Jimmy Carter Lambasts Bush on Gitmo and Iraq

You know what the very best thing is about being a former president of the United States? The Bush Republican mafia cannot fire you from anything. The arm-twisters in the White House and Congress can threaten you all they like, but you're already retired from the highest position any American can have, so there's nothing they can take away from you. They cannot promise you they will make sure you never win an election again, not even for dog-catcher, because you're never going to run for office again. They cannot tell you they'll see to it that all of your congressional projects get defeated, because you don't have any congressional projects. They cannot threaten you with political ruin, because everyone knows you're a humanitarian and a statesman and you've won the Nobel Peace Prize to boot.

And if you are in this enviably untouchable position, you can do and say things like this:

"I think what's going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the U.S.A.," [former president Jimmy Carter] 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."
Critics of President Bush's administration have long accused the U.S. government of unjustly detaining terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base on the southeastern tip of Cuba. Hundreds of men have been held indefinitely at the prison, without charge or access to lawyers.

"What has happened at Guantanamo Bay ... does not represent the will of the American people," Carter said Saturday. "I'm embarrassed about it, I think its wrong. I think it does give terrorists an unwarranted excuse to use the despicable means to hurt innocent people."

Earlier this month, Carter called for the Guantanamo prison to be shut down, saying reports of abuses there were an embarassment to the United States. He also said that the United States needs to make sure no detainees are held incommunicado and that all are told the charges against them.

Carter, who won the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, has been an outspoken critic of the Iraq war.

"I thought then, and I think now, that the invasion of Iraq was unnecessary and unjust. And I think the premises on which it was launched were false," he said Saturday.

Let the wicked old men in the Republican leadership try to make him stand in front of a bank of microphones on the Senate floor and apologize on national television for saying that the Bush administration violates human rights law and behaves in ways unbecoming to a free and democratic nation.

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