Jimmy Carter attacks the president for helping to fuel anti-American feeling in the Islamic world, among many other failings.
George W. Bush has exploited the suffering of Sept. 11 and turned back decades of efforts to make the world a safer place, former President Jimmy Carter said in an interview with the Guardian.
Attacking Bush and Tony Blair over Iraq, Carter called the war “a completely unjust adventure based on misleading statements.” He also criticized Bush for “lack of effort” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and accused him of abandoning nuclear nonproliferation initiatives championed by five presidents.
The U.S. “suffered, in 9/11, a terrible and shocking attack … and George Bush has been adroit at exploiting that attack, and he has elevated himself, in the consciousness of many Americans, to a heroic commander in chief, fighting a global threat against America,” Carter said. “He’s repeatedly played that card, and to some degree quite successfully. I think that success has dissipated. I don’t know if it’s dissipating fast enough to affect the election. We’ll soon know.”
Carter, 80, was president from 1977 to 1981, but did not win reelection amid the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran. By comparison, support for Bush’s Iraq invasion is widespread, something Carter attributes to a transformation in America’s national mood. “When your troops go to war, the prime minister or the president changes overnight from an administrator, dealing with taxation and welfare and health and deteriorating roads, into the commander in chief,” he said. “And it’s just become almost unpatriotic to describe Bush’s fallacious and ill-advised and mistaken and sometimes misleading actions.”
He blames Bush and Blair for helping to fuel the depth of anti-American feeling in the Islamic world. Denying any link between his handling of the Iranian crisis and the present threat, Carter said: “The entire Islamic world condemned Iran. Nowadays, because of the unwarranted invasion of Iraq by Bush and Blair, which was a completely unjust adventure based on misleading statements, and the lack of any effort to resolve the Palestinian issue, [there is] massive Islamic condemnation of the United States.”
American media organizations, he added, “have been cowed, because they didn’t want to be unpatriotic. There has been a lack of inquisitive journalism. In fact, it’s hard to think of a major medium in the United States that has been objective and fair and balanced, and critical when criticism was deserved.”
On nuclear proliferation, the issue that Democratic contender John Kerry has identified as the single most serious threat to national security, Carter attacked Bush for abandoning “all of those long, tedious negotiations” carried out by Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan and himself.
In recent weeks Carter has also warned of the possibility of a new election fiasco in Florida.
The two presidential candidates spent the weekend focusing their resources and words even more tightly on the small number of swing states considered crucial to the election on Nov. 2. Bush told supporters in Florida that “despite ongoing violence, Iraq has an interim government. It’s building up its own security forces. We’re headed toward elections in January. You see, we’re safer; America is safer with Afghanistan and Iraq on the road to democracy. We can be proud that 50 million citizens of those countries now live as free men and women.”
Carter’s interview marks the U.K. publication of his book “The Hornet’s Nest,” a story of the American Revolutionary War and the first novel to be published by a former president. Ironically, he notes, those fighting for U.S. independence could never have triumphed were it not for an alliance with the French.
More Related Stories
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Kaitlyn Hunt refuses plea offer, will go to court over high school relationship
- DHS admits "impossible" to control 3D-printed guns
- Journalists file suit against Manning trial secrecy
- Russia: Syrian regime ready to talk peace
- Report: Nearly a quarter of all Americans struggle to afford food
- Ted Cruz against the world
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- 2 men arrested for endangering commercial aircraft
- Oversized load blamed for bridge collapse
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Iran hackers aiming at U.S. energy firms
- Lawyers release data in attempt to discredit Trayvon Martin
- Anonymous rallies behind Kaitlyn Hunt
- Bridge collapse: Part of "aging infrastructure"
- Mistrial in penalty phase of Arias case
- Amanda Bynes arrested after hurling bong from window
- Interstate 5 bridge collapses north of Seattle
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- UK Military: London attack victim was a "model soldier"
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11