Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Jimmy Carter on Iran

Rachel Maddow had Jimmy Carter on tonight. Carter is far and away the "best" capitalist American politician on the subject of the Middle East (yes, that may not be saying much, but still...). And when the discussion turned from Israel/Palestine to Iran, here's what he had to say (plus what I have to say about what he had to say) [transcript mine from the online video; official transcript now online here]:
"There are four things that we ought to do about Iran now. First of all, withdraw from Iraq."
"Because that invasion of Iraq which was totally unwarranted,"
Yes again!
"is a major cause for Iran to have its influence in the region greatly escalated."
No! The reason we should withdraw from Iraq has nothing to do with Iran. It is precisely because the invasion of Iraq was "totally unwarranted," as you just said, and the occupation of Iraq equally unwarranted (and in both cases, I might add, totally illegal).
"Secondly is to do something about the plight of the Palestinians,"
Right on! Go on...
"because in the absence of that, Iran has now emerged, unnecessarily I think, in an unwarranted way, as the champion of the Palestinian cause."
No! The reason to "do something about the plight of the Palestinians has nothing to do with Iran. It has to do with the unjust, immoral (and again, illegal) treatment they have received for 60 years (and continue to receive).
"The third way is to stop threatening to attack Iran, even with nuclear weapons, which some in the Bush Administration has done, at least indirectly.
Yes! Almost. "Almost" because, unless that was just a slip of the tongue, which it may have been, blaming the "Bush Administration" with threatening to attack Iran, even with nuclear weapons, is quite misleading. Because quite a few people in the Obama Administration, starting with the President and going on to the Secretary of State and on down the line, have continued to repeat the "all options are on the table" line, a line which means quite clearly "up to and including nuclear weapons," whatever the talk of "diplomacy" that accompanies such talk.
"And those things can be helpful. And the fourth thing is to have communication with Iran, so that we can work out with the Iranians, with mutual respect I might say, an alleviation of their fear and paranoia, and hopefully find, I can't guarantee this of course, that they will abandon their plans to move toward a nuclear weapon.
First of all, "paranoia"? The U.S. attacked two of Iran's neighbors and overthrew their governments, one with something that some people (not including me) consider justification, the other with (as you just said, Jimmy) no justification at all, is almost certainly funding armed rebel groups inside Iran and other attempts to internally destabilize the Iranian government, continues to actively practice and try to promote the escalation of a strong economic blockade of Iran, and Jimmy wants us to believe that the Iranians are "paranoid"?

And, last but not least, the subject I return to again and again. "abandon their plans to move toward a nuclear weapon"? Not only is there no evidence they have such a plan, there is considerable evidence that they reject such a course of action. Not to mention our own National Intelligence Estimate which says so. And despite that, even someone as "good" as Carter has to throw out that kind of nonsense. Well, at least Carter was willing to say in public that Israel already has nuclear weapons. Even better would be for him to call for them to A) publicly admit they have them, and B) destroy them. I'll keep hoping.

Why stop here? There's more...

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