Jimmy Carter's depiction of the Amerikkan warmongers is correct.
Unlike a lot of pseudo-Democrats and paper (e.g. 'wine and brie') liberals, I DO give lots of credit to former President Jimmy Carter – for at least being one of the few executives not to launch a war on his watch. That is something to be proud of, whether as a citizen or as another chief exec. But strangely enough, as comedian Bill Maher noted two weeks ago- few Dem candidates or actual presidents have given any acknowledgement to Carter for his accomplishments. They’d rather give them to an idiot like Reagan.
Now in a recent interview at salon.com Carter correctly provides his take on this country’s increasingly war mongering direction – since John Kennedy was slain in 1963. Recall in his
“Our primary long-range interest is general and complete disarmament- designed to take place by stages, permitting parallel political developments to build the new institutions of peace which would take the place of arms.”
Doubtless, most of the eyes and ears of the then U.S. military establishment either disbelieved Kennedy’s words or thought he was simply playing to the audience of young, graduating Catholic idealists. However, barely four months later their cynical clocks were cleaned when Kennedy announced the agreement on the Nuclear Test ban treaty with Nikita Khrushchev. As author James Douglass aptly notes:
The test ban treaty was JFK’s critically important way to initiate, with Khrushchev, the end of the Cold War and their joint leadership in the United Nations for the redemptive process of general and complete disarmament
Why would JFK risk all to push for changes he had to know would make the militarist establishment nervous? Why would JFK risk being branded a traitor or “appeaser” – the word used by Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer - when he adamantly refused to go all out and bomb, invade Cuba in the midst of the 1962 Cuban Missile crisis? Probably because in that crisis Kennedy saw how very close human civilization came to incineration.
Jimmy Carter was much the same as forces within his own administration pushed him to reckless action in the wake of the taking of the American hostages in
in 1979. But he resisted their siren call, and ended up losing the 1980
election because Reagan and pals conspired with the Iranians such that if they
held up release of the hostages until after the election, they’d subsequently
benefit from a huge arms deal. This later became the center point of the Iran
Contra Conspiracy. The basic nutshell version
is that Reagan & Co. facilitated the shipping of Israeli Hawk and TOW missiles to Iran to obtain
the release of the American hostages. The
money from the sale of these arms was then funneled into Iran to
support the Rightist “Contras’, a violation of the then Boland Amendment. Nicaragua
In his salon.com interview Carter was queried about John Kerry’s response on ‘Meet the Press’ when he actually said (before the Russian occupation of Crimea): “This is the 21st century …you can’t just invade another country anymore.”
"Right. We did. We do it all the time. That’s
Unfortunately. And we have for years" Washington
When asked about the American exceptionalist bunkum and the “duty to bring democracy to the rest of the world” – and whether we in fact see ourselves accurately – and how that squares with how the rest of the world see us, Carter was blunt:
“The rest of the world, almost unanimously, looks at
as the No. 1 warmonger.
That we revert to armed conflict almost at the drop of a hat — and quite often
it’s not only desired by the leaders of our country, but it’s also supported by
the people of America .
We’ve also reverted back to a terrible degree of punishment of our people
rather than the reinstitution of them back into life. And this means that we
have 7.5 times as many people now in prison as when I left the governor’s
mansion. We’re the only country that has the death penalty in NATO; we’re the
only country in this hemisphere that has the death penalty, and this is another
blight on our country as far as unwarranted, unnecessary and counterproductive
violence are concerned.” America
In other words, we’re a belligerent, mean-spirited lot that is often unthinking – and because we are- often provoked to either elect barbarians and warmongers (aka neocons, or neocon -lovers), or become passive so the other side is energized to do so while we stay home or vote ‘lesser of two evils. We’re also a highly vengeful people, who manufacture laws that reflect this – accounting for why we have so many behind bars. We talk about “second chances”, but are merciless except to bankers and Wall Street criminals who get away with barely a slap on the wrist or less, as portrayed in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’
My biggest complaint, and I suspect Carter’s too, is that we are historically ignorant and under-educated, which is why we allow the perpetuation of a war-security state without making any headway. We are played, or rather our fears are, to allow this war-security state to continue to garner power in our name and to do things we should all uniformly deplore – but don’t.
But how can we improve when our own elected leaders are even prepared to turn a blind eye to the miscreants, such as the ones in the CIA who conducted tortures and renditions in our name. We are told by these leaders to “look ahead, not backward” and yet the same leaders were prepared to throw the book at any and all whistle blowers – including Bradley Manning.
Incredibly, even as Jimmy Carter’s interview came online, a despicable essay “Why I Am Still a Neocon” is making the rounds. This insane piece of offal actually proclaims the need to retain Amerikkan Military dominance in the world, despite the fact that is only guaranteed to earn us more enemies and ever more chances to see that power exposed and foiled for the paper tiger it is – especially when going up against a power of equal might. That the
cannot maintain its status as unipolar power forever should be obvious to
anyone who has studied history and anyone with a newspaper subscription. The
rapidly developing economies and massive populations of countries like China
and India make that plain enough, as does Russia’s newly retooled, modernized
military and its retention of a "de-escalation" doctrine that allows it to employ nukes if its
conventional forces are ever overwhelmed (say by NATO). United States
This is why the neocon mentality is like a dinosaur. It is already passé and can’t be sustained – no matter how many neocon moles at the State Dept. desire it, or how many of their stupid essays demand it. Sheesh, I mean the author of the piece (Reihan Salam) even acknowledges that the military spending of the United States is insane, but waves that concern away by arguing that we’ll contain costs by lowering our personnel costs, which are “half of our military budget. “ It’s the personnel that are expendable!
In other words, this moron has actually pronounced the worst idea for neo-conservatism- in fact, its total demise. Because while the warmongering mentality in neo-conservatism demands the hyperbolic valorization of the soldiers whom we send away to be killed- Salam is asserting we can convince the country to pay soldiers less though they will necessarily be killed more often.
Does he think youthful volunteers are that stupid, that they will still sign up – presumably under the pseudo-Patriot banner- under those conditions? And also with likely benefits cuts?
In the end, left unsaid, is that any volunteer would be mad or delusional to fight for a nation in a major confrontation (with a major power) that is already at a vast disadvantage in manpower. Hell, the Chinese already enjoy a billion-person advantage over the
. Start a
ground war with them, and you think even one million volunteer ‘Muricans will
stand a change against 25 million
inducted Chinese? Give me a break. And don’t even think of talking nukes, you
don’t want to go there. U.S.
The bottom line is that Jimmy Carter is correct, and our warmongering ways provide no insurance for the future – for ourselves or our vaunted “democracy”. There is simply no way we can sustain the unipolar power hegemony indefinitely. We are already paying the price in massive decline at home, most visibly in our crumbling infrastructure and eroding middle class. It’s time now to put on the realist hat and stop playing the fanciful global "cop". Instead, we need to take care of our own and ensure our REAL domestic security.
As for the neocons, their hand is played out, they just don’t know it yet.
 James Douglass: 2008, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, Orbis Books, p. 329.