Speaking at the Baptist World Alliance’s centenary conference in Birmingham, England, former President Jimmy Carter blasted Bush administration policies in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, where prisoners have been held indefinitely, without charge or access to lawyers.
“I think what’s going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the U.S.A.,” he told a news conference. “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.”
“What has happened at Guantanamo Bay … does not represent the will of the American people,” Carter said. “I’m embarrassed about it, I think it’s wrong. I think it does give terrorists an unwarranted excuse to use the despicable means to hurt innocent people.”
Notice my emphasis on the word “unwarranted.” Carter clearly stated that terrorist acts could not be justified, and while Guantanamo “may be an aggravating factor … it’s not the basis of terrorism.” Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, also continued his long standing criticism 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.”
Yeah, I know… you righties are going to instantly jump in attacking and maligning Carter, but he is one of the few true statesmen our nation has, and a voice of wisdom and reason that is heeded overseas, if not here at home. It is also one of the curious ironies of American politics that one of the figures most reviled by those on the religious right, is a man who was arguably the most genuinely and passionately devout President in perhaps a hundred years… and an Evangelical Christian to boot.