After leaving office his triumphs have included the now failed North Korean nuclear weapons deal. This was supposed to provide a solution to the proliferation of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula.
And now, almost thirty years after the Camp David Accords, Mr. Carter has decided to weigh in again with a new book and speaking tour. Its nice to see that he is providing a balanced look at the Arab-Israeli problem with comments such as:
"No, that's not true at all," responded Carter. "Israel hasn't really tried to give 'Palestine' back to the Palestinians. They did give up some of Gaza. And then they moved out, and the Palestinians captured one soldier and tried to swap [him] for 300 children – some as young as 12 years old – and 94 women, but the Israelis wouldn't swap. So then Israel reinvaded Gaza. But if Israel ever wants peace – and they do want peace – a majority of Israelis have always said, 'Let's get rid of the land, and let's have peace.' That's what we need to have."
and this lovely pronouncement from a man who failed to rescue people under his leadership
"I don't think that Israel has any legal or moral justification for their massive bombing of the entire nation of Lebanon. What happened is that Israel is holding almost 10,000 prisoners, so when the militants in Lebanon or in Gaza take one or two soldiers, Israel looks upon this as a justification for an attack on the civilian population of Lebanon and Gaza. I do not think that's justified, no."
An advocate of trades, he fails to see what trading prisoners for hostages has gotten Israel. In his own article, Carter notes that the three of trades involved, "1,150 Arabs, mostly Palestinians, for three Israeli soldiers in 1985; 123 Lebanese for the remains of two Israeli soldiers in 1996; and 433 Palestinians and others for an Israeli businessman and the bodies of three soldiers in 2004."
And what have these trades gotten Israel? Certainly, it has not put an end to the Arab practice of taking Israelis hostage. It has not increased the chances of a workable peace, since it merely returns willing foot-soldiers to the ranks of the terrorist groups which seek the destruction of Israel. In reading the Washington Post editorial from August 1, 2006, it is clear what he wants: for Israel to appease, at all costs, the demands of the Arabs. He makes the obligatory remark that Israel is entitled to defend itself, and then immediately undercuts this position by stating that its attempts to are per se inhumane and counterproductive and should be abandoned. IF that is the case, then under Mr. Carter's formulation, national self-defense against outlaw groups can never be justified if civilians sheltering them might be injured or killed.
In case anyone wonders who the people that the Arabs seeks the release of from Israelis prisons, here is one that has been at the top of their demand list for years. His name is Samir Kuntar, his story is here. Its nice to see that an ex-president of the United States is urging the release of people who have committed those crimes. Had he been tried in some U.S. courts, he would have long since been executed.
Mr. Carter, on the off chance you are reading this, please stop talking and writing about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Your stature as an ex-president gives too much weight to your ill-conceived notions of what is right and what is just in that region. Your desire for peace appears to be a peace at any price, in much the same way that in an earlier generation Mr. Chamberlain desired peace over the Czecheslovakian-German dispute. Please, quiet your voice and stop adding stature and support to people who have been unwilling to make peace at any price short of the destruction of what is still the only functioning democracy in the Middle East.