Friday, April 18, 2008

Editorial: Carter crusading, yet clueless on Hamas’ hate

What do you call an organization that is adamantly committed to the destruction of a neighboring state, has murdered hundreds of soldiers and civilians in that country via rockets and suicide bombs and refuses to enter peaceful negotiations with its neighbor?

The U.S. State Department rightly has branded that organization - Hamas - as a terrorist organization. But one man's "terrorist" is another man's "freedom fighter," at least for former President Jimmy Carter, who is in the Middle East this week doing all he can to launder Hamas' bloodthirsty reputation and undercut our strongest ally there, the state of Israel.

Carter no doubt sees himself as a modern-day Moses, the only man on earth capable of bringing peace to that region. His free-lance meddling there through the years has been fueled in large part by his egotism, although there are many critics who would add that he seems to suffer from a deep-rooted bias against Israel. They also point out that his Carter Center in Atlanta has been the beneficiary of millions in funding from Arab and Islamic interests.

Whatever the actual reasons for Carter's trip, they contributed to the nauseating sight this week of a former U.S. president solemnly laying a wreath on the grave of one of the history's most ruthless killers, the late Yasser Arafat.

Yes, it's true that Carter got the Israelis and Egyptians to make peace at Camp David during his presidency; and that peace has held, more or less, ever since. But it's one thing to broker peace between warring nations; and another to reward terrorists by negotiating with them, especially when they are publicly and unalterably committed to Israel's destruction. And were Hamas to do a 180-degree turn as Carter hopes and make peace with Israel, it thereby would lose all its legitimacy in the eyes of its supporters.

Mr. Carter seems to have fallen prey to the kind of thinking that has tripped up many statesmen: the notion that if they could just sit down face to face with a dictator or tyrant or terrorist who is intractably opposed to peace, that their differences would fall by the wayside.

It's an honorable idea - but not a realistic one. (Think Neville Chamberlain and Hitler; FDR and Stalin; LBJ and Ho Chi Minh; Carter and the Ayatollah Khomeini; Bill Clinton and Arafat).

Well-meaning leaders like Carter fall into the trap of thinking that the other party is at heart "a reasonable man" who only wants what's best for his country or his people; and that with an infusion of U.S. cash or grants or other aid, a deal can be cut.

What they don't understand is that in most such cases, the person with whom they are dealing is anything but reasonable. As in the present case, such troublemakers' desires to do harm to us and our fellow democracies outweighs their desires to do good for their own country and people.

Moreover, Carter, like many others on the left, mistakenly thinks that economic deprivation and envy of the U.S. are the factors driving radical Islam, when in fact, it is motivated by hatred of the Western world and the freedoms we take for granted. The fact that most radical Islamic leaders (bin Laden, Arafat, Zawahari, etc.) and even most of the 9/11 conspirators hailed from the upper crust of the Arab world kicks the legs out from under the left's theory. They are driven by ideology, not economics.

So what we are left with is a glory-seeking former president whose views were overwhelmingly repudiated by U.S. voters in 1980 and whose theories about why much of the Arab world dislikes us are all wrong. And he has launched himself on a one-man peace crusade.

In the process, Carter is both damaging the credibility of Palestinian moderates and building the prestige of Hamas - and no doubt bringing a huge smile to Iran's leaders, who are providing Hamas with armaments and funding.

Carter used to be called "our greatest ex-president." But the embarrassment of his current jaunt should finally put a nail in that coffin.

(Editorial from the Marietta Daily Journal, 4/18/2008. Finally someone said exactly what I was thinking! VoteNovember2008)


Lee said...

Bingo. Nobody has summed up JC better since Jay Nordlinger did in this piece from 2002...

VoteNovember2008 said...

Thanks for the heads up. I've been out of town for a few days and I'll gladly check out your link. Thanks for stopping by! VN8

VoteNovember2008 said...

Wow, Lee, I read the NR article on Carter. I'm bookmarking that one! Thanks for refreshing my memory even further!