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Carter Should Stick to Picking Peanuts

By Bobby Eberle

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In Sunday's issue of the New York Times, former President Jimmy Carter not only proves that he is a devout follower of the "peace at any price" coalition, but he also lays out a case against military action with Iraq based on false statements and a surprising failure to see the facts right before his eyes.

Former President Carter begins his editorial titled "Just War -- or a Just War?" by naming his foundations of foreign policy and intervention, namely "basic religious principles, respect for international law, and alliances that resulted in wise decisions and mutual restraint." In the very next sentence, Carter writes, "Our apparent determination to launch a war against Iraq, without international support, is a violation of these premises."

Yes, I did finish reading the entire column, but with an introduction like that, I knew the rest would simply be ridiculous. How can he say that the United States does not have international support? The current list of coalition partners stands at over 30, with more joining with each passing week. The violations of U.N.-mandated disarmament by Saddam Hussein span more than a decade, and the U.N. Security Council spoke with unanimity when passing resolution 1441 which gave Saddam Hussein one final opportunity to immediately and unconditionally disarm. France, Russia, China, and Syria (among others) all voted for resolution 1441. The international support for Iraqi disarmament cannot be more clear.

Carter goes on in his column to describe his criteria for a "just war." He writes that war can only be waged as a last resort and then writes that "with our own national security not directly threatened and despite the overwhelming opposition of most people and governments in the world, the United States seems determined to carry out military and diplomatic action." So, according to former President Carter, the national security of the United States is not directly threatened. I just don't know where to begin my reply. The national security of the United States and its friends and allies is absolutely threatened by Saddam Hussein both directly and indirectly.

Saddam Hussein, through his weapons of mass destruction, can directly attack any number of U.S. friends in the region, thus creating a destabilizing threat to the entire Middle East. In addition, Saddam Hussein, through ties with terrorist organizations, could sell his weapons to groups ready and willing to directly attack the United States. Are we just supposed to wait for the next 9-11?

Carter then writes that the first stage of the U.S. war plan is to "launch 3,000 bombs and missiles on a relatively defenseless Iraqi population." This type of statement is not only false but irresponsible as well. The goals of U.S. military actions against Iraq are to defeat the Iraqi regime, so that full disarmament can occur. The result of these actions will also liberate the Iraqi people. Where is the voice of Carter, and all the other bleeding hearts, who were so vocal when the debate was whether or not to take out Milosevic because of his unspeakable atrocities? The Iraqi people are being tortured on a daily basis, and yet the world is silent.

Former President Carter then makes an interesting policy proposal. He believes that the will of the U.N. Security Council should still be honored in calling for the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, but then says that if military action were needed to do so, America does not have the "international authority" to change the regime. In other words, if Saddam Hussein does not give up his weapons of mass destruction, then apparently we could justifiably go in and disarm him as long as we left Saddam Hussein in power. That makes no sense at all. I seriously doubt that Saddam would learn his lesson and never again torture his people or attempt to create weapons of mass destruction.

Then, Carter's op-ed gets even better (or worse, depending on how you look at it). Carter writes "[t]he peace [a war] establishes must be a clear improvement over what exists." He goes on to say "[a]lthough there are visions of peace and democracy in Iraq, it is quite possible that the aftermath of a military invasion will destabilize the region and prompt terrorists to further jeopardize our security at home." In other words, if America invades Iraq, we could face another terrorist attack at home. Were we invading Iraq during the first World Trade Center bombing? Were we invading Iraq during the attack on the U.S.S. Cole? Were we invading Iraq on September 11, 2024?

The idea that life in Iraq could actually be worse than it is now would be laughable if it weren't so sad. Iraqi civilians are beaten, tortured, and oppressed. They have no freedom to speak out, unless they wish to lose their tongues.

Carter writes that America jeopardizes its standing in the world community if we carry out military action against Iraq. On the contrary, our standing is at risk if we do not. America is great because America is good. We fight to protect ourselves and our friends, and we fight to secure and promote freedom. That is why a war with Iraq is not only necessary, but it is also just.

Bobby Eberle is President and CEO of GOPUSA, a news, information, and commentary company based in Houston, TX. He holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Rice University.



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