Thursday, April 26, 2007

Quote of the day

"Regardless of the exact number of casualties, there are two basic facts to be remembered: the war was unjst and unnecessary, and our armed forces in Iraq deserve extraordinary gratitude and admiration fo their special courage and effectiveness. The fact is that, unlike during other times of national threat or crisis, the United States of America is not at war. To an an extraordinary degree, the entire burden of of the conflict has been focused on a few military personnel and their families, with no financial sacrifice or discomfort among 99.5 percent of the American people. Five hundred thousand troops were involved in the first Gulf War in the limited goal of evicting Iraq from Kuwait, but this time only one-third as many have been repeatedly sent to conquer and hold a large and complex nation." - Jimmy Carter, Our Endangered Values

I just finished this book the other day and will be writing a review in a day or so. But in the spirit of the previous post about the Moyers documentary about the complicity of the mainstream press in selling the Bush administration's war with Iraq, I will link to this post from Greenwald where he discusses the way that pre-invasion critics like Scott Ritter were smeared and dismissed by the same media pundits who we are expected to take seriously even though they've been proven dead wrong about Iraq while the "unserious" critics like Scott Ritter were actually the voices of reason.

I do so because Jimmy Carter was also one of those voices that protested presciently the invasion of Iraq, yet the noise machine is still busy demonizing him as an anti-American dictator loving anti-Semite.

In a March 3, 2003 op-ed entitled "Just War, or an Unjust War?" Carter voiced his concerns. I'll quote from the last paragraph just to illustrate how right he turned out to be.

The peace it establishes must be a clear improvement over what exists. Although 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. Also, by defying overwhelming world opposition, the United States will undermine the United Nations as a viable institution for world peace.

What about America's world standing if we don't go to war after such a great deployment of military forces in the region? The heartfelt sympathy and friendship offered to America after the 9/11 attacks, even from formerly antagonistic regimes, has been largely dissipated; increasingly unilateral and domineering policies have brought international trust in our country to its lowest level in memory. American stature will surely decline further if we launch a war in clear defiance of the United Nations. But to use the presence and threat of our military power to force Iraq's compliance with all United Nations resolutions — with war as a final option — will enhance our status as a champion of peace and justice.
There is something profoundly wrong with our national discourse that voices of reason like Carter and Ritter are marginalized yet the likes of Bill Kristol (see here for a stunning list of wrongness from Kristol), Peter Beinart, Charles Krauthammer, Jonah Golberg, etc. seem to see no ill consequences from being systematically wrong about Iraq. As Glenn notes in the post I link, one has to search in obscure journals and what not to here what Ritter thinks about Iraq or Iran. Jimmy Carter is able to get his voice heard because of his stature as a former President and one of the world's greatest humanitarians, but just think how many other voices of reason were drowned out by the cult of Bush war loyalists via their tactic of ritual defamation of anyone who stands in the way of the neoconservative dream of permanent endless wars.

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