Jimmy Carter Can Only Blame Himself

Jimmy Carter calling anyone else the worst president is like John Wayne Gacy calling a shoplifter a danger to society. The 39th President of the United States told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in a story that appeared in the newspaper's last Saturday,
"I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history."
Jimmy Carter conveniently hides the fact that he is directly responsible for much of the turmoil we see in the world today. Carter began directly meddling in Iranian Affairs after he took office in 1977. On New Years Eve of that year, President Carter toasted the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, at a state dinner in Tehran, calling him "an island of stability" in the troubled Middle East. What the president also knew, but chose to ignore, was that the Shah was in serious trouble and his trip to Iran created anger toward the United States amongst the Iranian people.

When Carter became President he created a special Office of Human Rights which sent a letter to the Shah of Iran as a "polite reminder" of the importance of political rights and freedom. In response the Shah released over 350 Islamic fundamentalist prisoners who would later play roles in the Islamic Revolution and Iran Hostage crisis. Carter also ordered the Central Intelligence Agency to stop paying religious Mullahs over 4 million dollars in bribes. This monetary support was agreed upon, so the Mullahs would tone down their anti-Shah and anti-Western rhetoric.

The Shah ran a secular government and established excellent relations with the West, which included the recognition of the state of Israel. He also believed in the equality of woman which he expressed publicly in a Barbara Walters interview. These reasons were the heart and soul of the disdain the Mullahs had for him. The Shah was by no means perfect. His secret police force,
SAVAK, was infamous for their torture methods. Ironically the fact the Shah ran his government as a dictatorship played a very limited role in his demise.

Facing an Islamic revolution, the Shah appealed to Carter for help. On November 4, 1978 U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski called the Shah and said the United States would "back him to the hilt." This would never be the case. Brzezinski insisted to Carter that the U.S. must encourage the Shah to "brutally suppress the revolution". State Department officials believed Carter should reach out to the Revolutionaries in order to smooth the transition to a new government. This was a deciding moment in world history. Carter decided not to take either recommendation and to this very day, the world is suffering the consequences of his indecisiveness.

Weeks before Grand Ayatollah Khomeni came to power. The Shah fled the country for Egypt. However, when it became known the severity of the cancer he was suffering, Carter chose the humanitarian route and permitted him entrance into the U.S. for medical treatment. "He went around the room, and most of us said, 'Let him in.'" recalls Vice President Walter Mondale. "'If the Iranians take our employees in our embassy hostage, then what would be your advice?' And the room just fell dead. No one had an answer to that. Turns out, we never did."

When the Grand Ayatollah took power in February of 1979, the Shah held over 3,000 political prisoners, most of them spies or informants for the neighboring Soviet Union. The Ayatollah did not release them as the world expected. He deemed them "godless Communists" and placed them up against walls alongside more than 20,000 pro-Western Iranians and murdered them all by firing squads. Women were sent back into servitude. Citizens were arrested for owning satellite dishes and viewing Western programs. And, of course, American diplomats were taken hostage.

Carter's indecisiveness and incompetence became obvious to the rest of the World. The Soviet Union took great advantage of having Carter in the Oval Office. The Communist country invaded eastern neighbor Afghanistan, beginning an attempted power grab aimed at eventual Soviet takeovers in Iran and Pakistan. Carter's response to the invasion of Afghanistan was the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Olympic games held in Moscow. Need I say anymore?

History tells us that the Afghanistan fighters (Mujahideen) held their own against the Soviet invasion. Muslim extremists, including Osama Bin Laden, became warriors with great experience in strategic planning and sabotage. More importantly they now had confidence after defeating a Superpower. Sound familiar?

Also resulting from Carter's abandonment of the Shah was the Iran-Iraq war, which would have never occurred if the Shah remained in power. Over a half million people died during that war, including thousands of Iranians from Sadam Hussein chemical weapons. Hussein continued building his military to avoid future land attacks, which would become the cornerstone for his 1990 invasion of Kuwait. This of course became Desert Storm.

The aftermath of Jimmy Carter's Iran policy debacle is still present today. The lives lost, as a result of his incompetence in dealing with Iran before, during and after the Islamic Revolution is far greater than the current turmoil in Iraq. Considering the support insurgents groups in Iraq as well as terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah get from Iran, Carter's mistakes as President are still costing lives all over the Middle East.

Maybe it's an Iranian supplied artillery shell used by Hezbollah to attack Israel. Or an Iraqi insurgent trained by Iran to make bombs. We must not forget the seemingly endless supply of suicide bombers in Osama Bin Laden's, Al Qeada network. The fact is that these murderers and countless others like them exist today, not because George Bush made mistakes in Iraq, but because Jimmy Carter failed in Iran as well as turning U.S. foreign policy into a doormat for anyone to step on.

President Carter, if you want to place blame, just look in the mirror.

Paul Miller is a writer, consultant and activist, and  a former advisor to the Illinois Republican Party. You can read his opinions at http://www.pauliespoint.blogspot.com/
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