Well that seals it . . . if Jimmy Carter thinks attacking Iraq is a catastrophically bad idea, it must be a pretty good idea.
After all, Carter is the perfect reverse indicator on issues of national security. He is always wrong . . . always.
In just four years he achieved the most unblemished record of foreign policy failure of any United States president. Today he weighs in on Iraq from the editorial page of The Washington Post:
As has been emphasized vigorously by foreign allies and by responsible leaders of former administrations and incumbent officeholders, there is no current danger to the United States from Baghdad.
Gee, I dunno about that. Does anyone (besides Jimmy) doubt that a military dictatorship fueled by petrodollars with Saddam Hussein as its Fuhrer is a benign entity?
Bermuda poses no current danger to the United States, Baghdad does.
In the face of intense monitoring and overwhelming American military superiority, any belligerent move by Hussein against a neighbor, even the smallest nuclear test (necessary before weapons construction), a tangible threat to use a weapon of mass destruction, or sharing this technology with terrorist organizations would be suicidal.
Yes, Herr Hitler knows that any aggression against Poland would be met with an immediate Anglo-French response and be completely suicidal.
We cannot ignore the development of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, but a unilateral war with Iraq is not the answer. There is an urgent need for U.N. action to force unrestricted inspections in Iraq.
Beauty. Here is the Carter Doctrine writ large. We must threaten to use force to achieve our goals but we must state clearly beforehand that we will never actually use force to achieve our goals.
In that way we maintain the moral high ground which is, after all, an end in itself.
If I recall, the U.N. already has a policy of unrestricted weapons inspections in Iraq right now. Correct me if I'm wrong but weren't those U.N. inspectors expelled from Iraq several years ago.
What "force" has the U.N.used since then to resume the urgent inspections? That's where my memory fails. I'm sure a well-armed U.N. peacekeeper brigade entered Iraq and promptly forced the inspections to resume but I can't find any record of it.
Don't get me wrong. Jimmy Carter is a nice guy. But in a dangerous world, nice guys end up as martyrs and while that's fine for Jimmy, I for one tend to discount the national security views of a person more concerned with not hurting anyone's feelings than with his own survival.
Plus, Carter is a notorious sucker.
Upon meeting Kim il Sung, the Michael Jackson of world leaders, Carter said, "I found him to be vigorous, intelligent, surprisingly well-informed about the technical issues and in charge of the decisions about this country."
He told Romanian dictator and cheap suit supermodel Nicolae Ceausescu, "Our goals are the same. ... We believe in enhancing human rights. We believe that we should enhance, as independent nations, the freedom of our own people."
He assured the Stalinist first secretary of Communist Poland, Edward Gierek, "Our concept of human rights is preserved in Poland."
So, yes, by all means, let's hear what Carter has to say on Iraq.
Then let's do the exact opposite.