Thursday, December 29, 2005

Ten Worst Americans in History 

This is a great series of blogposts by the Captain at Captain’s Quarters—just scroll down for the whole list.

I particularly like his post on Jimmy Carter, rated as the tenth worst American of all time (for an explanation of the criteria used to divine the list, see this post).  The Captain really makes a compelling case that Mr. Carter was midwife to most of our troubles in the world today—from North Korea to Iran to the non-state Islamofascist terrorists.  Nicely done, Mr. Carter.  Being feckless has never really done anyone any good, and certainly hasn’t worked for you, yet you still continue to be feckless.  Here’s the text of the Captain’s post on Carter, which I think deserves the emphasis of quotation:
I would normally leave off any contemporary political person until they had passed away, as their lives still might provide some kind of merit. However, after a promising beginning of his post-presidential career of building houses for the homeless, Carter has inveigled himself into so many foreign-policy crises and made them exponentially worse that it’s becoming more and more difficult to believe it isn’t done with purpose. His efforts to defuse the North Korean crisis deflected what had been until then a rather effective strategy by Bill Clinton to use a military threat to stop Pyongyang from producing nukes. After Carter jumped into the negotiations uninvited – violating the Logan Act – Carter’s prestige within his party and the US forced Clinton to accept the ridiculous Framework agreement that allowed Pyongyang to go nuclear within months. Carter has done the same with Haiti as well, and has traveled the globe to support many a leftist dictator or autocrat as long as they opposed American interests.
But the real reason Carter winds up here at #10 is because he singlehandedly almost lost the Cold War and allowed the start of the Islamofascist terror war during his single term in office. His naiveté in dealing with the Soviet Union, captured perfectly by kissing the jowled cheek of the Soviet dictator Leonid Brezhnev, led him to believe that worldwide Communism was here to stay and that we could do nothing about it. He also assured Americans that we had nothing to fear from the Soviets, who really weren’t bad guys – right up until they invaded Afghanistan. Even then, his response in boycotting the Olympic Games of 1980 has to remain one of the most embarrassing examples of displayed impotence in our nation’s history.
The winner in that category, however, also belongs to Carter. In November 1979, after pulling his support from the Shah in the highly strategic nation of Iran and watching him fall to an Islamist uprising, the same nutcases sacked our embassy in Teheran, an undeniable act of war. Instead of giving an ultimatum for the return of our embassy and the release of our diplomatic staff, Carter sat for 444 excruciating days, doing little except pleading publicly for mercy. He staged one – one! – military response to the crisis months later, which failed miserably. The failure to act not only allowed the rickety Khomeini government to survive, but gave Islamofascism a tremendous boost of prestige throughout the Middle East. It also allowed Iran to become a center for the funding and direction of terrorist activities for the past three decades, a legacy that has finally engulfed us since 9/11.
Other administrations have made their own mistakes in remaining blind to the threat of Islamist terror, but Carter played midwife to it and enabled it to survive when he had every opportunity and a perfect casus belli to kill it in its cradle.

If one wants to take our current position in history into consideration, I’d rate Mr. Carter much higher on the list, and probably as number 2 on the list of worst Presidents—only James Buchanan, probably the man more responsible for bringing about the Civil War than any other, edges Mr. Carter out (and even then I almost want to put Mr. Carter ahead simply because there was much good that came out of the Civil War).

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