Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 20, 2007

Jimmy Carter - Telling The Truth

My friends in the U.S., you should be very proud to have this man:

Former President Jimmy Carter accused the U.S., Israel and the European Union on Tuesday of seeking to divide the Palestinian people by reopening aid to President Mahmoud Abbas' new government in the West Bank while denying the same to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was addressing a human rights conference in Ireland, also said the Bush administration's refusal to accept Hamas' 2006 election victory was "criminal."
Far from encouraging Hamas' move into parliamentary politics, Carter said the U.S. and Israel, with European Union acquiescence, sought to subvert the outcome by shunning Hamas and helping Abbas to keep the reins of political and military power.

"That action was criminal," he said in a news conference after his speech.

"The United States and Israel decided to punish all the people in Palestine and did everything they could to deter a compromise between Hamas and Fatah," he said.

Carter said the U.S. and others supplied the Fatah-controlled security forces in Gaza with vastly superior weaponry in hopes they would "conquer Hamas in Gaza" — but Hamas routed Fatah in the fighting last week because of its "superior skills and discipline."

As Billmon once said: the best modern president the U.S. has had. Looking at the current candidate field, the next one will again be far worse.

Posted by b on June 20, 2007 at 13:30 UTC | Permalink


Really, his and Senator Byrd's are the only moral voices left among our mainstream government leadership as far as I can tell. But he has been outstanding this year.

Thanks so much for posting this.

Posted by: | Jun 20 2007 13:43 utc | 1

Ack, that was me again above. Posting too fast...

Posted by: Bea | Jun 20 2007 14:53 utc | 2

Israel's deadly game is to promote such economic, political and social chaos within the Palestinian population that Israel can plausibly say,

"There is no reliable partner for us to negotiate peace with. There is no one to negotiate a two-state solution with."

Were it Israel's intent to seek a two-state solution, they would act to strengthen good government, and good political efforts, within the Palestinian population. They do the opposite instead, dividing, conquering, starving, ridiculing, and killing Palestinians.

Their intent is revealed by their actions. The writing is on the wall.

Posted by: Antifa | Jun 20 2007 16:01 utc | 3


Posted by: Noirette | Jun 20 2007 16:01 utc | 4

every apotheosis for carter should be amended by his ignominious m.e. policy including his disastrous support for the shah, and brzezinski's utterly cynical support of arab jihadists in afghanistan leading to the aq blowback. and it seems his heart was right at camp david, but m. begin chumped him on the settlements issue.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 20 2007 17:01 utc | 5

from Robert Fisk, The Great War:

As long ago as 1978, the U.S. administration under President Carter was condemning the growth of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, asking why 9,ooo Israelis were now living in the occupied territories in thirteen "unofficial" colonies when the Israeli prime minister, Menachem Begin, supposedly wanted to make peace with President Sadat of Egypt. Already, thirty-nine settlements had been built since the 1967 war. In November 1978 the Jewish Agency drew up a plan-and here I will quote from The Guardian's highly biased report of the time-for "housing 16,ooo Israeli families in 84 new villages on the West Bank of the Jordan, and a further 11,ooo families in existing outposts" (my italics). The project would cost $1.5 billion and would be completed within five years-the deadline set for what was intended to be the end of a "transitional period" of Palestinian self-rule. Readers must here understand that the language and hopes of "peace" in the Middle East are a debased coinage. This "transitional period" had nothing to do with the later Oslo agreement but applied to the Begin-Sadat Camp David summit of 1977 which ultimately provided no "self-autonomy" for the Palestinians.

In May 1979, President Carter was appealing for Israeli "restraint" in expanding settlements because they were "inconsistent with international law and an obstacle to peace." But, he said-and here was a refrain that would be used by successive U.S. administrations as successive Israeli governments ignored them"there is a limit to what we can do to impose our will on a sovereign nation." In December of the same year, there was a muted protest by Palestinians against an Israeli government decision to move a settlement onto Arab land near Nablus. In his coverage of the demonstration-the Arabs spread prayer rugs over a neighbouring road because the local Israeli military governor forbade the protest to be held in a mosque-The Times of London correspondent in Tel Aviv referred to the West Bank only by its Jewish name of "Samaria"

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 20 2007 17:07 utc | 6

can't disagree with @5

Posted by: jcairo | Jun 20 2007 17:14 utc | 7

(apart) In the link "whiskey bar" all we know are nothing:Site Temporarily Unavailable.

BUT in the site "" appear like a ghost : « A Problem With Pronouns | Main | Winners and Losers » December 21, 2006
An Iraq Retrospective . And a full page of selected passages with connection with his archives. And finishing with a bitter rant. Was that the last page of billmon?

Posted by: curious | Jun 20 2007 17:15 utc | 8

I'm too young to remember Jimmy Carter's term as president, but a lot of people seem to really hate him. I never understood that. He always seemed kind and reasonable to me; more so than just about any politician I could name. He's even been helping rid the world of Guinea worm.

Posted by: Dustin | Jun 20 2007 18:37 utc | 9

every apotheosis for carter should be amended by his ignominious m.e. policy including his disastrous support for the shah,

hmm - sloth, there seem to be quite different views on Carter than yours, though I'm sure he had some bad stuff too. Still he was the best I've ever seen and read about. Unfortunatly, the economic consequences of the Vietnam War on the US didn't allow him a second round.

Ohh, here is the view opposing yours.
Father of the Iranian revolution

We just don't get it. The Left in America is screaming to high heaven that the mess we are in in Iraq and the war on terrorism has been caused by the right-wing and that George W. Bush, the so-called "dim-witted cowboy," has created the entire mess.

The truth is the entire nightmare can be traced back to the liberal democratic policies of the leftist Jimmy Carter, who created a firestorm that destabilized our greatest ally in the Muslim world, the shah of Iran, in favor of a religious fanatic, the ayatollah Khomeini.

Carter viewed Khomeini as more of a religious holy man in a grassroots revolution than a founding father of modern terrorism.
Let's look at the results of Carter's misguided liberal policies: the Islamic Revolution in Iran; the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (Carter's response was to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics); the birth of Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization; the Iran-Iraq War, which cost the lives of millions dead and wounded; and yes, the present war on terrorism and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq....

Posted by: b | Jun 20 2007 19:01 utc | 10

b, pullin cites from jpost. heh.

from>Nikki Keddie, Modern Iran:

In November 1977, the shah visited Washington, where he faced large hostile demonstrations; these were shown on Iranian television and made a great impression. Carter returned the visit, along with high praise of the shah, in December. It seems likely that, as the Iranian opposition believed, in return for Iran's moderating its stand on oil prices, the United States guaranteed continued arms supplies, diplomatic support, and a downplaying of the human-rights issue. In December Iran backed Saudi Arabia's oil-price-freeze policy, while American officials from then on played down human rights in Iran more than before .3 From the end of 1977 on, also, there were numerous incidents of "mysterious" beatings and bombings of opposition leaders and protesters, generally attributed to the regime via SAVAK.


American contacts with the opposition and lack of intervention for the shah made many anti-Khomeini Iranians believe that the United States was responsible for Khomeini's victory. It appears rather that the State Department was trying to make the best of what it saw as a bad situation; near the end there was no feasible way to stop the Khomeini
[236] movement, and so Americans tried to contact it and encourage its moderates in the hope of lessening its anti-American tone. No aid was given to the opposition, and apart from one late statement by Carter indicating uncertainty that the shah's rule would last, verbal and moral support for the shah, including regular counsel from Ambassador Sullivan, continued until the end. Brzezinski's hawkish proshah policies could not succeed, given the shah's lack of internal support and his objections to using massive force at a time he feared he would not live long and thought his young son should not inherit after a bloodbath .'z

It seems unlikely that a different American policy in 1978-79 could have significantly changed the course of events. Neither of the two sides that alternately influenced Carter had much chance of influencing the Revolution: there was no practical way to save the shah, nor is there reason to think that Sullivan's people could have achieved their ends had they increased American contact with Khomeini and his coalition. Probably only a very different set of policies over the previous twenty-seven years could have led to different results.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 20 2007 19:16 utc | 11

the carter afghanistan policy was the worst. it gave us aq. good ol' zbig.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 20 2007 19:20 utc | 12

While its true Carter bungled the whole Iranian affair & the (poorly advised) failed rescue mission - i remember being furious with him back then. But then in retrospect He did allow the Iranian revolution to run its own bloodless course, which is why the right is so pissed off, and has carried on this needless and stupid "blood feud", as armitage referred to it, with them for the past 30 years. The usually astute Iranians, got their own payback in overplaying their hand -- and not recognizing that Carter was a most congenial adversary -- compared to the american right wing, that they helped into power with the 11th hour hostage deal they made with reagan. I can't imagine what the current ship of fools would have done under the same circumstances, probably, Iran would be a radioactive crater. So still, Carter looks ever better as time goes by, most especially because the quality of our leadership has degenerated so exponentially, by comparison.

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 20 2007 19:43 utc | 13

Carter gets almost no coverage within the U.S.

Meanwhile, there was the Shrub on the radio again mouthing platitudes and the usual palaver about democracy and how US is trying to foster democracy in the ME, like the democracy in Iraq, and now the US has another chance to release funds to Fatah and foster democracy in Palestine, and that is just what nasty terrorists like Hamas and all the others that are fighting don't like. No mention, of course, of Iranian proximate democracy, which gets closer than most of US ME "friends". No, no, they are terrerrrists.

I know there is nothing else to expect from that voice, and I've become pretty good at shrugging it off. But suddenly there I was arguing with the radio again, and cursing at those earnest tones in disbelief. It is so egregious now! Why do they keep running with this blatantly counter-factual "bringing democracy to the middle east" narrative?

Was it anna m on another thread who observed that their capacity for narrative had entirely disintegrated?

While not much of the US public buys their explanations and pronouncements anymore, I suspect, nevertheless, the actual state of affairs is too obscured in the MSM for most to perceive a more factual explanation of events.

Posted by: small coke | Jun 21 2007 0:49 utc | 14

More truth from Palestinian-Jordanian journalist Rami Khouri, Editor-at-Large for the Lebanese newspaper the Daily Star. This was published in the International Herald Tribune.

Abbas declared a state of emergency and dismissed the Palestinian government, but the facts on the ground are that the Palestinian government is a fiction, and his state of emergency is a state of imagination. The "moderation" of Abbas and his Fatah movement was a noble nationalistic cause three decades ago. But Fatah's own incompetence and creeping corruption - especially after taking control of the West Bank and Gaza after the Oslo accords of 1993 - have turned the movement into an embarrassment that is little more than a pathetic poster child and crippled errand boy for the U.S. State Department.

Even in this moment of utter failure and complete humiliation - his presidential compound in Gaza occupied, his guards dispersed, his government nonexistent, his orders meaningless, his people sanctioned and starved - the quintessential Arab moderate Mahmoud Abbas found himself being defined in public by the American secretary of state primarily in terms of his willingness to negotiate peace with Israel.

Nevertheless, he persists, somewhat heroic and moving at one level, but overall a tragic and hapless figure whose ineptitude is matched by his irrelevance - except in the eyes of the American government that uses him as a convenient prop for its make-believe diplomatic games in Palestine....

Fatah dominated the Palestinian national movement since its inception over 40 years ago and forged a unified national movement, with realistic diplomatic goals based on a two-state solution that garnered great international support. All this was systematically wasted and negated in the past decade. Gaza looks like the ravaged Somali capital Mogadishu, because its political turmoil is slowly mirroring the Somali legacy of a disintegrating state replaced by feuding warlords....

As long as Israel and its Western backers persist in their shameful double standards - demanding Palestinian moderation while accepting Israeli colonization and settlements; promoting Arab democracy while trying to strangle to death a democratically-elected Palestinian government; pressuring the Palestinians to negotiate agreements while wholeheartedly backing Israeli unilateralism that shuns negotiations - a credible, legitimate Palestinian government can never take root.

All concerned must collectively break this cycle of Israel's brutal occupation and colonization, Palestinian domestic incompetence and self-destruction, American-British-led Western hypocritical complicity, and detached Arab ineptitude. The combination of these four dynamics persisting for years on end has been a catastrophe for all, resulting in radicalization and an increasing resort to militancy on all fronts....

[It is time to] engage the Palestinians primarily on the basis of their own rights and needs, rather than only as the expedient instruments of Israeli demands and American fantasies. If not, what you see is what you get.

Posted by: Bea | Jun 21 2007 4:03 utc | 15

curious #8. the last page is winners and losers

Otto: You know your problem? You don't like winners.

Archie: Winners?

Otto: Yeah. Winners.

Archie: Winners, like North Vietnam?

Otto: Shut up. We didn't lose Vietnam. It was a tie!

John Cleese
A Fish Called Wanda

his last post was a graphic, 'that's all folks!'

Posted by: annie | Jun 21 2007 5:01 utc | 16

bea, here's a link to all rami khouri's reports,/a> just in case you didn't know.

his latest Sinister, Stupid or Sensible Policy Options for Palestine?

The separation of the West Bank and Gaza into separate political entities run respectively by Fateh and Hamas is a calamity. The rush by the United States, Israel and Europe to resume aid to the emergency government in the West Bank set up earlier this week by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will turn the calamity into an even greater catastrophe.

The Palestinian people are now divided into six distinct communities: Gaza; the West Bank, and Arab East Jerusalem (under varying degrees of Israeli occupation and control); the refugee camp residents throughout the Arab world; other Palestinians in the Middle East not living in camps; and the global Palestinian Diaspora. This worsening fragmentation of the Palestinians is certain to lead to grater radicalization and more proficient resistance, which will spill over into other societies in the region, and perhaps globally. This trend has been consistent since 1948.

Consequently, on its northern and southern Arab borders Israel today is flanked by two militant Arab movements -- Hizbullah and Hamas -- that combine powerful ideologies of religion, nationalism, resistance and self-assertion. Neither of these movements existed 25 years ago, but both have achieved power and prominence today. They are the natural consequence of allowing Israel to perpetuate for decades its repeated attacks, dehumanizing occupations and brutal colonization, while the United States and Europe fiddle and the Arabs nap.

Hamas and Hizbullah are among the most effective and legitimate political movements in the Arab world: They have forced unilateral Israeli retreats that no Arab army could induce; won elections democratically without resorting to the gerrymandering or ballot box stuffing that most American-supported Arab regimes live by; provided efficient service delivery and local governance to their constituents; and, demonstrated a spirit of sustained resistance to Israeli occupation that appeals to the desire of ordinary Arabs to restore some dignity to their battered lives and to their shattered, hollow political systems.......

Posted by: annie | Jun 21 2007 5:10 utc | 17

U.S. to increase military aid to Israel in decade-long deal

"The increase of the military assistance is the most important result of Olmert's visit to the United States," the political sources said.

This year, Israel will receive $2.4 billion in military aid from the U.S.
Israel asked for a gradual increase in the aid over a 10-year period at the tune of $50 million per year. At the end of the 10 years, Israel will receive $2.9 billion annually in military assistance from the U.S.

Posted by: b | Jun 21 2007 7:37 utc | 18

Tony Karon of Rootless Cosmopolitan has another good analysis on the 8 fallacies of Bush's Abbastan Plan. Too long to reproduce here but well worth reading.

On a trivial note, I have to say that that headline spawned a vision in my head of Bush singing a silly song:

I'm the man...
with a plan...
the Abbastan Plan

This then reminded me of the old Stevie Wonder Song Misstra Know it All... and I couldn't resist digging up those old lyrics and having some fun updating and adapting it to fit the current situation. As it happened, the only version of the song I could find online was used in a homegrown political protest video... so I guess it's not all that original an idea, but I'll post it nonetheless.

I'm the man
with a plan
Got a big bunch of dollars in my hand
Gonna set me up an Abbastan
I'm the Deci-ii-der

Playin' hard
Talkin' fast
Makin' sure that Palestine won't last
I'm the Deci-ii-der

It's Abbas
Not Hamas
With a smile
Knowin' all the time that my lie's a mile
I'm the Deci-ii-der

Must be seen
There's no doubt
I'm the coolest one with the biggest mouth
I'm the Deci-ii-der

If you tell me I'm livin' fast
I will say what do you know
If you had my kind of cash
You'd have more than one '-stan' to show

Oou...oou...oou oou...oou...

Any place
I will pay
My only concern is how much you'll play
By the rules that have been set
By the ones who're destined to get
the whole land of milk and hon-ay
I'm the Deci-ii-der

If I shake
On a bet
I'm the kind of dude that won't pay his debt
I'm the Deci-ii-der

When you say that I'm living wrong
I'll tell you I know I'm livin' right
And you'd be a stronger man
if you took the Deci-ii-der's hard cash oh oh

Oou...oou...oou oou...oou...

I'm a man
With a plan
Gonna make ourselves an Abbastan
I'm the Deci-ii-der

Take my smirk
Please beware
Of a man that just don't give a care no
I'm the Deci-ii-der (Look out I'm coming)

Dum bum bum ba bum bum,
Dum bum bum ba bum bum
Bum bum bum bum bum Say
I'm the Deci-ii-der

Give a hand to the man
Don't you know darn well I've got the super plan
Gonna make us all an Abbastan
I'm the Decider
And the Provider
I can buy their allegiance
So they forget all their grievance

It's simple you see
In my "two-state" plan
Fatahland is green and plentiful,
Hamastan is grey and miserable,
and Palestine is so forgettable

Give a hand to the man
Who gave the world an Abbastan
Next on my agenda is Eye-ran
I'm the Deci-ii-der...

Posted by: Bea | Jun 21 2007 12:28 utc | 19

Carter is an example of how a decent, good person who runs for office is going to end up morally compromised unless he's willing to turn the entire system upside down. But that sort of uncompromising person would never make it to the White House. Carter had this one moral flaw--he wanted to be President.

As President his human rights record was mixed. I gather that in Argentina his human rights policy was for real, from what I've read. But in other places he did the usual bad things you expect from an American President. His worst action was the support for Indonesia in East Timor.

As an ex-President I think he's been great, fighting Guinea worm and on Israel/Palestine, he clearly feels the need to tell the truth in spite of how much abuse he'll receive. When he receives any attention at all, that is.

Posted by: Donald J | Jun 21 2007 13:26 utc | 20

"As Billmon once said: the best modern president the U.S. has had."

I never said that -- indeed the idea is ludicrous. I may have said best ex-president, although I don't remember doing so. But then the competition isn't very stiff.

Posted by: Billmon | Jun 21 2007 15:14 utc | 21


The Man hisself! Hello. I barely started coming to these blogs when you signed off, Billmon. Sure wish you had time and inclination to comment some more. You can inspire.

Posted by: Jake | Jun 21 2007 15:18 utc | 22

I may have said best ex-president, although I don't remember doing so. But then the competition isn't very stiff.

Hi Billmon,

nice to see you.

As I remember it, it was in a comment, not a frontpage piece. I am pretty sure about what you expressed, though not about the exact wording.

Hope you'll be back more often ...

Posted by: b | Jun 21 2007 16:12 utc | 23

hi billmon. so nice to hear from you.

Posted by: annie | Jun 21 2007 16:36 utc | 24

ditto as @24

Posted by: dolce | Jun 21 2007 17:07 utc | 25


a thousand smoochy smooches to you!

yes, I know I'm too serious, but someone has to provide a counterbalance to all the giddy fluff that gets posted around here.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jun 22 2007 21:42 utc | 26

Uh, I'm not positive that's our Billmon, kids. Wasn't he with AOL?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 23 2007 1:06 utc | 27

Hope you'll be back more often ...

Well, just keep misquoting him.

Posted by: jj | Jun 23 2007 1:28 utc | 28

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