After two weeks dominated by gaffes in which Bill Clinton publicly
undercut the President's campaign strategy, Obama now has another
ex-President to deal with. Jimmy Carter wrote an op-ed
for Monday's New York Times which is critical of recent changes in the
way America handles its enemies. While Obama is never mentioned by name,
most of the programs Carter decries happened under Obama's watch.
Carter's piece opens with a nod to bipartisan blame, but once he gets
into the particulars the ghost of George Bush seems to fade away. What
remains is a sustained attack on the current administration:
Despite an arbitrary rule that any man killed by drones is declared an
enemy terrorist, the death of nearby innocent women and children is
accepted as inevitable. After more than 30 airstrikes on civilian homes
this year in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai has demanded that such
attacks end, but the practice continues in areas of Pakistan, Somalia
and Yemen that are not in any war zone. We don’t know how many hundreds
of innocent civilians have been killed in these attacks, each one
approved by the highest authorities in Washington. This would have been
unthinkable in previous times.
Notice he's talking about airstrikes that occurred "this year." But
Carter actually goes beyond calling them airstrikes. Elsewhere in the
piece he breaks out the A-word, "Revelations
that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad,
including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof
of how far our nation’s violation of human rights has extended." I left
the link as it appears in the original. If you follow it you'll see that
it leads to the NY Times story about President Obama's "kill list."
In case you have any doubt who is being called an assassin here, Carter uses the word again about halfway through "In addition to American citizens’ being targeted for assassination or indefinite detention..." This is a reference to U.S. born Anwar Awlaki who was killed by a drone-fired hellfire missile in September 2011.
The irony of the situation doesn't seem lost on Carter. Obama
traveled the country in 2007-2008 promising voters he would restore
America's respect abroad and legal order at home. Instead he led us even
further down the path liberals loudly rejected during the Bush years.
Most of the anti-war protesters went away once their guy was in office,
but a few have pointed out the obvious. Under Bush we water-boarded a
handful of suspected terrorists. Under Obama similar targets get a
bullet in the face or death by hellfire missile. Republicans want this
election to be about the economy, but why aren't more liberals, like
Carter, making Obama's war on terror hypocrisy an issue?