Tag Archives: Menachem Begin

Camp David might have hosted the Taliban? Are you kidding?

The more I think about it the more offended I am at the notion of Taliban war lords/terrorists setting foot on one of our nation’s more honored sites: Camp David.

Donald Trump reportedly — at least that’s what he has said — had planned to bring Taliban goons to Camp David to work out a peace deal between the terror group and U.S. diplomats. Then he canceled the meeting because of the Taliban’s involvement in a recent bombing that killed a U.S. serviceman, among other innocent victims.

Trump called it off on the spot. I don’t object to that decision, per se.

However, what is most objectionable is that he had planned to bring the monsters to this presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains.

The last great diplomatic victory at Camp David took place in the late 1970s, when President Carter played host to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to hammer out a peace agreement between those two ancient enemies. It turned out to be a monumental achievement reached by a head of state and a head of government in a setting hosted by another head of state.

Other presidents have played host to other heads of state and government over the years. Camp David — which President Eisenhower renamed after his grandson, David Eisenhower — has served as a place where presidents get to know their international colleagues in a more intimate and casual setting than the White House.

The idea that a new U.S. head of state would “welcome” the Taliban to that hallowed place is offensive on its face.

I need not chronicle what the Taliban have done to their victims as they pervert their Islamic religion in the name of pure evil.

Suffice to say that these are seriously bad actors who have no justification taking part in any sort of activity where such history has occurred.

Happy 94th birthday, Mr. President

Today is a special day for one of America’s greatest citizens.

Jimmy Carter, the nation’s 39th president, turns 94 today. He is the second-oldest former president; the honor of oldest belongs to George H.W. Bush, another great American.

I feel the need to say something good about President Carter because of all that he did after he left office in January 1981 and, indeed, what he accomplished during his single term as our head of state.

It’s been said, perhaps so much that’s become cliché, that Jimmy Carter is the nation’s “greatest former president.” He became active with Habitat for Humanity, building homes for poor folks all across the globe; he isn’t swinging a hammer so much these days, but his legacy stands forever in the lives he enriched through his carpentry skills.

He has been called upon by his successors as president to monitor elections around the world, to ensure they are conducted freely and fairly. That work, too, has improved the lives of literally billions of citizens worldwide.

He has written numerous books, chronicling his years in public life, his dedication to public service and his intense and immense faith in God. Indeed, he still teaches Sunday school classes at his church in Plains, Ga.

While he was ridiculed and vilified for his single term in office, I want to remind readers of this blog that the president’s grit and determination produced a lasting peace agreement between two ancient enemies in the Middle East. The agreement has become known as the Camp David Accord. He took Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Primer Minister Menachem Begin to the presidential retreat in rural Maryland to hammer out a treaty that ended state of war between Egypt and Israel.

The 1978 treaty eventually would cost President Sadat his life, as he was murdered by Muslim fanatics while watching a military parade. That, though, is the nature of that part of the world, as Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin would fall victim to a Zionist extremist after signing his own peace agreement with the Palestinian Liberation Organization leader, Yasser Arafat, in 1995.

Jimmy Carter’s work as president perhaps one day will get the full measure of respect that is due.

Today, though, I just want to join millions of other Americans in wishing this good man a happy birthday and thank him for making this world a better place because he came along to grace it.

Was the Carter presidency a failure?

camp david accords

Former presidents aren’t immune from criticism, even when they’re struggling against what might be a terminal illness.

Just ask Jimmy Carter.

Setting that aside, it’s been said many times — usually by Republican politicians — that President Carter’s four years in the White House constituted a “failed presidency.”

Interesting. Let’s look briefly at the record.

Yes, the economy tanked badly during Carter’s term. Why? One reason was the huge spike in oil prices. Lending institutions panicked. They jacked up interest rates way beyond what was normal or acceptable. Inflation took hold. Was all of that the president’s fault? Hardly. But it happened on his watch, so I guess he deserves some of the blame.

The president did a poor job of assuring Americans that they would be all right. He spoke glumly to us, although he never used the word “malaise.”

Foreign policy? Let’s see.

He negotiated a peace treaty in 1979 between ancient enemies Israel and Egypt. He turned them into allies. He took Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to Camp David, clunked their heads together and got them to sign the most important Middle East peace accord in, well, the history of the region. It has held firm to this day.

He helped negotiate a treaty that handed over the Panama Canal to the Panamanians. Imagine that: giving to a nation cut in half by a U.S.-built canal territory that belonged rightfully to its people.

The president signed a treaty with the Soviet Union that helped reduce the number of nuclear weapons in both nations’ arsenals.

Were there missteps? Sure. He didn’t handle the Mariel boatlift of Cuban refugees well. He acknowledged just recently that is one of the regrets of his presidency.

Now, the big one: the Iranian hostage crisis. Fifty-two Americans were taken captive in Tehran in November 1979. The Islamic revolution had overthrown the shah and those “students” were angry because the shah had gotten medical attention in the United States. Was that the president’s fault?

Was it his fault that the mission to rescue the hostages in April 1980 ended tragically in the desert? Just as Barack Obama’s critics have said he took too much credit for the successful mission in May 2011 to kill Osama bin Laden, Jimmy Carter took too much blame for the failure of the Desert One mission to bring our hostages home.

Let us remember, too, that they came home safely on Ronald Reagan’s first day in office. The Iranians clearly wanted to stick it to President Carter by waiting until he no longer was president to end the crisis.

Was it a troubled presidency? Certainly. A failed one? In my view, no.


Biden: U.S., Israel 'love each other'

Vice President Joe Biden wants to set the record straight.

The United States and Israel are like “family.” The nations argue with each other, he said, but when the chips are down they “protect each other.”


The vice president sought to tamp down the heated rhetoric of recent months over differences between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His remarks came at a ceremony marking the 67th anniversary of Israel’s independence.

Has the U.S.-Israel partnership been spat free over those six-plus decades? Hardly. Indeed, the differences pre-date the Obama administration. President Carter had difficulty negotiating the Israeli-Egypt peace agreement when he visited played host in 1978 to Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat at Camp David. Carter’s nemesis was Begin. But the deal got done.

Israelis know that the United States stands with them in critical moments. They know their principal ally will not forsake them when they face a direct threat from the neighbors.

“Sometimes we drive each other crazy, but we love each other — and we protect each other,” Biden said.

Isn’t that enough?

Study your history, Sen. Rubio

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio needs a refresher course on 20th-century American history.

The Florida Republican — quite naturally — was critical the other day of President Obama’s decision to begin normalization of relations with Cuba, a nation with which we’ve had zero diplomatic contact for the past five decades.

Rubio ventured into Fox News Channel’s right-wing echo chamber and declared that Obama is the “worst negotiator since Jimmy Carter.”

I heard that and thought, “What in the world is that young man saying?” Chris Matthews noted correctly that Rubio was 7 years of age when President Carter worked some diplomatic magic.

Worst negotiator, eh?

To the young senator, here’s a bit of history for you to ponder.

President Carter summoned two enemy heads of government to the White House in 1978. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat sat down with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to hammer out a historic peace treaty between the ancient enemies.

They went to Camp David, took off their jackets and ties and worked day and night to agree to a peace treaty. Carter reportedly got along much better with Sadat than he did with Begin. Sadat and Begin couldn’t find their way past their ancient differences, dealing mostly with how their people could live together in places like Gaza.

Finally, after several days in the Maryland mountains, Carter got the two men together and the three of them agreed on a peace treaty that holds up today, nearly four decades later. It’s now known as the Camp David Accords.

The deal ended up costing Sadat his life when Muslim extremists assassinated him during a parade. An Israeli extremist would kill Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for hammering out a peace deal with Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat.

For the young Florida Republican senator to suggest Jimmy Carter is a terrible presidential “negotiator” is to ignore the historical record.

Hit the books, senator, before popping off.