Tag Archives: Iran hostage crisis

Jimmy Carter: longevity record-setter

Jimmy Carter served a single term as president of the United States. He won the office in a bit of a nail-biter in 1976, defeating incumbent President Gerald Ford.

President Carter lost his re-election bid four years later in a landslide to Ronald Reagan.

He has lived with a decidedly mixed presidential legacy ever since. However, let it be here as the former president becomes the oldest living former president that his legacy is destined to improve as time continues to march on.

President Carter on Friday will surpass the late President George H.W. Bush as the oldest former president. The 39th president already holds the record for being having lived longer than anyone past the time he left the presidency.

I want to salute this good man because he stands in such a sharp contrast to what we are witnessing these days in the White House.

There was never a scandal to besmirch his administration. He vowed never to “lie” to us and as near as I can tell he kept that pledge. President Carter has lived a life according to the Scripture to which he has been devoted.┬áHe left office after a stunning landslide loss and then became arguably the most admired former president in recent history. He has built houses for underprivileged people worldwide for Habitat for Humanity. He founded the Carter Center in Atlanta, using the center as a forum to promote free and fair elections and to be a watchdog on behalf of human rights, one of the hallmark themes of his presidency.

I know the president had a mixed record as our head of state. He did, though, broker a permanent peace deal between Israel and Egypt. Yes, he launched that ill-fated mission to rescue Americans held captive in Iran and struggled for 444 days trying to negotiate those who were taken hostage by Iranian radicals in November 1979.

All of that and a floundering economy contributed to his crushing defeat. He left office as proud as he was when he entered it and has gone on to live a modest life in his beloved Plains, Ga. He is still teaching Sunday school at his church and has battled cancer.

He is a champion worthy of admiration of a nation he led.

Congratulations, Mr. President.

Who sold arms to Iran?

This video is quite instructive.

President Reagan went on the air in March 1987 to explain why he sold arms to Iran in exchange for money that he would use to seek to topple the Marxist government in Nicaragua.

The late president today remains a conservative icon to those who revere the policies he instituted during his two terms in office.

Those admirers┬áare going ballistic — no pun intended — over a nuclear deal brokered by another president, Barack Obama, that seeks to disarm Iran and intends to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear arsenal. Why, they just cannot fathom how we could negotiate with those who would refer to the United States as the Great Satan and who would sponsor terrorist activities around the globe.

What, then, was President Reagan doing when he sold weapons to the Islamic Republic of Iran less than a decade after the radicals seized our embassy in Tehran, held our citizens hostage for 444 days and threatened to blow up the Middle East during that entire time?

Have those folks forgotten all that?

Watch the video. President Reagan said his “heart” told him he wasn’t doing what the facts proved he was doing. He was selling arms to an enemy state.

 

What if the bin Laden mission had failed?

You hear this on occasion from conservative critics of President Obama.

The president “had nothing to do” with the killing of 9/11 terror attack mastermind Osama bin Laden.

Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly repeated┬áthe preposterous notion┬áthis week on an edition of his “O’Reilly Factor” talk show.

http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/03/18/oreilly-obama-had-nothing-to-do-with-the-killin/202957

I’ve heard it from others on the right, many of them right here in the Texas Panhandle, where the president is about as popular as … oh, let’s see, bin Laden.

O’Reilly said the Navy SEALs had everything to do with killing bin Laden in May 2011. Well, yes they did. The brave men risked everything by flying into Pakistan on a moonless night, landing their helicopters in bin Laden’s compound, looking for bin Laden, finding him, killing him and then hauling his corpse out of there.

However, to say that a commander in chief who issues the order “had nothing to do” with its success ignores the truth of what would have happened had the mission failed.

Did President Carter have “nothing to do” with the mission to rescue the Iran hostages in April 1980, the one that failed, costing eight American lives in the middle of the desert? He wasn’t at the controls of any of the helicopters that crashed. But he certainly got the blame — chiefly from those on the right — for the mission’s failure.

Did President Truman have “nothing to do” with ending World War II when he issued the order to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? What if the Enola Gay B-29 bomber had crashed on its flight over Japan? Give ‘Em Hell Harry would have caught plenty of hell himself.

This ridiculous notion that presidents don’t risk enormous political capital when they make these difficult decisions is the stuff of nonsense.

Barack Obama had to weigh the risks of sending in the commandoes when he ordered the hit on bin Laden. He could have ordered air strikes that could have killed innocent civilians. He didn’t. He could have passed, deciding the risk was too great. He didn’t do that, either.

The president did what presidents get paid to do. He made the difficult call.

Thus, he, too, had everything to do with the success of the raid to kill Osama bin Laden.