Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Chris Matthews Plays Softball With Jimmy Carter

Hardball with Chris Matthews - Interview with President Jimmy Carter , get this:
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you the question about – this is going to cause some trouble with people but as an historian now and studying the Revolutionary War as it was fought out in the South in those last years of the War, insurgency against a powerful British force. Do you see any parallels between the fighting that we did on our side and the fighting that is going on in Iraq today?

Ok, right off the bat, he asks if there a relation to the "insurgents" in Iraq and "us" against the British. I think this comparison has been drawn before...April 14, 2004 - Michael Moore wrote:

The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy." They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win.
Here's Carter's response to the question.

CARTER: Well, one parallel is that the Revolutionary War more than any other war until recently has been the most bloody war we’ve fought. I think another parallel is that in some ways the Revolutionary War could have been avoided. It was an unnecessary war. Had the British Parliament been a little more sensitive to the colonial’s really legitimate complaints and requests the war could have been avoided completely and of course now we would have been a free country now as is Canada and India and Australia, having gotten our independence in a non-violent way. I think in many ways the British were very misled in going to war against America and in trying to enforce their will on people who were quite different from them at the time.

Ok there are several things wrong with this. The Revolutionary War was not the most bloody until recently - maybe you've heard of little skirmishes called the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam - even relatively speaking, ratio to population or size of military at the time, it doesn't add up - what is he talking about?

Next, he's claiming that if the Brits had been more sensitive, they might have said, ok, here's your independence. He notes Canada, India, and Australia as examples. Well, how long might that have taken? The British had laid claim to Canada before our Revolution. They weren't given independence until 1867. Australia was claimed by the British in 1770 and then became a place for them to ship their convicts. They didn't officially become a nation until 1901. India also experienced British influence in the late 18th century and then was colonized in the mid-19th. India was not granted independence until 1947.

Carter also gave credit to our winning the Revolution to the French:

And then of course as it went on and the British became more abusive and more determined through military arms to put us down, that’s when the massive objection to the British took place and that’s when the Americans finally won. With the help, I might add very quickly, of the French. Had we not had the alliance with France orchestrated by Benjamin Franklin and others, we would never have defeated Cornwallis at Yorktown. We would never have won that war.

That's certainly debatable. I emailed John J. Miller, co-author of Our Oldest Enemy, about this and he replied, "I suppose you could make the case that if the French had not intervened, the colonists would have secured home rule and gone on to a history not unlike Canada's or Australia's, which Carter seems to wish upon us. What a bizarre view." Bizarre indeed.

Carter goes on to explain that a) he didn't get enough credit for his Middle East efforts saying "you don’t ever get enough credit when you do something nice like that" and b) that Bush hasn't made any effort for peace between Israel and its neighbors in the last three and half years.

Carter's definition of a peace effort is to appease Arafat and the terrorists and make Israel concede everything. That was basically Clinton's policy too. Clinton invited Arafat to the White House more than any other world leader. Arafat has been the common thread in the struggle for peace with Israel and he has been the consistent opponent to it. He is a terrorist. When a peace deal seemed to have been brokered under Clinton, Arafat reneged. He started the Intifada in 2000, and notably this was before George W. Bush became president. There has been no peace process because the Palestinian "leaders" aka Arafat and Hamas do not want peace. We do not negotiate with terrorists, therefore, Bush will not negotiate with Arafat. Until the Palestinians realize that their "leaders" haven't done them any favors and push for a real settlement, there won't be a deal. Meanwhile, the liberals keep calling on Israel to tear down their wall, which has obviously prevented suicide bombers from getting to their targets, but it seems they liked it better when Israelis were getting blown up. So much for the liberal case for peace.

Finally, Matthews asked Mr. Malaise about the Iranian hostage crisis a couple of times and here are some excerpts:

MATTHEWS: ...What did you learn from the—from the hostage crisis of 1979 and ‘80?

CARTER: Well, I learned, first of all, that we should be sensitive about people who have different religions and that we should try to study, if we are in positions of authority, like the president of the United States, how to get along with other people.
I also learned that we have to have a lot of allies and friends.

MATTHEWS: ...You know, you really tried to understand the Arab—Arab mindset of those young students. I think you had tremendous sympathy
intellectually, to try to figure out why they had grabbed our hostages, why they
seemed to hate the Great Satan, they called us.

Do you think that’s one extreme, and that the other extreme is Bush’s approach, which is, “I don’t care what they’re up to. I’m going to nail
them”? You know, one is almost totally curious. The other one almost totally in-curious.

Do you need—is there a happy medium here between strength and knowledge, wisdom and bite and attack? In your history, what have you learned that puts all this together? How do we deal with these people when they go nutty?

What you do, Chris Matthews, when they go "nutty" is what we've been doing with the leadership of President Bush. You shoot them. You hunt them down. You respond. You don't conjour up intellectual sympathy and apologize for them because their evil cannot be justified.

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