The Obama Watch

Welcome Back, Carter

How soon before President Obama joins Jimmy Carter as a winner of the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize?

By 11.24.09

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The Norwegian Parliament can't build a "spite fence" between themselves and the United States. But they have a more effective way of showing their contempt for some of our elected leaders. They give out Nobel Peace Prizes.

Leftist Scandinavian lawmakers are not like members of the College of Cardinals. Roman Catholic prelates are sworn to secrecy about who they voted for in the election of a Pope and why they voted that way. The Norwegians were happy to say that they gave Carter the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 as a way to poke then-President George W. Bush in the eye.

Among the many honors that have gone to the ex-President from Plains, Georgia, is this curious one: The Indira Gandhi Peace Prize of 1997. Indira Gandhi led one of the most corrupt governments in the history of India -- or of any country. Her coercive population control methods singled out teenage boys for vasectomies. These boys, many of them poor and illiterate, were pressured by corrupt village chieftains into getting operations that would forever render them incapable of fathering children. Apparently, Jimmy Carter's vaunted concern for human rights did not extend to refusing to accept such a prize from such a tainted source.

Perhaps the most famous quote attributed to Jimmy Carter -- not the one from his Playboy interview -- was this one: Americans, he said in a 1977 commencement address at the University of Notre Dame, should get over their "inordinate fear of communism."

Yale University scholar Eugene Rostow -- the famous son of a strongly Democratic family -- was appalled. U.S. foreign policy was not based on what Carter called our inordinate fear, but on "legitimate concern for…Soviet expansion and aggression."

The communist bosses then ruling the Kremlin took Carter at his word: That speech was a starter's pistol shot for them as they raced to exploit their clueless opponent's weaknesses. Carter was shocked to find Soviets backing violent insurgencies in Africa and Latin America.

More Africans lost their freedom during Jimmy Carter's four years than at any other time in history. Latin Americans and Asians fared no better. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan late in 1979, Carter deplored the USSR's move as the action of an "atheistic government" against an Islamic people. Carter, who campaigned as a born-again Christian, never showed similar concern for the persecution of Christians.

Fast forward to 2009. President Obama recently gave an interview to Ed Henry, CNN's senior White House correspondent. The President reacted to the firestorm of criticism of his administration for the decision to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his fellow 9/11 conspirators into a federal court in Manhattan. Mr. Obama scoffed at the inordinate fears of today:

I think this notion that somehow we have to be fearful, that these terrorists are -- possess some special powers that prevent us from presenting evidence against them, locking then -- them up and, you know, exacting swift justice, I think that has been a fundamental mistake.

This is a week that saw the execution in Virginia of John Allen Muhammed, the convicted Beltway Sniper. President Obama also recently visited Fort Hood for a memorial service to the 14 victims of a terrorist shooter.

We know already that the Fort Hood shooter was in contact with a jihadist imam in Yemen. The Internet -- which did not exist in Jimmy Carter's heyday -- now provides instant communication through the World Wide Web between terrorists there and terrorists here.

What if we had one hundred John Allen Muhammeds driving one hundred cheap junker cars with one hundred teen shooters hiding in the trunks of those vehicles? It does not take a great deal of imagination to see how the country could be paralyzed by a small number of terrorists. They could all be activated by Al Qaeda operatives based in Pakistan, Afghanistan, or Texas.

Yassir Arafat -- for whose political heirs Jimmy Carter is forever pleading -- learned how to do airline hijacking for terror by watching CNN. That's the down side of living in a global village.

It is not some inordinate fear of "special powers" that should give us all pause today.

A wise administration would carefully gauge the threats to our country and act accordingly. A serious administration would never put known terrorists on trial in Manhattan, the media capital of the world. David Beamer is father of the late Todd Beamer, the hero of United Flight 93. David Beamer said it best: "The decision [to put the terrorists on trial] is not thoughtless, because a lot of thought went into it. But it is mindless."

What we see today is the same mindless naïveté in the Obama administration that we saw in the invertebrate leadership of Jimmy Carter. We should pray daily for the safety of the country we love.

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About the Author
Ken Blackwell, the former mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio is Vice Chairman of the Republican National Committee's Platform Committee. He also serves on the boards of the Club For Growth and the National Taxpayers Union.