Jimmy Carter wrote an article bemoaning the current state of affairs for the Washington Post recently. Jim Roepcke posted a link to it on his site and I responded with some very unkind words about Carter which elicted some other responses.
Anyway, Daniel Pipes wrote a column last week which really captured my feelings about Carter — namely that the current situation which Carter is so upset about is largely one of his own making. It was Carter, after all, who set the precedent of a completely weak and inadequate response to Islamic extremist actions against Americans.
In retrospect, the mistake began when Iranians assaulted the U.S. embassy in Tehran and met with no resistance.
Interestingly, a Marine sergeant present at the embassy that fateful day in November 1979 agrees with this assessment. As the militant Islamic mob invaded the embassy, Rodney V. Sickmann followed orders and protected neither himself nor the embassy. As a result, he was taken hostage and lived to tell the tale. (He now works for Anheuser-Busch.)
In retrospect, he believes that passivity was a mistake. The Marines should have done their assigned duty, even if it cost their lives. “Had we opened fire on them, maybe we would only have lasted an hour.” But had they done that, they “could have changed history.”
Standing their ground would have sent a powerful signal that the United States of America cannot be attacked with impunity. In contrast, the embassy’s surrender sent the opposite signal – that it’s open season on Americans. “If you look back, it started in 1979; it’s just escalated,” Sickmann correctly concludes.
And once the Iranians had the embassy, Carter waited for months before launching that ill-fated rescue mission. The embassy was seized on November 4, 1979, but the hostage rescue attempt was not launched until April 25, 1980.
And what did Carter have to offer the nation? Idiotic speeches about the “crisis of the American spirit” and lame nonsense that the nation just needed more “faith.”
Of course what the United States really needed was a president whose main qualification was something other than the fact that he wasn’t Gerald Ford.
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