Former United States President Jimmy Carter said that ever since 9/11, the U.S. has been heading down a path that devalues human rights more and more every day; troubling in a country that should be “the global champion of human rights,” he said in an op-ed for the New York Times.
Jimmy Carter, America’s 39th president, wrote the op-ed to primarily denounce the Obama administration (though he doesn’t name any names) for its violation of 10 of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, primarily focusing on Obama’s overt willingness to use drone attacks to target enemies of the country, even if they are American citizens. “Instead of making the world safer, America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends,” Carter writes.
Carter also criticized the president over Guantanamo Bay, which still hasn’t been closed nearly four years after Big-O said it would be. Carter points to prisoners who “have been tortured by waterboarding more than 100 times or intimidated with semiautomatic weapons, power drills or threats to sexually assault their mothers.” Carter also criticizes the indefinite detention measures, saying, “This law violates the right to freedom of expression and to be presumed innocent until proved guilty, two other rights enshrined in the declaration.”
The Democratic Underground declared Carter’s op-ed “spot on,” while Mediaite opined that “It is surprising that Carter avoids naming former President Bush for instituting this anti-terror policy,” continuing, “Since Carter is a life-long Democrat, he would probably find it politically unwise to name President Obama in such a critical manner during an election year. Though it is still surprising because, well, many of these policies are very much President Obama’s policies.”
Not naming President Obama in the piece might be a gentlemanly move, but the real question here (sadly) involves whether or not Carter’s perspective is even relevant. The hot-button issue of the upcoming election is going to be the economy. The difference between presidents Obama and Bush is not their foreign, war-time, or “human rights” policies. The difference is that Obama is working under a suffering economy right now, and that just gets more attention. You can blame Bush or Obama or whoever you like for getting us into this mess, but it’s Obama who is getting the free-pass on the “war-monger” policies that Bush was so publicly despised for.
So are Americans willfully or accidentally ignorant?
Do you think that Jimmy Carter is right in his op-ed? Will human rights and foreign policy play a role in the upcoming election?