There was a time when former presidents were reluctant to criticize their successors and absolutely refused to do so while on foreign soil. Jimmy broke from that discipline years ago. He attacked the Reagan administration from Cairo, Egypt, in 1984 by scoffing at the president for being "more inclined to form a Contra army to overthrow the Sandinistas or inject the Marines into Lebanon or use American battleships to shell villages around Beirut" than to negotiate. In the run-up to the Gulf War, he interposed himself, warning that if the George H.W. Bush administration attacked Iraq, the United States "would reap great and very serious deleterious consequences politically." To the consternation of Clinton administration officials in 1994, Jimmy popped up in North Korea to work out a nuclear agreement with President Kim Il Sung that proved utterly futile. The North Koreans detonated a nuclear device 12 years later.
Now against the wishes of the George W. Bush administration, Jimmy is in the Middle East, holding meetings with Hamas and laying a wreath on the grave of the deceased Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Hamas regularly lobs rockets and mortars into Israeli neighborhoods and is dedicated to Israel's destruction. Arafat was a famously corrupt leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and was responsible for the deaths of Americans and Israelis alike, as well as hundreds of other innocent people. Of course, the Bush administration's opposition to Jimmy's arrogant journey only encourages this impudent man.
The Israelis are ignoring his visit for the most part, after making it abundantly clear that they do not favor it. They are right to snub him. That he has been greeted by Hamas speaks volumes about the public life of Jimmy Carter. A failure as a president, Jimmy is appraised as a useful tool by our enemies.
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