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Apr 3rd 2009

Jimmy Carter on the Record: Both Revolutionary War and US Civil War Were Unnecessary

This man, Jim Carter, has got to be the biggest dufus ever to have breathed air.

Back in 2004, he told us that the American Revolutionary War was “unnecessary.”

[T]he 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 nonviolent way. [source: Jimmy Carter and Chris Matthews Brainstorm on Historic Parallels]

Now, Jimmeh Crapper tells us the Civil War was also a needless war. This guy just can’t seem to find anything in this world that’s worth fighting for. Too bad for all of us he can’t show the same kind of restraint before he opens his mouth to give public commentary.

Here’s the latest outrage from Jimmy Carter, the ex-President so many Americans love to hate: He claims the Civil War – which he calls, Southern-style, “The War Between the States” – was un-Christian and could have been avoided.

The comments come in a new book, “In Lincoln’s Hand: His Original Manuscripts With Commentary By Distinguished Americans.” Carter comments on a passage by Lincoln in which Lincoln writes: “I am almost ready to say this is probably true – that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet.”

Carter writes that he finds the Lincoln writing “very troubling.” Continues Carter: “He ignores the fact that the tragic combat might have been avoided altogether, and that the leaders of both sides, overwhelmingly Christian, were violating a basic premise of their belief as followers of the Prince of Peace.” He concludes: “A legitimate question for historians is how soon the blight of slavery would have been terminated peacefully in America, as in Great Britain and other civilized societies.”

Carter’s comments are so stunning that at a recent discussion about the new book at the New-York Historical Society, both the book’s co-editor, Joshua Wolf Shenk, and another “distinguished American” who contributed to the book, Cynthia Ozick, distanced themselves from them. Shenk said he disagreed, and Ozick mocked the idea of negotiating with slave masters.

Carter holds up the British – who didn’t fight a war over slavery – as an example, but a careful look shows that case to be thoroughly unconvincing. Parliament had acted in 1807 to ban the slave trade and in 1833 to abolish slavery altogether. By the time the Civil War began in 1861, America’s legislature had yet to follow suit – and the Southerners didn’t appear in any great rush to do so.

How much patience should Lincoln have had with the immoral institution? How many more lashes should have fallen on the backs of American blacks during Carter’s hypothetical waiting period for slavery to terminate “peacefully”? The period wouldn’t have been particularly peaceful for the slaves. One might as well argue that the bloodshed of the American Revolution could have been avoided, given that British rule was eventually terminated peacefully in Canada.

This debate is about more than history. When Carter met with leaders of the terrorist group Hamas last spring, it provoked widespread outrage from American politicians and commentators and condemnation from American and Israeli government officials. At the time, I was inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, figuring that if he won the return of kidnapped Israeli soldiers such as Gilad Shalit, Eldad Regev or Ehud Goldwasser – or even the return of their remains – all would be forgiven. Having Carter do the talking was a convenient way for the Israeli and American governments to stick to their stated policies of not negotiating with terrorists.

But given the Civil War comment, we can no longer see each misstep or misstatement in isolation as just another crazy comment from an old man who wasn’t that good a President anyway. Carter seems to go to irrational extremes to avoid forthright confrontation or conflict with evil of any kind – even when ending human slavery is at stake.

The Obama administration is going to be faced with policy decisions on negotiating with Hamas, Iran, North Korea and others whose hands are stained with crimes akin to slavery. It may help President Obama structure the internal discussions if he considers whether he wants to perceive America’s conflicts in the fashion of Lincoln, his fellow Illinois politician, or in the manner of Carter, waiting around for a peaceful termination while today’s victims and slaves suffer beatings and are deprived of their freedoms.

[source: nydailynews]

Get this man a Nobel Prize already!

3 Responses to “Jimmy Carter on the Record: Both Revolutionary War and US Civil War Were Unnecessary

  1. bnice

    and they wonder why funding for the carter museum/welcome center in plains, ga lost its funding recently.

  2. N Chung

    A legitimate question for historians is how soon the blight of slavery would have been terminated peacefully in America, as in Great Britain and other civilized societies.

    This naiive human being also believed you can negotiate with slavemasters and end the conflict peacefully:

    Joseph Smith was nominated as a protest candidate in February of 1844…His platform called for the elimination of slavery, proposing that the funds from the sale of Western lands, a major source of revenue along with the tariff in those days, be devoted to purchasing slaves from their masters in order to avoid the conflict that would otherwise ensue.

  3. travis

    oh please. let’s acknowledge the difference between joseph smith, a contemporary who (it sounds like) proposed a great plan to avoid war, and jimmy carter, a guy who 150 years after the fact decides the war should have been avoided.

    of course it should and could have been avoided. if one side had changed its position, or the other side had changed its position, or if both had settled on a middle ground, gosh darn it, the bloodshed could have been completely averted. it is amazing that jimmy carter ever figured this out.

    every day, i see lawsuits come across my desk and i think, “this lawsuit was inevitable. it never could have been avoided.” but now, jimmy carter has helped me see the light. yes, next time i see a lawsuit where a plaintiff is suing a defendant (this is all too common) i will shake my head and say, if only the defendant had acquiesced to the plaintiff’s demands, he could have prevented this conflict.

    what an eye-opening perspective on life and conflict! i have never ever considered compromise or negotiations as an alternative to dischord! thanks jimmy carter!

    as long as we’re talking mormonism, i’d note that using jimmy carter’s logic, the war in heaven could have been avoided. if heavenly father had just listened to those voices calling for moderation, maybe he could have kept from losing so many souls and also prevented so much spiritual bloodshed before the world was.

    thankfully, jimmy carter shares these types of insights so we can all learn from him.