President Jimmy Carter penned a must-read op-ed in today's New York Times, sharply criticizing the current President. Carter and Obama share more than having held the same office, they are also both Nobel Peace Prize winners.
Here's what one Nobel Peace Prize winner has to say about the policies of another:
The United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights.
Citing the Obama administration's assassination-by-drone program, the National Defense Authorization Act's (NDAA) indefinite preventive detention provisions, increased authorities for government warrantless domestic spying on innocent Americans, and the still-open-for-business and holding 169 prisoners Guantanamo Bay facility, Carter eloquently describes the consequences of the U.S.'s moving backward on human rights.
At a time when popular revolutions are sweeping the globe, the United States should be strengthening, not weakening, basic rules of law and principles of justice enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But instead of making the world safer, America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends.
Particularly astute are Carter's descriptions of the drone assassination program, something some Kossacks have actively supported. (See some of the comments to my prior diaries on the program here, here, and here.) Carter was particularly incensed by the number of innocent lives "sacrificed" in drone attacks:
Despite an arbitrary rule that any man killed by drones is declared an enemy terrorist, the death of nearby innocent women and children is accepted as inevitable. . . . We don’t know how many hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in these attacks, each one approved by the highest authorities in Washington. This would have been unthinkable in previous times.
As for those who accuse opponents of the drone assassination program of being naive or impractical, Carter sat in the oval office. He knows the challenges, the compromises, and the sacrifices of the nation's highest office. With all of his experience and first-hand knowledge of what it takes to serve as President, Carter writes about the assassination program:
Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation’s violation of human rights has extended . . . As a result, our country can no longer speak with moral authority on these critical issues.
Carter's op-ed is right on. Americans should listen.
Jesselyn Radack is National Security & Human Rights Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.