Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Would Carter Have Heeded Rice's Advice?

Yesterday, while in Kuwait, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters that Jimmy Carter had been advised that his meeting with Hamas "was not going to help." For his part, Carter said no one in the State Department had told him any such thing. Today, the Carter Center issued a press release which began:

President Carter has the greatest respect for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and believes her to be a truthful person. However, perhaps inadvertently, she is continuing to make a statement that is not true.
Carter goes on to say that no one in the State Department nor any other branch of the United States government had told him not visit either Hamas or Syrian President Bashar Assad. He added that he contacted Rice to make her abreast of his plans before leaving for Nepal to monitor its election before heading to the Middle East. Rice's deputy returned the call and Carter claims he was not cautioned about any aspect of his trip.
Let's assume for a moment that Rice's account is correct is Carter is, inadvertently of course, incorrect. Perhaps Carter wasn't paying attention. But let's assume Carter acknowledges Rice's account. Would Carter have heeded Rice's words and not visited Hamas? That is the real question here. I believe Carter was intent on having an audience with Hamas whether or not Rice or anyone else in the U.S. government counseled him against it. So his decision to have a war with words with Rice and besmirch her character is a desperate attempt to draw attention away from his bad judgment. It is also a desperate attempt to draw attention away from the fact nothing was gained from that conversation other than to legitimize Hamas.

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