Jimmy Carter on Homeland Security
President of the U.S., 1977-1981
Declined to keep "nuclear football" at home in Georgia
Carter refused to carry out the biggest responsibility a president has--to be available to take action in case of nuclear attack. When he went on vacation, "Carter did not want the nuclear football at Plains," a Secret Service agent says. "There was no
place to stay in Plains. The military wanted a trailer there. He didn't want that. So the military aide who carries the football had to stay in Americus," a 1minute drive from Carter's home.
Because of the agreed-upon protocols, in the event of a nuclear attack, Carter could not have launched a counterattack by calling the aide in Americus. By the time the military aide drove to Carter's home, the United
States would have been within five minutes of being wiped out by nuclear-tipped missiles. "He would have had to drive ten miles," an agent says. "Carter didn't want anyone bothering him on his property. He wanted his privacy. He was really different."
Source: In the President`s Secret Service, by Ronald Kessler, p. 72
, Jun 29, 2009
Greatly strengthened our military forces
I, myself, served in the Navy from 1942 to 1953, and, as president, greatly strengthened our military forces and protected our nation and its interests in every way. I don’t believe this warrants your referring to me as a pacifist.
Source: Response to Zell Miller’s 2004 Republican Convention speech
, Sep 8, 2004
OpEd: Pressure to democratize Iran caused Shah's overthrow
In 2003 [Bush said we would] help Iraq to establish a "democratic country in the heart of the Middle East," because, by doing so, "we will defend our people from danger." But not only must Iraq embrace democracy. So, too, must Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and
Pakistan, which have been laggards in joining the world democratic revolution:
"The United States has adopted a new policy, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East. This strategy requires the same persistence and energy idealism we have shown
before. And it will yield the same results."
"Yield the same results"? Is Bush aware that when Jimmy Carter pressured the shah to democratize, the shah was overthrown and Iran fell to the Ayatollah? Can the president believe that by hectoring and
destabilizing autocracies such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, we are made more secure? Previous popular revolts in the Arab world gave us and the world Nasser, Khadafi, Assad, Saddam, and the Ba'ath Party.
Source: Where The Right Went Wrong, by Pat Buchanan, p. 30
, Aug 12, 2004
US is sole superpower, but world is a more dangerous place
Instead of entering a millennium of peace, the world is now, in many ways, a more dangerous place. The greater ease of travel & communication has not been matched by equal understanding & mutual respect. There is a plethora of civil wars, unrestrained by
the Geneva Convention, within which an overwhelming portion of the casualties are unarmed civilians who have no ability to defend themselves. And recent appalling acts of terrorism have reminded us that no nations, even superpowers, are invulnerable.
Source: A Patriot's Handbook, by Caroline Kennedy, p.491
, Dec 10, 2002
Canceled B-1 & neutron bomb; approved MX & cruise missile
Questions of national defense were a continuing concern during the Carter term. He decided not to support the development of the B-1 bomber or the enhanced radiation “neutron bomb.” He did, however, approve the development of the cruise missile as a part
Source: Grolier’s Encyclopedia, “The Presidency”
, Dec 25, 2000
Urged deployment of neutron bombs in NATO's Europe
One of the most controversial and least understood issues I had to face as President was a NATO decision on whether or not to develop and deploy in Europe enhanced radiation (ER) weapons, the so-called neutron bomb.
The ER weapon's destructive force
would come not from the relatively small explosion but from intense radiation, which enabled it to kill enemy troops with a minimum of damage to surrounding structures.
This very characteristic of killing with radiation made the weapon seem particularly frightening to the public.
Although I had agreed to go ahead with the project if our NATO allies concurred, I was troubled over the advisability of trying to force
neutron weapons on our allies.
Because of the limited range of the proposed neutron weapons, they would not be used in Great Britain in any event, but some of the shells or missile warheads could be stored in the British Isles for use on the Continent.
Source: Keeping Faith, by Jimmy Carter, p.225-227
, Mar 20, 1978
B-1 bomber was a gross waste of money
"Harold Brown has been very courageous to recommend that the B-1 not be built. " -- Diary, June 24, 1977
Even after thorough study of the issue during the spring of 1977 with the help of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, deciding
what to do about the B-1 bomber was still difficult for all of us--not because of the merits of the case, but because of the necessity to prevail against supporters of the B-1 once my decision was made.
If I had had absolute power, the answer would have been simple: do not build it, because it would be a gross waste of money. My problem was that I would have to win the argument not merely in the Oval Office, but also in the public arena--indirectly with
the American people, and then directly with a majority of Congress. As I studied the arguments, I also spent a lot of time working with key members of Congress and the news media, trying to present the facts to the public.
Source: Keeping Faith, by Jimmy Carter, p. 81-82
, Jun 24, 1977
Opposed Vietnam, but very late
Carter is a moral, even a holy man, yet he is a politician trapped in the venal and compromising snake pit of America politics. That is part of his conflict. He has done things other liberal politicians and many human beings would be ashamed of.
He did not oppose the Vietnam war until almost the end. He proclaimed an “American Fighting Men’s Day” which was really a Lt. William Calley Day in Georgia.
Source: How Jimmy Won, by Kandy Stroud, p. 11-2
, Jan 1, 1977
Eliminate all nuclear weapons from this earth
We are a strong nation and we will maintain strength so sufficient that it need not be proven in combat--a quiet strength based not merely on the size of an arsenal not on the nobility of ideas.
The world is still engaged in a massive armaments race designed to insure continuing equivalent strength among potential adversaries.
We pledge perseverance and wisdom in our efforts to limit the world’s armaments to those necessary for each nation’s domestic safety.
We will move this year a step toward our ultimate goal--the elimination of all nuclear weapons from this earth.
We urge all other people to join us, for success can mean life instead of death.
Source: A Government As Good As Its People, by Jimmy Carter, p.261-2
, Oct 1, 1976
Would pardon draft evaders outright to heal nation
Q: [to Ford]: In granting the pardon to former President Nixon, part of your rationale was to put Watergate behind us. Why does not the same rationale apply to the men who resisted in Vietnam, many of them in exile?
FORD: The amnesty program I recommended would give all draft evaders the opportunity to earn their good record back. We gave them ample time. I am against- an across-the-board pardon of draft evaders or military deserters.
CARTER: Pardon means that what you did, whether it's right or wrong, you're forgiven for it. I advocate a pardon for draft evaders. I think now is the time to heal our country after the
Vietnam War and I think that what the people are concerned about is not the pardon or the amnesty of those who evaded the draft, but whether or not our crime system is--is fair.
Source: The First Carter-Ford Presidential Debate
, Sep 23, 1976
Punish CIA operatives involved in illegal activities
Carter would not break up the CIA or restrict covert operations, but he would oversee the CIA to assure its involvement only in legal activities. "I will know what is going on, and if there is any wrongdoing,
I will find out about it and I will see to it that those responsible are punished." He does not believe that the CIA should have been used in Angola.
Source: Jimmy Who?, by Leslie Wheeler, p.184
, Jan 1, 1976
Defense is most wasteful agency in federal government
Carter calls the Defense Department the "most wasteful agency in the Federal Government." He would cut its budget by 5%, but would not make cuts where he thought they could damage the country's national security. He opposes expensive weapons like the B-1
bomber, but favors construction of the Trident, the Navy's new nuclear firing submarine. He says that "Our ultimate goal should be the reduction of nuclear weapons, in all nations, to 0," but admits that this probably would not occur during his lifetime.
Source: Jimmy Who?, by Leslie Wheeler, p.185-186
, Jan 1, 1976
Page last updated: Apr 28, 2013