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How Bad is Jimmy Carter? Don't Answer That

Honestly, we've reached a point beyond parody when the far left wing German magazine Der Spiegel has to be the one injecting a sense of moral clarity into a discussion with Jimmy Carter:

Spiegel: You also mentioned the hatred for the United States throughout the Arab world which has ensued as a result of the invasion of Iraq. Given this circumstance, does it come as any surprise that Washington's call for democracy in the Middle East has been discredited?

Carter: No, as a matter of fact, the concerns I exposed have gotten even worse now with the United States supporting and encouraging Israel in its unjustified attack on Lebanon.

Spiegel: But wasn't Israel the first to get attacked?

Carter: I don't think that Israel has any legal or moral justification for their massive bombing of the entire nation of Lebanon. What happened is that Israel is holding almost 10,000 prisoners, so when the militants in Lebanon or in Gaza take one or two soldiers, Israel looks upon this as a justification for an attack on the civilian population of Lebanon and Gaza. I do not think that's justified, no.

And then there was this:

Spiegel: What makes you personally so optimistic about the effectiveness of diplomacy? You are, so to speak, the father of Camp David negotiations.

Carter: When I became president we had had four terrible wars between the Arabs and Israelis (behind us). And I under great difficulty, particularly because Menachim Begin was elected, decided to try negotiation and it worked and we have a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt for 27 years that has never been violated. You never can be certain in advance that negotiations on difficult circumstances will be successful, but you can be certain in advance if you don't negotiate that your problem is going to continue and maybe even get worse.

Spiegel: But negotiations failed to prevent the burning of Beirut and bombardment of Haifa.

By all means, read the rest of the interview. A bit later on, after suggesting Fidel Castro's return to health is "not beyond hope," Carter tells the magazine, "I think I represent the vast majority of Democrats in this country." Republicans will eagerly confirm that Carter has it exactly right.