November 27, 2003

Carter calls Iraq war ‘serious mistake’

Jimmy Carter spoke out in Columbia, South
Carolina...The place, electorally, is as significant
as the powerful statement itself...

The State: "Former President Jimmy Carter called the American invasion of Iraq one of the country’s worst foreign policy blunders, and predicted it may take a dozen years to bring stability and democracy to the region."

Posted on Tue, Nov. 25, 2003

Carter calls Iraq war ‘serious mistake’
1,100 visit with former president at Richland
library’s book signing
Staff Writer


Former President Jimmy Carter signs his new book, "The
Hornet’s Nest," at the Richland County library.

Former President Jimmy Carter called the American
invasion of Iraq one of the country’s worst foreign
policy blunders, and predicted it may take a dozen
years to bring stability and democracy to the region.

“I was strongly against going in unilaterally,” said
Carter, who was in Columbia on Monday to sign copies
of his new Revolutionary War novel, “The Hornet’s

“I thought it was a serious mistake, maybe the worst
mistake in foreign policy that our country’s made in
many years. But now we are there, we have to support
our troops there and pray that we can cut down on our

The former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner drew
a crowd of about1,100 to the downtown Richland County
Public Library, many toting copies of the 17 other
books Carter has authored. He spoke to reporters as he
took a short break from signing more than 1,800
volumes. The event was sponsored by the nonprofit
Friends of the Richland County Public Library.

“The Hornet’s Nest” (Simon and Schuster, $27) is
Carter’s first attempt at fiction, overlaying a cast
of invented characters onto the actual Southern
conflicts of the Revolution. It is a war, Carter said,
that shaped the moral and ethical values of the

Carter suggested that a broad lesson of the Revolution
— “even for folks now who claim they won’t eat french
fries” — is applicable today: You can’t go it alone.

The American Revolution against the British could not
have been won without the full support of France, he
said — the same nation that has been the focus of
American ire for refusing to back President Bush in

“I think it shows all the way down through history up
until recently that America has always cast its lot
with other, very firm, allies around the world.”

If the Iraqi invasion had been multinational, Carter
said, “I think the aftermath would have been much more
pleasant and much more successful and much quicker.”

Carter predicted American soldiers will be in Iraq for
many years.

“I’ve got one grandson (his youngest) who is 4˝ years
old. I hope that before he’s out of high school, we’ll
be out of Iraq.

“Bottom line is, we should turn over as rapidly as we
can both the economic and political affairs to the
Iraqis — as much as they can handle — and bring in
other nations to help us.”

The former president appeared relaxed in an
open-collared dress shirt. He exchanged pleasantries
with the crowd even as he efficiently scrawled his
distinctive signature on book flyleaves and moved the
line along.

Some arrived as early at 7:30 a.m. — an hour and a
half before the library opened at 9 — to secure a
place in the line that snaked through the first-floor
stacks. Carter stepped into the room at 11:36 a.m.,
about a half-hour ahead of schedule.

Joan Dornbusch brought the book “Seabiscuit” to read
as she and her husband, Clyde, waited to greet Carter.

“I’m here because I admire President Carter,” she said
of the one-term Democrat. “He is such an amazing man.
I can’t see any Republican holding a grudge.”

Many who came spoke of their admiration of Carter’s
post-presidency years following his 1980 defeat by
Ronald Reagan. He has promoted democracy and peace
throughout the world through his nonprofit Carter
Center in Atlanta and has worked with Habitat for
Humanity to build houses for the needy.

“I know as a president he had certain difficulties,”
said Jeff Cameron, a teacherwho brought his wife,
Cristina, and daughter, Zarina. “But afterward, his
life has been phenomenal. I have a lot of respect for
the man.”

Martin Langston, a West Columbia pharmacist, said he
campaigned for a South Carolina House seat in 1980,
the same year Carter ran for re-election, and met the
same fate.

“I ran with him and I’m not sorry,” Langston said “I
never was ashamed of Carter.”

Carter said he has not determined who he will support
among the Democratic presidential contenders.

“I’m going to endorse whoever I think will have the
best chance in November. I’ve been observing it very

Posted by richard at November 27, 2003 09:34 AM