Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Historic Hindsight and Poverty Question

The contest for worst president ever has been heating up so rapidly that the previous top seed has dimmed in history. Now, he speaks of the challenge he faced and defends the decision he made at the time:

I Did It For The Children

Looking back in history we might forget that Jimmy Carter's achievements were more than simply allowing a US Embassay to be over-run and the staff to be held prisoner for 444 days. His accomplishments are much greater:

  1. Gave away the Panama Canal and control of a strategic chokepoint to an unstable government.
  2. Managed an economy into 21% inflation and an 18% prime rate.
  3. Froze military pay and allowance cost-of-living adjustments for three full years during that inflation rise.
  4. Personally managed the botched Desert One rescue effort.
  5. Undercut the strongest ally in the Middle East, the Shah of Iran and aggressively refused to provide him sanctuary when he was dying of cancer and ousted from his throne.
  6. Reduced the size of the US military by nearly 40%.

There is more of course, but those are the high points of the four year term. What does he give to justify his inaction for the hostage taking?

Carter said Monday that one proposed option was a military strike on Iran, but he chose to stick with negotiations to prevent bloodshed and bring the hostages home safely.

Yes indeed. When stable government collapsed in Iran and our embassy was over-run by revolutionaries led by the current President of Iran, he wanted to avoid bloodshed. In fact, it was clearly an unstable situtation and minute-by-minute unclear whether the hostages would be summarily slaughtered.

I've discussed the imprisonment on a couple of occasions with Col. Dave Roeder who was the Air Force attache in the embassy and a "guest of the Ayatollah." He holds little respect for Carter and he unequivocally confirms that among the leadership of the revolutionaries was Ahmadinejad.

"I could have destroyed Iran with my weaponry. But I felt in the process it was likely the hostages' lives would be lost, and I didn't want to kill 20,000 Iranians. So I didn't attack."

His memory seems a bit flawed here. Unless his plan was to use nuclear missiles, we were very limited in what we could have done at the time militarily. Forces in place in Turkey and at sea in the Persian Gulf were incapable of reaching Teheran. Available basing for tactical forces in nations close enough to allow strikes were unlikely to offer assistance. No ground forces were any closer than Germany.

But all of that is history. It is little more than a reminder of what happens when we are led as a nation by someone with unrealistic ideals, a pacifist nature, and a reluctance to act aggressively when our country is threatened.

And, the poverty question?

It's about Habitat for Humanity. We've all seen the warm and cuddly TV commercials with the liberal bimbo crooning about making a house a home. We've watched as typically over-weight minority women with several children and no male in the household receive a shiny new house built by volunteers in the community. It is a nice picture. According to the last paragraph in that news article above, in the last 35 years Habitat has built and given away more than 300,000 homes.

The question I've got is, has anyone ever done a follow-up on those free houses? Are they still standing? Are they well cared for and maintained? Are the original recipients still in them? Was their future improved by the charity?

I wonder what happened to them.

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