He ran on “hope and change” as a liberal Democrat and the anti-war candidate. He refused to see radical Islam as a threat. Instead, he paved the yellow brick road with billions of dollars of relief for America’s greatest enemy, Iran. He was a moral relativist who rejected absolute standards of good and evil, right and wrong. In his worldview, man was capable of perfection; human nature was on the path toward enlightenment. It was better to talk with bad actors than to fight them. These groups were only human rights activists that had not matured. Education, jobs and human rights were the solution. No, I am not referring to US President Barack Obama, but rather president Jimmy Carter, the first president to lose a war to radical Islam.
On September 23, 1980, during the presidential race between Carter and Ronald Reagan, Carter was four points ahead in the polls. On that evening, I joined Isser Harel, the head of Israeli intelligence, for dinner at his home in Tel Aviv. Also in the group was senior adviser to Menachem Begin Reuven Hecht. I asked Harel, “Will terror ever come to America?” His response was, “America has the power but not the will; the terrorists have the will, but not the power. That could change with time. Arab oil buys more than tents. You kill a fly and rejoice. We kill one and 100 come to the funeral.
Yes, terrorism will come to New York City and your tallest building.”
I then asked Harel a lighter question: “Who do you think will win the presidential election?” His response was, “The Iranians will have some say about that. The word on the street is, when Ronald Reagan places his hand on the Bible, the hostages will be released.”
As I watched the inauguration on television and the newly elected president being sworn into office, my telephone rang. It was Reuven Hecht, shouting, “Harel is a prophet! The hostages are being released just as he said.” Later, I found out that president Carter had been trying to buy back the hostages, but the Iranians held off until the early morning hours when Carter transferred $7.9 billion from the Federal Reserve to the Bank of England.
He also signed the Algerian Accord respecting Iran’s territorial integrity.
In essence, this meant no war with Iran.
The Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of modern-day Iran, had won and Carter and the United States had lost. French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing later explained to me what had happened.
In 1979 he met with Carter in Guadalupe for a summit, as did Helmut Schmidt of Germany and James Callahan of Great Britain.
Carter informed this group of men that the US was going to support Khomeini instead of the Shah of Iran. In essence, d’Estaing said he realized the US was trading its strongest pro-Western Persian Gulf ally in favor of a terrorist Muslim cleric.
The decision was made on the island that the US would open a direct channel with Khomeini, who was then living in Paris. D’Estaing said he knew that without US support the shah’s regime would be lost.
“I was horrified,” said d’Estaing.
“The only way I can describe Jimmy Carter is that he was a ‘bastard of conscience,’ a moralist who treated with total lightness... abandoning an ally that we had supported in exchange for a cleric Carter thought would be better for human rights.”
On April 1, 1979, April Fools’ Day, Khomeini proclaimed the first day of the government of God. He claimed the title of imam, the highest religious rank in Shi’ite Islam, and established the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Radical Islam, against which the United States is fighting, was birthed from a Shi’ite caliphate in Iran with over 100 million adherents living in Iraq, Iran and Pakistan. In response, the Russians invaded Afghanistan.
Sunni Muslim countries sent fighters supported by the US; Osama bin Laden was on the payroll. Iraq then invaded Iran. Virtually all the battles in the Middle East since that time have been because of Khomeini’s Shi’ite caliphate. Effectively, every dilemma faced by the US has been because of the Shi’ite Muslims.
In 2007, I was invited by President Masoud Barzani of Kurdistan to visit. I was told that Iran was behind every rock in Iraq. The American military discovered that when most battles were against the Mahdi Army in Iraq, a contingent supported by Iran.
What is the key to defeating radical Islam? Bankrupt it! Do not endow it with $150 billion of sanction relief, but increase sanctions.
During the Persian Gulf War I flew with General Mohamed Khalid, commander of the multi-national forces, to meet with the Egyptian Third Army and the Syrian High Command and give them the invasion plan. On the helicopter, I introduced the subject of radical Islam.
He said, “Don’t exaggerate! Less than 10 percent of the world’s Muslims are radical.” My response was, “I feel so comforted to know that only 200 million of you want to cut off my head.”
President Obama, who refuses even to acknowledge that the United States is at war with radical Islamic terrorists, has just given Iran, ground zero for radical Islam, a $150 billion appeasement prize.
The writer is a journalist and an author and heads the Evans Institute of Middle East Studies.