Jimmy Carter Spins Conspiracy Theories, Unchallenged by CBS's Syler

Former President Jimmy Carter has a new book and is making the morning show rounds. He appeared on American Morning with Soledad O'Brien via satellite from Washington, DC, and in an excerpt of a taped interview with Rene Syler aired in the 7:00 a.m. half-hour of CBS's The Early Show. Syler's full interview will air at a later date, but if today's excerpt is any indication, it won't be a tough interview with balanced questions.

Syler lets Carter make unsubstantiated claims without asking him for evidence, particularly Carter's assertion that the President always intended to start a war with Iraq, well before 9/11, and his hinting that there is likely a sinister explanation for faulty intelligence before the Iraq war. Syler didn't ask Carter about his fellow Democrats, including former President Clinton, who had similar intelligence from the CIA and made equally alarming claims about the threat from Hussein with weapons of mass destruction in years past.

The transcript:

[0712 EST]

Rene Syler: "Former President Jimmy Carter believes there is a moral crisis in America. And he writes about that in a new book called Our Endangered Values. I had a chance to sit down with President Carter and talk about a wide range of subjects including the recent Senate showdown over why the U.S. is really in Iraq."

Jimmy Carter, former US president: "I think it's about time that a thorough and complete and public explanation be given for the reasons that we went to war in Iraq. And for the last 18 months the Republicans have been concealing these facts and refusing to go forward with the investigation which hey promised the Democrats a long time ago. So, I think it's completely justified for the Democrats to insist that the investigation be pursued, that it be completed and that the results be made known not only to the Senate but also to the public and America. We need to understand what this administration has done, why we went to war in Iraq, when obviously all the reasons they gave were false, and let the people understand was it a deliberate distortion of the facts as they knew them or were the mistakes made honestly, or who was culpable, if anyone."

Syler: "We just have a very grim milestone, 2,000 dead now. Seven thousands will come home and never be the same again, the injured. The majority of Americans are opposed to the war now. So how does the President get out of this? What does President Bush do?"

Carter: "Well, going into Iraq was ill-advised and unjust and unnecessary, which makes it even more heroic for the young men and women to go over there and serve our country. Last month, in October, we had 92 of our young people killed in iraq. It would be inadvisable at this moment just to withdraw all of a sudden. But this administration has never said that even 50 years from now or 10 years from now, whatever, that we're going to dismantle all our military placements in Iraq. I think that the decision to go to war in Iraq was made long before 9/11. I think it was made long before President Bush was elected president. And the people that believe that America should be the dominant force in the world unilaterally acting militarily if necessary is another basic change in the principles that have always guided our country and have made us great. So going to war without our country being directly threatened is a new policy that's radically changed the basic moral values and ethical standards of the United States of America."

Syler: "And we'll have more with President Carter on his book Our Endangered Values next week. Now to Harry and Hannah."


In addition to CNN and CBS, Carter will be the focus of PBS's Now with David Brancaccio this Friday evening. Yes, your tax dollars will subsidize an unbalanced half hour of Brancaccio nodding in rapt agreement with Carter's gripes against the United States government under President Bush, sort of like he did when Kurt Vonnegut was a recent guest.

Look to NewsBusters next Monday for an update.

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