Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

Sam Nunn: No more U.S. ground troops in Muslim conflicts

Forty years ago this spring, a virus disguised as a campaign jingle began boring its way into the frontal lobes of Georgia voters.

“Sam Nunn is tough, Sam Nunn is young, put Sam Nunn in Washington….”

What can I say? We were a simpler people in 1972. The owl-eyed, state Democratic lawmaker was elected to the U.S. Senate that year, ultimately becoming one of Washington’s foremost military experts. He retired from the Senate in 1997 –– but even now, he can startle you on matters from nukes to Afghanistan.

Although they both had roots in rural Georgia, Nunn was not particularly close to Jimmy Carter, who had followed him to Washington four years later. But in retirement, the two Georgians now have much in common: Both have created spectacular post-public careers.

Carter’s retirement can be tracked by the books he churns out year after year. Twenty-two at last count. By contrast, the first published –– but still partial –– account of Nunn’s life hit the …

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Sam Nunn on the millionaires who divide us

We have created a climate that rewards life on the extremes of the political spectrum.

Cable TV and the Internet favor the starkest of opinions, preferably compressed into a 12-second sound bite. Twitter allows 140 characters at a time. More than a bumper sticker — but not by much.

Greek choruses on left and right shout down those who stray into enemy territory. MoveOn.org can’t stand Blue Dog Democrats. Rush Limbaugh & Co. have redefined Republicanism into something that Ronald Reagan might not even recognize.

For a decade and more, the lack of applause coming from the middle ground, where deals happen, has been deafening — a situation that Georgia Tech wants to change.

Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen Jr., talking with the Rev. Ralph Abernathy (left) and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1966, openly supported King and the SCLC/New York Times

Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen Jr., talking with the Rev. Ralph Abernathy (left) and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1966, openly supported King and the SCLC/New York Times

This week, Tech bestowed on former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn its first Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage. The prize — which comes …

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Sam Nunn on ’social courage’ and the delicate line in Libya

Former U.S. senator Sam Nunn was in Atlanta on Monday and Tuesday to receive the first Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage – intended to be an annual award by Georgia Tech.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library does something comparable each year with the Profile in Courage Award. The Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation is underwriting the Atlanta effort – which includes a $100,000 prize.

Former U.S. senator Sam Nunn/Bloomberg

Former U.S. senator Sam Nunn/Bloomberg

Why Ivan Allen, the former mayor of Atlanta? Because Allen was the only elected Southern white politician to testify before Congress in favor of civil rights legislation in the early 1960s, at the request of President Kennedy.

Why Nunn? “It was more for his work since he left the Senate – where courage had been most necessary,” said William Todd, president of the Georgia Cancer Coalition. Nunn is the CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, which applies itself to reducing the threat of “loose nukes.”

In the last few years, the …

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A $5 million lawsuit against Jimmy Carter for the ‘fiction’ of his Middle East book

Lawsuits don’t come much stranger than this one. From the Washington Post:

More than four years after its publication, five disgruntled readers have filed a class-action lawsuit against President Jimmy Carter and his publisher, Simon & Schuster, alleging that his 2006 book “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid” contained “numerous false and knowingly misleading statements intended to promote the author’s agenda of anti-Israel propaganda and to deceive the reading public instead of presenting accurate information as advertised.”]

The five plaintiffs named in the lawsuit are seeking at least $5 million in compensation. The hard cover edition cost $27.

The suit accuses Carter and his publisher of violating New York consumer protection laws because they engaged in “deceptive acts in the course of conducting business” and alleges that they sought enrichment by promoting the book “as a work of non-fiction.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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The people behind Jimmy Carter’s letter on Israel

Last month, while much of the world was distracted by the holidays, former President Jimmy Carter issued what he called “an open letter to the Jewish community.”

In four paragraphs, Carter expressed his hopes for the state of Israel. He ended the letter with a fifth paragraph that the world quickly came to call an apology.

“We must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel,” the former president said. “I offer an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so.”

The statement might be better termed a confession. Al Het refers to the Yom Kippur prayer recited by a supplicant who begs God to forgive a sin.

In the weeks since, the abrupt nature of the Carter statement has led many to speculate about its purpose and the former president’s motives.

What very few know is that this first step toward reconciliation was the private initiative of several influential members of Atlanta’s Jewish community, whose ties to Carter date three decades and more. …

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Middle East moments: If U.S. doesn’t stop Iran, Israel might; and Jimmy Carter’s Syrian connection

Two magazine articles on the Middle East are making news today.

First, the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg has this:

In an interview conducted shortly before he was sworn in today as prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu laid down a challenge for Barack Obama. The American president, he said, must stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons—and quickly—or an imperiled Israel may be forced to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities itself.

“The Obama presidency has two great missions: fixing the economy, and preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told me. He said the Iranian nuclear challenge represents a “hinge of history” and added that “Western civilization” will have failed if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh has taken a look at thawing relations between the U.S. and Syria, and the role that former President Jimmy Carter has played with a late 2008 trip to the Middle Eastern country:

A senior White …

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