Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Katyn, Jimmy Carter, and Kulaks

I have been politically aware for just under 50 years now, and the two most mind-bogglingly clueless statements I’ve ever heard a President of the US make were both from James Earl Carter. During the 1976 presidential election campaign, he said that he hoped America would be able to overcome its “excessive fear of communism.” Seeing as how at the time he made that statement, the Soviet Union had the capability of hitting the US with several thousand nuclear warheads, I can only wonder about his definition of “excessive.”

Then in ‘79), when the USSR invaded Afghanistan, Carter was quoted as saying he had learned more in the past year about the Soviet Union than he ever had before. I was flabbergasted then, and am flabbergasted now, that an Naval Academy graduate, a man who spent more time in uniform than any other president that century (besides Eisenhower), could make that statement.

Since Carter had served as a professional Naval officer, I really wish someone could have sat down with him and shown him pictures of the Katyn Forest Massacre to educate him about what Soviets did to military officers of countries they found less than amenable. Thousands of Polish military were found with their hands bound behind their backs and bullet holes in their heads (along with police, government officials, and academics).

Furthermore, since after leaving the Navy Carter spent several years as a peanut farmer and achieved an impressive degree of success, I think he would have benefitted from an education in what happened to elderly survivors of the forced collectivization in Ukraine of the 1930s. Kulaks, or rich peasants, were either shot, systematically starved to death or shipped off to the gulag, from where only a miniscule percentage ever returned.

I happen to agree with G. Gordon Liddy’s judgment on Carter: “Fine Sunday school teacher, lousy president.”

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