Just finished a book I picked up downstairs in our library written in 05 by former President Jimmy Carter, Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis. All I want to say is, the next time some extreme right-wing nut like a Phyllis Schlafly starts ranting about reinstating the House Committee on Un-American Activities due to Muslims living in America, or you read a book or article authored by some prophecy teacher claiming “judgment is coming” due to homosexuality and/or abortions within America or how the US is under judgment because we’ve “turned our backs on Israel”, take a moment and recall these quotes from this 8 year old book by Carter.
(From an online review)
Fundamentalism – not necessarily religious – has gripped the entire American government so that most of its foreign policies are changing to reflect this view. For instance, he quoted the then United States ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton as saying “It is a big mistake for us to grant any validity to international law even when it may seem in our short-term interest to do so – because, over the long term, the goal of those who think that international law really means anything are those who want to constrict the United States.” 
This (and other direct quotes) show how the country that boasts of international laws and is always quick to invoke them when it suits them views such laws. Again, Bolton was quoted as saying that ‘The United Nations is valuable only when it directly serves the United States.’ This was not just the opinion of an individual but that of the US’s ambassador to the UN, (Appointed by G.W. Bush).
Regarding the invasion of Iraq, Dick Cheney and Condoleeza Rice lied consistently; using graphic images to deceive the people and Congress, which resulted in the subsequent killing of over a hundred thousand Iraqi noncombatants (as of the time the book was published in 2005) were discussed: “Although there are many other complicating political factors, the tendency of fundamentalists to choose certain emotional issues for demagoguery and to avoid negotiation with dissenters has adversely affected American foreign policy.”
This begins the chapter on ‘The Distortion of American Foreign Policy’. Here Carter described how lucrative ‘hating’ Fidel Castro and Cuba has become for America’s career diplomats as he who is able to show the ‘greatest’ hate gets the ‘lucrative’ posting. Discussing America’s motive in the establishment of the ICC, an issue that has come up again and again but which some people have tended to brush away, it was clear that the ICC is the ‘legal’ wing of America’s military invasion. Here Carter showed how the formation of the institution was made in such a way as to exclude the prosecution of American Military who commit genocide overseas provided US courts will address any such crimes. In addition, the Non-Surrender treaty was signed with individual countries that expanded this clause in the ICC’s formation to cover ordinary citizens.
On other issues, it came as a surprise that the US has the largest prison population in the world with 7 out of every 1000 people incarcerated (as of 2005), greater than the all time record held by the Soviets: 6 out of 1000. It was also heart-wrenching that there are prisoners as young as 8 years in American prison.
After visiting six of the twenty-five or so US prisons, the International Committee of the Red Cross reported registering 107 detainees under eighteen, some as young as eight years old. 
A careful reading would point to the US interest in the current Syrian crisis and their possible influence. For the United States had had problems with Syria for not,
being cooperative in some issues involving the nearby war in Iraq… 
The book minces no words in describing the appalling human rights records of the United States, something that has been on the decline since the 9/11 catastrophe.
Following the attacks of 9/11, the US government overreacted by detaining more than twelve hundred innocent men throughout America, none of whom were ever convicted of any crime related to terrorism. Their identities have been kept secret, and they were never given the right to hear charges against themselves or to have legal counsel. Almost all of them were Arabs or Muslims, and many have been forced to leave America. 
The International Red Cross, Amnesty International, and the Pentagon have gathered substantial testimony of torture of children, confirmed by soldiers who witnessed or participated in the abuse. In addition to personal testimony from children about physical and mental mistreatment, a report from Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, formerly in charge of Abu Ghraib, described a visit to an eleven-year-old detainee in the cell block that house high-risk prisoners. The General recalled that the child was weeping, and “he told me he was almost twelve,” and that “he really wanted to see his mother, could he please call his mother.” Children like this eleven-year-old have been denied the right to see their parents, a lawyer, or anyone else, and were not told why they were detained. A Pentagon spokesman told Mr. Hersh that “age is not a determining factor in detention.” 
Even though the US intelligence accepts that 70 to 90 percent of prisoners in Abu Ghraid were held by mistake, torture and death in such prisons are common.
Military officials reported (as of 2005) that at least 108 prisoners have died in American custody in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other secret locations just since 2002, with homicide acknowledged as the cause of death in at least 28 cases. The fact that only one of these was in Abu Ghraid prison indicates the widespread pattern of prisoner abuse, certainly not limited to the actions or decisions of just a few rogue enlisted persons. 
Death to Iraqis are not limited to civilians, suspected terrorists and mistaken identities but also including Major Generals.
Iraqi major general Abed Hamed Mowhoush reported voluntarily to American officials in Baghdad in an attempt to locate his sons, and was detained, tortured, and stuffed inside a green sleeping bag, where he died from trauma and suffocation on November 26, 2003. 
Perhaps open-minded Americans reading this book would come to a realisation of what their government really is and what it does in their names. In fact, torture has been sanctioned by men of the law and at the highest level of government such as the Department of Defense.
The techniques of torture are almost indescribably terrible, including, as a US ambassador to one of the recipient countries recipient countries reported, “partial boiling of a hand or an arm,” with at least two prisoners boiled to death. 
The blatant disregard for nuclear non-proliferation and the increasingly rising military budget which was around $400 billion dollars, greater than the combination of the rest of the world, was also touched upon. However the most important topics to developing countries are the issues of aid and subsidies. Cotton farmers in Mali have suffered greatly because of American subsidy to its cotton farmers which decrease their cost of production relative to farmers in Mali and suppress world prices to levels below Malian production cost. This makes Malian cotton farmers poorer by the day, unable to earn profits. Regarding aid, the deception was uncovered.
For instance 95 percent of money allocated to malaria control are spent on consultations, the remaining 5 percent are spent on necessary products from American companies. Again, some claims of help are blatant lies as in the Botswana AIDS victims claims where the US announced officially that it had provided forty-one thousand AIDS victims in Botswana with life-extending drugs only for the managers of the program to challenge them for proof. It came out that America’s contribution was zero. Carter reported that
According to Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the UN Millennium Project, … ,annual US aid for sub-Saharan Africa was about $3 billion in 2003, of which “only $118 million was left for US in-country operations and direct support for programs run by African governments and communities … for investments in health education, roads, power, water, and sanitation, and democratic institutions in the region” [189/90]
Again, the gap between the rich and the poor is at its all time high. Was it this that led Bill Gates to talk about moral capitalism? Whatever be the case, it is now clear that the current wealth gap between the rich and the poor is not sustainable and as if to slap the people in the face whereas the rich benefits from tax cuts, the poor get their income halved by income-tax increases.
Under the tax cuts pushed through Congress since 2000, for every dollar in reductions for a middle-class family, the top 1 percent of households will receive $54, and those with $1 million or more in income will benefit by $191! During the first three years, the number of Americans living in poverty increased by 3.5 million, while the income for the four hundred wealthiest Americans jumped by 10 percent just in the year 2002. Another indication of the growing division between the rich and poor in recent years is that the salaries of corporate chief executive officers have gone from forty times to four hundred times the average worker’s pay. Even though there was strong growth in corporate profits, wages for the average worker fell in 2004, after adjusting for inflation – the first such drop in many years. [192/3]
This book is an eye-opener. It shows that it takes more than being a president to change things in America or in most countries for that matter. In most cases it is clear that corporations with personal interest are those ruling the country so that even when the police and several individuals wanted the gun-control policy to be extended, Bush scrapped it. A double-standard policy creates an unsafe world. If America today is unsafe, it should question its policies, for the shedding of blood will create more enemies as Carter wrote about that the raging war in Iraq is serving as a recruitment ground for Al-Qaeda.
I agree, this book is an eye-opener for those who have had their heads buried in the sand for the last 12 years. Especially interesting to me was the chapter titled, Worshiping the Prince of Peace or Preemptive War (14).
If possible visit your local library and check this book out for close reading. I highly recommend it. What struck me deeply was after reading this book it dawned on me that those screaming the loudest of coming judgment upon America today, were and are (still) supporters of all the lies told and atrocities committed by our government leaders over the last 12 years. Go figure….
Whatever this Nation use to be, good, bad, or a little of both, it’s sure not the Nation my father knew, or fought to defend. That Nation has passed away….