EX-US President Carter has decried his nation’s involvement in unjust conflicts and wishes the US could be seen as a champion of peace.
Former US President Jimmy Carter warned against a possible war with Iran on Monday as he decried his nation’s involvement in unjust conflicts at a summit of Nobel Peace Prize laureates in Chicago.
Carter, a naval veteran who served as Democratic president from 1977 to 1981, said that while he is ‘not against conflict when necessary,’ the criteria for a just war are often not met.
War is only just when it is a ‘last resort’ after ‘every other possible peaceful resolution’ is exhausted, when all efforts are made to protect civilians, when the purpose of the conflict is to make the situation better, not worse, when society in general agrees it is just and when the level of violence is ‘proportional to the injury received,’ he said.
‘That would obviously exclude our recent policy of pre-emptive war,’ Carter said in a keynote address.
The United States has been ‘almost constantly at war’ in the past 60 years – in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, El Salvador, Libya, Panama, Haiti, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and many others.
‘And now we are contemplating going to war again perhaps in Iran, said the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Most of those wars fail to meet the criteria for a just war and ‘some of them were completely unnecessary.’
Carter said he wished the United States could be seen as a champion of peace, an environmental leader, and the world’s most generous nation when it comes to feeding the hungry and opposing human rights abuses.
‘That’s not a hopeless dream,’ Carter said.
‘Maybe for my generation, yes, maybe for my children’s generation yes, but not for my grandchildren and students who are looking at Nobel laureates and saying what can I do to make this world more peaceful and make sure that all aspects of human rights prevail.’
Carter, who suffered from a perception of weakness that culminated in the botched 1980 operation to resolve the Iranian hostage crisis, is among 20 laureates gathered in Chicago for a world summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners.
l Meanwhile the Israeli chief of staff Gatz has added that Israeli forces will be ready to attack Iran.
Israeli forces are carrying out more special operations beyond the country’s borders and will be ready to attack Iran’s nuclear sites if ordered, the chief-of-staff said in an interview on Sunday.
In an extract from an interview with the top-selling Yediot Aharanot daily, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz said that 2012 would be a critical year in efforts to halt what Israel and much of the international community believe is an Iranian nuclear arms programme.
‘We think that a nuclear Iran is a very bad thing, which the world needs to stop and which Israel needs to stop – and we are planning accordingly,’ Gantz said.
‘In principle, we are ready to act.
‘That does not mean that I will now order (air force chief) Ido (Nehushtan) to strike Iran,’ he added in the interview which will be published in full on Wednesday, on the eve of Israel’s 64th anniversary as a state.
The United States says it does not believe Iran has so far taken a decision to develop a nuclear weapon, or that the time is right for military action, preferring to give international sanctions time to work.
But Israel, which sees a nuclear Iran as a threat to its very existence, claims Tehran may be on the cusp of ‘breakout’ capability – when it could quickly build a nuclear weapon – and it does not rule out staging a pre-emptive strike of its own.
Gantz said he had increased the number of Israeli special operations in other countries but did not give details.
‘I do not think you will find a point in time where there is not something happening, somewhere in the world,’ he said. ‘The threat level is also higher.’
‘I’m not taking the credit,’ he added. ‘I’m just accelerating all those special operations.’
Meanwhile, an Iranian military commander on Sunday said the Islamic republic is building a copy of a US spy drone captured in December 2011 and revealed what he said were ‘codes’ gleaned from the unmanned aircraft.
‘I am giving you four codes so the Americans understand just how far we have gone in penetrating the drone’s secrets,’ General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospatial division, told state television.
‘In October 2010, the aircraft was sent to California for some technical issues, where it was repaired and after flight tests, it was taken to Kandahar (in Afghanistan) in November 2010, when a series of technical problems still prevailed,’ he said.
‘In December 2010, it was sent to an airport near Los Angeles for repair of its equipment and sensors, and flight tests. The drone was then sent back to Kandahar,’ he said.
Hajizadeh did not give further details, saying: ‘This aircraft is a national treasure for us, and I cannot divulge information about it.’
But he added Iran has ‘started producing a copy of the RQ-170 drone,’ stressing it used the same US technology in stealth fighters and bombers.
The unmanned, bat-winged RQ-170 Sentinel drone went down in Iran four months ago, and Iran’s gleeful military proudly displayed it on state television apparently intact, though with what appeared to be damage to one of its wings.
Iran claimed one of its cyberwarfare team hacked its controls by confusing its GPS guidance system, and has said ever since it would reverse-engineer the drone to make its own.
US officials admitted they lost the drone on a CIA mission over Iran, but asserted the stealth aircraft came down because of a technical problem, not Iranian intervention.
While US President Barack Obama made a vain request for Iran to return the drone, his defence secretary, Leon Panetta, voiced scepticism over how much technological knowledge Tehran could gain from the aircraft.
l US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta hosted Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak Thursday in their second Pentagon meeting in as many months as concern grows over Syrian unrest and Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
The closed-door conversation focused on the ‘US-Israel defence relationship and mutual regional security defence interests,’ including Iran, Syria and effects of the Arab Spring on the region, the Pentagon said in a statement.
The meeting took place amid Western efforts to end the violence in Syria, where the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has now claimed 11,000 lives, according to the Britain-based watchdog Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
It was also less than a week after world powers resumed talks with Iran on its disputed nuclear program. Iran claims it is solely for peaceful purposes, but the United States, Israel and others suspect it seeks an atomic bomb.
President Barack Obama’s administration has expressed confidence that sanctions coupled with diplomacy can resolve the years-long standoff as it seeks to convince Israel to tone down talk of pre-emptive air strikes on Iran.