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Bush exploited 9/11: Carter

October 25, 2004 18:17 IST

US President George W Bush has exploited the suffering of September 9/11 and turned back decades of efforts to make the world a safer place, former President Jimmy Carter has said.

Attacking Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair over Iraq in an interview to The Guardian, London, published Monday, Carter said the war was "completely unjust adventure based on misleading statements."

80-year-old Carter, who was President from 1977-1981, but did not win re-election amid the US hostage crisis in Iran, also criticised Bush for "lack of effort" on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and accused him of abandoning nuclear non-proliferation initiatives championed by five presidents.

"The US suffered, in 9/11, a terrible and shocking attack... and George Bush has been adroit at exploiting that attack, and he has elevated himself, in the consciousness of many Americans, to a heroic commander-in-chief, fighting a global threat against America," Carter said.

"He's repeatedly played that card, and to some degree quite successfully. I think that success has dissipated. I don't know if it's dissipating fast enough to affect the election. We'll soon know."

Denying any link between his handling of the Iranian crisis and the present threat, Carter said "The entire Islamic world condemned Iran. Nowadays, because of the unwarranted invasion of Iraq by Bush and Blair, which was a completely unjust adventure based on misleading statements, and the lack of any effort to resolve the Palestinian issue, there is massive Islamic condemnation of the United States."

American media organisations, he said, "have been cowed, because they didn't want to be unpatriotic. There has been a lack of inquisitive journalism. In fact, it's hard to think of a major medium in the US that has been objective and fair and balanced, and critical when criticism was deserved."

On nuclear proliferation, the issue that the Democratic contender John Kerry has identified as the single most serious threat to national security, Carter attacked Bush for abandoning "all of those long, tedious negotiations" carried out by President Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan and himself.

Carter's interview marks the UK publication of his book The Hornet's Nest, a story of the American revolutionary war and the first novel to be published by a former president.

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