Carter Rips Cheney's 'Abysmal' Iraq Record

Carter: That was a mistake. Obviously, it was -- you know, I write every word of my book. I don't have any ghost writers. And I wrote that sentence. And it slipped by, you know, the copy editors at Simon and Schuster and it slipped by me. And I didn't realize that that sentence implied that I wanted to see atrocities committed and terrorism continued until after we get a permanent agreement. That's ridiculous because it's in direct contravention to everything else that I said in the book. But that sentence has been corrected.

Stephanopoulos: I was at the forum, last night, with Secretary Albright. And you were very blunt when you were asked...

[INSERT]

Question: WITH THE NEW DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS DO YOU BELIEVE THE US WILL BE MORE ABLE TO ACHIEVE PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST?

Carter: NO.

Carter: I don't see any present prospect that any member of the U.S. Congress, the House or Senate, would say, "Let's take a balanced position between Israel and the Palestinians and negotiate a peace agreement." I don't see any possibility...

Stephanopoulos: No member?

Carter: I don't know of any. There may be two or three members. Because it's almost politically suicidal in the United States for a member of the Congress who wants to seek reelection to take any stand that might be interpreted as anti- policy of the conservative Israeli government, which is equated, as I've seen it myself, as anti-Semitism. And one reason I wrote the book was just to precipitate a discussion or a debate or question. And I think...

Stephanopoulos: Well, you have gotten that, certainly.

Carter: That has been accomplished.

Stephanopoulos: No question about that. Of course, the whole country is also talking about Iraq.

Carter: Yes.

Stephanopoulos: You called it one of the biggest mistakes in U.S. history -- foreign policy mistakes in U.S. history.

Carter: Yes.

Stephanopoulos: How far should Congress go right now to stop the war?

Carter: I would like to see the Congress -- the Democratic Congress unanimously and (inaudible) publicly endorse every aspect of the Hamilton-Baker committee report. I think it is sound; it's solid. It calls for withdrawal, carefully, from Iraq, turning over responsibility to the Iraqi government, whatever it is, and at the same time having all of the nations that surround Iraq, including Syria and Iran, and obviously Egypt and Saudi Arabia and so forth, to assure the Iraqi people that, "As the United States withdraws from your -- from the primary role of your occupying power, that all of us will help you regain control over your economic and social and political and military affairs." The other thing is, that's important, that the stalled or abandoned peace process between Israel and the Palestinians must be rejuvenated.

Stephanopoulos: Would you be for cutting off funding for the mission?

Carter: Not for -- not for troops already over there, no. But I would be willing to see a limit on funds that would apply to an increase in funds -- in troops.

Stephanopoulos: So, capping the level of troops?

Carter: Absolutely.

Stephanopoulos: Vice President Cheney, this week, has been very harsh on those kinds of measures in the Congress.

[INSERT]

Cheney: "If we were to do what Speaker Pelosi and Jack Murtha are suggesting, all we'll do is validate the Al Qaeda strategy. The al Qaeda strategy is to break the will of the American people.

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