Jimmy Carter on 90th birthday: Speculates on what could’ve been had he been more ‘manly’

Former President Jimmy Carter celebrated his 90th birthday on Wednesday and to hear him tell it, his one-term as commander in chief comes down to a lot of could’ves, would’ves and should’ves.

The day’s celebration included an in-depth interview on CNBC, where Carter admitted that he would likely have served a second term had he showed the nation how “manly” he was.

The special day also included a tweet from President Obama wishing Carter a happy birthday, featuring a photo of the two men shaking hands. Carter has a broad smile on his face in the photo, perhaps ecstatic about shaking the hand of the man who may replace him as the most inept president in U.S. history.

The Iran Hostage Crisis and the failed attempt to rescue the Americans held in Tehran came up in the CNBC interview, according to Yahoo Finance.

The doomed effort was dubbed “Operation Eagle Claw,” and Carter said the difference between success and failure was one helicopter — the mission was scrubbed after several helicopters experienced mechanical difficulties.

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“I think I would have been re-elected easily if I had been able to rescue our hostages from the Iranians,” the nation’s 39th president said. “And everybody asks me what would you do more, I would say I would send one more helicopter because if I had one more helicopter, we could have brought out not only the 52 hostages, but also brought out the rescue team, and when that failed, then I think that was the main factor that brought about my failure to be re-elected.”

Carter said he also could have been re-elected had he shown how “manly” he was and “wiped Iran off the map,” but stands by the peaceful approach he took.

“I could’ve been re-elected if I’d taken military action against Iran, shown that I was strong and resolute and, um, manly and so forth,” he said. “I could have wiped Iran off the map with the weapons that we had, but in the process a lot of innocent people would have been killed, probably including the hostages, and so I stood up against all that, er, all that advice, and then eventually my prayers were answered and every hostage came home safe and free. And so I think I made the right decision in retrospect, but it was not easy at the time.”

Somewhat ironically, Obama seems to be following in Carter’s footprints when it comes to rejecting the advice of the nation’s keenest military minds as he deals with Islamic state militants wreaking havoc in the region today. For the nation’s sake, lets hope he doesn’t experience the same disastrous results.

Tom Tillison


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