Perhaps in hopes of revising his image as an ineffectual peacenik, or to bolster his grandson's chances in a tight gubernatorial race, or simply because he's an opinionated 90-year-old South Georgia peckerwood, ex-president Jimmy Carter today criticized Barack Obama for dropping the ball on ISIS.
In an interview with the Ft. Worth Star Telegram, Carter—who is best-known for "losing" the U.S. embassy in Iran and giving a speech about "malaise" in America—opined that Obama has been too weak and hesitant on the ISIS and other Middle East threats, but those extrajudicial drone killings are just terrible.
"First of all, we waited too long [on ISIS]," he said, echoing criticisms leveled by Republican hawk John McCain, among others. "We let the Islamic State build up its money, capability and strength and weapons while it was still in Syria. Then when [ISIS] moved into Iraq, the Sunni Muslims didn't object to their being there and about a third of the territory in Iraq was abandoned."
It was hard to tell what Obama's policy was in the Middle East, Carter said, suggesting that Obama president must be doing something wrong if two of his ex-defense secretaries were willing to write critical tell-alls in retirement.
"Sometimes he draws red lines on the sand in the Mideast and then when the time comes he doesn't go through with it," Carter said, adding: "If we keep on working in Iraq and have some ground troops to follow up when we do our bombing, there is a possibility of success."
After intoning on the productive possibilities of U.S. bombing—with assistance from ground forces—Carter attacked the drone program: "I really object to the killing of people, particularly Americans overseas who haven't been brought to justice and put on trial."
Nevertheless, Carter added, he supported Obama in both of his elections and said of the president's critics: "A lot of it is based on racism."