Americans cherish the greatness of our homeland, but many do not realize how extensive and profound are the transformations that are now taking place in our nation's basic moral values, public discourse, and political philosophy ~ Jimmy Carter, Our Endangered Values (Introduction).
I regularly visit conservative blogs just to see how messed up the other side's way of thinking is. It was shortly after the president's State of the Union Address and I was reading some wing-nut comments concerning how great it was... One of the posts included a link to C-Span where you can find all of the State of the Union transcripts going back to Harry Truman's 1945 speech. Having recently finished listening to the audio book version of Jimmy Carter's "Our Endangerd Values: America's Moral Crisis", I decided to take a look at the transcript from Mr. Carter's last SOTU address in 1980.
I was a little surprised by what I found. Near the beginning there is what may as well be a direct reference to the bush Administration's illegal preventative war in Iraq. I've excerpted a few key passages and added some comments:
Comparing Jimmy Carter's 1980 and George W. Bush's 2006 SOTU addresses
Jimmy Carter: I'm determined that the United States will remain the strongest of all nations, but our power will never be used to initiate a threat to the security of any nation or to the rights of any human being.
George W. Bush: Abroad, our nation is committed to an historic, long-term goal - we seek the end of tyranny in our world. Some dismiss that goal as misguided idealism. In reality, the future security of America depends on it. On September the 11th, 2001, we found that problems originating in a failed and oppressive state 7,000 miles away could bring murder and destruction to our country. Dictatorships shelter terrorists, and feed resentment and radicalism, and seek weapons of mass destruction.
SWTD Commentary: The United States, under President George W. Bush, launched it's illegal preventive war against Iraq on March 20th 2003, breaking President Carter's pledge to never use our power to threaten the security of another nation. Mr. Carter also promised to protect human rights - another pledge that our current president has broken. Whether it be torture of terrorist suspects, or spying on American Citizens, human rights obviously mean very little to Mr. bush. (The length of bush's speech is 0:51:04. September 11th reference made at 0:03:31.)
Jimmy Carter: Three basic developments have helped to shape our challenges: the steady growth and increased projection of Soviet military power beyond its own borders; the overwhelming dependence of the Western democracies on oil supplies from the Middle East; and the press of social and religious and economic and political change in the many nations of the developing world, exemplified by the revolution in Iran.
George W. Bush: Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.
SWTD Commentary: Lip service from a former Texas Oilman. Vice President Richard B. Cheney is a former Wyoming Oilman for whom the first order of business as Vice President was HUGE giveaways to the energy industry (oil companies in particular). Only 9 days after assuming office, Cheney, as chairman of the newly created National Energy Policy Development Group, invited energy company executives to help him develop National Energy policy. The result? Billions of taxpayer dollars given away in the form "subsidies" for the oil industry.
Jimmy Carter: Our excessive dependence on foreign oil is a clear and present danger to our Nation's security. The need has never been more urgent. At long last, we must have a clear, comprehensive energy policy for the United States.
George W. Bush: Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.
Article Excerpt: One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally. What the president meant, they said in a conference call with reporters, was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025. (Knight Ridder Newspapers: Administration backs off Bush's vow to reduce Mideast oil imports, 2/2/2006).
SWTD Commentary: I guess that line was total BS. It was added because it sounded good. If it was really true I'd say GREAT. But I honestly don't believe it given the fact that bush and the Republican congress are obviously in the pocket of Big Oil. In a time of RECORD PROFITS for oil companies, bushco is still ripping off taxpayers though subsidies, royalty relief, and other tax breaks - at the same time the Republican congress is slashing things like home heating assistance for the poor from the budget!
Jimmy Carter: The American people are making progress in energy conservation. Last year we reduced overall petroleum consumption by 8 percent and gasoline consumption by 5 percent below what it was the year before. Now we must do more. After consultation with the Governors, we will set gasoline conservation goals for each of the 50 States, and I will make them mandatory if these goals are not met.
George W. Bush: (Doesn't mention conservation).
Article Excerpt: Our fuel economy standards in 2005 are 21 miles a gallon for all cars and SUVs. In 1987, they were 22.1 miles a gallon. We've been going in reverse. And when the energy bill was up last year, Republicans in Congress not only voted down Democratic amendments to increase fuel-efficiency standards, they actually made it more difficult to raise those standards in the future. (The Progressive: "More Dishonesty from Bush in State of Union", 2/1/2006).
Article Excerpt: ...this president has never been interested in changing consumer behavior. On the contrary, when asked at a 2001 news conference whether Americans needed to do anything about their high energy consumption, his then-spokesman, Ari Fleischer, said, "The president believes that it's an American way of life, and that it should be the goal of policymakers to protect the American way of life". (The Washington Post: Feeding the Oil Addiction, 2/3/2006).
SWTD Commentary: Does anyone else find this type of thinking as WRONG as I do? Just say no to conservation? Ironic, considering the dictionary definition of conservative says, "Tending to conserve; preservative: the conservative use of natural resources".
Jimmy Carter: The decade ahead will be a time of rapid change, as nations everywhere seek to deal with new problems and age-old tensions.
SWTD Commentary: Age old tensions which bush has only made worse...
For months after the terrible terrorist attack in 2001, the American people were inundated almost daily with claims from top government officials that we faced a devastating threat from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, or from large and well organized cadres of terrorists hiding in our country. But as was emphasized vigorously by foreign allies and key members of our own intelligence services, there was never any existing danger to the United States from Baghdad. It was obvious that, with the United Nations sanctions, intense weapons inspections, and overwhelming American military superiority, any belligerent move by Saddam Hussein against a neighbor, an overt display of a weapon of mass destruction, or sharing of such technology with terrorist organizations would have been suicidal for Iraq. Iraq's weapons programs had already been reduced to impotence before the war was launched to eliminate them.
If Saddam Hussein had actually possessed a large nuclear, biological, or chemical arsenal, then the American invasion would have resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties. Many of them US troops. There is no evidence that British or American leaders really expected or prepared for this eventuality.
We cannot ignore the development of such weapons in any potential enemy nation or organization. But unilateral military action based on erroneous or deliberately distorted intelligence is not the answer ~ Jimmy Carter, Our Endangered Values (Chapter 14: Worshiping the Prince of Peace or Preemptive War).
 U.S. Has Royalty Plan to Give Windfall to Oil Companies. The Washington Post, 2/14/2006.
 Feeding the Oil Addiction. The Washington Post, 2/3/2006.
 Addicted to Lies. Is Bush the Antichrist (blog), 2/1/2006.
 More Dishonesty from Bush in State of Union. The Progressive, 2/1/2006.