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In a scathing op-ed in Monday's New York Times, former US president Jimmy Carter issued a sharp rebuke against a series of Obama administration policies and positions that he described as an affront to human rights and argued are helping to create a US foreign policy that "abets our enemies and alienates our friends."
"While the country has made mistakes in the past," Carter writes, "the widespread abuse of human rights over the last decade has been a dramatic change from the past." Citing the events of September 11, 2001, the 39th president argued that the policy catastrophes since then -- supported by both the Bush and Obama administration -- have been "sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and legislative actions" and were made possible by a citizenry, by and large, unwilling to dissent.
Specifically, Carter cites recent revelations about the US drone program which allows for Obama and select high-level officials to track, target, and kill suspected terrorists or militants -- including US citizens -- without due process or transparent oversight. This would be "unthinkable in previous times," Carter argues.
In addition to American citizens’ being targeted for assassination or indefinite detention, recent laws have canceled the restraints in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to allow unprecedented violations of our rights to privacy through warrantless wiretapping and government mining of our electronic communications. Popular state laws permit detaining individuals because of their appearance, where they worship or with whom they associate
Instead of making the world safer, America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends
As concerned citizens, we must persuade Washington to reverse course and regain moral leadership according to international human rights norms that we had officially adopted as our own and cherished throughout the year