Carter Uses Nobel Speech to Attack Bush War Plans for Iraq
Published on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 by Agence France Presse
Carter Uses Nobel Speech to Attack Bush War Plans for Iraq

Former US president Jimmy Carter used his Nobel Peace Prize speech to take a swipe at US policy towards Iraq, warning that a so-called preventive war could have "catastrophic" results.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter greets a torchlight procession from the balcony of the Grand Hotel in Oslo prior to the Norwegian Nobel Committee's banquet Tuesday, Dec.10, 2002. Carter accepted the prize on Tuesday and urged people to work for peace in a world that has become 'a more dangerous place.' (AP Photo/Erlend Aas, Scanpix, Pool)
The 78-year-old Carter, the third US president to win the prestigious prize, did not directly name either Iraq or the United States but made clear his opposition to US plans to oust Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein.

"For powerful countries to adopt a principle of preventive war may well set an example that can have catastrophic consequences," he said in accepting the prize, which recognises his years as an international mediator for peace.

"We must remember that today there are at least eight nuclear powers on Earth, and three of them are threatening to their own neighbours in areas of great international tension," Carter said.

Carter has been an outspoken critic of current President George W. Bush, who has been readying US forces for an attack on Iraq, which Bush called part of an "axis of evil" that is developing weapons of mass destruction.

Iraq insists it has no such weapons and on Sunday gave the United Nations around 12,000 pages of documents to back up the claim. Washington has warned it will take action if Baghdad does not comply with demands to disarm.

But Carter also said Iraq must "comply fully with the unanimous decision of the (United Nations) Security Council that it eliminate all weapons of mass destruction and permit unimpeded access by inspectors to confirm that this commitment has been honoured.

"The world insists that this be done," he said.

Carter often has been regarded as one of the better former US presidents, but saw his actual term in office, from 1977 to 1981, dogged by the Iran hostage crisis as well as a weak economy.

A soft-spoken, "born-again" Christian with a broad, toothy grin, he was often perceived as naive and weak in the dog-eat-dog world of Washington insider politics.

"Jimmy Carter will probably not go down in American history as the most effective president, but is certainly the best ex-president the country ever had," Nobel Committee chairman Gunnar Berge said in presenting the award.

Yet Carter won plaudits around the world for negotiating the 1978 Camp David peace accord between Egypt and Israel, for which he was widely expected to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Berge acknowledged that Carter "should have" won the prize in 1978, together with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Eguptian President Anwar Sadat, but said he was not nominated in time for the vote.

Carter established the Carter Center 20 years ago and has since worked as a mediator in some of the world's toughest trouble zones.

Meanwhile, at a separate ceremony in Stockholm on Tuesday, the winners of this year's Nobel Prizes for Literature, Medicine, Physics, Chemistry and Economics received their awards from the hands of Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf.

That ceremony was to be followed by a gala banquet for 1,400 guests at Stockholm's City Hall.

This year's Literature Prize went to Hungarian novelist Imre Kertesz, while the Medicine Prize went to Britons Sydney Brenner and John Sulston and H. Robert Horvitz of the United States.

The Physics Prize went to Raymond Davis of the US, Masatoshi Koshiba of Japan and Italian-born Riccardo Giacconi of the US, while the Chemistry Prize went to John Fenn of the US, Koichi Tanaka of Japan and Kurt Wuethrich of Switzerland.

Daniel Kahneman, an Israeli-US psychologist, and US economist Vernon Smith shared the Economics Prize.

All of this year's Nobel laureates received a diploma and a gold Nobel medal, as well as a cheque worth 10 million Swedish kronor (about one million euros/dollars) -- to be shared if the prize was awarded to more than one person.

Copyright 2002 AFP