Essay:Criticism of Jimmy Carter
Although Jimmy Carter is now famous for his human rights crusade, he was not always a champion of them. During his reign, he supported the brutal regime in Indonesia while it massacred 145,000 Timorese (1/5 of the population) and a handful of Westerners. Defenders of US policy noted that tens of thousands had fled the Communist FRETELIN resistance and that FRETELIN might murder many tens of thousands if it took power there, and that Carter used the aid to win the release of huge numbers of Indonesian political prisoners. Liberals also emphasize the role of President Ford and Secretary of State Kissinger in supporting the invasion. Carter is also criticized for funding the Afghan mujahideen (which was continued and expanded under the Reagan administration).
Although the Reagan administration supported the brutal military dictatorship in El Salvador throughout the 80s, it was actually Carter who began funding the anti-Communist military dictatorship. Roman Catholic Bishop Oscar Romero who was in no way a communist, wrote to President Carter pleading with him not to send military aid to the El Salvadorean military dictatorship. Carter ignored Romero's pleas and several months later, Romero was brutally murdered while he was performing Mass. Liberals frequently criticize Reagan for this support (and rightly so) but often forget (or ignore) Carter's crucial role in that support.