Ray Bowyer, a captain on Aurigny airlines, which services the British Channel Islands, has been flying commercial aircraft for 20 years. He’s a man who knows the skies. Last week, while flying over the channel, he spotted an enormous cigar-shaped object through his cockpit window. He told a British newspaper, the Sun, that “it was a sharp, thin yellow object with a green area. It was 2,000 feet up, stationary, and approximately 40 miles from us. It could have been as much as a mile wide.” This report has set the worldwide aviation community talking about what the Unidentified Flying Object might have been.
Not all that far away, at approximately the same time, Jimmy Carter was addressing a human-rights conference in Dublin, Ireland, where he branded the Bush administration’s refusal to accept Hamas’s 2006 election victory as “criminal.” The United States and Israel, he continued, “decided to punish all the people in Palestine and did everything they could to deter a compromise between Hamas and Fatah.”
Investor’s Business Daily called Carter’s statement “nutzpah” and “so malevolent and illogical as to border on insane.” But is there another possible explanation for the former President’s increasingly bizarre conduct, one connected to the cigar-shaped object in the sky over the channel?
We have to return to an episode more than three and a half decades ago in Carter’s past. In 1969, two years before he became governor of Georgia, Carter was about to address a Lion’s Club meeting in the town of Leary, Georgia, when he witnessed a strange object in the sky; it was 30 degrees above the horizon to the west of where he was standing. At first it was bright white, but then, according to Carter, it changed color, going through a variety of hues: red, blue, black, white, and then disappearing.
His account was reported in the Atlanta Constitution by a young reporter named Howell Raines, who went on to become commander in chief of the New York Times. As governor, Carter also filed an official report of his sighting with the the International UFO Bureau in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
When he was elected President in 1976, was it this episode that prompted Carter to make efforts to get in touch with alien life? On June 16, 1977, Carter placed a communication on board the Voyager I spacecraft for its trip outside our solar system. It was addressed to the “inhabited-planet and space-faring civilizations.” If one such civilization, he wrote
intercepts Voyager and can understand these recorded contents, here is our message: We are trying to survive our time so we may live into yours. We hope some day, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of galactic civilizations.
It is perhaps only in light of these chapters of his past that we can understand Carter’s bizarre behavior in Ireland and around the world. “Nutzpah” may be the least of it. On foreign policy, Jimmy Carter stands more and more outside the American mainstream. Some have attributed this to bitterness over his failed one-term presidency. The true source of his disaffection may be something far more alien than that.