Thursday, August 17, 2006

Former Generals & National Security Officials Call On President To Reverse Course On Iraq & Iran

"Hard Line" Has Undermined National Security & Made Americans Less Safe

Bush Administration Is Rebuked For Attacking Opponents As "Soft On Terrorism"

Calling President Bush's "hard line" policies on Iraq and Iran failures that have undermined national security and made America less safe, General Joseph Hoar (USMC ret.), Lt. General Robert Gard (USA ret.), and Morton Halperin, former National Security Council staff, released an open letter signed by twenty-one colleagues urging the Administration to reverse course.

In a telephone press conference today, Lt. General Gard said,
We who have served this country cannot stand by silently while the President and his spokespeople attack critics of their deeply flawed policies as 'soft on terrorism'. The Administration has repeatedly failed to seek diplomatic solutions to problems that are only inflamed by the use of military force. They need to start talking with the Iranians immediately.

We believe that the U.S. occupation of Iraq continues to divert our nation's resources from addressing adequately the most serious threat to our national security, Al Qaeda.

We also believe that the President's failure to engage immediately and without preconditions in direct talks with the government of Iran, and the Administration's continued consideration of military action against that country, could lead to disastrous consequences for security in the region and for U.S. forces in Iraq.
The statement signed by former U.S. military, national security and foreign policy officials calls for immediate direct talks with the government of Iran, without preconditions, and cautions against the use of military action to resolve the current crises in the Middle East or to settle differences over Iran's nuclear program. Full text:
As former military leaders and foreign policy officials, we call on the Bush Administration to engage immediately in direct talks with the government of Iran without preconditions to help resolve the current crisis in the Middle East and settle differences over the Iranian nuclear program.

We strongly caution against any consideration of the use of military force against Iran. The current crises must be resolved through diplomacy, not military action. An attack on Iran would have disastrous consequences for security in the region and U.S. forces in Iraq, and it would inflame hatred and violence in the Middle East and among Muslims everywhere.

A strategy of diplomatic engagement with Iran will serve the interests of the U.S. and its allies, and would enhance regional and international security.