Words not War, A Statement on Iran
Ex-Generäle fordern von Bush Kurswechsel in Nahost-Politik (Dokumentation eines Aufsehen erregenden Appells)
AFP meldete am 18. August 2006:
Eine Gruppe von früheren US-Diplomaten und Generälen hat US-Präsident George W. Bush in einem Offenen Brief zu einem Kurswechsel in seiner Nahost-Politik aufgefordert. "Als ehemalige führende Militärs und Mitarbeiter der Außenpolitik rufen wir die Bush-Regierung auf, unverzüglich und ohne Vorbedingungen direkte Gespräche mit der Regierung des Irans aufzunehmen, um die derzeitige Krise im Nahen Osten zu überwinden", hieß es in dem Brief, den 21 frühere Führungskräfte wie US-General a.D. Joseph Hoar unterschrieben.
Von einem militärischen Einsatz gegen den Iran rieten die Unterzeichner dringend ab: "Die derzeitigen Krisen müssen diplomatisch gelöst werden, nicht durch einen Militäreinsatz." Die Regierung der Vereinigten Staaten verhindere Gespräche über den Nahen Osten, "indem sie jeden beschuldigt, der von ihrer Meinung abweicht, unloyal zu sein oder irgendwie den Terroristen zu helfen", sagte ein früherer Ministerialdirektor aus dem US-Außenamt, Morton Halperin, der den offenen Brief ebenfalls unterschrieben hatte. Indem die US-Regierung Gespräche mit Syrien, mit dem Iran und mit Nordkorea ablehne, bringe sie die Sicherheit des Landes in Gefahr, sagte Halperin.
Derzeit mehrt sich die Kritik von Demokraten und Republikanern an Bushs Nahost-Politik. Der frühere US-Botschafter bei den Vereinten Nationen, Richard Holbrooke, hatte vergangene Woche in einem Kommentar in der "Washington Post" vor einer "Kettenreaktion" gewarnt. Angesichts der Krisen im Libanon und im Irak sei eine Reaktion zu befürchten, "die sich fast überall zwischen Kairo und Bombay" ausbreiten könne. "Aus diesem Chaos ziehen nur der Iran, die Hisbollah, El Kaida und der irakische Schiitenführer Moktada Sadr Nutzen", schrieb Holbrooke.
Im Folgenden dokumentieren wir den Appell der ehemaligen Offiziere und Diplomaten mit der Liste der Unterzeichner (Kasten) sowie im Anschluss daran einen Artikel über die Pressekonferenz der Gruppe.
Words not War, A Statement on Iran, August 2006
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
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 elsewhere.
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.
Ambassador Harry Barnes, Former Ambassador to Chile,
India, and Romania
Lieutenant General Julius Becton, U.S. Army (Ret.);
Former commander, VII Corps, and Director, Federal
Emergency Management Agency
Parker Borg, Senior Fellow at the Center for
International Policy; Former Ambassador to Iceland and
Mali; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for
International Narcotic Matters; Deputy Director of the
Office for Combating Terrorism, U. S. State Department
Ambassador Peter Burleigh, Former U.S. Ambassador and
Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States to
the United Nations; Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the
Maldives; Ambassador and Coordinator of the Office of
Counter-Terrorism; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
for Intelligence and Research; and Deputy Assistant
Secretary of State for the Near East and South Asia
Ambassador Ralph Earle II, Former chief negotiator of
the SALT II Treaty and Director of the United States
Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
Brigadier General Evelyn P. Foote, U.S. Army (Ret.).
Former Deputy Inspector General, U.S. Army
Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr., Former Ambassador to
Saudi Arabia; Assistant Secretary of Defense,
International Security Affairs; Principal Deputy
Assistant Secretary of State, African Affairs,
Charge/Deputy Chief of Mission, American Embassy
(Bangkok; Beijing); and Director, Chinese Affairs,
Department of State
Morton Halperin, Senior Fellow of the Center for
American Progress; Director of U.S. Advocacy for the
Open Society Institute; Former director of Policy
Planning, Department of State
Lieutenant General Robert G. Gard, Jr., U.S. Army
(Ret.); Former military assistant to the Secretary of
Defense; president, National Defense University.
Currently Senior Military Fellow, Center for Arms
Control and Non-Proliferation
General Joseph P. Hoar, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.); Former
Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command
Brigadier General John Johns, U.S. Army (Ret.); Former
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
Professor Frank N. von Hippel, Former Assistant Director
for National Security in the White House Office of
Science and Technology Policy
Dr. Lawrence Korb, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense
for Manpower, Installations and Logistics
Major General Frederick H. Lawson, U.S. Army Reserve
(Ret.); Former Reserve Division Commander
Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, U.S. Army (Ret.);
former Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence
Lieutenant General Charles P. Otstott, U.S. Army (Ret.);
former Deputy Chairman, NATO Military Committee
Ambassador Edward L. Peck, Former Chief of Mission in
Iraq and Mauritania; Deputy Director of the White House
Task Force on Terrorism; Deputy Coordinator for Covert
Intelligence Programs and Special Assistant to the Under
Secretary for Political Affairs, Department of State;
Liaison Officer to the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Brig. Gen. Maurice D. Roush, U.S. Army (Ret.)
Dr. Sarah Sewall, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of
Defense for Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Assistance;
Foreign Policy Adviser to Senator George J. Mitchell
Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan, U.S. Navy (Ret.). Former
Director of the Center for Defense Information and
currently Chairman, Military Advisory Committee,
Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities
LTG James M. Thompson, U.S. Army (Ret.), Former Chief of
Military Mission to Turkey (JUSMMAT); Chief of Staff,
Allied Forces, Southern Europe
Vice Admiral Ralph Weymouth, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Former
Commanding Officer of Flagship on Commander Middle East
Force; Northern NATO Desk Officer in the Office of the
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Internal Security
Affairs; and Commander, Iceland Defense Force
Bush Must Negotiate to Make America Safer, Say Former Generals
By Aaron Glantz *
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 17 (OneWorld) - Twenty-one former
generals and high ranking national security officials
have called on United States President George W. Bush to
reverse course and embrace a new area of negotiation
with Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. In a letter released
Thursday (Aug 17), the group told reporters Bush's 'hard line'
policies have undermined national security and made
America less safe.
Of particular concern for the generals was increased
saber rattling between Washington and Tehran over the
development of an Iranian nuclear program.
"We call on the 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 to settle differences over an Iranian
nuclear program," their letter read.
"An attack on Iran would have disastrous consequences
for security in the region and U.S. forces in Iraq,"
they argued. "It would inflame hatred and violence in
the Middle East and among Muslims everywhere."
In a telephone news conference Thursday morning, the
former security officials took particular aim at the
Bush Administration's policy of refusing to negotiate
with terrorists or with states that support them.
"That seems strange since Ronald Reagan was willing to
negotiate with the Soviets even though they were the
'Evil Empire," said retired Lt. General Robert Guard,
who served as special assistant to Defense Secretary
Robert McNamara during the Vietnam War and now works at
the non-profit Center for Arms Control and Non-
Proliferation. "One wonders why George Bush can't
negotiate with the Axis of Evil."
The generals further argued that the Bush
Administration's invasion of Iraq is at least partially
responsible for Iran's drive to develop a nuclear
"When you announce an axis of evil of three countries
and invade one and then say that Iran should take that
as a lesson, it does seem that it may give them an
incentive to do precisely what they don't want them to
do," Guard said, "develop a nuclear weapon."
Former director of Policy Planning for the State
Department, Morton Halperin, said the same goes for
North Korea. The more belligerent the Bush
Administration behaves, he said, the faster North Korea
will work to develop nuclear weapons.
"The North Koreans want to talk to us directly," said
Halperin, who now works for the Washington, DC-based
Center for American Progress. "Their concern is about
getting security assurances from us and about getting
diplomatic recognition. We should not be afraid to talk
to our opponents."
At the White House, Bush's spokesperson Tony Snow
dismissed the letter.
"In a political year people are going to make political
statements, including retired generals, and they're
perfectly welcome to," Snow told reporters at his daily
briefing. "It's an important addition to the public
debate. But we're also--the president is a guy who has
got real responsibility here. Now, I've got to tell you,
just given to what I said...in response to the sort of
ongoing cost of promoting freedom around the globe, do
you not think a president will do everything in his
power to succeed? And the answer is, yes. He's not
sitting around saying, boy, I'm stubborn, I'm going to
stick with it.
"That's not the way the president is," Snow said,
insisting the Bush administration is planning policy
changes while declining to offer specifics.
But the generals who signed the letter say Bush has been
stubborn, and a poor student of history.
General Joseph Hoar, the Commander in Chief of U.S.
Military Central Command under presidents Bill Clinton
and George H. W. Bush, said the George W. Bush
administration would be advised to remember the French
occupation of Algeria, which lasted 134 years.
Nationalist rebels launched an insurgency against the
French in 1954. After eight years of insurgent bombings
and counter-terrorism operations, France was finally
forced to quit Algeria in 1962.
Hoar says like the Battle of Algiers the current war on
terror is a war of ideas.
"Until we get away from the idea that we can solve these
problems through the use of military force and begin to
change the political problems causing discontent by
providing security and services, we're not going to win
this war," he said.
* One World United States
August 18, 2006
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