[lit-ideas] Diplomats & Military Commanders for Change

  • From: JulieReneB@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2004 16:15:03 EDT

This seems fairly unprecedented.....

<<Retired Officials Say Bush Must Go

The 26 ex-diplomats and military leaders say his foreign policy has harmed=20
national security. Several served under Republicans.
WASHINGTON " =14" A group of 26 former senior diplomats and military officia=
several appointed to key positions by Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan an=
George H.W. Bush, plans to issue a joint statement this week arguing that=20
President George W. Bush has damaged America's national security and should=20=
defeated in November.

The group, which calls itself Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change,=20
will explicitly condemn Bush's foreign policy, according to several of those=
who signed the document.

"It is clear that the statement calls for the defeat of the administration,"=
said William C. Harrop, the ambassador to Israel under President Bush's fath=
and one of the group's principal organizers.

Those signing the document, which will be released in Washington on=20
Wednesday, include 20 former U.S. ambassadors, appointed by presidents of bo=
th parties,=20
to countries including Israel, the former Soviet Union and Saudi Arabia.

Others are senior State Department officials from the Carter, Reagan and=20
Clinton administrations and former military leaders, including retired Marin=
e Gen.=20
Joseph P. Hoar, the former commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East under=
President Bush's father. Hoar is a prominent critic of the war in Iraq.

Some of those signing the document =E2=80=94 such as Hoar and former Air For=
ce Chief=20
of Staff Merrill A. McPeak =E2=80=94 have identified themselves as supporter=
s of Sen.=20
John F. Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. But most hav=
not endorsed any candidate, members of the group said.

It is unusual for so many former high-level military officials and career=20
diplomats to issue such an overtly political message during a presidential=20

A senior official at the Bush reelection campaign said he did not wish to=20
comment on the statement until it was released.

But in the past, administration officials have rejected charges that Bush ha=
isolated America in the world, pointing to countries contributing troops to=20
the coalition in Iraq and the unanimous passage last week of the U.N.=20
resolution authorizing the interim Iraqi government.

One senior Republican strategist familiar with White House thinking said he=20
did not think the group was sufficiently well-known to create significant=20
political problems for the president.

The strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, also said the=20
signatories were making an argument growing increasingly obsolete as Bush le=
ans more=20
on the international community for help in Iraq.

"Their timing is a little off, particularly in the aftermath of the most=20
recent U.N. resolution," the strategist said. "It seems to me this is a coll=
of resentments that have built up, but it would have been much more powerful=
months ago than now when even the president's most disinterested critics wou=
say we have taken a much more multilateral approach" in Iraq.

But those signing the document say the recent signs of cooperation do not=20
reverse a basic trend toward increasing isolation for the U.S.

"We just felt things were so serious, that America's leadership role in the=20
world has been attenuated to such a terrible degree by both the style and th=
substance of the administration's approach," said Harrop, who served as=20
ambassador to four African countries under Carter and Reagan.

"A lot of people felt the work they had done over their lifetime in trying t=
build a situation in which the United States was respected and could lead th=
rest of the world was now undermined by this administration =E2=80=94 by the=
arrogance, by the refusal to listen to others, the scorn for multilateral=20
organizations," Harrop said.

Jack F. Matlock Jr., who was appointed by Reagan as ambassador to the Soviet=
Union and retained in the post by President Bush's father during the final=20
years of the Cold War, expressed similar views.

"Ever since Franklin Roosevelt, the U.S. has built up alliances in order to=20
amplify its own power," he said. "But now we have alienated many of our clos=
allies, we have alienated their populations. We've all been increasingly=20
appalled at how the relationships that we worked so hard to build up have si=
been shattered by the current administration in the method it has gone about=

The GOP strategist noted that many of those involved in the document claimed=
their primary expertise in the Middle East and suggested a principal=20
motivation for the statement might be frustration over Bush's effort to fund=
reorient policy toward the region.

"For 60 years we believed in quote-unquote stability at the price of liberty=
and what we got is neither liberty nor stability," the strategist said. "So=20
we are taking a fundamentally different approach toward the Middle East. Tha=
is a huge doctrinal shift, and the people who have given their lives, career=
to building the previous foreign policy consensus, see this as a direct=20
intellectual assault on what they have devoted their lives to. And it is. We=
what a lot of people came up with was a failure =E2=80=94 or at least, in th=
e present=20
world in which we live, it is no longer sustainable."

Sponsors of the effort counter that several in the group have been involved=20
in developing policy affecting almost all regions of the globe.

The document will echo a statement released in April by a group of high-leve=
former British diplomats condemning Prime Minister Tony Blair for being too=20
closely aligned to U.S. policy in Iraq and Israel. Those involved with the n=
group said their effort was already underway when the British statement was=20

The signatories said Kerry's campaign played no role in the formation of=20
their group. Phyllis E. Oakley, the deputy State Department spokesman during=
Reagan's second term and an assistant secretary of state under Clinton, said=
suspected "some of them [in the Kerry campaign] may have been aware of it,"=20=
that "the campaign had no role" in organizing the group.

Stephanie Cutter, Kerry's communications director, also said that the Kerry=20
campaign had not been involved in devising the group's statement.

The document does not explicitly endorse Kerry, according to those familiar=20
with it. But some individual signers plan to back the Democrat, and others=20
acknowledge that by calling for Bush's removal, the group effectively is urg=
Americans to elect Kerry.

"The core of the message is that we are so deeply concerned about the curren=
direction of American foreign policy =E2=80=A6 that we think it is essential=
 for the=20
future security of the United States that a new foreign policy team come in,=
said Oakley.

Much of the debate over the document in the days ahead may pivot on the=20
extent to which it is seen as a partisan document.

A Bush administration ally said that the group failed to recognize how the=20
Sept. 11 attacks required significant changes in American foreign policy.=20
"There's no question those who were responsible for policies pre-9/11 are de=
what seems as the obvious =E2=80=94 that those policies were inadequate," sa=
id Cliff=20
May, president of the conservative advocacy group Foundation for the Defense=

"This seems like a statement from 9/10 people [who don't see] the importance=
of 9/11 and the way that should have changed our thinking."

Along with Hoar and McPeak, others who have signed it are identified with th=
Democratic Party.

Adm. William J. Crowe Jr., though named chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staf=
under Reagan, supported Clinton in 1992. Crowe has endorsed Kerry. Retired=20
Adm. Stansfield Turner served as Carter's director of central intelligence a=
nd ha
s also endorsed Kerry. Matlock said he was a registered Democrat during most=
of his foreign service career, though he voted for Reagan in 1984 and the=20
elder Bush twice and now is registered as an independent.

Several on the group's list were appointed to their most important posts=20
under Reagan and the elder Bush. These include Matlock and Harrop, as well a=
Arthur A. Hartman, who served as Reagan's ambassador to the Soviet Union fro=
m 1981=20
through 1987; H. Allen Holmes, an assistant secretary of state under Reagan;=
and Charles Freeman, ambassador to Saudi Arabia under the elder Bush.

Many on the list have not been previously identified with any political caus=
or party. Several "are the kind who have never spoken out before," said Jame=
Daniel Phillips, former ambassador to Burundi and the Congo.

Oakley, Harrop and Matlock said the effort began this year. Matlock said it=20
was sparked by conversations among "colleagues who had served in senior=20
positions around the same time, most of them for the Reagan administration a=
nd for=20
the first Bush administration."

Oakley said frustration over the Iraq war was "a large part" of the impetus=20
for the statement, but the criticism of President Bush "goes much deeper."

The group's complaint about Bush's approach largely tracks Kerry's contentio=
that the administration has weakened American security by straining=20
traditional alliances and shifting resources from the war against Al Qaeda t=
o the=20
invasion of Iraq.

Oakley said the statement would argue that, "Unfortunately the tough stands=20
[Bush] has taken have made us less secure. He has neglected the war on=20
terrorism for the war in Iraq. And while we agree that we are in unprecedent=
ed times=20
and we face challenges we didn't even know about before, these challenges=20
require the cooperation of other countries. We cannot do it by ourselves."

 The signatories

While not explicitly endorsing Sen. John F. Kerry for president, 26 former=20
diplomats and military officials, including many who served in Republican=20
administrations, have a signed a statement calling for the defeat of Preside=
nt Bush=20
in November. Their names and some of the posts they have held are:=20

Avis T. Bohlen =E2=80=94 assistant secretary of State for arms control, 1999=
deputy assistant secretary of State for European affairs 1989-1991.=20
Retired Adm. William J. Crowe Jr. =E2=80=94 chairman, President's Foreign=20
Intelligence Advisory Committee, 1993-94; ambassador to Britain, 1993-97; ch=
airman of the=20
Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1985-89.=20
Jeffrey S. Davidow =E2=80=94 ambassador to Mexico, 1998-2002; assistant secr=
etary of=20
State for Inter-American Affairs, 1996=20
William A. DePree =E2=80=94 ambassador to Bangladesh, 1987-1990.=20
Donald B. Easum =E2=80=94 ambassador to Nigeria, 1975-79.=20
Charles W. Freeman Jr. =E2=80=94 assistant secretary of Defense, Internation=
Security Affairs, 1993-94; ambassador to Saudi Arabia, 1989-1992.=20
William C. Harrop =E2=80=94 ambassador to Israel, 1991-93; ambassador to Zai=
Arthur A. Hartman =E2=80=94 ambassador to the Soviet Union, 1981-87; ambassa=
dor to=20
France, 1977-1981.=20
Retired Marine Gen. Joseph P. Hoar =E2=80=94 commander in chief of U.S. Cent=
Command, overseeing forces in the Middle East, 1991-94; deputy chief of staf=
Marine Corps, 1990-94.=20
H. Allen Holmes =E2=80=94 assistant secretary of Defense for special operati=
1993-99; assistant secretary of State for politico-military affairs, 1986-89=
Robert V. Keeley =E2=80=94 ambassador to Greece, 1985-89; ambassador to Zimb=
Samuel W. Lewis =E2=80=94 director of State Department policy and planning,=20=
ambassador to Israel, 1977-1985.=20
Princeton N. Lyman =E2=80=94 assistant secretary of State for International=20
Organization Affairs, 1995-98; ambassador to South Africa, 1992-95.=20
Jack F. Matlock Jr. =E2=80=94 ambassador to the Soviet Union, 1987-1991; dir=
ector for=20
European and Soviet Affairs, National Security Council, 1983-86; ambassador=20
to Czechoslovakia, 1981-83.=20
Donald F. McHenry =E2=80=94 ambassador to the United Nations, 1979-1981.=20
Retired Air Force Gen. Merrill A. McPeak =E2=80=94 chief of staff, U.S. Air=20=
George E. Moose =E2=80=94 assistant secretary of State for African affairs,=20=
ambassador to Senegal, 1988-91.=20
David D. Newsom =E2=80=94 acting secretary of State, 1980; undersecretary of=
for political affairs, 1978-1981; ambassador to Indonesia, 1973-77=20
Phyllis E. Oakley =E2=80=94 assistant secretary of State for intelligence an=
research, 1997-99.=20
James Daniel Phillips =E2=80=94 ambassador to the Republic of Congo, 1990-93=
ambassador to Burundi, 1986-1990.=20
John E. Reinhardt =E2=80=94 professor of political science, University of Ve=
1987-91; ambassador to Nigeria, 1971-75.=20
Retired Air Force Gen. William Y. Smith =E2=80=94 deputy commander in chief,=
European Command, 1981-83.=20
Ronald I. Spiers =E2=80=94 undersecretary-general of the United Nations for=20=
Affairs, 1989-1992; ambassador to Pakistan, 1981-83.=20
Michael Sterner =E2=80=94 deputy assistant secretary of State for Near East=20=
1977-1981; ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, 1974-76.=20
Retired Adm. Stansfield Turner =E2=80=94 director of the Central Intelligenc=
e Agency,=20
Alexander F. Watson =E2=80=94 assistant secretary of State for Inter-America=
affairs, 1993-96; deputy permanent representative to the U.N., 1989-1993. So=
Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change>>

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