Calls For Removal of Bush
Committee of Diplomats and
Military Commanders for Change
U.S. Newswire, July 16, 2004
A bipartisan coalition of Diplomats and
Military Commanders for Change, a group of retired career ambassadors
and senior military officers, released a bold statement on the
need to replace the Bush Administration. Twenty-seven retired
senior military and Foreign Service officers signed the statement.
The following signatories were present at the news conference
this morning at the National Press Club.
The complete list of signatories and their
statement follows. -- Ambassador Phyllis Oakley (spokesperson)
(Former Asst. Sec of State for Intelligence and Research) -- Ambassador
Donald Easum (Former Asst. Sec of State for African Affairs) --
Ambassador Chas Freeman (Former Amb. to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)
-- Ambassador Bill Harrop (Former Amb. To Guinea, Kenya and Seychelles,
Zaire and Israel) -- Ambassador Allen Holmes (Former Asst. Sec
of Defense for Special Operations) -- Ambassador Bob Keeley (Former
Amb. to Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Greece) -- Ambassador Princeton
Lyman (Former Asst. Sec of State for Int. Organization Affairs)
-- Ambassador Don McHenry (Former Amb. and U.S. Permanent Rep.
to the United Nations) -- General Merrill A. "Tony"
McPeak (Former Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force) -- Ambassador Robert
Oakley (Special Envoy for Somalia, former Amb. To Pakistan, Somalia
and Zaire) -- Ambassador Dan Phillips (Former Amb. to Burundi
and the Republic of Congo) -- Ambassador Mike Sterner (Former
Amb. to the United Arab Emirates) -- Ambassador Alexander F. Watson
(Former Asst. Sec of State for Inter-American Affairs, Former
Amb. to Peru)
Career chiefs of mission and retired four-star
military leaders are launching a nationwide campaign to stress
the need for change in U.S. foreign and defense policy. They are
deeply concerned by the damage the Bush Administration has caused
to our national and international interests and U.S. worldwide
status. The news conference will be archived online for one year
Opening Remarks (Prelude to the Official
Statement of the Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change)
Spokesperson Phyllis Oakley, Former Asst. Sec of State for Intelligence
Deep concern about the current state of
our nation's international relations compels us, 27 men and women
who have served the United States in senior diplomatic, national
security, and Military positions, to speak out and call for a
fundamental change in the United States' approach to foreign policy.
Let me note that we did not seek large
numbers of supporters for our statement--we have assembled a varied
and representative group of like-minded former senior career officials.
Since news of the statement came out, we have been besieged by
calls from friends and colleagues around the world who have offered
support and encouragement. This is very gratifying.
I would add that to be involved in an
act that will be seen by many as political if not partisan is
for many of us a new experience. As career government officials,
we have served loyally both Republican and Democratic administrations.
We have not only worked overseas; we have also held positions
of major responsibility in the Department of State, Department
of Defense, National Security Council, and at the United Nations.
For many of us, such an overt step is very hard to do and we have
made our decisions after deep reflection. We believe we have as
good an understanding as any of our citizens of basic American
interests. Over nearly half a century we have worked energetically
in all regions of the world, often in very difficult circumstances,
to build piece by piece a structure of respect and influence for
the United States that has served our county very well over the
last 60 years. Today we see that structure crumbling under an
administration blinded by ideology and a callous indifference
to the realities of the world around it. Never before have so
many of us felt the need for a major change in the direction of
our foreign policy.
We will be among the first to recognize
that the nation currently faces unprecedented threats. We recognize
too that the Bush administration is now reaching out to allies.
But everything we have heard from friends abroad on every continent
suggests to us that the lack of confidence in the present administration
in Washington is so profound that a whole new team is needed to
repair the damage. Repair it we must, we believe, as the future
security and well being of the United States depends on it.
The undersigned have held positions of
responsibility for the planning and execution of American foreign
and defense policy. Collectively, we have served every president
since Harry S. Truman. Some of us are Democrats, some are Republicans
or Independents, many voted for George W. Bush. But we all believe
that current Administration policies have failed in the primary
responsibilities of preserving national security and providing
world leadership. Serious issues are at stake. We need a change.
From the outset, President George W. Bush
adopted an overbearing approach to America's role in the world,
relying upon military might and righteousness, insensitive to
the concerns of traditional friends and allies, and disdainful
of the United Nations. Instead of building upon America's great
economic and moral strength to lead other nations in a coordinated
campaign to address the causes of terrorism and to stifle its
resources, the Administration, motivated more by ideology than
by reasoned analysis, struck out on its own. It led the United
States into an ill-planned and costly war from which exit is uncertain.
It justified the invasion of Iraq by manipulation of uncertain
intelligence about weapons of mass destruction, and by a cynical
campaign to persuade the public that Saddam Hussein was linked
to Al Qaeda and the attacks of September 11. The evidence did
not support this argument.
Our security has been weakened. While
American airmen and women, marines, soldiers and sailors have
performed gallantly, our armed forces were not prepared for military
occupation and nation building. Public opinion polls throughout
the world report hostility toward us. Muslim youth are turning
to anti-American terrorism. Never in the two and a quarter centuries
of our history has the United States been so isolated among the
nations, so broadly feared and distrusted. No loyal American would
question our ultimate right to act alone in our national interest;
but responsible leadership would not turn to unilateral military
action before diplomacy had been thoroughly explored.
The United States suffers from close identification
with autocratic regimes in the Muslim world, and from the perception
of unquestioning support for the policies and actions of the present
Israeli Government. To enhance credibility with Islamic peoples
we must pursue courageous, energetic and balanced efforts to establish
peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and policies that encourage
responsible democratic reforms.
We face profound challenges in the 21st
Century: proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, unequal
distribution of wealth and the fruits of globalization, terrorism,
environmental degradation, population growth in the developing
world, HIV/AIDS, ethnic and religious confrontations. Such problems
can not be resolved by military force, nor by the sole remaining
superpower alone; they demand patient, coordinated global effort
under the leadership of the United States. The Bush Administration
has shown that it does not grasp these circumstances of the new
era, and is not able to rise to the responsibilities of world
leadership in either style or substance. It is time for a change.
The Bush page