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76 Retired US Generals and Diplomats Warn Trump Against War With Iran

Ed. Note: This open letter, which was coordinated by the American College of National Security Leaders and signed by 76 retired generals, admirals, ambassadors, and diplomats, asks the administration not to pursue war with Iran, mainly for strategic reasons. 

“A war with Iran, either by choice or miscalculation, would produce dramatic repercussions in an already destabilized Middle East,” reads the letter, “and drag the United States into another armed conflict at immense financial, human, and geopolitical cost.”

Trump appears to be rejecting the advice. On Friday, the president announced he was sending 1,500 soldiers to the Middle East as part of what the president termed a “protective” move.

Dear Mr. President,

We write to you to express our deep concern with the current escalation with Iran in the Arabian Gulf.  The mutual animosity between the United States and Iran, the accelerated deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the region, and reports of Iranian preparations for attacks on U.S. military and diplomatic facilities are highly concerning and make for a potentially deadly confrontation.  A war with Iran, either by choice or miscalculation, would produce dramatic repercussions in an already destabilized Middle East and drag the United States into another armed conflict at immense financial, human, and geopolitical cost.

As national security professionals with extensive careers in the U.S. armed forces and diplomatic service, we have witnessed first-hand how quickly disputes can spiral out of control.  The lack of direct communication between U.S. and Iranian political and military leaders during a time of heightened rhetoric only increases the possibility of a miscalculation resulting in unintended military conflict.  Washington and Tehran are talking past each other and taking actions the other views as dangerously provocative at best and the beginning of forceful action at worst.

We were heartened by your reported desire to avoid war with Iran in favor of other tools, including common-sense diplomacy.  While economic sanctions against Iran have had the beneficial effect of  reducing financial support for Hezbollah in Lebanon, these, as well as military threats against Iran have thus far proved ineffective in changing the regime’s behavior and have likely reaffirmed the beliefs of Tehran’s hardline elements that compromise with the United States is impossible.

As President and Commander-in-Chief, you have considerable power at your disposal to immediately reduce the dangerous levels of regional tension.   Crisis de-escalation measures should be established with the Iranian leadership at the senior levels of government as a prelude to exploratory diplomacy on matters of mutual concern.  The protection of U.S. national interests in the Middle East and the safety of our friends and allies requires thoughtful statesmanship and aggressive diplomacy rather than unnecessary armed conflict.


Rear Adm. Sandy Adams, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Clara Adams-Ender, U.S. Army (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Ricardo Aponte, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Vice Adm. Donald Arthur, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Donna Barbisch, U.S. Army (ret.)­
Brig. Gen. Roosevelt Barfield, U.S. Army (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Donald C. Bulduc, U.S. Army (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Stephen A. Cheney, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Julia Cleckley, U.S. Army (ret.)
Ambassador Herman J. Cohen (ret.)
Rear Adm. Christopher Cole, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Peter Cooke, U.S. Army (ret.)
Vice Adm. Dirk Debbink, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Brig. Gen. James H. Doty Jr, U.S. Army (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, U.S. Army (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Mari K Eder, U.S. Army (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Robert J. Felderma U.S. Army (ret.)
Vice Adm. Michael Franken, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Lt. Gen. Walter Gaskin, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Robert A. Glacel, U.S. Army (ret.)
Rear Adm. Stephen Glass, JAGC, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Vice Adm. Kevin P. Green, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Richard S. Haddad, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Irv Halter, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Rear Adm. Jan Hamby. U.S. Navy (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Bob Harding, U.S. Army (ret.)
Rear Adm. Charles Harr, MD, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Rear Adm. Len Hering, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Donald D. Harvel, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Major General Sanford E. Holman, U.S. Army (ret.)
Ambassador Richard Holwill, (ret.)
Ambassador Vicki Huddleston, (ret.)
Ambassador Cameron Hume, (ret.)
Brig. Gen. David R. Irvine, U.S. Army (ret.)
Lt. Gen. Arlen D. Jameson, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Ambassador Dennis Jett, (ret.)
Brig. Gen. John H. Johns, U.S. Army (ret.)
Ambassador Patrick Kennedy, (ret.)
Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, U.S. Army (ret.)
Ambassador Jimmy Kolker, (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Dennis Laich, U.S. Army (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Steven J. Lepper, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Phil Leventis, U.S. Army (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Donald Loranger, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Randy Manner, U.S. Army (ret.)
Ambassador Edward Marks, (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Frederick H. Martin, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Carlos E. Martinez, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Mr. J. R. McBrien, Senior Executive Service, Treasury (ret.)
Lt. Gen. John W. Morgan III, U.S. Army (ret.)
Maj. Gen. David Morris, U.S. Army (ret.)
Adm. John Nathman, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Brig. Gen. J. Scott O’Meara, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.)
Rear Adm. David Oliver, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Eric T. Olson, U.S. Army (ret.)
Ambassador Richard G. Olson, (ret.)
Lt. Gen. Charles P. Otstott, U.S. Army (ret.)
Rear Adm. Glenn Phillips, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, U.S. Army (ret.)
Maj. Gen. John Phillips, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Gale Pollock, U.S. Army (ret.)
Ambassador Charles Ray, (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Ronald Rokosz, U.S. Army (ret.)
Brig. Gen. John M. Schuster, U.S. Army (ret.)
Rear Adm. Joe Sestak, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Paul Smith, U.S. Army (ret.)
Rear Adm. Michael E. Smith, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Francis X. Taylor, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Maj. Gen. F. Andrew Turley, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Ambassador Edward Walker, (ret.)
Brig. Gen. George Walls, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.)
Brig. Gen. John Watkins, U.S. Army (ret.)
Lt. Gen. Willie Williams, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Dan Woodward, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Stephen N. Xenakis, U.S. Army (ret.)
Maj. Gen. David T. Zabecki, U.S. Army (ret.

Source: American College of National Security Leaders

6 comments on “76 Retired US Generals and Diplomats Warn Trump Against War With Iran

  1. daniel r. cobb
    May 27, 2019

    The freak show that is the Trump administration is like a giant land mine that the nation stepped on, triggered, and now cannot step off of for fear of dying in the blast. Trump badly needs to be impeached, the Constitution demands impeachment, but Trump is such an out-of-control sociopath that he could easily see war with Iran as a worthwhile distraction to stall impeachment. Presidents have long used foreign crisis as a way to shore up public support, and I don’t think Trump would hesitate to launch a war or other debacle to save himself and his corrupt family from their badly needed and very deserved days of justice. Remember the movie “Speed”? We’re all unwilling passengers and this ride cannot end soon enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      May 27, 2019

      Thanks, Dan! It’s great to see your comments on VP political posts again. Welcome back!


  2. daniel r. cobb
    May 27, 2019

    I have great admiration for those respected generals and diplomats who have signed this letter, and dearly hope the president will take note. Thinking people everywhere shuddered at the appointment of John Bolton as national security adviser to Trump, and Bolton is determined to get us into a full on war with Iran. Bolton has a long history as a warmonger and rabid animal. As undersecretary in the State Department during the George W. Bush administration, Bolton was a dedicated monger of the “WMD’s in Iraq” lie. He even claimed in 2002 that Cuba had an active WMDs program that justified forced regime change. If Bolton had his way over the years, we would have invaded Syria, Libya, Iran Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, and Yemen. War is Bolton’s first choice, even though he happily dodged service in Vietnam The man is a perversion of humanity, and he’s Trump’s national security adviser. God help us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Joe Ahearn
    May 27, 2019

    Thank you for this post. I agree emphatically.

    Joe Ahearn

    Liked by 1 person

  4. johnlawsonpoet
    May 27, 2019

    If only we could believe that the current president would seriously entertain ideas that might challenge his own…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. ashiskumarsarkar77
    May 27, 2019

    I congratulate the 76 retired US Generals and Diplomats for their gestures.

    Liked by 2 people

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