13
Jun
04

Retired US diplomats, officers say Bush should be defeated in elections

LOS ANGELES, June 13 (Xinhuanet) — A group of 26 former US diplomats and military leaders, upset by US President George Bush’s foreign policy, have signed a statement saying that Bush should be defeated in November presidential elections, the Los Angeles Time reported Sunday.

The signatories, several of whom appointed to key positions by Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, plan toissue a joint statement Wednesday arguing that President Bush has damaged America’s national security and should be defeated in November, the report said.

The group, which calls itself Diplomats and Military Commandersfor Change, will explicitly condemn Bush’s foreign policy, according to William Harrop, the ambassador to Israel under President Bush’s father and one of the group’s principal organizers.

Bush’s policy has weakened American security by straining traditional alliances and shifting resources from the war against Al Qaeda to the invasion of Iraq, the statement will declare.

“Unfortunately the tough stands [Bush] has taken have made us less secure. He has neglected the war on terrorism for the war in Iraq. And while we agree that we are in unprecedented times and weface challenges we didn’t even know about before, these challenges require the cooperation of other countries. We cannot do it by ourselves,” the statement says.

Those signing the document include 20 former US ambassadors, appointed by presidents of both parties, to countries including Israel, the former Soviet Union and Saudi Arabia.

Others are senior State Department officials from the Carter, Reagan and Clinton administrations and former military leaders, including Joseph Hoar, the former commander of US forces in the Middle East under President Bush’s father.

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

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

The strategist also said the signatories were making an argument growing increasingly obsolete as Bush leans more on the international community for help in Iraq.

Some of those signing the document, such as Hoar and former AirForce Chief of Staff Merrill McPeak, have identified themselves assupporters of Democrat president candidate John Kerry. But most have not endorsed any candidate.

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