Former top US brass callfor anti-Bush vote

16th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 16 (AFP) - Twenty-six US former senior diplomatic and military officials signed a letter published Wednesday in France's Le Monde newspaper criticising President George W. Bush's foreign policy, especially in Iraq, and calling for him to be voted out of office in November.

PARIS, June 16 (AFP) - Twenty-six US former senior diplomatic and military officials signed a letter published Wednesday in France's Le Monde newspaper criticising President George W. Bush's foreign policy, especially in Iraq, and calling for him to be voted out of office in November.

"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," the letter said.

The group, which claims its members have affiliation to Bush's Republican party, the opposition Democrats and to independents, added that Bush had weakened US security by "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".

It said Bush and his government "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."

It was signed by several ex-ambassadors and top-level military commanders, including general William Smith, former HQ chief of allied forces in Europe, admiral Stansfield Turner, former CIA director, and general Joseph Hoar, former US military commander for Central Asia.

Others were: admiral William Crowe, former US military commander for the Pacific, Charles Freeman, former assistant defence secretary for international security, and Allen Holmes, former assistant defence secretary for special operations.

"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," the letter said, according to its original English-language text supplied to Le Monde's Thursday edition by Washington's National Press Club.

The group said the United States should return to the international fold by renewing ties with shunned allies.

It singled out the perception that Washington backed autocratic regimes in the Muslim world and gave "unquestioning support for the policies and actions of the present Israeli government" as a key problem that had to be addressed.

"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," the letter said.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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