June 20, 2004

Bush Censure by Envoys May Be a First, Historians Say

"Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change" is
UNPRECEDENTED, and provides compelling bi-partisan and
expert testimony to the failures of the Bush
abomination...At least one wire service is providing
worthy CONTEXT and continuity for this story...

Bloomberg News: The statement by 27 former diplomats
and military officers on Wednesday calling for the
defeat of U.S. President George W. Bush may be
``Their prominence and seniority and influence when in
their diplomatic or military posts, and their number,
is really remarkable,'' said Richard Kohn, the
Pentagon's chief Air Force historian from 1981-1991
and chairman of the University of North Carolina's
peace, war and defense curriculum in Chapel Hill.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
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Bush Censure by Envoys May Be a First, Historians Say
June 18 (Bloomberg) -- The statement by 27 former
diplomats and military officers on Wednesday calling
for the defeat of U.S. President George W. Bush may be

``Their prominence and seniority and influence when in
their diplomatic or military posts, and their number,
is really remarkable,'' said Richard Kohn, the
Pentagon's chief Air Force historian from 1981-1991
and chairman of the University of North Carolina's
peace, war and defense curriculum in Chapel Hill.

The group, which includes Democrats and Republicans,
said Bush's foreign policy and the war in Iraq have
damaged U.S. security. Its statement may sway voters
already concerned by reports of abuse of Iraqi
prisoners by U.S. soldiers and the conclusion by a
bipartisan commission that Saddam Hussein had no
connection to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The investigative commission, appointed by the
president, found no evidence that Hussein's regime
worked with the al-Qaeda terrorist organization to
plan the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York
and the Pentagon in Washington. Bush, 57, responded
that Hussein and al-Qaeda had ``numerous contacts''
outside of the attacks that justified the U.S. war in

``Bush's credibility has been damaged by Iraq,'' said
Greg Valliere, chief political strategist at Schwab
Soundview Capital Markets in Washington. Democratic
presidential candidate and Massachusetts Senator John
Kerry ``has greater potential to get traction on
issues like this,'' Valliere said.

Group's Statement

``From the outset, 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,'' said
the group, Diplomats and Military Commanders for
Change, in a statement Wednesday. They said Bush
should be defeated, without explicitly endorsing
Kerry, 60.

The group included Jack Matlock Jr., President Ronald
Reagan's ambassador to the Soviet Union; retired
Admiral William Crowe, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman
under Reagan; Charles Freeman, President George H.W.
Bush's ambassador to Saudi Arabia; and retired Air
Force Chief of Staff Merrill McPeak, who is advising
Kerry's campaign.

``I can't remember anything comparable to that,'' said
historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., 86, who was an
adviser to President John F. Kennedy, a Democrat. ``I
can't remember a precedent.'' Schlesinger won the
Pulitzer Prize for his 1965 book, ``A Thousand Days:
John F. Kennedy in the White House.''

`Questionable Entries'

The Bush campaign said at least 20 of the signatories
have been active politically before and at least 13
have contributed to Democrats, making the group a
partisan one.

``There are some questionable entries'' who can't
claim to be neutral, said Larry Sabato, director of
the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.
Crowe, for example, endorsed Democrat Bill Clinton for
president in 1992, he said.

``There's always some naysayers that get rounded up by
the opposition,'' said Edwin Meese, 72, who served as
attorney general under Reagan. ``I don't think it'll
have much effect at all in the election, in as much as
their statements seem inconsistent with their past

Bush's approval rating among adults in the U.S.
climbed in the last month as more Americans said the
military effort in Iraq was going well, a poll from
the Pew Research Center found.

Bush Gains

The survey, conducted June 3-13, found the president's
overall approval rating rose to 48 percent, from 44
percent in May. He also gained in the presidential
race against Kerry, pulling into a statistical tie
after trailing by 5 percentage points, according to
the Washington-based Pew Center.

Professors such as Michael Munger, chairman of the
political science department at Duke University, as
well as former diplomats and military officials said
the group's charges won't resonate with most voters.
The people paying the most attention are the so-called
swing voters, who may go either way, they said.

``These are people who don't get their crank turned by
the main issues,'' Munger said. ``Iraq bears no
resemblance to Vietnam militarily, but it may start to
resemble Vietnam politically. What is the mission?
When will it end?''

In the latest Los Angeles Times poll, Kerry led Bush
by a margin of 51 percent to 44 percent. Fifty-five
percent of voters said they disapproved of Bush's
handling of the war in Iraq, up from 46 percent in
March. The June 5-8 poll of 1,230 registered voters
nationwide had a margin of error of 3 percentage

Open Season?

Crowe laid the groundwork for such a group when he
endorsed Clinton, said Thomas Keaney, executive
director of the foreign policy institute at Johns
Hopkins University's School of Advanced International
Studies in Washington. At the time, it was rare even
for a retired military officer to speak out, he said.

``Today that is more and more prevalent,'' said
Keaney, a retired Air Force Colonel who has also been
a professor at the National War College. For diplomats
and ex-military officials, political acts ``ought to
remain extraordinary,'' Keaney said. ``It will hurt if
the code changes, if it becomes open season.''

In the Vietnam War era, the types of people speaking
out were lower-ranked officers or soldiers without
commissions, said Phyllis Bennis, a fellow with the
Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington research
group that promotes democracy and human rights. Kerry,
a Navy lieutenant in Vietnam who earned three Purple
Hearts for injuries, a Silver Star for gallantry in
action and a Bronze Star for valor, was one of those

The War Issue

``I don't remember a group of this stature before this
war,'' Bennis said. ``The war is a crucial issue for
every voting bloc -- those that are uncertain where
they stand will take this as a very serious

In the late 1950s, high-ranking retired military
officials publicly denounced President Dwight
Eisenhower's military strategy against the Soviet
Union, said Christopher Preble, director of foreign
policy studies at the Cato Institute, a Washington
public policy group that advocates limited government
and libertarian issues. They acted as individuals, he

``We have seen this on specific issues at times,
expressing some unhappiness, but not a broad blast at
the administration like this,'' said Casimir Yost,
director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy
at Georgetown University.

The U.S. group may have been following counterparts in
the U.K. In an open letter released April 26, 52
former U.K. ambassadors and international officials
criticized Prime Minister Tony Blair for his support
of the U.S. administration's policies in Iraq and in
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Powell Response

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday said
the U.S. group's statement was politically motivated.
``I disagree with their point of view,'' Powell, 67,
said in an interview with the Arab television channel
Al-Jazeera. ``They wish to see President Bush not
reelected. I do not believe that will be the judgment
of the American people.''

The Bush campaign has more than 80,000 veteran and
military volunteers and 49 Medal of Honor recipients
who support the president, spokesman Scott Stanzel
said. There are just 130 living recipients of the
highest U.S. military award, according to the Web site
http://www.medalofhonor.com .

``We are not surprised that John Kerry has the support
of people who share his belief that the threat of
terror is exaggerated,'' Stanzel said. ``This is a
group of partisan individuals who have been previously
active in politics. They certainly have a right to
express their Democratic views, but we're not
concerned with their activity.''

Veterans' Role

Military issues have gained more attention in the 2004
election because of Iraq and Kerry's efforts to
organize 1 million veterans to help him.

``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,'' said Phyllis Oakley, a career diplomat
who served as assistant secretary of state for
intelligence and research under Clinton and signed the
statement. ``As career government officials, we have
served loyally both Republican and Democratic

Bush, commenting yesterday on the Sept. 11 commission
report, said ``there was a relationship'' with
al-Qaeda. ``This administration never said that the
9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and
al-Qaeda. We did say there were numerous contacts
between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda,'' he said.

That nuance may be lost on voters, said Ted Carpenter,
an analyst at the Cato Institute. ``The Bush message
that Iraq was in league with terrorists is fairly
simple to understand, but he will not get the
distinction between his message and the commission's
message,'' Carpenter said. ``The commission report
will have an impact; it will resonate with undecided

Vice President Dick Cheney, 63, reiterated the
administration's position in a CNBC television
interview last night, calling the evidence of a
connection between the terrorists and Iraq

To contact the reporter on this story:
Kristin Jensen in Washington at
or kjensen@Bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Joe Winski in Washington at
or jwinski@bloomberg.net.
Last Updated: June 18, 2004 10:23 EDT

Posted by richard at June 20, 2004 11:23 AM