Retired Military Leaders Oppose Provocative House Resolution

Lauren Coletta, Common Cause, (202) 736-5774

Carah Ong, Council for a Livable World, (202) 378-3334

Three retired military leaders have sent a letter to Congressional lawmakers urging them to abandon a resolution regarding Iran that is moving Congress. The retired military leaders say the resolution (H.Con.Res. 362) is “poorly conceived, poorly timed, and potentially dangerous.” The full text of the letter – signed by Lt. General Robert G. Gard, Jr., US Army (ret.); former Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Lawrence J. Korb; and Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan, US Navy (ret.) – is available online here.

All three signatories to the letter are available for interviews.

Both Common Cause and Center for Arms Control and Nuclear Proliferation have concerns about the resolution and solicited the opinions of these experienced individuals to gain a better understanding of the potential military implications of the resolution.

The military leaders cite language in the resolution demanding the President initiate an international effort “prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran,” as particularly concerning. Despite the protests of its sponsors, the retired military leaders believe that implementation of inspections of this nature could not be accomplished without a blockade or the use of force.

According to the letter, “Immense military resources would be required to implement such inspections of cargo moving through the seas, on the ground and in the air. The international community has shown no willingness to join in such an activity. Without a Security Council Resolution, implementation of these measures could be construed as an act of war.” Additionally, the retired military leaders say, “Implementation of measures called for in the resolution could complicate our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and could cause oil prices to soar.”

The letter concludes that H. Con. Res. 362 as a concurrent resolution does not have the force of law, but it clearly risks sending a message to the Iranians, the Bush Administration, and the world that Congress supports a more belligerent policy toward, and, potentially, belligerent actions against, Iran. According to the military experts, “In our view, H. Con. Res. 362 in no way furthers our diplomatic efforts or those of our European allies and should be abandoned.”

The full text of the letter is available online here.