The undersigned have held positions of responsibility for the planning and execution of American foreign and defense policy. Collectively, we have served every president since Harry S. Truman. Some of us are Democrats, some are Republicans or Independents, many voted for George W. Bush. But 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.
From the outset, President 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. Instead of building upon America’s great economic and moral strength to lead other nations in a coordinated campaign to address the causes of terrorism and to stifle its resources, the Administration, motivated more by ideology than by reasoned analysis, struck out on its own. It 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.
Our security has been weakened. While American airmen and women, marines, soldiers and sailors have performed gallantly, our armed forces were not prepared for military occupation and nation building. Public opinion polls throughout the world report hostility toward us. Muslim youth are turning to anti-American terrorism. 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. No loyal American would question our ultimate right to act alone in our national interest; but responsible leadership would not turn to unilateral military action before diplomacy had been thoroughly explored.
The United States suffers from close identification with autocratic regimes in the Muslim world, and from the perception of unquestioning support for the policies and actions of the present Israeli Government. 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.
We face profound challenges in the 21st Century: proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, unequal distribution of wealth and the fruits of globalization, terrorism, environmental degradation, population growth in the developing world, HIV/AIDS, ethnic and religious confrontations. Such problems can not be resolved by military force, nor by the sole remaining superpower alone; they demand patient, coordinated global effort under the leadership of the United States.
The Bush Administration has shown that it does not grasp these circumstances of the new era, and is not able to rise to the responsibilities of world leadership in either style or substance. It is time for a change.
The Honorable Avis T. Bohlen
Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, 1999
Ambassador to Bulgaria, 1996
District of Columbia
Admiral William J. Crowe, USN, Ret.
Chairman, President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Committee, 1993 Ambassador to the Court of Saint James, 1993 Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1985 Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Command
The Honorable Jeffrey S. Davidow
Ambassador to Mexico, 1998
Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, 1996 Ambassador to Venezuela, 1993 Ambassador to Zambia, 1988
The Honorable William A. DePree
Ambassador to Bangladesh, 1987
Director of State Department Management Operations, 1983 Ambassador to Mozambique, 1976
The Honorable Donald B. Easum
Ambassador to Nigeria, 1975
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, 1974 Ambassador to Upper Volta, 1971 Virginia
The Honorable Charles W. Freeman, Jr.
Assistant Secretary of Defense, International Security Affairs, 1993 Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 1989
Read more >>
The Honorable William C. Harrop
Ambassador to Israel, 1991
Ambassador to Zaire, 1987
Inspector General of the State Department and Foreign Service, 1983 Ambassador to Kenya and Seychelles, 1980 Ambassador to Guinea, 1975
Read more >>
The Honorable Arthur A. Hartman
Ambassador to the Soviet Union, 1981
Ambassador to France, 1977
Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, 1973
General Joseph P. Hoar, USMC, Ret.
Commander in Chief, United States Central Command, 1991
Deputy Chief of Staff, Marine Corps, 1990
Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, 1987
The Honorable H. Allen Holmes
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations, 1993 Ambassador at Large for Burdensharing, 1989 Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs, 1986 Ambassador to Portugal, 1982
Read more >>
The Honorable Robert V. Keeley
Ambassador to Greece, 1985
Ambassador to Zimbabwe, 1980
Ambassador to Mauritius, 1976
The Honorable Samuel W. Lewis
Director of State Department Policy and Planning, 1993 Ambassador to Israel, 1977 Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, 1975
The Honorable Princeton N. Lyman
Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, 1997 Ambassador to South Africa, 1992 Director, Bureau of Refugee Programs, 1989 Ambassador to Nigeria, 1986
Read more >>
The Honorable Jack F. Matlock, Jr.
Ambassador to the Soviet Union, 1987
Director for European and Soviet Affairs, National Security Council, 1983 Ambassador to Czechoslovakia, 1981
The Honorable Donald F. McHenry
Ambassador and U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, 1979
General Merrill A. (Tony) McPeak, USAF, Ret.
Chief of Staff, United States Air Force, 1990
Commander in Chief, Pacific Air Forces, 1988
Commander, 12th Air Force and U.S. Southern Command Air Forces, 1987
The Honorable George E. Moose
Representative, United Nations European Office, 1997
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, 1993 Ambassador to Senegal, 1988 Director, State Department Bureau of Management Operations, 1987 Ambassador to Benin, 1983 Colorado
The Honorable David D. Newsom
Secretary of State ad interim, 1981
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, 1978
Ambassador to the Philippines, 1977
Ambassador to Indonesia, 1973
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, 1969 Ambassador to Libya, 1965
Read more >>
The Honorable Phyllis E. Oakley
Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, 1997 Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, 1994
Read more >>
The Honorable Robert Oakley
Special Envoy for Somalia, 1992
Ambassador to Pakistan, 1988
Ambassador to Somalia.1982
Ambassador to Zaire, 1979
The Honorable James D. Phillips
Diplomat-in-Residence, the Carter Center of Emory University, 1994 Ambassador to the Republic of Congo, 1990 Ambassador to Burundi, 1986
The Honorable John E. Reinhardt
Director of the United States Information Agency, 1977 Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, 1975 Ambassador to Nigeria, 1971
General William Y. Smith, USAF, Ret.
Chief of Staff for Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, 1979 Assistant to the Chairman, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1975 Director of National Security Affairs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, 1974
The Honorable Ronald I. Spiers
Under Secretary General of the United Nations for Political Affairs, 1989 Under Secretary of State for Management, 1983 Ambassador to Pakistan, 1981 Director, State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research, 1980 Ambassador to Turkey, 1977 Ambassador to The Bahamas, 1973 Director, State Department Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs, 1969 Vermont
The Honorable Michael E. Sterner
Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, 1974
Admiral Stansfield Turner, USN, Ret.
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1977
Commander in Chief, Allied Forces Southern Europe (NATO), 1975 Commander, U.S. Second Fleet, 1974
The Honorable Alexander F. Watson
Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, 1993 Ambassador to Brazil, 1992 Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, 1989 Ambassador to Peru, 1986 Maryland