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Retired Military Leaders To Urge Administration Officials Memebers Of Congress Campaign Committees To Press Ahead With Closing Guantanamo, Pursue Federal Trials For Terrorism Suspects
WASHINGTON - September 14 - During meetings this week with Attorney General Eric Holder, members of Congress and DC-based campaign committees, a contingent of retired military leaders will push for the closure of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and ask that terrorism suspects be brought to justice in federal civilian courts. The meetings, slated to take place between Sept. 14-16, will come as the retired military leaders return to the nation's capital after months in the states educating candidates of both parties about the national security benefits of carrying out these policies.
"We are here to send a clear message that detention policy and efforts to bring terrorists to justice in federal civil courts are not issues that should be subject to political posturing," General Joseph Hoar, USMC (Ret.), who served as Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Central Command. "The politicization of these issues runs counter to America's national security interests. It is imperative that we close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay as quickly as possible and bring accused terrorists to justice in federal civilian courts, the only venue with a proven track record of successfully handling these cases."
The group notes that federal civil courts have successfully convicted more than 400 terrorists, but military commissions have secured only four convictions. They also argue that treating accused terrorists as warriors by trying them in military commissions does a disservice to America's men and women in uniform who serve the nation honorably.
Joining General Hoar in Washington, DC will be Lieutenant General Charles Otstott, USA (Ret.), former Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee; Major General Paul Eaton, USA (Ret.), former Commanding General of the command charged with reestablishing Iraqi Security Forces; Rear Admiral John Hutson, JAGC, USN (Ret.), former Navy Judge Advocate General; and Brigadier General David R. Irvine, USA (Ret.), former intelligence officer and Deputy Commander for the 96th Regional Readiness Command. The group's meetings include sit-downs with Attorney General Holder, CIA Director Panetta, Ambassador Daniel Fried, High-Value Interrogation Groups (HIG) Director Andrew McCabe, and a half dozen members of Congress. The group will also meet with the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.
These retired military leaders are part of a group that works with Human Rights First and came together in 2005, united by concern about the report of abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in U.S. Custody. At that time, they urged that prisoner treatment and detention policies comply with the Geneva Conventions and reflect U.S. laws, values and security interests. The group was instrumental in winning passage of legislation, known as the McCain amendment, which prohibited the use of torture techniques such as waterboarding.
Since then, dozens of retired Generals and Admirals have joined this nonpartisan effort. These same retired military leaders were active in the last election cycle and met with eight of the presidential candidates to urge action on these same issues. President Obama, Vice President Biden, Governor Huckabee and Secretary Clinton have all publicly credited this group with influencing their thinking on the treatment of enemy prisoners. As a direct result of their efforts, on his second full day in office, President Barack Obama signed Executive Orders ending torture, secret prisons, and promising to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Many of this group of retired military leaders stood with the President in the Oval Office as he signed these orders.
This year, fueled by concerns regarding the politicized tenor that has shaped the debate about these important national security issues, the retired military leader groups has renewed its commitment to educate candidates and make themselves available for candid discussions. Earlier this summer, they held meetings with congressional candidates from Delaware, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. Just this past weekend, they aired a 30-second television advertisement during Sunday news programs in Indiana. That state's U.S. Senate race has featured a debate over each candidate's position on closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
"Guantanamo is a symbol of America's failure to adhere to the Geneva
Conventions and the country's fundamental principles. It remains a
primary recruiting tool for terrorists. It's time to turn the page on
this failed facility and the failed policies," Hoar concluded.
Bios of Participating Generals & Admirals
General Joseph Hoar, USMC (Ret.)
General Hoar served as Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Central Command. After the first Gulf War, General Hoar led the effort to enforce the naval embargo in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, and to enforce the no-fly zone in the south of Iraq. He oversaw the humanitarian and peacekeeping operations in Kenya and Somalia and also supported operations in Rwanda, and the evacuation of U.S. civilians from Yemen during the 1994 civil war. He was the Deputy for Operations for the Marine Corps during the Gulf War and served as General Norman Schwarzkopf's Chief of Staff at Central Command. General Hoar currently runs a consulting business in California.
Lieutenant General Charles Otstott, USA (Ret.)
General Otstott served 32 years in the Army. As an Infantryman, he commanded at every echelon including command of the 25th Infantry Division (Light) from 1988-1990. His service included two combat tours in Vietnam. He completed his service in uniform as Deputy Chairman, NATO Military Committee, 1990-1992.
Major General Paul D. Eaton, USA (Ret.)
General Eaton recently retired from the U.S. Army after more than 33 years service. His assignments include Infantry command from the company to brigade levels, command of the Infantry Center at Fort Benning and Chief of Infantry. His most recent operational assignment was Commanding General of the command charged with reestablishing Iraqi Security Forces 2003-2004, where he built the command and established the structure and infrastructure for the Iraqi Armed Forces. Other operational assignments include Somalia, Bosnia and Albania. Other assignments include the Joint Staff, Deputy Commanding General for Transformation and Stryker Unit Development and Assistant Professor and head of the French Department at West Point. He is a 1972 graduate of West Point. He and his wife PJ have three children, all Soldiers.
Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, JAGC, USN (Ret.)
Rear Admiral John D. Hutson served in the U. S. Navy from 1973 to 2000. He was the Navy's Judge Advocate General from 1997 to 2000. Admiral Hutson now serves as President and Dean of the Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, New Hampshire. He also joined Human Rights First's Board of Directors in 2005.
Brigadier General Irvine enlisted in the 96th Infantry Division, United States Army Reserve, in 1962. He received a direct commission in 1967 as a strategic intelligence officer. He maintained a faculty assignment for 18 years with the Sixth U.S. Army Intelligence School, and taught prisoner of war interrogation and military law for several hundred soldiers, Marines, and airmen. He retired in 2002, and his last assignment was Deputy Commander for the 96th Regional Readiness Command. General Irvine is an attorney, and practices law in Salt Lake City, Utah. He served 4 terms as a Republican legislator in the Utah House of Representatives, has served as a congressional chief of staff, and served as a commissioner on the Utah Public Utilities Commission.