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President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Monday, March, 5, 2012, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Ex-Generals, Intelligence Officials to Obama: No War of Choice With Iran

Common Dreams staff

Eight former high-ranking military, intelligence and State Department officials took out an ad in the Washington Post today urging President Obama to stand fast against political and lobbying pressure to attack Iran over claims it is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

The letter, organized by the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and signed by five retired generals, two senior intelligence analysts and a senior State Department official, is accompanied by a photo and quotes from other current military and defense officials warning against such an attack.

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Military.com reports:

"There is a national reflex on the conservative part [of the] political spectrum to reach for the military option first and others second," said retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, commander of the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team in Iraq from 2003 to 2004, when he developed and oversaw the training of the Iraqi military and security forces. [...]

The advertisement, which carries the headline "Mr. President: Say No to a War of Choice with Iran," is sponsored by the National Iranian American Council, a non-partisan, non-profit organization headquartered in Washington.

Though NIAC does not support the Iranian government it favors diplomacy over war in dealing with it, according to its website.

"NIAC opposes a U.S.-Iran war because it would be detrimental to U.S. national interest and likely prolong the reign of the current Iranian government," the group states.

Signing the letter with Eaton are retired Army Lt. Gen. Robert G. Gard Jr., chairman of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation; retired Marine Gen. Joseph Hoar, former CentCom commander and now on the board of the Middle East Policy Council; retired Army Brig. Gen. John H. Johns, a retired combat arms officer who taught National Security Strategy and Decision-making at the National Defense University; retired Army Maj. Gen. Rudolph Ostovich III, former vice director of the Joint Staff; Thomas Fingar, former deputy director of National Intelligence for analysis; Paul Pillar, former CIA national intelligence officer for Near East and South Asia; and retired Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who was chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell.

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Think Progress adds:

Signatories of the NIAC letter — which include five retired Generals — urge Obama to “resist the pressure for a war of choice with Iran.”

Indeed, George W. Bush’s CIA director issued an even more stark warning. In January, former CIA director and NSA chief Gen. Michael Hayden told Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin that the Bush administration had carefully examined the possibility of bombing Iran and concluded that “[attacking Iran] would guarantee that which we are trying to prevent — an Iran that will spare nothing to build a nuclear weapon.”

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