For Immediate Release
Brenda Bowser Soder
O -202/370-3323, C – 301/906-4460
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 - 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
"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
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
"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.)
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
Lieutenant General Charles Otstott, USA (Ret.)
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
Major General Paul D. Eaton, USA (Ret.)
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.)
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 David R. Irvine, USA (Ret.)
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.
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Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.