Open Letter to President Trump



Editor’s Note: This letter was coordinated by the American College of National Security Leaders, a consortium consisting of retired admirals, generals, ambassadors, and senior government executives committed to strengthening America’s national security by informing the debate, influencing decision-makers, and educating the public.

Dear Mr. President,

We write to you to express our deep concern with the current escalation with Iran in the Arabian Gulf. The mutual animosity between the United States and Iran, the accelerated deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the region, and reports of Iranian preparations for attacks on U.S. military and diplomatic facilities are highly concerning and make for a potentially deadly confrontation. A war with Iran, either by choice or miscalculation, would produce dramatic repercussions in an already destabilized Middle East and drag the United States into another armed conflict at immense financial, human, and geopolitical cost.

As national security professionals with extensive careers in the U.S. armed forces and diplomatic service, we have witnessed first-hand how quickly disputes can spiral out of control. The lack of direct communication between U.S. and Iranian political and military leaders during a time of heightened rhetoric only increases the possibility of a miscalculation resulting in unintended military conflict. Washington and Tehran are talking past each other and taking actions the other views as dangerously provocative at best and the beginning of forceful action at worst.

We were heartened by your reported desire to avoid war with Iran in favor of other tools, including common-sense diplomacy. While economic sanctions against Iran have had the beneficial effect of reducing financial support for Hezbollah in Lebanon, these, as well as military threats against Iran have thus far proved ineffective in changing the regime’s behavior and have likely reaffirmed the beliefs of Tehran’s hardline elements that compromise with the United States is impossible.

As President and Commander-in-Chief, you have considerable power at your disposal to immediately reduce the dangerous levels of regional tension. Crisis de-escalation measures should be established with the Iranian leadership at the senior levels of government as a prelude to exploratory diplomacy on matters of mutual concern. The protection of U.S. national interests in the Middle East and the safety of our friends and allies requires thoughtful statesmanship and aggressive diplomacy rather than unnecessary armed conflict.


Rear Adm. Sandy Adams, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Clara Adams-Ender, U.S. Army (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Ricardo Aponte, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Vice Adm. Donald Arthur, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Donna Barbisch, U.S. Army (ret.)­
Brig. Gen. Roosevelt Barfield, U.S. Army (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Donald C. Bulduc, U.S. Army (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Stephen A. Cheney, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Julia Cleckley, U.S. Army (ret.)
Ambassador Herman J. Cohen (ret.)
Rear Adm. Christopher Cole, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Peter Cooke, U.S. Army (ret.)
Vice Adm. Dirk Debbink, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Brig. Gen. James H. Doty Jr, U.S. Army (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, U.S. Army (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Mari K Eder, U.S. Army (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Robert J. Felderma U.S. Army (ret.)
Vice Adm. Michael Franken, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Lt. Gen. Walter Gaskin, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Robert A. Glacel, U.S. Army (ret.)
Rear Adm. Stephen Glass, JAGC, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Vice Adm. Kevin P. Green, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Richard S. Haddad, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Irv Halter, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Rear Adm. Jan Hamby. U.S. Navy (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Bob Harding, U.S. Army (ret.)
Rear Adm. Charles Harr, MD, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Rear Adm. Len Hering, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Donald D. Harvel, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Major General Sanford E. Holman, U.S. Army (ret.)
Ambassador Richard Holwill, (ret.)
Ambassador Vicki Huddleston, (ret.)
Ambassador Cameron Hume, (ret.)
Brig. Gen. David R. Irvine, U.S. Army (ret.)
Lt. Gen. Arlen D. Jameson, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Ambassador Dennis Jett, (ret.)
Brig. Gen. John H. Johns, U.S. Army (ret.)
Ambassador Patrick Kennedy, (ret.)
Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, U.S. Army (ret.)
Ambassador Jimmy Kolker, (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Dennis Laich, U.S. Army (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Steven J. Lepper, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Phil Leventis, U.S. Army (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Donald Loranger, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Randy Manner, U.S. Army (ret.)
Ambassador Edward Marks, (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Frederick H. Martin, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Carlos E. Martinez, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Mr. J. R. McBrien, Senior Executive Service, Treasury (ret.)
Lt. Gen. John W. Morgan III, U.S. Army (ret.)
Maj. Gen. David Morris, U.S. Army (ret.)
Adm. John Nathman, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Brig. Gen. J. Scott O’Meara, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.)
Rear Adm. David Oliver, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Eric T. Olson, U.S. Army (ret.)
Ambassador Richard G. Olson, (ret.)
Lt. Gen. Charles P. Otstott, U.S. Army (ret.)
Rear Adm. Glenn Phillips, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, U.S. Army (ret.)
Maj. Gen. John Phillips, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Maj. Gen. Gale Pollock, U.S. Army (ret.)
Ambassador Charles Ray, (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Ronald Rokosz, U.S. Army (ret.)
Brig. Gen. John M. Schuster, U.S. Army (ret.)
Rear Adm. Joe Sestak, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Paul Smith, U.S. Army (ret.)
Rear Adm. Michael E. Smith, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Francis X. Taylor, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Maj. Gen. F. Andrew Turley, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Ambassador Edward Walker, (ret.)
Brig. Gen. George Walls, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.)
Brig. Gen. John Watkins, U.S. Army (ret.)
Lt. Gen. Willie Williams, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Dan Woodward, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Brig. Gen. Stephen N. Xenakis, U.S. Army (ret.)
Maj. Gen. David T. Zabecki, U.S. Army (ret.)


  • I believe Trump's position about foreign war involvement has been clear--even back during his campaign. No foreign intervention like what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. No appeasement and no wiggling to find a compromise like the last administration tried with Mullahs. But the US is ready and fully prepared for war--and expects to win overwhelmingly--if attacked by any foreign country or its proxy. So we'll see how this approach will work out in the end. But if I were Iran or N. Korea, I would not try to find out.
  • As this impressive group of retired U.S. military and diplomatic leaders points out, the greatest threat to world peace and stability is draft-dodging President Bone Spurs.
  • I think their letter shows their agreement with President Trump’s approach and handling of the Iran situation thus far.
  • Years ago Trump tweeted that in order to win the elections again, Obama should have declared war to Iran...image
  • Too many one star quartermasters and nurses with liberal arts degrees on the list. Ignore unqualified opinions. Use letter for toilet paper in lavatory at Pentagon.
  • Where were these Generals when Obama got the US involved in a war in Syria and Lybia without congressional approval? Obama got the US in the war in Syria on one side while Russia and Iran got involved in that war with the other side that is fighting against the side the U.S is in.

    Iran is geopolitical and military ally of Russia. So here is a question. Why would Trump go to war with Iran who is a partner of Russia? This war if it happens will draw Russia on Iran side against the US/Trump. But we are let to believe by these stable diplomats from the Democrat party that Trump is in league with Russia. Another blow to the Democrat narrative.

    Iran was revealed to be behind the attack on a ship on the straight of hormuz 2 days ago. Iran has stated time and time again that it will destroy the US. Now imagine if Iran has nuclear capabilities. They have been doing crash research on Nuclear bombs and are covering it has civilian need for nuclear energy. They have been doing their research during Obama's nuclear deal which supposed to stop it. Where did the billions of dollars Obama gave Iran went?

    Obama had the choice and the opportunity to stop Iran. But he lacked the backbones to do his duty. Which is defending the US. A Nuclear capable Iran is a existing threat to America and its people. Obama kicked the can so to speak to the next President. Obama could have been the man who stopped Iran but instead he will be known in history has the man who appeased Iran.

    Appeasement only stall the inevitable. Just like it did the Nazis. It embolden them mullahs in Iran. Right now Trump is employing the full pressure policy on Iran. Sanctions and isolating it and cutting off its revenue sources and banning companies and other countries from selling Iran technologies.

    Iran must be taken care of now while it has no nuclear weapons.

    Peace is preferable but you can't have peace with a country that want to destroy you. If you want peace be prepare for war. Trump i believe will go for a surgical strike war. Take out Iran's military its Mullahs and destroy anything Iran has regarding Nuclear technology and research.
  • marc said- "I think their letter shows their agreement with President Trump’s approach and handling of the Iran situation thus far."

    You are joking, right? Or perhaps you do not read English very well. The letter very clearly expresses alarm over Trump's "dangerously provocative" words and actions directed against Iran.

    They urge Trump to stop his "military threats"and instead engage in aggressive diplomacy.
  • FM, if you need a more complete and articulate summary of President Trump's position regarding Iran, just read Reaper's post above.

    Yes, I don't understand as much English as you do. But I also know that there are English words and there are nuances to the meaning of words or phrases. I picked the word "heartened" in that letter. It means they agree with him. But yes, they also have to have their last say--so they put all kinds of warnings. Don't you think Trump's advisors already know and are aware of these issues that the letter is warning about?

    Trump is learning from the mistakes of Bush, Obama and others. He does not want war; he does not want many people death.

    He does not want to publicly say that there is a "red line" for Iran. But Iran knows that there is a line that they better not cross. That's the art of diplomacy: can be soft and appeasing words; but also strong words can be conveyed at critical time and, with credibility behind the words, relays a clear message that can prevent war.
  • marc, LOL at reading Reaper's posts. I stopped wasting my time reading those a long time ago. Reaper is a Trump puppet who believes everything his master says, no matter how provably false

    The reality is that Trump, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Russia all want the U.S. to go to war with Iran, each for their own reasons.

    If Trump did not want war, he would not have threatened to attack and have ordered B-52's and a carrier battle group to provoke Iran into a fight.

    Fortunately, most Americans do not want a war with Iran.....or any other country, for that matter. The distinguished, retired leaders who wrote the letter did so precisely to discourage Trump from starting a new and foolish war.
  • Trump should give the greatest sponsor of terrorism pallets loads of cash, according to the libtards.
  • Yes, Trump is rewarding the country, Saudi Arabia, that sent the 9/11 terrorists to kill 3,000 Americans. Trump is arming them with $8 billion worth of high-tech weaponry.

    The trumptards must love that. More war! lol
  • I think it's good for Saudi Arabia to be fully armed--not for war but to prevent war. Same for Israel and other countries in that region which are being targeted by Iran.
  • The US made a lot of money from sales to Saudi Arabia. I wonder what the democrats' pallets loads of cash got the US? That's right, US seamen surrendering on their knees and missiles being fired at their ships. Anti-Semite Socialist Democrats must be proud to have funded the sponsor of Hamas and Hezbollah.
  • So the group of retire military say this and yet, some think trump is doing the right thing?.. pure wannabe only!!
  • edited May 2019
    wannabe nurses and quartermasters with liberal arts degrees or democrat-appointed diplomat?
  • you are one wannabe expert. makes you look like a fool z, you and your stupid people who thinbk they6 know better then the retired military experts?
  • the world isn't getting better with people like you all, shame is on you wannabees!!
  • Yeah, the world gets better with you, John Brennan and James Clapper.
  • read the letter you stupid and idiot!!, what makes you think you know better then the experts who have signed into this letter to the POTUS?.. only dreamers.!! bunch of good old day dreamers who have nothing else to do but to think so?!! LOL?!! LOL
  • because the authors are mostly democrats with liberal arts degrees, like you and Al Gore, the global warming pseudoscientist.
  • "
    You are joking, right? Or perhaps you do not read English very well. The letter very clearly expresses alarm over Trump's "dangerously provocative" words and actions directed against Iran.

    This is the Supreme leader of Iran in this video calling and leading his people in chanting death to America. Imagine if this guy get the N-bomb?
    (CNN (VIDEO): Amid talks with Obama on Nuclear deal, Supreme leader of Iran calls for DEATH TO AMERICA

    So apparently Iran military and Supreme leader calling for "Death to America " for the past 30 years is ok with our liberal friends in Washington DC and here in this forum. Don't you just love our liberal friends. They blame this escalation on America and somehow are deaf to Irans calling for death to America for the last 3 decades.
  • "Yes, Trump is rewarding the country, Saudi Arabia, that sent the 9/11 terrorists to kill 3,000 Americans. Trump is arming them with $8 billion worth of high-tech weaponry. "

    (2015)Obama administration approves weapons arms sales to Saudi Arabia totaling $115 billion:

    Saudi Arabia did not Send terrorist to kill Americans in 9/11. Al Qaeda did. Al Qaeda is a pan sunni extremist group. The religion of peace according to Barak Hussien Obama. This is another liberal make lie like the russian investigation that blew up in their faces.

    Don't you just love the Liberal hypocrisy make up nonsense.
  • Another stupid wannabe experts..?!! showing off his total ignorant of the fact.. showing off is a new trade now a days!!..SMH!
  • Obama gave Billions of dollars to Iran. He was blackmailed by Iran to do so. That is the only way he could get Iran to sign his now gone Iran deal. The money obama gave to Iran was somewhere near $100 billion dollars. Iran used close to $2 billion of that money fund and arm and train terrorists that were fighting US troops and US allies in Syria which Obama send them there.

    "The U.S. government has traced some of the $1.7 billion released to Iran by the Obama administration to Iranian-backed terrorists in the two years since the cash was transferred."

    Saudi Arabia is fighting Iran in Iraq and Syria and Yemen. Guess who approved those sales of US weapons to Saudi Arabia? The great Obama himself.
  • Trump is a puppet of Russia and I'm a puppet of Trump. So basically I'm in agreement with stopping Iran now while Iran has no nuclear weapons. Iran is an ally of Russia. So basically I'm a puppet of a man who was declared innocent of " Collusion " with Russia by Robert Mueller who was a Obama offical.

    Yup, I'm totally controlled by Trump which means I'm a puppet of Russia, who agrees with Trumps stance against Russia's ally Iran.

    I'm totally a puppet
  • Yes, the Liar-in-Chief tells a whopper on Fox News and his trumptards echo the lie on Mic Forum.

    THE LIE: "The past administration made a horrible deal giving $150 billion," Trump said April 26 on the Fox News morning show. "Giving $1.8 billion in cash — in actual cash carried out in barrels and in boxes from airplanes."

    THE TRUTH: The $1.8 (actually $1.7 billion) was a debt owed to Iran, which bought military equipment from the U.S. that it never received because relations ruptured when the shah was overthrown in 1979.

    The debt was in international arbitration for years. As part of that, Iran paid settlements of more than $2.5 billion to U.S. citizens and businesses.

    $400 million, representing the principal and held in a U.S. government trust fund, was paid in cash and flown to Tehran on a cargo plane, which gave rise to Trump’s dramatic accounts of money stuffed in barrels or boxes and delivered in the dead of night.

    The remaining $1.3 billion, representing interest accrued over nearly 40 years, was paid separately. In order not to violate U.S. regulations barring direct U.S. dollar transfers to Iranian banks, the money was remitted to Iran in late January and early February 2016 in foreign hard currency from the central banks of the Netherlands and of Switzerland, according to the Congressional Research Service .

    So in return for Iran stopping its nuclear weapons program - which Iran did stop - the U.S returned some of Iran's own money to Iran.

    Okay. Now we wait for the next set of trumptard lies to pollute this forum. lol
  • edited May 2019
    Bottom line, Democrats gave Iran the money that was withheld from the sponsor of terrorism, for decades. Who will pay for the victims of terrorism sponsored by Iran?..... the Democrats' "Hamas Caucus", i.e. anti-Semites Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Deb Haaland, Ayanna Pressley, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?
  • By releasing those money obama gave them funds. Funds to continue nuclear research abd fund terrorists.
  • Obama negotiated an agreement that prevented Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. That agreement was working. Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program.

    Then the Liar-in-Chief-excuse-for-a-president ignored advice from his military commanders, from the U.S. intelligence community, from European leaders and from just about everyone else - except Israel and Saudi Arabia - and trashed the agreement.

    Now he wants to send young Americans to fight a war that no one else believes is necessary. Meanwhile, draft-dodging President Bone Spurs will continue golfing at Mar-a-Lago while Americans are sent to die in the desert. MAGA
  • He gave them billions to get Iran to get on board the failed iran deal. Some of that money obama gave them was used to fund terror groups according to US military intelligence. Appeasement does not work.

    Washington Post: Retired generals and admirals urge Congress to reject Iran nuclear deal
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    National Security
    Retired generals and admirals urge Congress to reject Iran nuclear deal

    William G. “Jerry” Boykin, who was deputy undersecretary of defense under George W. Bush and is now the executive vice president of the Family Resource Council, is among the signatories of a new letter opposing the nuclear deal. (Ed Andrieski/Associated Press)
    By Carol Morello August 26, 2015
    A group of nearly 200 retired generals and admirals sent a letter to Congress on Wednesday urging lawmakers to reject the Iran nuclear agreement, which they say threatens national security.

    The letter is the latest in a blizzard of missives petitioning Congress either to support or oppose the agreement with Iran, which would lift sanctions if Iran pared back its nuclear program. Letters have come from ad hoc groupings of rabbis, nuclear scientists, arms-control and nonproliferation experts — and now, retired senior military officers, many of whom have worked in the White House during various administrations dating to the 1980s.
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