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Wesley Clark: Engage Iran

Targeting Iran and Syria?There is no doubt that Iran poses a threat to stability in the Gulf, to US allies in the region, and to our efforts in Iraq. But all of this was perfectly predictable: after all, we knocked out Iran’s greatest enemy, Saddam Hussein, and left them the largest force in the region. And now they are, by every indication, seeking to acquire nuclear weapons.

But the right response now is to engage Iran diplomatically. Use sanctions against their terrorist elements as a way of underscoring our purpose, but talk, and talk without pre-conditions to explore their interests, understand their motives, and seek some common interests.

Right now the angry rhetoric and saber-rattling is a boon to the most hard-line, anti-American elements in their government. It strengthens their grip, intimidates moderates, and confuses our allies around the world, who want to see Iran’s hegemonic aspirations contained without the use of force.

We should send a top level mission into the region, just as Bill Clinton did in the Balkans, and talk to all parties, both inside and outside Iraq. Armed with a statement of principles, some inducements, and a sharp explanation of the consequences of failure, we might well craft some understandings that could help pave a successful US exit from Iraq, check Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, and reassure anxious neighbors.

I reject the use of force at this time. While all agree that Iran should not be permitted to acquire nuclear weaponry, the intelligence that has been shared with me suggests there is still time for a diplomatic initiative, not only to head off their nuclear plans but also to persuade Iran to end its military assistance to militia inside Iraq. Surely the United States will have the wisdom and courage to try diplomacy first, and save the use of force for a last, last, last resort.

Visit StopIranWar.com to find out what else you can do to help stop this war before it starts!

About Gen Wesley K. Clark Ret.

Retired General Wesley ClarkDuring thirty-four years of service in the United States Army Wesley K. Clark rose to the rank of four-star general as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. In 2004 Wesley Clark was a Democratic candidate for President of the United States.


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