49 Retired Admirals and Generals, Military Leaders and Former DOD Officials Urge Congress to Preserve the Geneva Conventions

Washington, DC – September 21 — In a letter to Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee released publicly today, 49 retired military leaders urged Congress to reject a provision of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that would redefine Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions so as to downgrade the Conventions’ standards for humane treatment.

In a separate letter, addressed to Senator John McCain, former U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Vessey, said: “If such legislation is being considered, I fear that it may weaken America in two respects. First, it would undermine the moral basis which has generally guided our conduct in war throughout our history. Second, it could give opponents a legal argument for the mistreatment of Americans being held prisoner in times of war.” Read the full letter.

The letter signed by 49 former military leaders also urged Congress to make the safety and protection of U.S. troops, should they become prisoners, the highest priority.

“This is not just a theoretical concern,” the letter signed by General John Shalikashvili, General Joseph Hoar and others, said. “We have people deployed right now in theaters where Common Article 3 is the only source of legal protection should they be captured. If we allow that standard to be eroded, we put their safety at greater risk.”

The letter concluded: “We believe – and the United States has always asserted — that a broad interpretation of Common Article 3 is vital to the safety of U.S. personnel. But the Administration’s bill would put us on the opposite side of that argument. We urge you to consider the impact that redefining Common Article 3 would have on Americans who put their lives at risk in defense of our Nation. We believe their interests, and their safety and protection should they become prisoners, should be your highest priority as you address this issue.”


The letter was signed by:

General John Shalikashvili, USA (Ret.)

Admiral Gregory G. Johnson, USN (Ret.)

Admiral Jay L. Johnson, USN (Ret.)

General Joseph Hoar, USMC (Ret.)

General Paul J. Kern, USA (Ret.)

Admiral Charles R. Larson, USN (Ret.)

General David M. Maddox, USA (Ret.)

General Merrill A. McPeak, USAF (Ret.)

Admiral Stansfield Turner, USN (Ret.)

General William G. T. Tuttle Jr., USA (Ret.)

General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.)

Lieutenant General Daniel W. Christman, USA (Ret.)

Lieutenant General Paul E. Funk, USA (Ret.)

Lieutenant General Robert G. Gard, Jr., USA (Ret.)

Lieutenant General Jay M. Garner, USA (Ret.)

Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn, USN (Ret.)

Lieutenant General Arlen D. Jameson, USAF (Ret.)

Lieutenant General Claudia J. Kennedy, USA (Ret.)

Lieutenant General Donald L. Kerrick, USA (Ret.)

Vice Admiral Albert H. Konetzni Jr., USN (Ret.)

Lieutenant General Charles Otstott, USA (Ret.)

Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan, USN (Ret.)

Lieutenant General Harry E. Soyster, USA (Ret.)

Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, USMC (Ret.)

Major General John Batiste, USA (Ret.)

Major General Eugene Fox, USA (Ret.)

Major General John L. Fugh, USA (Ret.)

Rear Admiral Don Guter, USN (Ret.)

Major General Fred E. Haynes, USMC (Ret.)

Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, USN (Ret.)

Major General Melvyn Montano, ANG (Ret.)

Major General Gerald T. Sajer, USA (Ret.)

Major General Michael J. Scotti Jr., USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General David M. Brahms, USMC (Ret.)

Brigadier General James P. Cullen, USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General Evelyn P. Foote, USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General David R. Irvine, USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General John H. Johns, USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General Richard O’Meara, USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General Murray G. Sagsveen, USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General John K. Schmitt, USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General Anthony Verrengia, USAF (Ret.)

Brigadier General Stephen N. Xenakis, USA (Ret.)

Ambassador Pete Peterson, USAF (Ret.)

Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson, USA (Ret.)

Honorable Richard Danzig

Honorable Walter B. Slocombe

Honorable William H. Taft IV

Frank Kendall III, Esq.


Published on September 21, 2006


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