Retired Military Leaders, Illinois Congressional Candidates to Talk Terrorism
Chicago Retired military leaders committed to making interrogation and detention policies consistent with America’s laws, values and security interests are in Illinois this week to meet with congressional candidates of both parties about rejecting torture, closing Guantanamo and pending legislative restrictions on detainee transfers to the United States, including for trial and to Illinois’ Thomson Correctional Center. The leaders chose to target Illinois because that state has been at the epicenter of debate about the transfer of detainees from the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In addition to pressing for closure of the Guantanamo facility, the retired military leaders will also emphasize the effectiveness of federal courts in handling terrorism trials.
“Federal courts have convicted more than 400 terrorists since 9/11. Military commissions have convicted only four,” said Major General William L. Nash, who served in peacekeeping operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina. “Terrorists are not warriors. They are thugs who should stand trial in our federal courts, just like any criminal should.”
Joining Major General Nash in Illinois will be General David Maddox, former Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Army in Europe, Lieutenant General Harry “Ed” Soyster, former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Brigadier General Jim Cullen, former Judge Advocate General (more complete bios below). This group is slated to meet with more than dozen Illinois congressional candidates, including Senate hopeful Alexi Giannoulias. Beyond the frank, one-on-one discussions planned with each candidate, the retired military leaders plan to hand-deliver a petition signed by nearly 5,500 people to each nominee. The document reinforces the retired military leaders’ stances and calls on candidates to close Guantanamo and try suspected terrorists in federal court.
During the retired military leaders’ trip to Illinois, the group will also launch an online video advertisement calling on lawmakers to try terrorism suspects in federal courts. The ad will launch on August 17.
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. This year, fueled by concerns regarding the hostile tenor that has shaped the “inside the beltway” debate on detention and interrogation policies, the military leaders have renewed their commitment to educate candidates and make themselves available for candid discussions. Earlier this summer, they held similar meetings with congressional candidates from Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Among other concerns, Lieutenant General Soyster plans to let candidates know that combating terrorism depends on winning the support of local populations. He notes, “Troops in the field depend on local community members to share information about threats. Our use of torture and abuse are not only wrong and ineffective, they compromise crucial relationships that can keep our soldiers safe.”
General David M. Maddox, USA (Ret.)
General Maddox served in the U.S. Army from 1960 until 1995. He retired after serving as Commander in Chief, U.S. Army in Europe. While on active duty, General Maddox served extensively overseas with four tours in Germany during which he commanded at every level from platoon through NATO’s Central Army Group, 7th U.S. Army and theater. His last six years of active duty were in Europe transitioning from the Cold War, through Desert Storm, to the total reengineering of our presence and mission in Europe. Since retirement, General
Maddox has been an independent consultant to civilian corporations, government agencies, and defense industries regarding concepts, systems requirements, program strategies, operations and systems effectiveness, and analytic techniques and analyses. He has served on the Defense Science Board, is a member of the Army Science Board, and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Corporation of the Draper Laboratory, and The Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs.
Lieutenant General Harry E. Soyster, USA (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Soyster served as Director, Defense Intelligence Agency during DESERT SHIELD/STORM. He also served as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Department of the Army, Commanding General, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command and in the Joint Reconnaissance Center, Joint Chiefs of Staff. In Vietnam he was an operations officer in a field artillery battalion. Upon retirement he was VP for International Operations with Military Professional Resources Incorporated and returned to government as Special Assistant to the SEC ARMY for WWII 60th Anniversary Commemorations completed in 2006.
Major General William L. Nash, USA (Ret.)
General Nash served in the U.S. Army for 34 years, and is a veteran of Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm. He has extensive experience in peacekeeping operations, both as a military commander in Bosnia-Herzegovina (1995- 1996) and as a civilian administrator for the United Nations in Kosovo (2000). Since his retirement in 1998, General Nash has been a fellow and visiting lecturer at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government (1998); Director of Civil-Military Programs at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (1999-2000); a professorial lecturer at Georgetown University (2000-2008); a visiting lecturer at Princeton University (2005-2010); a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (2001-2009); and a military consultant for ABC News (2003-2009). Today, he is an independent consultant on national security issues, civil-military relations and conflict management.
Major General Walter L. Stewart, Jr., USA (Ret.)
General Stewart enlisted in the United States Army in 1966 and served most of almost four decades of military service as a traditional (part-time) Guardsman in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. Early in his service he led an armed helicopter platoon in support of allied forces in the Mekong Delta of South Vietnam where he participated in the 1970 incursion into Cambodia. In 1994, then Brigadier General Stewart was selected to form the first ever reserve
component directorate at a unified command, United States European Command (USEUCOM). While in this assignment he coordinated reserve support for a wide range of theater activities and was recalled to active duty for Operation Joint Endeavor in the Balkans. Stewart served at every level of command within Pennsylvania’s 28th Infantry Division (Mechanized), to include division command. In civilian life, General Stewart was president of a small business and held elected office in Pennsylvania. He is now fully retired.
Brigadier General James P. Cullen, USA (Ret.)
Mr. Cullen is a retired Brigadier General in the United States Army Reserve Judge Advocate General’s Corps and last served as the Chief Judge (IMA) of the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals. He currently practices law in New York City.