Retired Generals and Admirals to Meet with Presidential Candidates
CONCORD, N.H. -- An unprecedented gathering of retired generals and admirals with backgrounds in combat operations, intelligence, law, and medicine will meet here with presidential candidates in mid-April to discuss U.S. detention and interrogation policies.
The gathering, which takes place over the weekend of April 13-15, is co-hosted by Rear Admiral John Hutson, (Ret.), President and Dean of Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, and Human Rights First, a New York-based non-partisan, non-profit group. The group of retired senior leaders will meet with individual candidates over the course of the weekend.
All Republican and Democratic candidates who have formally announced their candidacy or established exploratory committees have been invited to attend the meetings. Several candidates have already accepted the invitation to meet with the group of approximately 20 retired senior officers.
The event will be chaired by three retired four-star officers with wide-ranging experience: Gen. Charles Krulak, former Commandant of the Marine Corps; Gen. Joseph P. Hoar, former Commander in Chief of Central Command, which includes the Middle East; and Gen. Paul J. Kern, who was responsible for conducting an official investigation into events surrounding the allegations of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib.
“This will be a forum where candidates can come and talk to individuals with solid experience in the military and geo-politics,” said Gen. Krulak. “It will be an opportunity for them to learn of some of the issues that are important to individual soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines with regard to the Code of Conduct and treatment of enemy prisoners.”
Gen. Hoar said, “We are looking forward to a candid give-and-take about U.S. policy regarding interrogation, detention, and detainee treatment with those who seek to be the next president and Commander-in-Chief. These issues we will discuss with candidates affect the standing of the United States in the world as well as the safety of our own troops and our country.”
Gen. Kern said, “The meeting with candidates will not be the standard forum or debate. Our meetings will be private sessions between the officers and individual candidates. It’s a unique opportunity for an exchange of views between the candidates for the highest office in the country and experienced military personnel whose backgrounds make them extremely well-suited to the task of communicating the range of issues involved.”
The group of retired generals and admirals is nonpartisan and will not endorse any candidate. The group hopes that all candidates will embrace policies for treatment of detainees that are consistent with the welfare of the military and with American laws, values, and interests.
Along with the co-chairs and co-host Hutson, the retired military participants include:
General Merrill A. McPeak, USAF (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Robert G. Gard Jr., USA (Ret.)
Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn, USN (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Charles Otstott, USA (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Harry E. Soyster, USA (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Don Guter, USN (Ret.)
Major General Fred E. Haynes, USMC (Ret.)
Major General Melvyn Montano, ANG (Ret.)
Major General William Nash, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General David M. Brahms, USMC (Ret.)
Brigadier General James P. Cullen, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General Murray G. Sagsveen, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General Stephen N. Xenakis, USA (Ret.)