Retired Army Gen. Hugh Shelton, ex-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reading excerpts of the New Policy Initiative:
We recommend the following initiatives to our government and to presidential candidates and prospective candidates in both parties, aimed at de-escalating conflict throughout the Middle East, in part by recognizing these realities, standing for American principles and basic international norms, and opposing the destructive role of Iran in the region.
First, on the nuclear issue, we support a peaceful solution if it can be achieved through diplomacy. However, we strongly believe that such a solution cannot be achieved by making concessions to Iran, but rather by making clear that Iran will be denied any potential opportunity to obtain a nuclear bomb.
Second, Iran’s destructive role throughout the region must be curbed and deterred. Far from being part of the solution, Iran is a major part of the problem. There should be no direct or indirect cooperation with Iran under the pretext of fighting ISIS.
Third, we should be more vigilant and vocal about the serious human rights abuses by the regime that continue inside Iran. Our policy on Iran’s internal and external transgressions against universal international norms can no longer be held hostage to the nuclear issue.
Retired Gen. James Conway, former commandant of the Marine Corps:
We could return to the sanctions. We could exercise a policy of containment. We could execute military strikes. There is a fourth option. And that comes from the wellspring of hope that we have in this room tonight. That option is change from within. My observation is that you have the leadership, you have the resources, you have the determination for regime change. You can and must make that happen.
Retired Gen. George Casey, former chief of staff of the Army:
For me, by the middle of 2006, it was clear that the Iranian regime was providing military training and lethal equipment to the Shia militias. This was the major factor in inflaming and sustaining the sectarian violence that wracked Iraq in 2006 and 2007 and continues to this day. This support was provided by the Quds Force, the regime’s destabilizing arm, and it is directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of coalition forces and thousands of Iraqis. I know the Quds Force was involved because we caught them red-handed. We captured six of them in a safe house in Baghdad with maps showing sectarian population movements and records of weapons shipments in and out of Iraq. There can be no doubt that the Quds Force is doing the same type of thing across the region today.
Retired Air Force Gen. Chuck Wald, former deputy commander of the U.S. European Command:
I have two things I want to say, and then three simple messages. Number one, I want to commend Madame Rajavi for her leadership. She is demonstrating what I consider some of the top leadership in the world, which we’re very void of, and you have a great leader. Number two, I commend all of you for your courage to stand up for freedom in your country.
My three points tonight that I will give to our government and continue to talk about for the next year or so is number one, we need to continue to protect, we need to start protecting, our friends in Camp Liberty and live up to our promises as a nation. It’s embarrassing we’re not doing that. Number two, we need to tell Iran you will not have a nuclear weapon, period. There isn’t any alternative, there isn’t any option, you’re not going to have a nuclear weapon. I’m afraid they will, but if we don’t have that message, they’re going to have a nuclear weapon and the mullahs are going to be very, very emboldened. Lastly, we need to get our friends and families and colleagues out of Camp Liberty and get them in a free place.
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