In an open letter to President Trump, 76 retired generals, admirals, ambassadors, and diplomats warned the president about conflict in “an already destablizied Middle East.”
Published on Friday and coordinated by the American College of National Security Leaders, the letter expresses “deep concern with the current escalation with Iran in the Arabian Gulf.”
“A war with Iran, either by choice or miscalculation, would produce dramatic repercussions in an already destabilized Middle East and drag the United States into another armed conflict at immense financial, human, and geopolitical cost,” reads the letter.
Two weeks ago President Trump told acting defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, that he does not want war with Iran. Tensions have risen in the past few weeks after American intelligence indicated that Iran had placed missiles on small boats in the Persian Gulf, leading to fears that Tehran may strike at US troops or allies.
“We have witnessed first-hand how quickly disputes can spiral out of control,” warns the letter. “The lack of direct communication between U.S. and Iranian political and military leaders during a time of heightened rhetoric only increases the possibility of a miscalculation resulting in unintended military conflict.”
The letter continues to express support for Trump’s “reported desire to avoid war with Iran” but reminds the President, “you have considerable power at your disposal to immediately reduce the dangerous levels of regional tension.”
“The protection of U.S. national interests in the Middle East and the safety of our friends and allies requires thoughtful statesmanship and aggressive diplomacy rather than unnecessary armed conflict,” it concludes.
On Friday, Trump said he would send 1,500 troops to the Middle East to counter Iran’s influence.
You can read the full letter at War on the Rocks.