190 (update 214) generals and admirals sign letter to Congress: Reject the defective Iran deal

Yesterday, August 25, a letter (text and signatories below) was delivered to the Republican and Democratic Senate and House leadership, signed by 190 (update: 214) retired United States generals and admirals, who called upon the Congress to reject the "defective" Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran deal) because it "would threaten the national security and vital interests of the United States[.]" 

President Obama last week trumpeted that he was able to find 36 retired flag officers who supported his agreement to "give diplomacy a chance."  The media explained away this paltry number of signers by saying that "retired brass avoid firm positions on Iranian nuke deal."

We proved the lie to that excuse.  Four to five volunteers from around the country in less than a week got 190 generals and admirals to sign a letter that urges Congress to reject the JCPOA because "this agreement will enable Iran to become far more dangerous, render the Mideast still more unstable and introduce new threats to American interests as well as our allies."

The flag officers called the removing of sanctions and the releasing of billions of dollars to the regime "unconscionable."  They point out in the letter that even the Obama administration acknowledges that some portion of the funds will be used to support terrorism and that "these actions will be made all the more deadly since the JCPOA will lift international embargoes on Iran's access to advanced conventional weapons and ballistic missile technology."  Just signing the deal has given Russia the green light to sell advanced missile weapons to Iran, as announced in the last few weeks.

The generals and admirals contradict the president's assertion that the agreement will "cut off every pathway" for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.  Just as Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been saying, the generals and admirals conclude that "it actually provides Iran with a legitimate path" to acquiring nuclear weapons just "by abiding by the deal."

This letter is incredibly important.  It states clearly that "in [the signatories'] judgment as former senior military officers," this agreement will not have the effect of preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

It is impossible to ignore the outpouring of military opposition to this deal by such a large group of former generals and admirals.  And the opposition is not limited to these 190.  The names keep pouring in, asking, as Lt. Gen. Hubert Smith wrote, "for the opportunity to participate in this most important action[.] ... I am very much opposed to the proposed Iran Nuclear Deal and wish to sign the letter."

In covering the letter, Carol Morello of the Washington Post goes out of her way to early on throw some negative light on the group:

… the signatories include retired generals and flag officers from every branch of service, including a handful who were involved in some public controversies during their careers.

One is William G. “Jerry” Boykin, the former undersecretary of defense for intelligence under President George W. Bush and currently executive vice president of the Family Research Council. He had a history of making controversial speeches, including one in which he characterized U.S. military operations against Islamist extremist organizations as a Christian fight against Satan.

It also was signed by John Poindexter and Richard Secord, who were involved in the Iran Contra affair in the Reagan administration, in which arms were sold to Iran to fund the Contras in Nicaragua.

Morello does not mention how incredible it was that a few people, mostly a woman named Marsha Halteman from New Orleans, in one week could get 190 flag officers to sign a public letter stating that "the JCPOA would threaten the national security and vital interests of the United States and, therefore, should be disapproved by the Congress."

Here is the text of the letter, with the signatories below:

Dear Representatives Boehner and Pelosi and Senators McConnell and Reid:


As you know, on July 14, 2015, the United States and five other nations announced that a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been reached with Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.  In our judgment as former senior military officers, the agreement will not have that effect.  Removing sanctions on Iran and releasing billions of dollars to its regime over the next ten years is inimical to the security of Israel and the Middle East.  There is no credibility within JCPOA’s inspection process or the ability to snap back sanctions once lifted, should Iran violate the agreement. In this and other respects, the JCPOA would threaten the national security and vital interests of the United States and, therefore, should be disapproved by the Congress. 

The agreement as constructed does not “cut off every pathway” for Iran to acquire  nuclear weapons.  To the contrary, it actually provides Iran with a legitimate path to doing that simply by abiding by the deal.   JCPOA allows all the infrastructure the Iranians need for a nuclear bomb to be preserved and enhanced.  Notably, Iran is allowed to: continue to enrich uranium; develop and test advanced centrifuges; and continue work on its Arak heavy-water plutonium reactor.  Collectively, these concessions afford the Iranians, at worst, a ready breakout option and, at best, an incipient nuclear weapons capability a decade from now.

The agreement is unverifiable.  Under the terms of the JCPOA and a secret side deal (to which the United States is not privy), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be responsible for inspections under such severe limitations as to prevent them from reliably detecting Iranian cheating.  For example, if Iran and the inspectors are unable to reach an accommodation with respect to a given site, the result could be at least a 24-day delay in IAEA access.  The agreement also requires inspectors to inform Iran in writing as to the basis for its concerns about an undeclared site, thus further delaying access. Most importantly, these inspections do not allow access to Iranian military facilities, the most likely location of their nuclear weapons development efforts. In the JCPOA process, there is substantial risk of U.S. intelligence being compromised, since the IAEA often relies on our sensitive data with respect to suspicious and/or prohibited activity.  

While failing to assure prevention of Iran’s nuclear weapons development capabilities, the agreement provides by some estimates $150 billion dollars or more to Iran in the form of sanctions relief.  As military officers, we find it unconscionable that such a windfall could be given to a regime that even the Obama administration has acknowledged will use a portion of such funds to continue to support terrorism in Israel, throughout the Middle East and globally, whether directly or through proxies. These actions will be made all the more deadly since the JCPOA will lift international embargoes on Iran’s access to advanced conventional weapons and ballistic missile technology.  

In summary, this agreement will enable Iran to become far more dangerous, render the Mideast still more unstable and introduce new threats to American interests as well as our allies. In our professional opinion, far from being an alternative to war, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action makes it likely that the war the Iranian regime has waged against us since 1979 will continue, with far higher risks to our national security interests.  Accordingly, we urge the Congress to reject this defective accord.


1. Admiral David Architzel, US Navy, Retired

2. Admiral Stanley R. Arthur, US Navy, Retired

3. General William Begert, US Air Force, Retired

4. General J.B. Davis, US Air Force, Retired

5. Admiral William A. Doughert, US Navy, Retired

6. Admiral Leon A. “Bud” Edney, US Navy, Retired

7. General Alfred G. Hansen US Air Force, Retired

8. Admiral Thomas Hayward, US Navy, Retired

9. Admiral James Hogg, US Navy, Retired

10. Admiral Jerome Johnson, US Navy, Retired

11. Admiral Timothy J. Keating, US Navy, Retired

12. Admiral Robert J. Kelly, US Navy, Retired

13. Admiral Thomas Joseph Lopez, US Navy, Retired

14. Admiral James A. “Ace” Lyons, US Navy, Retired

15. Admiral Richard Macke, US Navy, Retired

16. Admiral Henry Mauz, US Navy, Retired

17. General Lance Smith, US Air Force, Retired

18. Admiral Leighton Smith, US Navy, Retired

19. Admiral William D. Smith, US Navy, Retired

20. General Louis C. Wagner, Jr., US Army, Retired

21. Admiral Steve White, US Navy, Retired

22. General Ronald W. Yates, US Air Force, Retired


23. Lieutenant General Teddy G. Allen, US Army, Retired

24. Lieutenant General Edward G. Anderson, III, US Army, Retired

25. Lieutenant General Marcus A. Anderson, US Air Force, Retired

26. Lieutenant General Spence M. Armstrong, US Air Force, Retired

27. Lieutenant General Harold W. Blot, US Marine Corps, Retired

28. Vice Admiral Michael Bowman, US Navy, Retired

29. Lieutenant General William G. “Jerry” Boykin, US Army, Retired

30. Vice Admiral Edward S. Briggs, US Navy, Retired

31. Lieutenant General Richard E. “Tex” Brown III, US Air Force, Retired

32. Lieutenant General William J. Campbell, US Air Force, Retired

33. Vice Admiral Edward Clexton, US Navy, Retired

34. Vice Admiral Daniel L. Cooper, US Navy, Retired

35. Vice Admiral William A. Dougherty, US Navy, Retired

36. Lieutenant General Brett Dula, US Air Force, Retired

37. Lieutenant General Gordon E. Fornell, US Air Force, Retired

38. Lieutenant General Thomas B. Goslin, US Air Force, Retired

39. Lieutenant General Earl Hailston, US Marine Corps, Retired

40. Vice Admiral Bernard M. Kauderer, US Navy, Retired

41. Lieutenant General Timothy A. Kinnan, US Air Force, Retired

42. Vice Admiral J. B . LaPlante, US Navy, Retired

43. Vice Admiral Tony Less, US Navy, Retired

44. Lieutenant General Bennett L. Lewis, US Army, Retired

45. Vice Admiral Michael Malone, US Navy, Retired

46. Vice Admiral John Mazach, US Navy, Retired

47. Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney, US Air Force, Retired

48. Lieutenant General Fred McCorkle, US Marine Corps, Retired

49. Vice Admiral Robert Monroe, US Navy, Retired

50. Vice Admiral Jimmy Pappas, US Navy, Retired

51. Vice Admiral J. Theodore Parker, US Navy, Retired

52. Lieutenant General Garry L. Parks, US Marine Corps, Retired

53. Lieutenant General Everett Pratt, US Air Force, Retired

54. Vice Admiral John Poindexter, US Navy, Retired

55. Lieutenant General Clifford "Ted" Rees, Jr., US Air Force, Retired

56. Vice Admiral William Rowden, US Navy, Retired

57. Vice Admiral Robert F. Schoultz, US Navy, Retired

58. Lieutenant General E.G. “Buck” Shuler, Jr., US Air Force, Retired

59. Lieutenant General Hubert 'Hugh" G. Smith, US Army, Retired

60. Vice Admiral Edward M. Straw, US Navy, Retired

61. Lieutenant General David J. Teal, US Air Force, Retired

62. Vice Admiral D.C. "Deese" Thompson, US Coast Guard, Retired

63. Lieutenant General William E. Thurman, US Air Force, Retired

64. Lieutenant General Billy Tomas, US Army, Retired

65. Vice Admiral John Totushek, US Navy, Retired

66. Vice Admiral Jerry Tuttle, US Navy, Retired

67. Vice Admiral Jerry Unruh, US Navy, Retired

68. Vice Admiral Timothy W. Wright, US Navy, Retired

69. Rear Admiral William V. Alford, Jr., US Navy, Retired

70. Major General Thurman E. Anderson, US Army, Retired

71. Major General Joseph T. Anderson, US Marine Corps, Retired

72. Rear Admiral Philip Anselmo, US Navy, Retired

73. Major General Joe Arbuckle, US Army, Retired

74. Rear Admiral James W. Austin, US Navy, Retired

75. Rear Admiral John R. Batzler, US Navy, Retired

76. Rear Admiral John Bayless, US Navy, Retired

77. Major General John Bianchi, US Army, Retired

78. Rear Admiral Donald Vaux Boecker, US Navy, Retired

79. Rear Admiral Jerry C. Breast, US Navy, Retired

80. Rear Admiral Bruce B. Bremner, US Navy, Retired

81. Major General Edward M. Browne, US Army, Retired

82. Rear Admiral Thomas F. Brown III, US Navy, Retired

83. Rear Admiral Lyle Bull, US Navy, Retired

84. Major General Bobby G. Butcher, US Marine Corps, Retired

85. Rear Admiral Jay A. Campbell, US Navy, Retired

86. Major General Henry D. Canterbury, US Air Force, Retired

87. Major General Carroll D. Childers, US Army, Retired

88. Rear Admiral Ronald L. Christenson, US Navy, Retired

89. Major General John R.D. Cleland, US Army, Retired

90. Major General Richard L. Comer, US Air Force, Retired

91. Rear Admiral Jack Dantone, US Navy, Retired

92. Major General William B. Davitte, US Air Force, Retired

93. Major General James D. Delk, US Army, Retired

94. Major General Felix Dupre, US Air Force, Retired

95. Rear Admiral Philip A. Dur, US Navy, Retired

96. Major General Neil L. Eddins, US Air Force, Retired

97. Rear Admiral Paul Engel, US Navy, Retired

98. Major General Vince Falter, US Army, Retired

99. Rear Admiral James H. Flatley, US Navy, Retired

100. Major General Bobby O. Floyd, US Air Force, Retired

101. Major General Paul Fratarangelo, US Marine Corps, Retired

102. Rear Admiral Veronica "Ronne" Froman, US Navy, Retired

103. Rear Admiral R. Byron Fuller, US Navy, Retired

104. Rear Admiral Frank Gallo, US Navy, Retired

105. Rear Admiral Albert A. Gallotta, Jr., US Navy, Retired

106. Rear Admiral James Mac Gleim, US Navy, Retired

107. Rear Admiral Robert H. Gormley, US Navy, Retired

108. Rear Admiral William Gureck, US Navy, Retired

109. Major General Gary L. Harrell, US Army, Retired

110. Rear Admiral Donald Hickman, US Navy, Retired

111. Major General Geoffrey Higginbotham, US Marine Corps, Retired

112. Major General Kent H. Hillhouse, US Army, Retired

113. Rear Admiral Tim Hinkle, US Navy, Retired

114. Major General Victor Joseph Hugo, US Army, Retired

115. Major General James P. Hunt, US Air Force, Retired

116. Rear Admiral Grady L. Jackson, US Navy, Retired

117. Major General William K. James, US Air Force, Retired

118. Rear Admiral John M. “Carlos” Johnson, US Navy, Retired

119. Rear Admiral Pierce J. Johnson, US Navy, Retired

120. Rear Admiral Steven B. Kantrowitz, US Navy, Retired

121. Major General Maurice W. Kendall, US Army, Retired

122. Rear Admiral Charles R. Kubic, US Navy, Retired

123. Rear Admiral Frederick L. Lewis, US Navy, Retired

124. Major General John D. Logeman, Jr., US Air Force, Retired

125. Major General Homer S. Long, Jr., US Army, Retired

126. Major General Robert M. Marquette, US Air Force, Retired

127. Rear Admiral Robert B. McClinton, US Navy, Retired

128. Rear Admiral W. J. McDaniel, MD, US Navy, Retired

129. Major General Keith W. Meurlin, US Air Force, Retired

130. Rear Admiral Terrence McKnight, US Navy, Retired

131. Major General John F. Miller, Jr., US Air Force, Retired

132. Major General Burton R. Moore, US Air Force, Retired

133. Rear Admiral David R. Morris, US Navy, Retired

134. Rear Admiral Ed Nelson, Jr., US Coast Guard, Retired

135. Major General George W. "Nordie" Norwood, US Air Force, Retired

136. Major General Everett G. Odgers, US Air Force, Retired

137. Rear Admiral Phillip R. Olson, US Navy, Retired

138. Rear Admiral Robert S. Owens, US Navy, Retired

139. Rear Admiral Robert O. Passmore, US Navy, Retired

140. Major General Richard E. Perraut, Jr., US Air Force, Retired

141. Rear Admiral W.W. Pickavance, Jr., US Navy, Retired

142. Rear Admiral L.F. Picotte, US Navy, Retired

143. Rear Admiral Thomas J. Porter, US Navy, Retired

144. Major General H. Douglas Robertson, US Army, Retired

145. Rear Admiral W.J. Ryan, US Navy, Retired

146. Rear Admiral Norman Saunders, US Coast Guard, Retired

147. Major General John P. Schoeppner, Jr., US Air Force, Retired

148. Major General Edison E. Scholes, US Army, Retired

149. Rear Admiral Hugh P. Scott, US Navy, Retired

150. Major General Richard Secord, US Air Force, Retired

151. Rear Admiral James M. Seely, US Navy, Retired

152. Major General Sidney Shachnow, US Army, Retired

153. Rear Admiral William H. Shawcross, US Navy, Retired

154. Rear Admiral Bob Shumaker, US Navy, Retired

155. Major General Willie Studer, US Air Force, Retired

156. Major General Larry Taylor, US Marine Corps, Retired

157. Rear Admiral Jeremy Taylor, US Navy, Retired

158. Major General Richard L. Testa, US Air Force, Retired

159. Rear Admiral Robert P. Tiernan, US Navy, Retired

160. Major General Paul E. Vallely, US Army, Retired

161. Major General Kenneth W. Weir, US Marine Corps, Retired

162. Major General John Welde, US Air Force, Retired

163. Rear Admiral James B. Whittaker, US Navy, Retired

164. Major General Geoffrey P. Wiedeman, Jr., MD, US Air Force, Retired

165. Rear Admiral H. Denny Wisely, US Navy, Retired

166. Brigadier General John R. Allen, Jr., US Air Force, Retired

167. Brigadier General John C. Arick, US Marine Corps, Retired

168. Brigadier General Loring R. Astorino, US Air Force, Retired

169. Rear Admiral Robert E. Besal, US Navy, Retired

170. Brigadier General William Bloomer, US Marine Corps, Retired

171. Brigadier General George P. Cole, Jr., US Air Force, Retired

172. Brigadier General Richard A. Coleman, US Air Force, Retired

173. Brigadier General James L. Crouch, US Air Force, Retired

174. Rear Admiral Marianne B. Drew, US Navy, Retired

175. Brigadier General Philip M. Drew, US Air Force, Retired

176. Brigadier General Larry K. Grundhauser, US Air Force, Retired

177. Brigadier General Thomas W. Honeywill, US Air Force, Retired

178. Brigadier General Gary M. Jones, US Army, Retired

179. Brigadier General Stephen Lanning, US Air Force, Retired

180. Brigadier General Thomas J. Lennon, US Air Force, Retired

181. Rear Admiral Bobby C. Lee, US Navy, Retired

182. Brigadier General Robert F. Peksens, US Air Force, Retired

183. Brigadier General Joe Shaefer, US Air Force, Retired

184. Brigadier General Graham E. Shirley, US Air Force, Retired

185. Brigadier General Stanley O. Smith, US Air Force, Retired

186. Brigadier General Hugh B. Tant III, US Army, Retired

187. Brigadier General Michael Joseph Tashjian, US Air Force, Retired

188. Brigadier General William Tiernan, US Marine Corps, Retired

189. Brigadier General Roger W. Scearce, US Army, Retired

190. Brigadier General Robert V. Woods, US Air Force, Retired

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