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Retired Marine General Supports Diplomacy Over Going To War With Iran

Evening Edition

Aired 3/7/12 on KPBS News.

President Obama said there's still time for diplomacy with Iran, and he's getting support from some retired military and intelligence officials, including one from Del Mar.

In his first news conference of the year, President Barack Obama pushed back at calls for tougher U.S. action against Iran.

Republicans have been pushing for the U.S. to get tough because of Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program. President Obama said there's still time for diplomacy, and he's getting support from some retired military and intelligence officials, including one from Del Mar.

He replaced Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf as Chief of Central Command in the Middle East in 1991 and retired four years later.

James Hoar and several other retired generals signed off on an open letter in the Washington Post this week, urging President Obama to avoid military action in Iran. Hoar thinks there needs to be a national discussion, not a political debate about going to war with Iran.

"Nobody ever discussed eight or 10 years ago, what the cost was going to be for invading Iraq. The cost turned out to be a trillion dollars, 4,500 Americans killed, more than 20,000 wounded and not to mention the 100,000 Iraqis that we killed. This is the kind of toll of war that we need to think through," Hoar said.

He said anyone who thinks going to war with Iran would be simple doesn't understand the nature of that part of the world. Hoar said if you think the price of gas is high now, imagine paying $10 or $11 a gallon in California, if you shutdown Iran.

"The war is being fought in the Persian Gulf, so oil from UAE, oil and gas from Cutter and Kuwait isn't going out to the Persian Gulf. That's going to drive oil prices sky high not only here, but in Europe and every place around the world," the General said.

The U.S. has nuclear capabilities, Israel has nuclear capabilities, why would it be so terrible if Iran had a nuclear bomb? "The problem is you have an irresponsible leader in Iran that openly says that the country is prepared to attack Israel. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen. But it's the sort of circumstances that you cannot allow to just let's see what happens, Hoar said.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | March 7, 2012 at 12:09 p.m. ― 5 years ago

Wold he still favor diplomacy if McShame was in the White House?

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | March 9, 2012 at 7:51 a.m. ― 5 years ago

James Hoar is right about President Obama first attempting to use diplomacy. It will demonstrate to everyone we tried to reel Iran in and help them see reason.

Unfortunately, Iran is not run by reasonable people. It's run by radical clergy with warped views about their religion, and supported by a megalomaniacal president who believes "Israel should be wiped off the map!"

I don't think we should go to war with Iran. That would be devastating for us as well as Iranians. Our military is tired and weakened after a decade of war, and let's not forget we're still fighting in Afghanistan.

The reason it would be bad to have Iran with nuclear capabilities is sooner or later with so many nuclear bombs all over the world, one will fall into the hands of a terrorist group.

One is all they need.

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Avatar for user 'bkcalif59'

bkcalif59 | March 13, 2012 at 2:25 p.m. ― 5 years ago

You are correct "one is all Iran needs." It should scare the you know what out of you that a country run by people who think a certain group of people should be wiped out. I think after Jews who do you suppose they will come after?

The General is completely wrong. As a retired Marine who has served in Iraq and in the Gulf region, no Gulf State wants Iran to have that capability. Approximately 89% are Shi'a as well as a majority in Iraq. However the remaining Arab countries are Sunni and they don't want Iran with Nukes. So to say we need diplomacy is what everyone should aspire towards. But we need to back up with strong language the use of military actions if the Iranian Government will not take us seriously. I hate clichés but we must be the one who walks with the big stick, but speak softly. And if words don’t produce the desired outcome we must be willing to act.

I’m not so sure I agree with your assumption that our military is weakened. If you know anything about our Ethos is that we are always ready to defend what is right.
I welcome your response…

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