Monday, August 21, 2006

Former Generals on Talking to North Korea

Twenty-one former generals and high ranking national security officials have called on United States President George W. Bush to reverse course and embrace a new area of negotiation with Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. In a letter, the group told reporters Bush's 'hard line' policies have undermined national security and made America less safe.

In a telephone news conference, the former security officials took particular aim at the Bush Administration's policy of refusing to negotiate with terrorists or with states that support them. "That seems strange since Ronald Reagan was willing to negotiate with the Soviets even though they were the 'Evil Empire," said retired Lt. General Robert Guard, who served as special assistant to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara during the Vietnam War.

"When you announce an axis of evil of three countries and invade one and then say that [others] should take that as a lesson, it does seem that it may give them an incentive to do precisely what they don't want them to do," Guard said.

Former director of Policy Planning for the State Department, Morton Halperin, said … the more belligerent the Bush Administration behaves, the faster North Korea will work to develop nuclear weapons. "

The North Koreans want to talk to us directly," said Halperin, who now works for the Washington, DC-based Center for American Progress. "Their concern is about getting security assurances from us and about getting diplomatic recognition. We should not be afraid to talk to our opponents."

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