VIPS Memo to Obama: Avoid Another Long War

Obama’s re-election campaign may be focusing almost exclusively on domestic economic issues but there are strong forces pushing him and the U.S to war again, this time with Iran. The dangerous brinkmanship with Iran could be alleviated if facts were not being misrepresented and distorted. Inasmuch as American politicians have failed miserably in the last decade on the issue of war, it would behoove concerned citizens to bring the facts in our memo to the attention of their respective congresspersons, as well as the president.

January 4, 2012


FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Avoiding Another Long War

As retired professionals with collectively hundreds of years of experience in intelligence, foreign policy, and counterterrorism, we are concerned about the gross misrepresentation of facts being bruited about to persuade you to start another war.

We have watched the militarists represent one Muslim country after another as major threats to U.S. security. In the past, they supported attacks on Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya and Afghanistan, as well as Israel’s attacks on Syria and Lebanon — nine Muslim countries – and Gaza.

This time, they are using a new IAEA report to assert categorically that Iran is building a nuclear weapon that allegedly poses a major threat to the U.S. Your intelligence and military advisors can certainly clarify what the report really says.

As you know, the IAEA makes regular inspection visits to Iran’s nuclear facilities and has TV cameras monitoring those facilities around the clock. While there is reason to question some of Iran’s actions, the situation is not as clear-cut as some allege.

Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and former IAEA director-general, said recently, “I don’t believe Iran is a clear and present danger. All I see is the hype about the threat posed by Iran.”

He is not alone: All 16 U.S. intelligence agencies concluded “with high confidence” in a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that Iran had halted its nuclear-weapons program as of 2003.
We are seeing a replay of the “Iraq WMD threat.” As Philip Zelikow, Executive Secretary of the 9/11 Commission said, “The ‘real threat’ from Iraq was not a threat to the United States. The unstated threat was the threat against Israel.”

Your military and intelligence experts can also provide information on unpublicized efforts to derail Iran’s nuclear program and on the futility of attempting to eliminate that program – which is dispersed and mostly underground – through aerial bombing. Defense Secretary Panetta and other experts have stated that an air attack would only delay any weapons program for a year or two at most. Former Mossad head Meir Dagan said that an air force strike against Iran’s nuclear installations would be “a stupid thing,” a view endorsed in principle by two other past Mossad chiefs, Danny Yatom and Ephraim Halevy. Dagan added that “Any strike against [the civilian program] is an illegal act according to international law.”

Dagan pointed out another reality: bombing Iran would lead it to retaliate against Israel through Hezbollah, which has tens of thousands of Grad-type rockets and hundreds of Scuds and other long-range missiles, and through Hamas.

We are already spending as much as the rest of the world combined on National Security and $100 billion per year on a Long War in Afghanistan. The Israel lobby has been beating the drums for us to attack Iran for years, led by people with confused loyalties like Joe Lieberman, who once made the claim that it is unpatriotic for Americans not to support Israel.

Another Long War is not in America’s or Israel’s interests, whatever Israel’s apologists claim. Those are the same people who claim that Ahmadinejad said he would “wipe Israel off the map.”

Persian specialists have pointed out that the original statement in Persian actually said that Israel would collapse: “This occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the arena of time.”

What we have is a situation where Israel’s actions, for example in sending 300,000 settlers into the West Bank and 200,000 settlers into East Jerusalem, are compromising U.S. security by putting us at risk for terrorist retaliation. We have provided Israel with $100 billion in direct aid since 1975. Since this is fungible, how has funding settlements contributed to our security? You agreed to provide $3 billion in F-35s to Israel in exchange for a 90-day freeze on settlements. What you got was 90 days of stonewalling on the peace process and then more settlers. What more do we owe Israel?

Certainly not a rush to war. We have time to make diplomacy and sanctions work, to persuade Russia and China to make joint cause with us.

James Madison once wrote that “Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded…War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. …No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

We are currently winding down what you labeled a “dumb war;” we should not undertake another dumb war against a country almost three times larger than Iraq, that would set off a major regional war and create generations of jihadis. Such a war, contrary to what some argue, would not make Israel or the U.S. safer.

Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Phil Giraldi, Directorate of Operations, CIA

Ray McGovern, US Army Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA

Coleen Rowley, Special Agent and Minneapolis Division Counsel, FBI

Ann Wright, Col., US Army Reserve (ret.), Foreign Service Officer, Department of State

Tom Maertens, Foreign Service Officer and NSC Director for Non-Proliferation under two presidents

Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council

David MacMichael, former history professor and CIA and National Intelligence Council analyst

(Originally posted at

5 thoughts on “VIPS Memo to Obama: Avoid Another Long War”

  1. I could post a chronological list of interventions, assassinations, invasions, and occupations that spans more than 50 countries just since the end of WWII. What makes you think that ANY sort of argument coming from outside their groupthink will influence the true decision makers? You people signing this letter should know that the situation with Iran has nothing to do with nukes.

  2. As far as Iran goes, what difference does it make if it would be a Long War or a Short War? That's not the point. The point is we have no legitimate grounds to start yet another war of aggression just so we can steal the oil. That's the point. Iran is free to do what they want. The U.S., Israel and England have been provoking Iran for years now, not even mentioning the evil responsibility of those 3 countries back in the early 1950s in overthrowing the government of Iran, installing the Shah and training Savak. Long or short, we need to oppose any more wars against any country for any reason.

  3. What do you think would happen if 150,000,000 Americans signed and sent THIS letter to The White House:

    (With Copies Furnished to The Congress, the Supreme Court of the United States, and
    All Announced and/or unAnnounced Candidates For President, Senator, or
    Congressional Representative in 2012).

    SUBJECT: The Proposed Invasion, "Liberation," and Occupation of Iran

    Dear Sir,

    In accordance with and as specified by the Constitution of the United States of America, you WILL NOT invade, “liberate,” and occupy Iran without a formal Declaration of War from the Congress of the United States.

    Also in accordance with and also as specified by the Constitution of the United States of America, no money will be authorized for or be spent on an invasion, “liberation,” or occupation of Iran UNTIL you ask for and get a formal Declaration of War from the Congress of the United States.

    Who says so? WE say so. We, The People of the United States of America.

    Sincerely Yours,

  4. PS: And what happens if you ignore this letter, and invade, “liberate,” and occupy Iran (with Congressional approval, no doubt, but) without a Declaration of War? Then you will be arrested and put on trial for Violating the Constitution. Additionally, the entire Congress will be arrested and put on trial for Dereliction of Duty for letting you do it.

    To put it in Chicago-speak that maybe even you might understand, Mr President: your predecessor bullsh***ed his way past the Congress and the American people into Afghanistan and Iraq, and it looks like you’re going to be able to bullsh** your way “out” of Iraq (and maybe even Afghanistan) just in time for the 2012 elections. But, you WILL NOT bullsh** your way past the American people into Iran.

    Not again. Not this time.

    And please understand that this is not a Threat. This is a Promise.

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