Yesterday, when we posted on the September 9th Washington March to Save America opposing the Iran Nuclear deal, we drew attention to a letter approving the deal signed by 33 former senior military officers, “The Time Has Come for a March in D.C. to Stop the Iran Nuclear Pact.” Alana Goodman has an expose in today’s Washington Free Beacon (WFB) about the White House manipulations behind the scene by a retired Navy rear admiral, now a lawyer with the Venable law firm in Washington, who authored the letter, “White House Played Role in Iran Deal Letter Signed by Former Flag Officers.” The Obama operative got his comeuppance when he solicited retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey. who opposes the pact. He made the wrong pick.
McCaffrey retired as a four star general who served 32 years in the US Army following graduation from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. At his retirement McCaffrey “was the most highly decorated serving General, having been awarded three Purple Heart medals for wounds received in his four combat tours – as well as twice awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest award for valor. He also twice was awarded the Silver Star for valor.” Before establishing his consulting firm, BR McCaffrey Associates LLC, McCaffrey was the Cabinet Officer in charge of U.S. Drug Policy. After leaving government service, McCaffrey was “the Bradley Distinguished Professor of International Security Studies from January 2001 to May 2005; and then as an Adjunct Professor of International Security Studies from May 2005 to December 2010” at West Point. McCaffrey has also been a frequent media commentator on national security issues. Watch this NBC Meet the Press segment in January 2015 and McCaffrey’s comments on the Obama war strategy in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Goodman of WFB wrote:
James “Jamie” Barnett, a retired rear admiral who now works at the law firm Venable, drafted the letter. Barnett reached out to retired senior officers earlier this month, asking them to sign on and touting the White House’s involvement.
“I am working with the White House on a letter for retired General Officers and Flag Officers to sign, supporting the U.S.-Iran accord on nuclear armament,” Barnett wrote in an Aug. 4 email to one potential signatory. “Are you in a position, and of such a mind, to consider such a letter?”
Barnett indicated that those who signed on could attend a meeting or conference call with White House officials, and said organizers wanted to finalize the list of signatures by last Friday.
Barnett told the Free Beacon on Thursday that the letter was his idea and that he did not write it due to a request from the White House. He said he did ask for a meeting with the National Security Council staff for retired admirals and generals who wanted to attend.
He also said Venable, whose roster of past clients includes Russia’s state gas company Gazprom, had no involvement with the letter.
“I thought of it on my own and started talking to my retired flag officer friends, who in turn brought others in,” said Barnett.
General McCaffrey replied:
Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey was one of the officers who declined to participate when asked to sign the letter.
“In my view the Iran nuke deal is a deeply flawed agreement,” McCaffrey replied to Barnett in an email last week. “Cannot sign your letter of support by retired senior officers to support the White House position.”
McCaffrey blasted the nuclear agreement, saying it was opposed by America’s Middle Eastern allies, did not provide for adequate inspections, legitimizes Iran, and would encourage a nuclear arms race in the region.
“The option was not war. The option was walling Iran off for another decade—and threatening nuclear retaliation if they attacked their Sunni neighbors [with] nuclear weapons,” wrote McCaffrey.
“This agreement will likely accelerate nuclear proliferation in the region,” he added. “The Sunni Arab states will want a nuclear deterrence to the Persian Shia capability.”
We salute Gen. McCaffrey for his clear-eyed rejection of the Iran nuclear pact. We hope that those wavering Democrats in the Senate and House get McCaffrey’s message from their constituents who oppose the Iran deal in recent polls by 2 to 1. Perhaps they may if a multitude shows up on the back lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in The March to Save America on Wednesday, September 9, 2015.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.