We are prepared to engage your advisors on these and other issues. While they were criticizing the president, they have failed to answer the following basic questions about your national security proposals:
• What specifically would you do to address the Iranian threat that is different from what President Obama is already doing? Do you believe there are still viable options for dealing with the Iranian threat short of war? What would your proposed military action against Iran involve, and how would you deal with its potentially destabilizing consequences?
• You have said you would have left tens of thousands of U.S. forces behind in Iraq. Would you have done so against the wishes of the Iraqi government and people, with no legal protections?
• Why have you not outlined any policies to achieve U.S. objectives and end the war in Afghanistan? How would you change the president’s plan, which has the full support of NATO and our closest allies, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Australia?
• What did you mean when you said, “It's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person,” referring to Osama bin Laden? Given the clear successes of President Obama’s counterterrorism policies, why and how would you change the current approach to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda?
• Why did you call Russia "without question our number one geopolitical foe," especially when strategic cooperation with Russia is essential for countering the Iranian nuclear threat? What do you think is gained by casting Russia in this role? Do you believe there are other entities that pose greater challenges to American economic and strategic interests in the 21st century?
• Why do you continuously mischaracterize President Obama’s support for Israel, which threatens America’s longstanding bi-partisan consensus in support of our ally, by suggesting that the president is not doing things that in fact he’s already done -- such as increasing military cooperation and assistance every year since he took office?
We look forward to your responses on these specific issues.
Michèle A. Flournoy
Adm. John Nathman (ret.)
Colin H. Kahl
Jeffrey A. Bader
Gen. Wesley Clark (ret.)
Nathaniel C. Fick
Bruce W. Jentleson