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James R. Webb Resigns from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Campaign

by | Dec 29, 2023

Here is his resignation letter:

Mr. Kennedy,

I am writing you a personal email to call your attention to something that is both potentially damaging in terms of veterans support and something I cannot abide.

When you and Mr. Kucinich called me in late August 2023 asking me to be a core member of your bid for the Presidency of the United States, I was elated. For more than a half hour, we found common ground on the many challenges the US faces globally, the legacy of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the space in society that veterans have rightfully earned through service and self-sacrifice.unknown

Further, the opportunity to work with the Hon. Dennis Kucinich, who has long been a leader in reorienting and reigning in a runaway US security state, spoke for itself. All the elements of a perfect political storm were in place.

However, following Mr. Kucinich’s departure in mid-October, the campaign’s message on core issues, particularly national security and war, has changed. This is completely the purview of the candidate, and I accept it. However, it should be noted this occurred despite my best efforts to inform you and the campaign staff – through official communications – that this shift not only contradicts a stated core policy of “peace” but is also out of step with potential voters and, in particular, veterans.

I have spent nearly my entire adult life connected to the war on terrorism and the Middle East. In 2004, while still in college, I covered the war in Afghanistan during a summer as an embedded photographer for Parade Magazine. The time I spent 2006-2007 as an enlisted Marine Corps Rifleman in Ramadi, Iraq, encompassed both the height of the Sunni insurgency, Awakening, and subsequent “Surge.” These experiences provided the professional foundation leading me to work on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on behalf of a US Senator and two foreign policy think tanks dedicated to ending “forever wars.”

After viewing your comments on the “Breaking Points” podcast on Dec. 15, I felt compelled to let you know that your positions on this matter are costing you a large amount of support from voters and mine, as 70% of voters between the ages of 18-34 disapprove of Biden’s support for the conflict.

If you are truly serious about ending US involvement in “forever wars”, as I believed you were when we first talked, then it is incumbent upon the US to provide a diplomatic solution that satisfies not only the wants and needs of the Israelis but also the Palestinian people, who do not have a State. Without this, Israel will remain a garrison state in perpetuity whose guarantor is the US military. With the US military perpetually based in the region, the “forever war” continues, as we will remain at odds with any number of regional powers from Turkey to Iran.

This is not to say that Israel does not have the right to defend itself from attack. All nations have that right. However, a response should not only be appropriate, but under international law, it should be proportional.

Your stating that collective punishment in Gaza is “ok” because “For ten years we did collective punishment of Iraq” is a historically inaccurate moral equivalency that no one who honorably served in Iraq will agree with you on, and none of whom will support you.

When I fought as an enlisted infantry Marine in Iraq during the “Battle of Ramadi” in 2006-2007. I can assure you that there was no “collective punishment” of civilians, as you stated bluntly on Breaking Points. Instead, every attempt was made to avoid civilian casualties as a matter of not only DoD policy but basic individual humanity. Additionally, avoiding civilian casualties is a cornerstone of counter-insurgency warfare, a moral imperative of servicemembers, and a foundational aspect of international law addressed in Chapter 33 of the Geneva Convention.

For not only us but also Americans across Iraq, this outlook not only essentially meant an absence of artillery, mortars, and air support but also strict individual rules of engagement. This not only placed US servicemembers in disproportionate danger but also resulted in numerous American casualties on behalf of Iraqis.

While imperfect, no other military on the planet goes to the lengths that the US military does in preventing civilian carnage. However, our leaders should ensure that our partners and allies do the same, not provide them a free pass.

V/r

James R. Webb

December 27, 2023

Scott Horton

Scott Horton

Scott Horton is director of the Libertarian Institute, editorial director of Antiwar.com, host of Antiwar Radio on Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, California and podcasts the Scott Horton Show from ScottHorton.org. He is the author of four books. He has conducted more than 6,000 interviews since 2003. Scott lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Larisa Alexandrovna Horton.

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