Dear Colleague: Send Clinton, Carter and Bush Sr. to Middle East

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:28 PM EDT

( - Two members of the House of Representatives have sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to other members, asking them to urge President Bush to dispatch former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton to the Middle East on a peace mission.

Reps. Jim Leach (R-Iowa), a member of the House International Relations Committee, and Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) initiated the idea of sending the former presidents to mediate the conflict.

"The current crisis requires an unprecedented effort to bring about a ceasefire and restart the peace process, an effort that must be led by the United States and be conducted at the highest level," said Leach.

He and Capps believe President Bush's father should lead the mission.

"Former President Bush is uniquely positioned to lead this initiative and the participation of Presidents Clinton and Carter would bring the prestige of the most powerful office in the world to bear on defusing what is potentially the most dangerous threat to world peace," Leach added.

"Beginning with President Nixon, every successful initiative in the Middle East has been led by an American President," he said. "These three former presidents have proven their commitment to the peace process and their direct involvement at this critical juncture would underscore the bipartisan commitment of the American government."

"The gravity of the crisis in the Middle East demands such an extraordinary action. History shows that peace agreements in the Middle East are achieved only with strong U.S. leadership at the presidential level," Capps said.

"The three former presidents would bring their profound commitment toward Middle East peace and the prestige of the presidency to this important endeavor," she added.

Former President Bush had no reaction, according to spokesman Tom Freschette.

Former President Clinton was traveling and was unavailable for comment, according to spokesperson Julia Payne, and Carter's office did not return phone calls seeking comment.

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