Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson told the National VFW Convention in Kansas City today that defeat in Iraq is not an option.
Military success won't solve all our issues, he told veterans.
"Failure makes our problems much greater than they are today," he said.
Those problems would include disruption of U.S. oil supplies and a loss of respect from other countries, he said.
But Thompson, who has yet to formally enter the 2008 race for the White House, but is expected to do so next month, gave out few details of how he would handle the war in Iraq. He said nothing about the need for more troops or new strategies, particularly the ongoing war against terrorism.
The few comments Thompson did make about Iraq and the need for success there suggested he sides with Arizona Sen. John McCain, who addressed the convention Monday.
McCain used even stronger words about the importance of staying the course in Iraq, saying pulling out would be "a mistake of colossal historical proportions."
Thompson didn't use language that strong, but said, "History tell us that division about ourselves, giving off the appearance of weakness, does not achieve peace, but makes things more dangerous..."
In an interview with KCMO Radio before his speech, Thompson took a veiled shot at former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, saying voters don't have confidence in where some candidates stand on the issues because they stood in different places 20 years ago.
Thompson never mentioned Romney by name. But Romney, of course, has switched stands on abortion in recent years.
Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is scheduled to speak at 11.