[saymaListserv] Fw: Kiesling Letter {diplomat resigns in opposition}

Mary Calhoun moriah at preferred.com
Fri Feb 28 20:14:06 JEST 2003


Oh my! (Posted on a local peace group list)

^o^
Mary Calhoun
Foxfire FM
SAYMA

----- Original Message -----
From: Steve Brooks <shbrooks at mounet.com>
To: APEC <Apec at kitenet.net>
Sent: Friday, February 28, 2003 3:06 PM
Subject: [apec] John Brady Kiesling Letter of Resignation to S.O.S.
ColinPowell


| John Brady Kiesling Letter of Resignation to S.O.S.  Colin
PowellPlease Read & Distribute this thoughtful Resignation Letter:
|
| EDITOR'S NOTE: What follows is a letter of resignation written by John
Brady Kiesling, a member of Bush's Foreign Service Corps and Political
Counselor to the American embassy in Greece.  Kiesling has been a
diplomat for twenty years, a civil servant to four Presidents.  The
letter below, delivered to Secretary of State Colin Powell, is quite
possibly the most eloquent statement of dissent thus far put forth
regarding the issue of Iraq.  The New York Times story which reports on
this remarkable event can be found after Kiesling's letter.  - wrp
|
|      U.S. Diplomat John Brady Kiesling
|      Letter of Resignation, to:
|      Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
|
|      ATHENS | Thursday 27 February 2003
|
|      Dear Mr. Secretary:
|
|      I am writing you to submit my resignation from the Foreign
Service of the United States and from my position as Political Counselor
in U.S. Embassy Athens, effective March 7. I do so with a heavy heart.
The baggage of my upbringing included a felt obligation to give
something back to my country. Service as a U.S. diplomat was a dream
job. I was paid to understand foreign languages and cultures, to seek
out diplomats, politicians, scholars and journalists, and to persuade
them that U.S. interests and theirs fundamentally coincided. My faith in
my country and its values was the most powerful weapon in my diplomatic
arsenal.
|
|      It is inevitable that during twenty years with the State
Department I would become more sophisticated and cynical about the
narrow and selfish bureaucratic motives that sometimes shaped our
policies. Human nature is what it is, and I was rewarded and promoted
for understanding human nature. But until this Administration it had
been possible to believe that by upholding the policies of my president
I was also upholding the interests of the American people and the world.
I believe it no longer.
|
|      The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not
only with American values but also with American interests. Our fervent
pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international
legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon of both offense
and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle
the largest and most effective web of international relationships the
world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and
danger, not security.
|
|      The sacrifice of global interests to domestic politics and to
bureaucratic self-interest is nothing new, and it is certainly not a
uniquely American problem. Still, we have not seen such systematic
distortion of intelligence, such systematic manipulation of American
opinion, since the war in Vietnam. The September 11 tragedy left us
stronger than before, rallying around us a vast international coalition
to cooperate for the first time in a systematic way against the threat
of terrorism. But rather than take credit for those successes and build
on them, this Administration has chosen to make terrorism a domestic
political tool, enlisting a scattered and largely defeated Al Qaeda as
its bureaucratic ally. We spread disproportionate terror and confusion
in the public mind, arbitrarily linking the unrelated problems of
terrorism and Iraq. The result, and perhaps the motive, is to justify a
vast misallocation of shrinking public wealth to the military and to
weaken the safeguards that protect American citizens from the heavy hand
of government. September 11 did not do as much damage to the fabric of
American society as we seem determined to so to ourselves. Is the Russia
of the late Romanovs really our model, a selfish, superstitious empire
thrashing toward self-destruction in the name of a doomed status quo?
|
|      We should ask ourselves why we have failed to persuade more of
the world that a war with Iraq is necessary. We have over the past two
years done too much to assert to our world partners that narrow and
mercenary U.S. interests override the cherished values of our partners.
Even where our aims were not in question, our consistency is at issue.
The model of Afghanistan is little comfort to allies wondering on what
basis we plan to rebuild the Middle East, and in whose image and
interests. Have we indeed become blind, as Russia is blind in Chechnya,
as Israel is blind in the Occupied Territories, to our own advice, that
overwhelming military power is not the answer to terrorism? After the
shambles of post-war Iraq joins the shambles in Grozny and Ramallah, it
will be a brave foreigner who forms ranks with Micronesia to follow
where we lead.
|
|      We have a coalition still, a good one. The loyalty of many of our
friends is impressive, a tribute to American moral capital built up over
a century. But our closest allies are persuaded less that war is
justified than that it would be perilous to allow the U.S. to drift into
complete solipsism. Loyalty should be reciprocal. Why does our President
condone the swaggering and contemptuous approach to our friends and
allies this Administration is fostering, including among its most senior
officials. Has "oderint dum metuant" really become our motto?
|
|      I urge you to listen to America's friends around the world. Even
here in Greece, purported hotbed of European anti-Americanism, we have
more and closer friends than the American newspaper reader can possibly
imagine. Even when they complain about American arrogance, Greeks know
that the world is a difficult and dangerous place, and they want a
strong international system, with the U.S. and EU in close partnership.
When our friends are afraid of us rather than for us, it is time to
worry. And now they are afraid. Who will tell them convincingly that the
United States is as it was, a beacon of liberty, security, and justice
for the planet?
|
|      Mr. Secretary, I have enormous respect for your character and
ability. You have preserved more international credibility for us than
our policy deserves, and salvaged something positive from the excesses
of an ideological and self-serving Administration. But your loyalty to
the President goes too far. We are straining beyond its limits an
international system we built with such toil and treasure, a web of
laws, treaties, organizations, and shared values that sets limits on our
foes far more effectively than it ever constrained America's ability to
defend its interests.
|
|      I am resigning because I have tried and failed to reconcile my
conscience with my ability to represent the current U.S. Administration.
I have confidence that our democratic process is ultimately
self-correcting, and hope that in a small way I can contribute from
outside to shaping policies that better serve the security and
prosperity of the American people and the world we share.
|
|      John Brady Kiesling
|
| ---
|
|      U.S. Diplomat Resigns, Protesting 'Our Fervent Pursuit of War'
|      By Felicity Barringer
|      New York Times
|
|      Thursday 27 February 2003
|
|      UNITED NATIONS < A career diplomat who has served in United
States embassies from Tel Aviv to Casablanca to Yerevan resigned this
week in protest against the country's policies on Iraq.
|
|      The diplomat, John Brady Kiesling, the political counselor at the
United States Embassy in Athens, said in his resignation letter, "Our
fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the
international legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon of
both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson."
|
|      Mr. Kiesling, 45, who has been a diplomat for about 20 years,
said in a telephone interview tonight that he faxed the letter to
Secretary of State Colin L, Powell on Monday after informing Thomas
Miller, the ambassador in Athens, of his decision.
|
|      He said he had acted alone, but "I've been comforted by the
expressions of support I've gotten afterward" from colleagues.
|
|      "No one has any illusions that the policy will be changed," he
said. "Too much has been invested in the war."
|
|      Louis Fintor, a State Department spokesman, said he had no
information on Mr. Kiesling's decision and it was department policy not
to comment on personnel matters.
|
|      In his letter, a copy of which was provided to The New York Times
by a friend of Mr. Kiesling's, the diplomat wrote Mr. Powell: "We should
ask ourselves why we have failed to persuade more of the world that a
war with Iraq is necessary. We have over the past two years done too
much to assert to our world partners that narrow and mercenary U.S.
interests override the cherished values of our partners."
|
|      His letter continued: "Even where our aims were not in question,
our consistency is at issue. The model of Afghanistan is little comfort
to allies wondering on what basis we plan to rebuild the Middle East,
and in whose image and interests."
|
|      It is rare but not unheard-of for a diplomat, immersed in the
State Department's culture of public support for policy, regardless of
private feelings, to resign with this kind of public blast. From 1992 to
1994, five State Department officials quit out of frustration with the
Clinton administration's Balkans policy.
|
|      Asked if his views were widely shared among his diplomatic
colleagues, Mr. Kiesling said: "No one of my colleagues is comfortable
with our policy. Everyone is moving ahead with it as good and loyal. The
State Department is loaded with people who want to play the team game <
we have a very strong premium on loyalty."
|
|      (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest
in receiving the included information for research and educational
purposes.)
|
|
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