[R-G] U.S. Diplomat Resigns, Protesting 'Our Fervent Pursuit of War'

DavidMcR at aol.com DavidMcR at aol.com
Thu Feb 27 21:43:03 MST 2003

In a message dated 2/27/03 7:17:43 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
hdavis at coxohio.com writes:

<< at
 New York Times 
February 27, 2003

U.S. Diplomat Resigns, Protesting 'Our Fervent Pursuit of War'

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 26 - 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."


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