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AfriGeneas Discuss! Forum Archive 2

Re: [WAR & PEACE ] Resignation US Ambassador to Gr


: The following is one of the best summations I have read regarding
: the antics of the Bush administration.

: 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 do 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

Thanks for sharing this with us, BRAVO to John Brady Kiesling!


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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