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 US 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 US 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 US interests and theirs fundamentally coincided. My faith in my country and its values was the most powerful weapon in my diplomatic arsenal.
So begins a letter from career diplomat John Brady Kiesling to Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell.
Kiesling goes on to write:
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…
That was the resignation letter John Brady Kiesling wrote to Powell. It was republished in the Washington Post and New York Review of Books. He has been profiled on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. He has become an in-demand speaker at peace events. And he became the first of three U.S. diplomats to resign in the past few weeks over the Bush Administration’s handling of the Iraq crisis.