US Ambassador to Greece resigns in protest over US
administration' current actions in mideast.

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

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

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 â€|oderint dum metuantâ€x
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

John Brady Kiesling

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