U.S. Diplomat Resigns, Protesting 'Our Fervent Pursuit of
By Felicity Barringer
New York Times
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."
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
He said he had acted alone, but "I've been comforted by the
expressions of support I've gotten afterward" from colleagues.
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."
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
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."