A second American diplomat, John H. Brown, has resigned in protest, stating, “I cannot in good conscience support President Bush’s war plans against Iraq.” Brown, a longtime US Foreign Service Officer, who has served in London, Prague, Krakow, Kiev, Belgrade and Moscow, tendered his letter of resignation to Secretary of State Colin Powell on March 10. He joined veteran diplomat John Brady Kiesling, who has also resigned from the State Department in protest of Bush’s plans for war.
In his letter of resignation, Brown cited a number of failures by the Bush administration, including:
“To explain clearly why our brave men and women in uniform should be ready to sacrifice their lives in a war on Iraq at the time:
“To lay out the full ramifications of this war, including the extent of innocent civilian casualties;
“To specify the economic costs of the war for ordinary Americans;
“To clarify how the war would help rid the world of terror; [and]
“To take international public opinion against the war into serious consideration.”
Brown pointed out, “Throughout the globe the United States is becoming associated with the unjustified use of force. The president’s disregard for views in other nations, borne out by his neglect of public diplomacy, is giving birth to an anti-American century.”
We should be very thankful that there are individuals like Brown and Kiesling, willing to place their conscience ahead of their careers when an administration’s policy becomes fundamentally opposed to deep-seated American values of fairness, decency and support for international law. We should also continue to hope that Secretary of State Colin Powell may be moved to act upon his own conscience in reading the letters of these courageous men. Powell should be encouraged to join them in resigning his position instead of continuing to serve as a front man for the clearly untenable and dangerous US war plans against Iraq.
In concluding his letter of resignation, Brown wrote, “I joined the Foreign Service because I love our country. Respectfully, Mr. Secretary, I am now bringing this calling to a close, with a heavy heart but for the same reason that I embraced it.”
Thank you, Mr. Brown, for loving your country enough to act for its future by taking this bold step. For all who love our country, this is a time for bold action, before Mr. Bush and the ideologues surrounding him drag our country into an untenable, immoral and illegal war that will disgrace our country and be a burden to it for all time.
* David Krieger is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He is the editor of Hope in a Dark Time, Reflections on Humanity’s Future (Capra Press, 2003).