Thirteen years ago tonight (March 18, 2003), I was freezing in sub-zero degree weather in Mongolia trying to decide whether I should give up my life in the U.S. diplomatic corps and resign in opposition to President Bush's War on Iraq. The next day, March 19, 2003, at the U.S. Embassy in Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia, I sent my cable/letter of resignation to Secretary of State Colin Powell.
In my letter of resignation I wrote of my concern that a war against the Saddam regime would destabilize the Middle East and would create outrage and anger in the youth of the region, anger that would come back onto the United States that we are now seeing played out in Iraq and Syria with international youth joining youth of the region.
"Much of the world considers our statements about Iraq as arrogant, untruthful and masking a hidden agenda. Leaders of moderate Moslem/Arab countries warn us about predictable outrage and anger of the youth of their countries if America enters an Arab country with the purpose of attacking Muslims/Arabs, not defending them."
In the letter, I also mentioned the lack of effort
of the Bush administration in addressing the need for strong leadership from the
United States to resolve two other dangerous flashpoints: Israel-Palestine and
North Korea, two regions where the tensions remain extraordinarily high and the
Obama administration also has not exerted its influence to resolve the issues.
'Likewise, I cannot support the lack of effort by the Administration to use its influence to resurrect the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. As Palestinian suicide bombers kill Israelis and Israeli military operations kill Palestinians and destroy Palestinian towns and cities, the Administration has done little to end the violence. We must exert our considerable financial influence on the Israelis to stop destroying cities and on the Palestinians to curb its youth suicide bombers. I hope the Administration's long-needed 'Roadmap for Peace' will have the human resources and political capital needed to finally make some progress toward peace."
Instead the United States fuels greater instability by
funding Israel's test bed for the use military weapons on Gaza and of
military-police surveillance, control and imprisonment of Palestinians in Israel
and the West Bank, techniques that U.S. police are now adopting in dealing with
dissent in the United States.
"Additionally, I cannot support the Administration's position on North Korea. With weapons, bombs and missiles, the risks that North Korea poses are too great to ignore. I strongly believe the Administration's lack of substantive discussion, dialogue and engagement over the last two years has jeopardized security on the peninsula and the region. The situation with North Korea is dangerous for us to continue to neglect."
The ever increasing size (over 300,000 U.S. and South Korean
military) and scope (overthrow and "beheading") of the annual joint U.S.-South
Korean military exercises with the purpose stated publicly of overthrowing the
North Korean government and killing its leadership results in the North Korean
government testing nuclear weapons and rockets to warn the international
community that military action against it will come with a higher price than
Iraq's response to Bush's coalition of the willing's war on Iraq.
I also mentioned in my three-page letter of resignation my deep concern about the curtailment of civil liberties under the Patriotic Act...
"Further, I cannot support the Administration's unnecessary curtailment of civil rights following September 11. The investigation of those suspected of ties with terrorist organizations is critical but the legal system of America for 200 years has been based on standards that provide protections for persons during the investigation period. Solitary confinement without access to legal counsel cuts the heart out of the legal foundation on which our country stands. Additionally, I believe the Administration's secrecy in the judicial process has created an atmosphere of fear to speak out against the gutting of the protections on which America was built and the protections we encourage other countries to provide to their citizens."