Fourteen years ago on March 19, 2003, I resigned from the U.S. government in opposition to President Bush's decision to invade and occupy oil rich, Arab, Muslim Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with the events of September 11, 2001 and that the Bush Administration knew did not have weapons of mass destruction.
In my letter of resignation, I wrote of my deep concerns about the Bush decision to attack Iraq and the predictable large number of civilian casualties from that military attack. But I also detailed my concerns on other issues -- the lack of U.S. effort on resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the U.S. failure to engage North Korea to curb nuclear and missile development and the curtailment of civil liberties in the United States through the Patriot Act.
Now, three Presidents later, the problems I was concerned about in 2003 are even more dangerous a decade and a half later. I am glad I resigned from the U.S. government 14 years ago. My decision to resign has allowed me to speak publicly in the United States and around the world on issues that jeopardize international security from the perspective of a former U.S. government employee with 29 years of experience in the U.S. Army and 16 years in the U.S. diplomatic corps.
As a U.S. diplomat, I was on the small team that reopened the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in December 2001. Now, 16 years later, the U.S. is still battling the Taliban in Afghanistan, as the Taliban takes more and more territory, in America's longest war, while the graft and corruption within the Afghan government due to the mammoth U.S. funded contracts for support of the U.S. military machine continues to provide the Taliban with new recruits.
The U.S. is now fighting against ISIS, a brutal group that emerged because of the U.S. war in Iraq, but has spread from Iraq into Syria, as the U.S. policy of regime change has resulted in arming international as well as domestic Syrian groups to fight not only ISIS, but the Syrian government. The deaths of civilians in Iraq and Syria continue to rise with the acknowledgement this week by the U.S. military that it is "likely" that a U.S. bombing mission killed over 200 civilians in one building in Mosel.
With U.S. government acquiescence, if not complicity, the Israeli military has attacked Gaza three times in the past eight years. Thousands of Palestinians have been killed, tens of thousands have been wounded and the homes of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been destroyed. Over 800,000 Israelis now live in illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian lands in the West Bank. The Israeli government has built hundreds of miles of separation apartheid walls on Palestinian land which separate Palestinians from their farms, schools and employment.
Brutal, humiliating checkpoints purposely attempt to degrade the spirit of Palestinians. Israeli-only highways have been built on Palestinian lands. The theft of Palestinian resources has ignited a worldwide, citizen-led boycott, divestment and sanctions program. Imprisonment of children for throwing rocks at occupation military forces has reached crisis levels. Evidence of the Israeli government's inhumane treatment of Palestinians has now been formally called "apartheid" in a United Nations report that resulted in massive Israeli and U.S. pressure on the U.N. to withdraw the report and force the Under Secretary of the U.N. who commissioned the report to resign.
The North Korean government continues to call for negotiations with the U.S. and South Korea for a peace treaty to end the Korean War. U.S. rejection of any discussions with North Korea until North Korea ends its nuclear program and increased U.S.-South Korean military drills, the last one named "Decapitation" has resulted in the North Korean government to continue its nuclear testing and missile projects.