Saturday, September 8, 2018

Blast from the Past: A Letter of Resignation from a Foreign Service officer

Given the current brouhaha over Anon's "resistance" piece in the NYT re President Trump, I thought the below (posted in American Diplomacy, among other media) might be of historical/public diplomacy [JB emphasis] interest:

Image result for brouhaha
image (not from below unanswered letter to then-Secretary of State Powell) from
To: Secretary of State Colin Powell
March 10, 2003

Dear Mr. Secretary:

Following is the text of career diplomat John Brown’s letter by which he resigned from the Foreign Service.—Ed [JB, 9/8/2018: no reply ever provided]
To: Secretary of State Colin Powell
Dear Mr. Secretary:
I am joining my colleague John Brady Kiesling [JB: see] in submitting my resignation from the Foreign Service (effective immediately) because I cannot in good conscience support President Bush’s war plans against Iraq.
The president has failed:
To explain clearly why our brave men and women in uniform should be ready to sacrifice their lives in a war on Iraq at this 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;
To take international public opinion against the war into serious consideration.
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, [JB emphasis] is giving birth to an anti-American century.
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.
John H. Brown
Foreign Service Officer
March 10, 2003

Note (9/8/2018): In order not to falsely advertise my "nobility/morality" re my State Department resignation (nobody's perfect), let me inform you that I am receiving a State Department pension -- "earned," I hope, after over 20+years of diplomatic service (mostly in what the Department categorized as "hardship posts") and being over the age of 50 after I left the Foreign Service. 

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