Foreign Policy Blogs

Ex-Diplomats Speak out on Iraq War's Five-Year Anniversary

The Huffington Post published an op-ed authored by three former Foreign Service Officers titled “Why We Said No: Three Diplomats’ Duty.” The authors, Ann Wright, John Brown,
and Brady Kiesling resigned as US diplomats in opposition to the invasion of Iraq.

You may read Kiesling's letter of resignation, published in the New York Times, here. Brown's letter is available here.

I recommend reading the whole piece, but here are a few worthy excerpts:

Love of country and professional self-respect compelled each of us to speak out, in the only honorable way open to us, by resigning. In our letters to Secretary of State Colin Powell, we opposed invading a country that posed no genuine threat to the United States. We underscored that our invasion would not be understood by our allies, that our occupation would be resisted, and that the consequences of the war would be dire for both Americans and Iraqis.”

Five years later, we do not regret our decision to leave the profession we loved. Faced with a flawed policy we had no power to change, the three of us embraced the hope Brady expressed in his resignation letter, that “our democratic process is ultimately self-correcting; [we] hope in a small way to contribute from outside to shaping policies that better serve the security and prosperity of the American people and the world we share

The invasion of Iraq had a terrible impact on America's relationship with the world. The tricks of totalitarian manipulation of public opinion the White House used to “sell” the war at home — simplification of the issues, repetition of empty phrases, demonization of foreigners, and falsification of history — simply did not work abroad.

By counting on such methods, Bush appointees tainted the US informational, educational, and cultural programs that once were the beating heart of America's public diplomacy efforts. The desperate PR campaign by Mr. Bush's Texas confidante, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes, failed utterly to repair the damage”

More recently US diplomats clashed with the Bush administration over mandatory tours at the dangerous Baghdad embassy.

It's worth noting that the Defense Department and its community of retirees also experienced a small-scale revolt over the war in the spring of 2006. A group of generals called for the resignation of Secretary Rumsfeld over his purported mismanagement of the war.



Melinda Brouwer

Melinda Brower holds a Masters degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She received her bachelor's degree in Political Science and Spanish at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received a graduate diploma in International Relations from the University of Chile during her tenure as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. She has worked on Capitol Hill, at the State Department, for Foreign Policy magazine and the American Academy of Diplomacy. She presently works for an internationally focused non-profit research organization in Washington, DC.