How time flies! Just over ten years ago, foreign service officer John H. Brown sent in the following letter of resignation to then Secretary of State Colin Powell:
To: Secretary of State Colin Powell
March 10, 2003
Dear Mr. Secretary:
I am joining my colleague John Brady Kiesling 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, 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
Two other FSOs resigned over Iraq: Mary Ann Wright (her thoughts on the Bush administration's approach to North Korea ring true today) and John Brady Kiesling (who wrote from his post in Athens, Greece). Though they wrote these letters over ten years ago, I think that all governments could certainly find relevance in many of their positions today.
Brown joined the Foreign Service in 1981 and has been affiliated with Georgetown University since 2001. His blog, John Brown's Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review, is a must-read for those interested in diplomacy, foreign policy, and cultural affairs.