Kiesling Resignation Letter

Diplomat John Brady Kiesling's 2/27/03 letter of resignation to Colin Powell (Truthout.org):

I am writing you to submit my resignation from the Foreign Service of the United States and from my position as Political Counselor in U.S. Embassy Athens, effective March 7. I do so with a heavy heart. The baggage of my upbringing included a felt obligation to give something back to my country. Service as a U.S. diplomat was a dream job. I was paid to understand foreign languages and cultures, to seek out diplomats, politicians, scholars and journalists, and to persuade them that U.S. interests and theirs fundamentally coincided. My faith in my country and its values was the most powerful weapon in my diplomatic arsenal. . . .

Mr. Secretary, I have enormous respect for your character and ability. You have preserved more international credibility for us than our policy deserves, and salvaged something positive from the excesses of an ideological and self-serving Administration. But your loyalty to the President goes too far. We are straining beyond its limits an international system we built with such toil and treasure, a web of laws, treaties, organizations, and shared values that sets limits on our foes far more effectively than it ever constrained America's ability to defend its interests.

I am resigning because I have tried and failed to reconcile my conscience with my ability to represent the current U.S. Administration. I have confidence that our democratic process is ultimately self-correcting, and hope that in a small way I can contribute from outside to shaping policies that better serve the security and prosperity of the American people and the world we share.

Conservative Newspapers on 2/15 Protests

(As noted on the afternoon of February 16)

Canada's National Post: "Millions say 'No' to war. Cities around the world overrun in biggest protest in history"

Barricade, antiwar demonstration, New York City, 2/15/03

Orlando Sentinel: "Millions Protest War" (mainly a summary of wire services)

Cleveland Plain Dealer: No coverage on home page. AP story, "Demonstrators around the World March against War with Iraq," runs below headlines about the weather and a Bloodmobile.

Arkansas Democrat Gazette: No coverage on home page

Las Vegas Review Journal: No coverage on home page, but you can read about a stock car race being delayed by twenty minutes due to weather.

Indianapolis Star: "Weather Fails to Dampen Spirits at Rally" linked from home page. The lede, "Hearty Hoosiers, about 450 of them, braved snow, sleet and horizontal hail Saturday to join in spirit with millions of people around the world protesting an impending war with Iraq," is the only mention of protests outside Indianapolis.

Oklahoma City Daily Oklahoman links to an AP story, "Iraq Hails Rallies; U.S. Works in Turkey." Lede: "Iraq on Sunday took heart from the global outpouring of opposition to the U.S. threat of attack, saying anti-war demonstrations in dozens of countries signaled an Iraqi victory and "the defeat and isolation of America." No other coverage.

Manchester Union Leader: An A.P. story, "Anti-war protesters gather near United Nations in NYC," is linked near top of home page. The story also summarizes protests elsewhere.

New York Post: "When Doves Cry: Dozens Busted in Anti-War Protests" linked at top of home page. Despite the headline, the article is actually a fairly balanced account of the New York protest. Beyond its mention that "It was one of many rallies around the world yesterday. More than a million people came out in Rome and London to protest the impending war in Iraq," no coverage of demonstrations elsewhere is offered.

Washington Times: Link to "Protests for Peace" near top of home page. The long article has a brief summary of demonstrations in the United States, but no mention of protests elsewhere apart from a single sentence noting that "Anti-war protests yesterday occurred in 300 cities worldwide, including 78 cities in Europe." Longer coverage of how protests were organized, and about the participation of "anti-war conservatives."

Orange County Register: Home page links to AP story, "Europe's Cities Send a Message," summarizing European protests (and featuring high-end participation figures for the most part). A "Related Stories" link from this article points to "O.C.'s biggest anti-war protest draws 2,000," which also covers other U.S. protests briefly -- and with much attention to counterprotests ("about 1,000 in Manhattan and a handful in Orange," as well as "some 200 war supporters" in Wausau, Wisconsin). Antiwar attendance estimates for New York appear later in the article, not at all for Wausau.

Britain’s Iraq Dossier Discredited

"UK War Dossier a Sham, Say Experts" -- Michael White and Brian Whitaker in The Guardian, 2/7/03:

Downing Street was last night plunged into acute international embarrassment after it emerged that large parts of the British government's latest dossier on Iraq - allegedly based on "intelligence material" - were taken from published academic articles, some of them several years old.

Amid charges of "scandalous" plagiarism on the night when Tony Blair attempted to rally support for the US-led campaign against Saddam Hussein, Whitehall's dismay was compounded by the knowledge that the disputed document was singled out for praise by the US secretary of state, Colin Powell, in his speech to the UN security council on Wednesday. . . .

Dismissing the gathering controversy as the latest example of media obsession with spin, officials insisted it in no way undermines the underlying truth of the dossier, whose contents had been re-checked with British intelligence sources. "The important thing is that it is accurate," said one source.

Le Carré on War Buildup

John Le Carré's 1/15/03 article, "The United States of America Has Gone Mad," in the London Times:

America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War.

The reaction to 9/11 is beyond anything Osama bin Laden could have hoped for in his nastiest dreams. As in McCarthy times, the freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded. The combination of compliant US media and vested corporate interests is once more ensuring that a debate that should be ringing out in every town square is confined to the loftier columns of the East Coast press.

The imminent war was planned years before bin Laden struck, but it was he who made it possible. Without bin Laden, the Bush junta would still be trying to explain such tricky matters as how it came to be elected in the first place; Enron; its shameless favouring of the already-too-rich; its reckless disregard for the world's poor, the ecology and a raft of unilaterally abrogated international treaties. They might also have to be telling us why they support Israel in its continuing disregard for UN resolutions.

Gulf War I Casualties

Demographer Beth Osborne Daponte's estimates of Iraqi deaths during the Gulf War: 118,000 civilians, 40,000 soldiers. (Osborne was fired by the US Commerce Department when she released these numbers in 1992, and official estimates were lower -- but the American Statistical Association backs her numbers.) (BusinessWeek, 2/6/03)

Antiwar Stalinists

The antiwar Left is a bunch of Stalinists -- Michael Kelly, "Marching with Stalinists," Washington Post, 1/22/03:

The debate is over. The left has hardened itself around the core value of a furious, permanent, reactionary opposition to the devil-state America, which stands as the paramount evil of the world and the paramount threat to the world, and whose aims must be thwarted even at the cost of supporting fascists and tyrants. . . .

The left marches with the Stalinists. The left marches with those who would maintain in power the leading oppressors of humanity in the world. It marches with, stands with and cheers on people like the speaker at the Washington rally who declared that "the real terrorists have always been the United Snakes of America." It marches with people like the former Black Panther Charles Baron, who said in Washington, "if you're looking for an axis of evil then look in the belly of this beast."