Friday, May 21, 2004

SOS - former diplomat's call to others to resign

The diplomat who quit over Nixon's invasion of Cambodia [Roger Morris] asks Americans on the front lines of foreign service to resign from the "worst regime by far in the history of the republic".

I need not dwell on the obvious about foreign policy under President Bush -- and on what you on the inside, whatever your politics, know to be even worse than imagined by outsiders. The senior among you have seen the disgrace firsthand. In the corridor murmur by which a bureaucracy tells its secrets to itself, all of you have heard the stories.

You know how recklessly a cabal of political appointees and ideological zealots, led by the exceptionally powerful and furtively doctrinaire Vice President Cheney, corrupted intelligence and usurped policy on Iraq and other issues. You know the bitter departmental disputes in which a deeply politicized, parochial Pentagon overpowered or simply ignored any opposition in the State Department or the CIA, rushing us to unilateral aggressive war in Iraq and chaotic, fateful occupations in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

You know well what a willfully uninformed and heedless president you serve in Bush, how chilling are the tales of his ignorance and sectarian fervor, lethal opposites of the erudition and open-mindedness you embody in the arts of diplomacy and intelligence. Some of you know how woefully his national security advisor fails her vital duty to manage some order among Washington's thrashing interests, and so to protect her president, and the country, from calamity. You know specifics. Many of you are aware, for instance, that the torture at Abu Ghraib was an issue up and down not only the Pentagon but also State, the CIA and the National Security Council staff for nearly a year before the scandalous photos finally leaked.

As you have seen in years of service, every presidency has its arrogance, infighting and blunders in foreign relations. As most of you recognize, too, the Bush administration is like no other. You serve the worst foreign policy regime by far in the history of the republic.

...And again, whatever your politics, those of you who have served other presidents know this is an unparalleled bipartisan disaster. In its militant hubris and folly, the Bush administration has undone the statesmanship of every government before it, and broken faith with every presidency, Democratic and Republican (even that of Bush I), over the past half century.

...You know that showcase resignations at the top -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld or flag officers fingered for Abu Ghraib -- change nothing, are only part of the charade. It is the same with Secretary of State Colin Powell, who may have been your lone relative champion in this perverse company, but who remains the political general he always was, never honoring your loss by giving up his office when he might have stemmed the descent.

No, it is you whose voices are so important now. You alone stand above ambition and partisanship. This administration no longer deserves your allegiance or participation. America deserves the leadership and example, the decisive revelation, of your resignations.

Your resignations alone would speak to America the truth that beyond any politics, this Bush regime is intolerable -- and to an increasingly cynical world the truth that there are still Americans who uphold with their lives and honor the highest principles of our foreign policy.

...Unless and until you do, however, please be under no illusion: Every cable you write to or from the field, every letter you compose for Congress or the public, every memo you draft or clear, every budget you number, every meeting you attend, every testimony you give extends your share of the common disaster.

The America that you sought to represent in choosing your career, the America that once led the community of nations not by brazen power but by the strength of its universal principles, has never needed you more. Those of us who know you best, who have shared your work and world, know you will not let us down. You are, after all, the trustees.
  Salon article

We'll be waiting.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.