An Argentine anti-war activist wearing a Bush mask highlights the role of big oil companies such as Exxon/Esso in the impending war.
Kiesling is the career diplomat who resigned from the US Foreign
Service last week over plans to invade Iraq. We believe he has
taken a courageous and principled action which deserves worldwide
attention and support.
He said his conscience would no longer allow him to represent
the Bush Administration in policies that are "incompatible not only
with American values but also with American interests," and goes on
to express a deep belief in America's potential as a force for good
in the world, and his deep disappointment in how it is "straining
beyond its limits an international system we built with such toil
His central question to a president he says he can no longer
follow is "Have we indeed become blind, as Russia is blind in
Chechnya, as Israel is blind in the Occupied Territories, to our
own advice, that overwhelming military power is not the answer to
The full text of his letter of resignation to Colin
Powell was published in the New York Times on February 27th, and
has done the wildfire thing on the internet, rocketing up the ranks
at Blogdex, an outstanding barometer of what's
being talked about on the web.
And with good reason.
His letter is a stirring and articulate act of moral bravery,
and while it says nothing different than millions of people said
when they marched on February 15th, it does so with a different
authority. It comes from the ranks of those politicians who are
expected, like soldiers, to toe the line and salute the flag
without question. Kiesling broke ranks -the way few in history have
done, and the way many more should have.
The courage of saying "No" to war
When we look back at the few examples of insiders who said no to
unjust wars, or to tyrants such as Hitler or Pol Pot or Saddam, we
always ask, with the benefit of hindsight and the knowledge of the
waste of human life and resulting tragedies, 'Why did so many
follow? Why did more people not stand up and say no?'
We hope many people read this letter. We hope other American
diplomats read this letter and follow its lead either in stepping
up the pressure on the administration from within, or following
Kiesling's example and stepping down. We are encouraging newspapers
worldwide to reprint it, and for all who oppose this war to applaud
it. You can help by taking action now to ensure Mr. Kiesling's
letter is widely read.
Beware the oil barrons
When the diplomat says that "The result, and perhaps the motive,
[of pursuing Iraq] is to justify a vast misallocation of shrinking
public wealth to the military and to weaken the safeguards that
protect American citizens from the heavy hand of government," he
echoes the famous, and still valid, warning of US President
Eisenhower to "beware the military industrial complex."
What Kiesling leaves unsaid is that, in this day and age, the
most powerful player in that "complex" is big oil.
The former diplomat makes a clear and compelling case for why we
should be worried about the political leadership of the United
States. But writing this off as the obsessions of an "ideological
and self-serving" president misses an important part of the
Saddam Hussein would just be another run-of-the-mill tyrant,
probably unworthy of US attention, were it not for the vast oil
wealth he commands.
There's a darker force at work on US policy as well -- and it's
as dark as a barrel of Exxon crude.
You can help battle that force by joining the campaign
to stop Esso/Exxon from fuelling war by fuelling the world's