Mr. Keisling is a career State Department official who has served under 4 presidents. His first loyalty is to the US, he is quitting because he cannot support the current administration's policy.
Thursday, February 27, 2003 Posted: 6:36 PM EST (2336 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The State Department expressed regret Thursday over the decision of a veteran career diplomat to resign because of President Bush's "fervent pursuit of war with Iraq."
J. Brady Kiesling, political officer at the U.S. embassy in Athens, said in a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell that Bush's policies are "driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon" for the past century.
The letter was quoted by The New York Times. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher confirmed that Powell had received a letter from Kiesling.
"This is a place where people have all kinds of ways of expressing their views," Boucher said. "It's too bad the gentleman didn't feel he could continue in the Foreign Service, given his views. But these things happen."
A State Department official, speaking privately, said the views among department officials about Iraq tend to mirror the same divisions present in American society as a whole.
Kiesling has been a diplomat for about 20 years and had postings in the Middle East, Armenia and Greece.
In 1994, Kiesling received the William R. Rivkin Award "for constructive dissent" from the American Foreign Service Association, the professional organization of the U.S. Foreign Service.
The award recognizes midlevel officers "who have demonstrated the courage to challenge the system from within, no matter the issue or the consequences of their actions." <<<