Letter to President Bush from Former U.S. Diplomats

April 30, 2004 

President George W. Bush 
The White House 
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW 
Washington, DC 

Dear Mr. President: 

We former U.S. diplomats applaud our 52 British colleagues who recently sent a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair criticizing his Middle East policy and calling on Britain to exert more influence over the United States. As retired foreign service officers we care deeply about our nation's foreign policy and U.S. credibility in the world. 

We also are deeply concerned by your April 14 endorsement of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's unilateral plan to reject the rights of three million Palestinians, to deny the right of refugees to return to their homeland, and to retain five large illegal settlement blocs in the occupied West Bank. This plan defies U.N. Security Council resolutions calling for Israel's return of occupied territories. It ignores international laws declaring Israeli settlements illegal. It flouts U.N. Resolution 194, passed in 1948, which affirms the right of refugees to return to their homes or receive compensation for the loss of their property and assistance in resettling in a host country should they choose to do so. And it undermines the Road Map for peace drawn up by the Quartet, including the U.S. Finally, it reverses longstanding American policy in the Middle East. 

Your meeting with Sharon followed a series of intensive negotiating sessions between Israelis and Americans, but which left out Palestinians. In fact, you and Prime Minister Sharon consistently have excluded Palestinians from peace negotiations. Former Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo voiced the overwhelming reaction of people around the world when he said, "I believe President Bush declared the death of the peace process today." 

By closing the door to negotiations with Palestinians and the possibility of a Palestinian state, you have proved that the United States is not an even-handed peace partner. You have placed U.S. diplomats, civilians and military doing their jobs overseas in an untenable and even dangerous position. 

Your unqualified support of Sharon's extra-judicial assassinations, Israel's Berlin Wall-like barrier, its harsh military measures in occupied territories, and now your endorsement of Sharon's unilateral plan are costing our country its credibility, prestige and friends. 

It is not too late to reassert American principles of justice and fairness in our relations with all the peoples of the Middle East. Support negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, with the United States serving as a truly honest broker. A return to the time-honored American tradition of fairness will reverse the present tide of ill will in Europe and the Middle East-even in Iraq. Because the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the core of the problems in the Middle East, the entire region-and the world-will rejoice along with Israelis and Palestinians when the killing stops and peace is attained. 


Andrew I. Killgore    Ambassador to Qatar, 1977-1980 
Richard H. Curtiss    Former chief inspector, U.S. Information Agency 
Colbert C. Held    Retired FSO and author 
Thomas J. Carolan    Counsel General Istanbul, 1988-1992 
C. Edward Bernier    Counselor of Embassy, Information and Culture, Islamabad, Pakistan 
Donald A. Kruse    American Consul in Jerusalem 
Ambassador Edward L. Peck    Former Chief of Mission in Iraq and Mauritania 
John Powell    Admin Counselor in Beirut, 1975-1976 
John Gunther Dean    Former U.S. Ambassador to India 
Greg Thielmann    Director, Office for Strategic Proliferation Military Affairs, Bureau of Intelligence and Research 
James Akins    Ambassador to Saudi Arabia 
Talcott Seeyle    Ambassador to Syria 
Eugene Bird    Counselor of Embassy in Saudi Arabia 
Richard H. Nolte    Ambassador to Egypt 
Ray Close    Chief of Station Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 1971-1979 
Shirl McArthur    Commercial Attache, Bangkok

Source: Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

  Category: Americas, World Affairs
  Topics: Foreign Policy, George W. Bush, Middle East, Tony Blair
Views: 3834

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Older Comments:
William James Martin of Counerpunch.org states through his excellent journalistic research:

"The suicide bombings inside Israel, the first of which only occurred in 1994, after 25 years of occupation, is only a side show. That is a symptom and long way from the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Further read on as to the root causes of the current crisis in Israel, and rest assured, the more you, Mike D, and those who believe suicide bombing is the problem, well guess what, think again...learn some history before you fall prey to a vicious finger pointing game against an oppressed, ghettoized people - read William James Martin's article, from an American perspective will ya? How does that sound?



What would a day be without a diatribe from you about my governments support about Israel. I'll say again my governments policy towards Israel doesn't necessarily reflect that of every American (we being a democracy and all). I'm not debating about my governments policy I'm simply stating my hatred towards terrorist thinking and acts. Learn to seperate the two and we can dialogue. For example I live in New York have all my life. My father was a NYC firefighter. I know ten men who died September 11th. They were firemen who ran into the building to try and save peoples lives. While I hate the terrorists who commited this crime. I wouldn't blame all Muslims or sanction any sort of violent action against them. i.e. suicide bombings towards Muslims. That's my point, no matter what someone does, horrendous acts against innocents should be condemned. TWO WRONGS DON'T MAKE A RIGHT. Remember that Akbar, I couldn't help but notice that you used that one a day after I wrote that to you so I understand you get its meaning. Try to seriously look at both sides, that seems to be a lot of Muslims problems. As far as having vitriol towards Islam I definitely don't I've read parts of the Quran and it seems like a great religion. However honestly to me there doesn't seem to be a lot of true followers of this religion amongst Mulims. A lot of Muslims to me seem hate filled, and subscribers to conspiracy theory monthly. Just an observatiopn. In all fairness as a Catholic I'll also admit there are very few true followers of Christianity too. See that honest introspection it's a beuatiful thing.

Just like how Israeli govt. and Israeli people use the attacks of suicide bombers to cover up their own crimes and murders of Palestinians, double the number of Israeli's, in the same way, you Mike D, Americans like you, and the Bush administration are using the Nick Berg decapitation as an excuse to further this rhetoric of "either your with us, or your with the terrorists" BS. If you were really interested in peace, you'd speak out against the illegal occupation of Iraq, and the illegal occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Berg's murder goes completely against Islam and the Qur'an which states the killing of innocent civilians in a war zone are acts of disbelief (kufr).

That being said, you should come to realize that that your military and government are starting to behave exactly like the IDF soldiers and the Likud Party. State terrorism is just as evil, and more dangerous than terrorism. until you can come to terms with that, I won't be able to get through to you....Just like Nick Berg's father has said, the U.S. military's denial of them ever holding Nick Berg in custody is a slap in his father's face and a lie. His father blames the CPA for endangering his son's safety.

Whether you like it or not, Palestinians aren't going to sit around and let one of the most powerful armies whom they cannot trust one ounce, to crush them and destroy and usurp their lands. Killing Shaikh Ahmed Yassin a man in a wheelchair all his life, did not stop Hamas, killing Abdul Aziz-Rantissi has not stopped Hamas...if this is your answer to rooting out "terror" I suggest you take a second look at Hamas and the PLO, and how Yasser Arafat the great terrorist you call has been confined to his headquarters for more than two years, or how Israeli forces illegally enter Lebanon and attack them..or try to capture the Golan HEights over and over. B/C of ZIONISM, something against Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. www.nkusa.co

obviously you came to this website very angry at first, not because you believe in peace, and I quote from your first post on this page:

"Under US policy we cannot negotiate with terrorists. As long as Yasser Arafat and organizations like the PLO, Al Aqsas Martyrs Brigade, hamas... continue to run Palestine and a legitimate government dedicated to the peace process is installed. Dealing or negotiating with that country would go against our policy of negotiating with terrorist organizations. I'm surprised the author didn't know that being a diplomat and all. Basiccally if we supported Palestine the terrorists win."

Oh ok, but you negotiate with Ariel Sharon a war criminal who massacred 50,000 Palestinians in Sabra and Shatilla? You started with the one sided condemnation, therefore you should go look at yourself bud, stop passing the buck around.

It seems as if your logic is quite "skewed" from the get go, as you accuse me of being filled with anger and rage, Mike D, if words hurt you so badly and you draw conclusions so easily about a man, what does that say about your clear vitriol against Islam, as you clearly said you want nothing to do with Islam, just because you cannot engage in a simple debate? If you're going to give up that easily, well then that's your decision. Clearly, your comments throughout this website display your hostility towards Islam the peaceful religion, and have nothing to do with my comments, point and fact.

You also accuse me of being a terrorist, it seems that's what many Americans are best at doing to Muslims, labeling them as being terrorists or "collaborators) because they don't think like you. It's laughable that you actually said that since I am quite "Westernly educated" and born here in Canada and grew up with Canadian anglo-saxon friends and participate in this parliamentarian system, and have been all my life. Did you ever wonder, that Muslims see people who htink like you as terrorists?


You are obviously skating the question, I take your avoidance of the question, as you do support terrorism in defense if Islam. Therefore I don't consider you a muslim anyway. Also because my government supports Israel doesn't mean that I do. I never said I did, you're rolling my governments foreign policy in as my personal opinons on the subject. You sound like a man full of rage and anger Akbar. And if you're a representative of Islam, no thanks. Religion should fill a man with peace, not anger and vitriol. Try to mellow out and realize that not every American is a colloborator with IDF. Most Americans don't support Israel. They support there right to exist but feel they should give land back and let the Palestinians back in for peace. Simply you're impossible to talk to. You don't answer any questions, you don't take an honest introspective look at yourself or your opinions. You simply go off on these verbose diatribes about Israel.


Let me ask you a simple question Mike D...

why were Rachel Corrie, Tom Hurndall, James Miller killed in Palestine?

Answer this one too...

What were they doing there?

How about this one....

Why were they murdered?

I got one more for you...

Just like the artist formerly known as Nick Cameron, you cannot get it through that thick box you have built inside your head, that if you were a Palestinian boy...and you saw your Mother's guts splattered across the kitchen floor, and your father's brains on your living room wall...and you're a four year old impressionable boy watching Israeli Defence Forces doing this, what would you want to grow up to become?

No let me ask you this...who gave you the God given right to condemn and blame all of Palestine for boys who are strapped with bombs when your government assists Israel in fordbidding even the Palestinian Authority from acquiring basic weapons to defend themselves, like guns!???

Go look at the Palestinian Ministry of Culture, and the shit and piss smeared on the walls and in the photo copy machine, left courtesy of the IDF...and the dropping of 1000 lbs. bombs and torpedo missiles on innocent homes and PALESTINIAN GHETTTOS?

The rule is, educate yourself about Islam before you even try to question my faith. God is my judge, your words hold no weight when it comes to my beliefs.

I believe it is in fact Americans like yourself who are impossible to talk with and reason with, with such a limited ability to understand and grasp something simple, outside of your U.S. Media conglomerate thinking sphere - obviously a vital source of "knowledge" for you.

Can you comprehend 70+ U.N. resolutions against the actions of Israel? SO is the entire world wrong, and America right, when it vetoes every resolution condemning the actions of the Israeli theocracy?

Wake up from your American Dream, or else that's exactly what you will become by sticking your nose where it

Akbar it's the logic you are using that leaves it impossible to dialogue with a lot of Muslims. Why can't you just say strapping bombs to impressionable children to kill other civilians is wrong? Seriously just say it you know it is, and it is cowardice. And just because my government supports Israel I have no right to voice my opinion? Who wrote that rule? Is that in your rule book I apologize I didn't read it before posting here. It's a cowardly way to fight period! Israel aside, UN, USA..... using your children to strap bombs and blow people up is cowardice. I'm certain it's in direct contradiction of Islam's teachings too. So if you support that behavior what kind of Muslim does that make you? Would Muhammed fight in such a way? I seriously doubt he would, nor would he endorse that activity if he were here right now. So Akbar I ask do you support using terrorism like suicide bombings to promote Islam or as a means of warfare? If you do I couldn't take you seriously as a Muslim anyway.

To go on further from what I had previously said, Theodor Hertzl, the founder and mastermind of the Zionist movement wrote this on March 10th, 1896:

"The Rev William H. Hechler, chaplain to the British Embassy in Vienna, called on me.A likable, sensitive man with the long grey beard of a prophet, he waxed enthusiastic over my solution. He, too, regards my movement as a "prophetic crisis" - one he foretold two years ago. For he had calculated in accordance with a prophecy dating from Omar's reign (637-638) that after 42 prophetical months, that is, 1,260 years, Palestine would be restored to the Jews. This would make it 1897-1898.

When he read my book [Der Judenstaat (the Jewish state), 1896], he immediately hurried to Ambassador Monson and told him: "The for-ordained movement is here!"

He wants to place my movement to be a "Biblical" one, even though I proceed rationally in all points.

He wants to tract the hands of some German princes... he knows the German Kaiser and thinks he can get me an audience (2)."

Now if you have some knowledge about who Theodor Hertzl is, and who Reverand William Hechler are, then you would knwo that they both conspired together in a fanatical Zionist, and Christian Zionist cooperation in order to ruin the state of Palestine and forcingly create this artificial state of Israel which we see today; the usurping of Palestinian lands as we see is an ongoing process even today by the development of settlement outposts within the occupied territories.

Hechler was one of those armageddon-bound type of people who wanted to be a missionary for the Jews and be labeled as their leader. He was though, fooled into trusting the Ashkenazi Theodor Hertzl... as Hechler was always talking about this "Promised Land" and Hertzl's own confession of not being a religious man. This goes to show where the foundation of Israel really lies...in a Christian Doomsdayer, and an Ashkenazi Jew with athiestic tendencies.

Mike D - - Once you stop your government from being involved in providing military aid and financial funding to the government of Israel, then you haev every right to criticize both sides. But SINCE your government continues to sponsor and endorse Israeli State Terrorism, you are in no position to be accusing Palestinians of being right or wrong. That being said, I will remind you again, you are not an honest peace broker, as your government has demonstrated, and so have you. Just because you have recognized Palestine's right to defend itself, you cannot even begin to understand what it is like for them until you put yourself in their shoes. Stop your narrow-minded, one side condemnation and outrage against an oppressed, morally deprived, starving, and murdered people - Frankly, your one-sided condemnation is appalling everytime I hear it and used to hear it from many who used to continue posting the same gobbledeegook here as you do now. Wake up from your American dream and make a difference instead of yapping on the same story - I have read your comments on other articles and see your absolute and continuous condemnation of Muslims, yet your silence on Israel. How many Mordechai Vananu's will it take for you to wake up from your American Dream and do something instead of talking like a big shot?

Bringing your three-year old son into this discussion shows your level of desperation in somehow trying to justify your one-sided condemnation - I suggest that next time you should likewise condemn Israeli terror tactics againts Palestinians, and Ariel Sharon's war crime's past in Sabra and Shatilla if you wish to be listened to and have a genuine dialogue with Muslims who are fed up with your type.

Go read the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and Hertzl who was the first Zionist leader who created the movement to re-enter Palestine after the 12 tribes of Israel dispersed from there after King and Prophet Solomon's death (700BC)

Akbar Khan,

You're using a circular logic argument, I already stated the Palestinians have a right to fight Israel. But using suicide bombs against civilians is cowardice. Don't spout oh Israel does this. So what you're going to stoop to a level of terrorism and murdering women and children because the other does it too. Two wrongs don't make a right. Even my three year old son knows that. Does my three year old son have more sense in his head than you Akbar?

And just for your knowledge I am a man I've had shots fired at me in anger and stood my ground and fought like a man. And would never resort to targeting civilians. They're cowards plain and simple.

Mike D:

Don't feel bad about being the odd man out on issues discussed here. Healthy dissent is a good thing.

The key to resolving the Palestine/Israel crisis is disengagement...by the U.S. We should wash our hands of it all and limit our concerns to our strong relationship with Israel. That's how it has to be.

YES Mike D. Be a man...tell Israeli soldiers to be real men, tell Ariel Sharon and the Likud Theocracy members to be men, instead of dropping 500-1000 ton bombs on Palestinian houses, schools, ministries, Masjids, hospitals, et.cetera et. cetera et.cetera...if you want to be a fair and honest broker, your nation's leaders have already lost that priveledge, since they did not include the democratically elected Yasser Arafat in discussions, but instead side-stepped him when Bush and Sharon made their plans to not allowe 3.7 million Palestinians the right to return back to their homes of over 1000 years - and Americans nor your leaders have the priviledge of being an honest broker because, like yourself, you accuse the Palestinians of strapping bombs to their children, but to not complain about Israeli's dropping bombs and firing missiles and rampaging their tanks over and on Palestinian run down ghetto's which have already previously been bombed to oblivion. Yes....so be a MAN Mike D.


To read these replies are rediculous. The palestinians have every right to fight Israel. But strapping bombs to impressional kids, to kill civilians is a huge difference. If the Palestinians want to fight Israeli troops more power to them. But to defend the killing of civilians and call it freedom fighting, and compare it to the US fighting the revolutionary war, come on get real. It's beyond logic, targeting civilians is terrible. Be a man fight like a man, don't target kids and women and families. I have no respect for that.

I take it Nick D that you don't consider what Israel is doing to be terrorism or what the Palestinians are doing to be Homeland Defense. Would you have called the French Resistance terrorists. Or how about the Founding Fathers of the US. Would you support them being shipped off to camp X-Ray?

Have you ever read the Declaration of Independence, specifically the grievances against King George. Which of the grievances has Israel left out in its treatment of the Palestinians?

But I have a simple question for you Nick D. If the US were invaded by Mexico and the rest of the world said we should all leave and go to Canada, would you be a trader to your country or would you give your life in its defense.

I think you are either a sniveling coward or a thoughtless hypocrite. Or maybe you are one of those "dual citizens" that is more loyal to Israel than the US. Or justice and human rights for that matter.

Feel insulted? Get over it, at least you are alive. Many Palestinians aren't.

Largely because people like you can't love their neighbor as themselves sufficiently to put themselfs in their neighbors place before closing their mind and opening their mouth.

Who is the greater terrorist: the Palestinians exercising homeland defense, Israel trying to steal someone else's land, or people like you.

The solution to what you say is simple: Bush can get out of bed with Sharon and start calling what Israel is doing illegal (as it is) terrorism and what the Palestinians are doing homeland defense.

Do not ask to take the nit from your neighbors eye until you take the log from your own.

To Mike D'
Your point "we don't negotiate with terrorists" I ask who is Sharon? Who was Began or Shamir or Rabin for that matter? When Zionist were trying to establish Israel in the 30s and 40s , these exact people were known terrorists. Please check your records. It did not stop us from negotiating with each and every one of them. Somebody's terrorist is somebody's freedom fighter and we should quit this double standard. Reality is that Arafat is the Palestinian leader who struggled for this cause for years and is the chosen president of Palestine.

To Mike D. You do not negotiate with terrorist right but when it got too hot for you in faluja you decided to negotiate yourself with terrorist baathists. What a croock you never get tired of self deception you Americans

Under US policy we cannot negotiate with terrorists. As long as Yasser Arafat and organizations like the PLO, Al Aqsas Martyrs Brigade, hamas... continue to run Palestine and a legitimate government dedicated to the peace process is installed. Dealing or negotiating with that country would go against our policy of negotiating with terrorist organizations. I'm surprised the author didn't know that being a diplomat and all. Basiccally if we supported Palestine the terrorists win. We proved to every terrorist organization. That if you want something strap a bomb to your youth and start murdering people. Eventually they'll give in and you'll get what you want. We would open ourselves up to even more terrorist attacks. So we just couldn't take a stand like that, no matter how unfair we seem, our hands are tied on the issue. And organizations like AL Quaida, PLO, Hamas are the ones who ties them. And now the Palestinians and Iraqis feel the brunt. It stinks but it is what it is and can't change.

This might be a moot point now, since Likud has rejected Sharon's plan. Anyways, we should probably take ourselves out of the peace process and let the parties duke it out. It's sad, but I don't think we can do anything about it. The past decade has proved that much.