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Dissent cable to Secretary of State John Kerry

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abuayisha View Drop Down
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    Posted: 20 June 2016 at 12:17pm
Fifty-one mid-level U.S. diplomats have written a dissent cable to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the Obama administration to conduct military strikes against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stop its "persistent violations of a cease-fire in the country's five-year-old civil war."

The mid-level diplomats, who have been involved in the U.S. policy toward Syria over the past five years, believe that "a judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process" and would put pressure on the Assad government to negotiate with the moderate opposition.

The officers wrote that the Syrian government's barrel bombing of civilians is the "root cause of the instability that continues to grip Syria and the broader region...The moral rationale for taking steps to end the deaths and suffering in Syria, after five years of brutal war, is evident and unquestionable. The status quo in Syria will continue to present increasingly dire, if not disastrous, humanitarian, diplomatic and terrorism-related challenges."

The dissent cable concludes, "It is time that the United States, guided by our strategic interests and moral convictions, lead a global effort to put an end to this conflict once and for all."
I can understand their frustration, but from a different point of view.

I served 16 years as a U.S. diplomat. But, 13 years ago in late February 2003 I wrote a dissent cable to Secretary of State Colin Powell expressing my strong concerns about the Bush administration's hot rhetoric about the need for regime change in Iraq and predicted the chaos that a U.S.invasion and occupation would have.

My dissent had no effect on the Bush administration and three weeks later on the eve of the beginning of the war on Iraq, I sent Colin Powell another cable -- this time with my resignation.

I was OPPOSING the use of military force for regime change that was couched in the terminology of allegations of weapons of mass destruction. These 51 US diplomats are lobbying FOR military action, essentially for regime change couched in the words of "bring Assad to the negotiating table."

None of us condone the Assad's government dropping horrific barrel bombs on anyone, but after seeing the chaos of Iraq and Libya after their leaders were removed by U.S. military action, I fail to understand how removing Assad by US military force will have any other result than increasing chaos and violence in Syria and giving an opening for groups to gain control that may perpetrate even worse violence on the people of Syria.

Although I don't know the names or history of the diplomats who signed the dissent cable, as mid-level officers they probably worked in the State Department 10-15 years and have known nothing but US wars since 2001 -- 15 years of war.

War is the U.S. government norm and their viewpoints seem to be coming from that perspective, despite some resounding non-violent successes to address political disagreements in Cuba and Iran.

The U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were the matches that lit the fires in Libya and Syria, brought thousands of international mercenary fighters to the region and precipitated the terrible attacks in Paris, Brussels, San Bernadino and possibly Orlando.

Sadly and dangerously, the diplomats who signed this letter either do not recognize or do not care that attempting to bomb Assad for regime change may satisfy Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, our "allies" in blood, but would create an even stronger anti-American blaze in the region and around the world that could be uncontrollable.

Ann Wright is a 29-year US Army/Army Reserves veteran, a retired United States Army colonel and retired U.S. State Department official, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She received the State Department Award for Heroism in 1997, after helping to evacuate several thousand people during the civil war in Sierra Leone. She is most noted for having been one of three State Department officials to publicly resign in direct protest of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Wright was also a passenger on the Challenger 1, which along with the Mavi Marmara, was part of the Gaza flotilla. She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. In December, 2001 she was on the small team that reopened the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.
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