By Ann Wright
51 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 Syrian 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 sixteen years as a U.S. diplomat. But, thirteen 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 http://adst.org/2014/07/an-iraq-war-dissent/
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.
About the Author: Ann Wright served 29 years in the US Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel. She also served 16 years as a U.S. diplomat in U.S. Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. After sending a dissent cable on the pending Iraq war, she resigned from the U.S. Department of State in March, 2003. She is the co-author of “Dissent: Voices of Conscience.”