WAR IN IRAQ
*Former diplomat lauded for anti-war position*
By Lisa Bendele / Princetonian Staff Writer
J. Brady Kiesling, the U.S. diplomat who publicly resigned his post in
2003 after disagreeing with President Bush's foreign policy, was awarded
the George F. Kennan Distinguished Peace-Leadership award Wednesday at a
ceremony in McCormick Hall.
The Coalition for Peace Action of Princeton, which created the award in
2004 to commemorate its 25th anniversary, cited Kiesling for
illustrating the wisdom, honor and courage lacking in public life today,
Coalition chairwoman Irene Goldman said.
"Kiesling really worked according to his own moral compass," Goldman
said. "Students at Princeton University, especially those interested in
the public service, should find it inspiring that one can be noble in
this world. John Brady Kiesling really exemplifies what the University
hopes for its students to achieve."
Kiesling, a 20-year foreign service veteran posted in Athens, Greece,
resigned after accusing the Bush administration of choosing "to make
terrorism a domestic political tool."
Following his resignation, Kiesling taught a fall-semester course at the
University on diplomacy.
His acceptance speech focused on his recent book, "Diplomacy Lessons:
Realism for an Unloved Superpower." The purpose of the book, Kiesling
said, was to show that it is possible — indeed, morally obligatory — to
learn lessons from mistakes such as the war in Iraq.
"By writing the book, I was able to see that there was absolutely no way
that the [United States] could achieve even the most basic moral
legitimizations for our invasion," he said.
Kiesling argued that the United States could have avoided entering Iraq
if the Bush administration had conducted a basic cost-benefit analysis.
"We try to be rational human beings," Kiesling said. "However, we were
trying to justify the invasion as rational so that it took over our
basic human moral instincts."
The buildup to war, Kiesling added, was emblematic of the current
mindset of the U.S. government. To protect the world's population, the
United States should support a balanced use of resources. Instead, he
said, "We have a nation that believes it can remain a moral superpower.
We have a nation that says, 'We can have anything, and if we need more,
we have to strength to take it.' "