by Agence France-Presse –
ATHENS (AFP) – A former US diplomat who resigned over the Iraq war described US President George W. Bush as a “very weak” man led by the hand into battle by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Brady Kiesling, who was political counselor at the US embassy in Athens at the time of his resignation in February, said in an open letter published by Greek daily To Vima that Rumsfeld exploited the war to increase his own power.
Kiesling — whose warning that US aims in Iraq were “incompatible with American values” struck a chord with the predominantly anti-war Greeks — described Bush as “a politician who badly wants to appear strong but in reality is very weak.”
He said Rumsfeld led Bush by the hand into war, marginalized the secret services who had doubts about the war, and emerged as the top politician in Washington.
“Easy to convince, (Bush) blindly believed in Rumsfeld’s assurances that the occupation of Iraq would pay for itself,” Kiesling said. “The longer we remain in Iraq, the more the resistance to the American presence is going to be a source of legitimacy for the extremists,” he said. He called for an expanded role for the United Nations and the European Union in the reconstruction of Iraq.
Kiesling said he regretted that US intelligence services had not spoken out about untruths concerning Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, which he added had humiliated the United States and damaged its closest ally, Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain.