Army Officer Resigns in Protest of ‘Unqualified’ U.S. Support to Israel

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An Army officer assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency has resigned in protest over the United States’ support for Israel, which he said had “enabled and empowered” the killing of Palestinian civilians.

The officer, Maj. Harrison Mann, announced his resignation and explained his reasons for leaving the service in a post on the social media site LinkedIn on Monday. According to his biography on the site, he has specialized in the Middle East and Africa for about half of his 13-year career and previously served at the U.S. Embassy in Tunis.

“The policy that has never been far from my mind for the past six months is the nearly unqualified support for the government of Israel, which has enabled and empowered the killing and starvation of tens of thousands of innocent Palestinians,” Major Mann wrote in the post, which noted that he had previously emailed his comments to co-workers on April 16. “This unconditional support also encourages reckless escalation that risks wider war.”

Reached by phone on Monday, Major Mann confirmed that he was the author of the post but declined to comment further, referring questions to the D.I.A.’s office of corporate communications.

An image from Maj. Harrison Mann’s LinkedIn profile.

It is unclear whether other military officers have resigned in protest of U.S. foreign policy since the deadly Hamas-led attacks in Israel in October ignited the war, but the resignation of an active-duty officer in protest of U.S. foreign policy is likely uncommon — especially one in which the officer makes public the reasons for doing so.

A spokeswoman for the Army was not immediately able to confirm whether other officers had resigned for similar reasons since the war began.

As the death toll in Gaza has risen, the Biden administration has faced waves of internal dissent for supporting Israel in the war. In October, Josh Paul, a State Department official in the bureau that oversees arms transfers, resigned in protest of the administration’s decision to continue sending weapons to Israel.

Major Mann said he had planned to leave the Army “at some point” but that the Gaza war led him to submit his resignation on Nov. 1 and leave his assignment at the D.I.A. early.

It is unclear when his separation from the Army will be completed.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Major Mann became an infantry officer after receiving his commission in 2011, then studied at the Army’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center in North Carolina and qualified as a civil affairs officer in 2016. About three years later, his biography states, he became a foreign area officer specializing in the Middle East.

Regional specialists are often posted at American embassies and may serve as defense attachés, who act as high-level liaisons between the Pentagon and the host nation’s military. Attachés also are trained to evaluate requests for weapons and training from foreign powers and make recommendations to State Department officials as to whether proving such aid is necessary and in line with federal laws on protecting human rights.

In his note, Major Mann said he had continued to carry out his duties at the Defense Intelligence Agency without voicing his concerns, hoping that the war would soon be over.

“I told myself my individual contribution was minimal, and that if I didn’t do my job, someone else would, so why cause a stir for nothing?” he wrote.

“My work here — however administrative or marginal it appeared — has unquestionably contributed to that support,” his post said. “The past months have presented us with the most horrific and heartbreaking images imaginable — sometimes playing on the news in our own spaces — and I have been unable to ignore the connection between those images and my duties here. This caused me incredible shame and guilt.”

“At some point — whatever the justification — you’re either advancing a policy that enables the mass starvation of children, or you’re not,” he added.

“I know that I did, in my small way, wittingly advance that policy,” the major wrote. “And I want to clarify that as the descendant of European Jews, I was raised in a particularly unforgiving moral environment when it came to the topic of bearing responsibility for ethnic cleansing.”



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