And now some fresh pickings from the political grapevine:

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Diplomat Resigns Over Iraq Policy
A career U.S. diplomat, expressing exasperation with the Bush administration's Iraq policy, has resigned his position as political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Athens. John Brady Kiesling said in his letter of resignation: "Until this administration, it had been possible to believe that by upholding the policies of my president I was also upholding the interests of the American people and the world. I believe it no longer. Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon of both offense and defense." In closing Kiesling says to Powell, "Mr. Secretary, I have enormous respect for your character and ability...But your loyalty to the president goes too far."  State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said it is too bad Kiesling "didn't feel he could continue in the Foreign Service given his views. But these things happen."

War With Iraq Not Inevitable
Meanwhile former President George Bush last night said war with Iraq is not inevitable, especially if a broad international coalition puts the squeeze on Saddam Hussein. Speaking at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he said, "Like every last protester we've seen, the president shares the hope that this disarmament can be accomplished peacefully. There's been no rush to war, as some suggest. Saddam has had 12 years and 17 U.N. resolutions to comply and he's not done that."

Latest Campaign
And finally, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling its latest campaign, "Holocaust on Your Plate," and comparing the killings of chickens and pigs to the slaughter of Jews in Nazi death camps. Jewish groups and Holocaust survivors worldwide have expressed outrage at the ads. The Anti-Defamation League's Abraham Foxman says the campaign is "outrageous, offensive and takes chutzpah to new heights." But a PETA spokesman says, "The point is that the mindset that made the Holocaust possible is the same mindset that makes possible the mass slaughter of animals for food."