As a diplomat and a member of the U.S. military, I served my country for almost thirty-five years in some of the most isolated and dangerous parts of the world, such as Somalia, Sierra Leone, and Afghanistan. Although I wanted to continue to serve America, in March 2003 I resigned from my position as a foreign-service officer and senior diplomat because I didn't believe in many of the policies of the Bush administration and I couldn't defend or implement them. Two other senior diplomats, John Brady Kiesling and John H. Brown, also resigned in opposition to the Iraq war.
I disagreed with the Bush administration's policies on Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, North Korea, and curtailment of civil liberties in the United States -- these policies, I believed were making the world a more dangerous, not a safer, place.
For example, U.S. miliary action in Iraq created deep chasms in important international organizations and in the international community, alienating many of our allies. I strongly disagreed with the use of a "preemptive attack" against Iraq, a move that seemed destined to be used against us -- with the United States setting the precedent, what was to stop our enemies from "preemptively attacking" America and American citizens? We gave extremist Muslims a further cause to hate America and handed moderate Muslims a reason to join the extremists.
The above is an excerpt from Mary Ann Wright's "Essential Dissent" from CODEPINK's Stop The Next War Now (page 21).
Mary Ann Wright's resignation letter is available online. Wright was among those testifying at the Conyers Hearing on the Downing Street Memo. Apian at Daily Kos has posted her testimony:
The Downing Street memos are very important as they provide evidence that solid, consistent legal judgments on the illegality of the war were overturned for political expediency. Additionally, the Downing Street memos provide information on actions the Bush administration took to provoke the Iraqi regime to respond in ways the administration would use to justify a war. According to the Downing Street memos, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld called the provocations "spikes in activity." These "spikes" were the resumption in bombing of targets in Iraq. In March 2002 no bombs were dropped on the south of Iraq but in April ten tons were dropped and increased to 54.6 tons in September, 2002, alone. But the Iraqis did not respond to the dramatic increase in bombing. No one knows how many innocent Iraqi civilians were killed by the resumption in bombing-a resumption for the sole purpose of inciting retaliation that could be used to justify an otherwise unjustifiable war. (www.hansard.org is the UK website where answers to Parliamentary questions are found, including the information on tons of bombs dropped in 2002.)
The US media has been incredibly unprofessional in failing to cover the May 1 disclosure of the Downing Street memos in the UK press. Even today, the June 15 Washington Post editorial claims there is nothing new in the memos. I would correct them--there is much important new material in the memos--the concern of the British in the lack of a strategy to deal with post-war Iraq, a strategy that did not develop in the year after the memo and that two years later is non-existent; the lack of legal basis for the war; the fixing of intelligence to attempt to justify the war. These are facts now that should be "spikes of activity" of a press and of a citizenry to hold accountable an administration that holds no one accountable for illegal actions.
Note that Marti Hiken "Understanding the U.S. Military" is being skipped over. That's not a slight to Hiken (or the National Lawyers Guild) but her section (pages 19-20) is on an issue Michael (Blogger Mike?) has made a point to address repeatedly so I'll let him have first crack at this.
Again, this is an important book. Hopefully you've already found something that's raised your interest in the book. If not, we've got more pages to go through.
For those keeping track, we've now excerpted from Cindy Sheehan's "From Cindy to George," Nancy Lessin's "Breaking The Code Of Silence," Camilo Mejia's "Regaining My Humanity," Arundhati Roy's "Introduction," Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans preface, and Alice Walker's foreword. In addition, Dallas has provided a list of all the contributors to CODEPINK's Stop The Next War Now.
On May 4th we noted this:
Code Pink has a book out entitled Stop the Next War Now. For more information, see Code Pink or BuzzFlash. The book contains contributions from a number of women this community has noted and highlighted. Among the contributors: Medea Benjamin, Amy Goodman, Barbara Lee, Naomi Klein, Eve Ensler, and Arianna Huffington.
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