On March 19, 2003, President George W. Bush, Jr. launched the illegal, unjust and immoral Iraqi War. On that same day, Mary A. “Ann” Wright submitted her resignation to the then-Secretary of State, Colin Powell. A distinguished career diplomat for the U.S. government for over 16 years, with 29 years of honorable service in the US Army/Army Reserves, as well, she “disagreed with starting a war with Iraq without the authorization of the UN Security Council.” She also underscored her strong opposition to the administration’s “unbalanced policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the lack of policy on North Korea and the unnecessary curtailment of civil liberties in the U.S. under the Patriot Act.” (1)
I caught up with Ms. Wright, at the historic hearing, that was called by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), on June 16, 2005, to look into the leaked British documents, the “Downing St. Minutes,” a/k/a, the “Downing St. Memos.” That “smoking gun” shows that the Bush-Cheney Gang “fixed the intelligence” in order to justify its invasion of Iraq. While the hearing was proceeding, in room “HC-9,” in the basement of the U.S. Capitol, I sat down and chatted with the soft-spoken Ms. Wright in an adjoining office.
“I was very concerned,” she told me, “both from a military aspect and a diplomacy aspect, about the administration’s intention to go to war, without a UN Security Council Resolution. I thought it was a great folly for the U.S. to go off on its own. Right now, so many American policies are disliked in the world, in particular, unbalanced policies between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The Middle East, and other Muslim areas of the world, have had great difficulties with U.S. policies for decades,” she emphasized. In her written testimony for Rep. Conyers’ congressional hearing, Wright added this note, “I believe the administration’s policies were infuriating much of the world’s population who were opposed to those policies and that those policies were making the world a more dangerous, not a safer, place. I resigned as I did not want, and could not in good conscience, represent the policies of the Bush administration, particularly the Iraq War.” (1)
Ms. Wright continued, “Invading Iraq was the height of folly. You knew what was going to happen. There were going to be lots of young men, and women, too, who are going to say, ‘I will give up my life to get the U.S. out of the Middle East.’ I feel quite certain that our uniform military knew exactly what was going to happen...Back in the early 80s, we knew the numbers of troops that we would need to go into a place, like Iraq, was about 500,000 people. The same number we used went we went into Gulf War I...and that was without trying to occupy the country.”
Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, came in for some sharp criticism from Ms. Wright on his inept handling of the Iraqi War. She charged him and others with “prosecuting the war with misfeasance which has resulted in the unnecessary loss of tens of thousands of US, coalition and Iraqi lives.” (1) She told me, “To occupy a large country, like Iraq, with the few numbers of troops that Rumsfeld thought he could get away with was pure folly. And, everybody who had been in the military knew that it was folly. In fact, we all know that the then-Chief of Staff, USA, General Eric K. Shineski told Rumsfeld that we didn’t have enough troops in the area.” I asked Ms. Wright, “What happened to Shineski after he gave that advise?” She answered, “He got canned!” Shineski told a congressional committee, the U.S. would need several hundred thousand troops to invade and occupy Iraq. Paul Wolfowitz, the then-Deputy Secretary of Defense, and a notorious Neocon, (2) told that same panel, that Shinesk’s number was “wildly off the mark.” The arrogant Wolfowitz, who never heard a shot fired in anger, is now serving as the czar of the World Bank. He was one of the “chief architects of the Iraqi War.” (3)
Ms. Wright also weighed in on the media, especially the Washington Post and its bogus claim that there is nothing new in the Downing St. Memos. She wrote that the new information shows: “Bush’s policy of provocation” towards Iraq, which was looking to elicit a response that could be used “as a rationale for war.” She was specifically referring to “the illegal bombing” leading up to the bloodstained conflict itself. (4) Ms. Wright pointed out that Rumsfeld called the provocations “spikes in activity” by agencies of the US government. It included dropping 54.6 tons of bombs on Iraq, in “September, 2002, alone.” She also wrote that “the US media was incredibly negligent and unprofessional in failing to cover the May 1st disclosure of the Downing Street Memos in the UK press.” (1)
I asked Ms. Wright if she felt vindicated by the disclosures found in the Downing St. Memos and other related documents. She answered, “Absolutely! In fact,” she continued, “it wasn’t just the Downing St. Memos that vindicated me. Tragically, it was the whole direction of our involvement in Iraq, from virtually the first days of the war that started vindicating the position of us that were against the war in Iraq. If you looked at the one year the U.S. and others looked for WMD and found nothing! If you looked at the increasing numbers of young men who have decided that they would challenge the U.S. in Iraq. And, indeed, it wasn’t ‘a walk over’ military operation as the civilian leadership of the Defense Department felt it would be.” (5)
Ms. Wright has written, that she believes that “the facts made available through the Downing Street memos” should be used by “an independent press and a concerned citizenry...to hold this administration accountable for its illegal actions.” She urged that, “The impeachment of President Bush and the criminal prosecution of the others (in his administration) should be the legacy of the Downing St. Memos.” (1)
Finally, Ms. Wright is a patriot of the highest order and a women of a laudable conscience. Her courageous opposition, as a legal and moral issue, to the war in Iraq, and her clarion calls for the truth and for justice about the insidious wrongs of the Bush-Cheney Gang, have been exemplary. Mary A. “Ann” Wright is one of the unsung heroes of our times.
1. “Ann Wright’s Written Testimony,” June 16, 2005, submitted to the Congressional hearing on the “Downing St. Minutes,” which was conducted by the Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. The document can be found at: afterdowningstreet.org.
4. As of June 23, 2005, 1728 brave American troops have died in the Iraqi War and an estimated 13,000 others have been seriously wounded. The war has also cost the taxpayers, $179 billion, with no end in sight. The innocent Iraqis who have been killed in the war number in the tens of thousands.
5. On Feb. 13, 2002, a genius in his own mind from the Washington Post, one Ken Adelman, predicted the Iraqi War “would be a cakewalk.” Whether Adelman has also acted as a journalistic mentor to his crony at the Post, the reality-challenged, Dana “The Mocker” Milbank, isn’t known.
© William Hughes 2005.
William Hughes is the author of “Saying ‘’No’ to the War Party” (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at email@example.com