Ann Wright’s Conscience

Former Colonel and Diplomat against Iraq War

Ann Wright, a retired Army colonel and State Dept. diplomat, recently spoke at Sacramento City College , wearing a black t-shirt with white letters that spelled out “We shall not be silent” in Arabic and English. With blue eyes a mix of compassion and determination, she told a tale of taking a 180-degree turn from being a high-level insider on Uncle Sam’s payroll to an outsider urging an end to the Bush White House’s policies in Iraq and America.

“I resigned my position with the U.S. foreign service on March 19, 2003, after the invasion of Iraq ,” Wright said. “I thought that going to war in an oil-rich Muslim country was a recipe for trouble for us.” Two other U.S. diplomats resigned with her.

For the past five and a half years, she has been calling publicly in the U.S. and abroad for an end to the Iraq conflict. Wright joined Cindy Sheehan, the Vallejo mother whose serviceman son Casey died in Iraq, in antiwar protests outside the president’s summer home in Crawford, TX, two summers ago.

Later, Wright went to Jordan to meet with Iraqi parliamentarians to discuss their plans for a peace process in that embattled nation. Americans should pressure Congress to likewise pursue a peaceful solution to the Iraqi situation, she said.

Wright admits to not being a pacifist, having been involved in military actions during a government career under eight administrations. She backed the U.S. aggression in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks. Three months later, Wright was part of the initial State Department team that assisted in the reopening of a U.S. embassy in Kabul.

However, the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq is an illegal war of aggression, she said. This lawbreaking has many layers. One is the U.S. government’s torture of prisoners of war, people the Bush administration has termed “enemy combatants.” They have not been charged with a crime nor have a trial date, and apparently, are to be held until the war on terror ends at some unsaid date in the future.

The crackdown on Americans’ civil liberties is the other side of this backwards political trend, Wright said. Her critique of Bush’s domestic policies highlights several illegal actions. A recent instance is the gaining of access to citizens’ personal lives from telecom firms such as Verizon, without a court order.

Wright and Susan Dixon have written a book titled Dissent: Voices of Conscience, profiling 24 government whistle blowers here and overseas who have taken ethical and moral stands against the war on terror. One of these dissenters is Jesselyn Radack, a former Justice Department lawyer. She raised objections to the questioning of John Walker Lindh, the supposed American Taliban, with no attorney present. For her efforts, Radack was fired and put on a government no-fly list.

The CIA and other intelligence agencies have been reviewing Dissent since July, Wright said. She held up a copy of her book at SCC.

“I can’t let you look at it,” she said with a laugh, her eyes twinkling. “I signed a letter before resigning my job to let the government read writing of mine on foreign affairs and to cut out any classified information before publication.”

Yet Wright says she used only open source material to avoid that issue. “But the government can slow roll you,” she said. For more information, visit

Seth Sandronsky lives and writes in Sacramento, California. He can be reached at: Read other articles by Seth, or visit Seth's website.

One comment on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. dan elliott said on October 29th, 2007 at 7:09pm #

    Well, Seth, looks like Timing is Everthang again:)

    Making A Fuss: Pearcy & I been muttering to each other about all these “born again” ex-WarCriminals who seem to get all the attn while us never bought the okeydoke in the first place are ignored. Like how would we know shit, compared to a Colonel?

    Well okay, I WAS in the army, but I was drafted & it was a long time ago, pre-vietnam/postKorea. But it ain’t nothing I’m proud of, except a lil just to have survived it.

    So I was a Dummy too, once. Been dumb about a lot of things since, but not dumb enough to buy into the DOD trip. I can identify with a young “Troop” up to a point I guess. Except I was a draftee & always regarded the Regular Army guys who’d enlisted Voluntarily with a mixture of fear & suspicion since they all displayed nco stripes, or would shortly.

    WWII is the joker in this; some of the sergeants in our outfit had done heroic deeds on the European front in ’44/45. Like this one guy played the tuba in the division band? He’d led his squad from way behind German lines back to where Patton’s advance guard was, very hairy time of it according to the other nco’s. Nice enough guy I guess, not much of a tuba player but what the hell.

    Then there was another sergeant, been in Korea, come out Alcoholic. The other nco’s, the ossifers even, they all covered for him. Played the trumpet, pretty well even drunk out his mind. His barracks room was like a Drill Sergeant’s dream: spotless, gleaming at all times. How he did it I have no idea, every time I ever saw him he was soused to the gills. But I remember him w/fondness cuz he dug marchen to jazdup YankySnarDrump:)

    Well, I’m running on again. But I hope somebody like Rosemary J. keeps alert for possible contradictions? I mean, I think Pearcy is right, all these FOB/Fresh Off the Bandwagon types oughta act real humble when they come around people been protesten this shit for decades.

    Take it easy,