By Ann Wright
Fourteen years ago on March 19, 2003, I resigned from the U.S. government in opposition to President Bush’s decision to invade and occupy oil rich, Arab, Muslim Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with the events of September 11, 2001 and that the Bush Administration knew did not have weapons of mass destruction.
In my letter of resignation, I wrote of my deep concerns about the Bush decision to attack Iraq and the predictable large number of civilian casualties from that military attack. But I also detailed my concerns on other issues– the lack of U.S. effort on resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the U.S. failure to engage North Korea to curb nuclear and missile development and the curtailment of civil liberties in the United States through the Patriot Act.
Now, three Presidents later, the problems I was concerned about in 2003 are even more dangerous a decade and a half later. I am glad I resigned from the U.S. government fourteen years ago. My decision to resign has allowed me to speak publicly in the United States and around the world on issues that jeopardize international security from the perspective of a former U.S. government employee with 29 years of experience in the U.S. Army and sixteen years in the U.S. diplomatic corps.
As a U.S. diplomat, I was on the small team that reopened the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in December 2001. Now, sixteen years later, the U.S. is still battling the Taliban in Afghanistan, as the Taliban takes more and more territory, in America’s longest war, while the graft and corruption within the Afghan government due to the mammoth U.S. funded contracts for support of the U.S. military machine continues to provide the Taliban with new recruits.
The U.S. is now fighting against ISIS, a brutal group that emerged because of the U.S. war in Iraq, but has spread from Iraq into Syria, as the U.S. policy of regime change has resulted in arming international as well as domestic Syrian groups to fight not only ISIS, but the Syrian government. The deaths of civilians in Iraq and Syria continue to rise with the acknowledgement this week by the U.S. military that it is “likely” that a U.S. bombing mission killed over 200 civilians in one building in Mosel.
With U.S. government acquiescence, if not complicity, the Israeli military has attacked Gaza three times in the past eight years. Thousands of Palestinians have been killed, tens of thousands have been wounded and the homes of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been destroyed. Over 800,000 Israelis now live in illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian lands in the West Bank. Israeli government has built hundreds miles of separation apartheid walls on Palestinian land which separate Palestinians from their farms, schools and employment. Brutal, humiliating checkpoints purposely attempt to degrade the spirit of Palestinians. Israeli only highways have been built on Palestinian lands. The theft of Palestinian resources has ignited a worldwide, citizen-led boycott, divestment and sanctions program. Imprisonment of children for throwing rocks at occupation military forces has reached crisis levels. Evidence of the Israeli government’s inhumane treatment of Palestinians has now been formally called “apartheid” in a United Nations report that resulted in massive Israeli and U.S. pressure on the U.N to withdraw the report and force the Under Secretary of the U.N. who commissioned the report to resign.
The North Korean government continues to call for negotiations with the U.S. and South Korea for a peace treaty to end the Korean War. U.S. rejection of any discussions with North Korea until North Korea ends its nuclear program and increased U.S.-South Korean military drills, the last one named “Decapitation” has resulted in the North Korean government to continue its nuclear testing and missile projects.
The war on civil liberties of citizens of the U.S. under the Patriot Act resulted in unprecedented surveillance through cellphones, computers and other electronic devices, massive illegal data collection and indefinite, perpetual storage of private information of not only U.S. citizens, but all inhabitants of this planet. The Obama war on whistleblowers who have exposed various aspects of the illegal data collection has resulted bankruptcy in successfully defending against espionage charges (Tom Drake), in long jail sentences (Chelsea Manning), exile (Ed Snowden) and virtual imprisonment in diplomatic facilities (Julian Assange). In the latest twist, the new U.S. President Donald Trump has accused the former U.S. President Barack Obama of “wiretapping” his multi-billion dollar home/tower during the Presidential campaign but refused to provide any evidence, relying on the premise that all citizens have been targets of electronic surveillance.
The past fourteen years have been difficult for the world due to U.S. wars of choice and the world surveillance state. The next four years do not appear to bring any level of relief to the citizens of the planet earth.
The election of Donald Trump, the first U.S. President who has never served in any level of government, nor in the U.S. military, has brought in a short period of his presidency an unprecedented number of domestic and international crises.
In less than 50 days, the Trump administration has attempted to ban persons from seven countries and refugees from Syria.
The Trump administration has appointed to Cabinet positions the billionaire class of Wall Street and Big Oil who have the intention of destroying the agencies they are to lead.
The Trump administration has proposed a budget that will increase the U.S. military war budget by 10 percent, but slash the budgets of other agencies to render them ineffective.
The Department of State and International Affairs budget for conflict resolution by words not bullets will be slashed by 37%.
The Trump Administration has appointed a person to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who has declared Climate Chaos a hoax.
And that is just the beginning.
I am very glad I resigned from the U.S. government fourteen years ago so I could join the millions of citizens around the world who are challenging their governments when the governments violate their own laws, kill innocent civilians and wreck havoc on the planet.
About the Author: Ann Wright served 29 years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel. She served as a U.S. diplomat for sixteen years before her resignation in March 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war. She is the co-author of “Dissent: Voices of Conscience