Colonel Ann Wright, US Army (ret.)
Former US diplomat and author
What’s it going to take to end the illegal and unjust war and occupation of Iraq? I believe a critical part of the answer is support for the troops who refuse. That’s why I’m asking you to support and contribute to Courage to Resist. [donation info]
I served 29 years in the US Army/Army Reserves. When my government attacked Iraq, I was one of three US diplomats to resign in protest. I resigned my career on principle. Today, I fully support US military personnel who, in acts of conscience, refuse to fight in wars of aggression.
As a retired US Army Colonel, I know very well that the military depends on the obedience of its servicemembers. On the other hand, I’ve spoken with many international law professors, attorneys, and military personnel who have unequivocally concluded that our government’s attack on Iraq—an oil-rich, Arab, Muslim country that had not attacked the US—was illegal and unjustified. I agree.
Last year I testified in Iraq War objector Army Lieutenant Ehren Watada’s Article 32 (pre-court-martial) proceeding. I explained to the military hearing officer that our soldiers do have a responsibility to refuse to participate in illegal actions, and a war of aggression is an illegal action—in fact, it is a war crime. Any soldier, sailor, airperson or marine who comes to this same conclusion most certainly should have the right to refuse. By law and military regulation, they are actually duty bound to refuse. It is this duty that is at the heart of the actions taken by most resisters.
Some General officers on active duty during the Iraq invasion and occupation have spoken out publicly—but after their retirements. So far it’s been our younger servicepersons who have risked their reputations, careers, and possibly their freedoms in challenging illegal orders and policy. Taking a stand of conscience while in the military requires courage and bravery. I believe we must uphold—and dare I say, encourage—these acts.
Some resisters are speaking the truth while remaining in the military. Others refuse to continue to participate in military service altogether and face the consequences of that decision, whether it be a court martial or living in another country away from family and friends.
I have traveled to Canada several times to meet with our war resisters who have sought sanctuary there. I know it means a lot to them knowing that people back home support them as well.
I hope everyone who is against this war will support Courage to Resist. It is an organization that provides crucial help to the men and women of our military who resist illegal war, while also organizing a powerful movement of civilian support for this resistance.
—Ann Wright March 5, 2008
P.S. In my new book “Dissent: Voices of Conscience” I’m proud to feature profiles and statements by a number of resisters with whom Courage to Resist has worked closely, including Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia, Katherine Jashinski, and Brandon Hughey. Some of these people have become personal friends of mine—all of them are an inspiration. For your donation of $100 or more, you’ll get a copy of my new book if you ask!