Ex-diplomat and highest ranking member of US Military to resign over Iraq war visits Ireland next week

IAWM PRESS RELEASE – 09 February 2013

-       Ex-diplomat and highest ranking member of US Military to resign over Iraq war visits Ireland next week



-       A Press Conference will be held at 11.00 am in Buswell's Hotel on Thursday February 14



-       Col. Ann Wright to speak at joint IAWM / PANA Public Meeting this Thursday 14 February, 8.00pm, Teacher’s Club, Parnell Square, Dublin, chaired by ex-MEP Patricia Mc Kenna



-       She will meet anti-war TD’s and Senators at Leinster House on Thursday 14 February



-       Renowned US Peace Activist will also visit Belfast, Galway and Shannon Airport.



The Irish Anti-war Movement (IAWM) announced today that renowned American Peace Activist, former diplomat and soldier, Col. Ann Wright will visit Ireland next week.



She will speak at a public meeting in the Teachers' Club, Parnell Sq, Dublin at 8.00pm on Thursday, February 14. The meeting is jointly organised by the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) and the Irish anti-War Movement (IAWM). Earlier on Thursday she will meet TDs and Senators who are opposed to the US and British wars and the use of Shannon as a military warport.



A Press Conference will be held at 11.00 a.m. in Buswell's Hotel on Thursday February 14.




Ann Wright grew up in Bentonville, Arkansas, and attended the University of Arkansas, where she earned a Master’s and a Law Degree. She also has a Master’s Degree in National Security Affairs from the US Naval War College. In her junior year at the University of Arkansas, she attended a three-week Army training program after meeting with a visiting Army recruiter. That experience helped inform her decision to join the service.



For 13 years Ann Wright was an active duty soldier. She spent another 16 years in the Army reserves, retiring as a Colonel. Part of her Army work was special operations in civil affairs. After Ann Wright was released from active duty, she joined the State Department. For the next 16 years, she served as a foreign diplomat in countries such as Nicaragua, Somalia, Uzbekistan, and Sierra Leone. She was on the team that reopened the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in December 2001, after the fall of the Taliban to US forces.

In all those years, Ann Wright was proud to represent America. However, on March 13, 2003, the eve of the US invasion of Iraq, Col. Ann Wright sent a letter of resignation to then Secretary of State Colin Powell. She felt that without the authorisation of the UN Security Council, the US invasion and occupation of an oil-rich, Arab Moslem country would be a disaster. Only two other State Department officials resigned at that time in protest of the imminent invasion. In a statement at the time, Col Wright said: "I have served my country for almost thirty years in some of the most isolated and dangerous parts of the world. I want to continue to serve America. However, I do not believe in the policies of this Administration and cannot--morally and professionally--defend or implement them. It is with heavy heart that I must end my service to America and therefore resign."



In an interview, Col. Wright explained that, in the Foreign Service, “Your job is to implement the policies of an administration…if you strongly disagree with any administration’s policies, and wish to speak out, your only option is to resign. I understood that and that’s one of the reasons I resigned – to give myself the freedom to talk out.”



Since resigning, patriotism for Ann Wright meant becoming an anti-war activist. She worked with Cindy Sheehan organizing Camp Casey, and appeared in the documentary “Uncovered: The Truth About the Iraq War”. She travels and lectures on foreign policy issues. She has been arrested five times in one year for protesting Bush’s policies, and has referred to herself cheerfully as a “felon for peace”. This retired Army Colonel has also recently been temporarily banned not only from two military bases for placing postcards there announcing a showing of the documentary “Sir, No Sir”, but from the US Capitol area (her case is still pending), and the National Press Club (this a lifetime ban), for voicing opinions and questions concerning Bush Administration policies and the Iraq war.






For more information:


Jim Roche, PRO Steering Committee IAWM, Tel. 087 6472737

Michael Youlton, Co Chair, Steering Committee IAWM, Tel. 086 8159487

Daryl Southern, Coordinator, Steering Committee IAWM, Tel. 085 277 6505


Website - www.irishantiwar.org


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