Former US diplomat cautions against Irish Nato involvement

ÁINE McMAHON - IRISH TIMES

Ann Wright, a former US diplomat and the highest ranking member of the US military to resign over the Iraq war, has cautioned against Ireland getting involved in Nato.

Ms Wright was special guest at a joint Irish Anti-War Movement/ Peace and Neutrality Alliance meeting in Dublin yesterday. She is most noted for having been one of three state department officials to publicly resign in protest at the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.

“I would urge the citizens of Ireland to really push back on this attempt to get Ireland as a part of the Nato forces. We have seen what has happened in Afghanistan and the numbers of Afghans that have been killed in by military operations,” said Ms Wright.

Ms Wright praised Ireland’s record of neutrality but warned it was now being “shopped around” by Nato. “They are trying to get Ireland to join up with them .The secretary general of Nato, Rasmussen, is here today to try and convince the Irish Government to join up with Nato,” she said.

Slippery slope

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, on a visit to Dublin this week, encouraged Ireland to get involved in more Nato projects and to develop its defence forces. Ms Wright described any involvement of Ireland with Nato as a “slippery slope”.

“It’s a much different road than working with UN forces doing peace keeping operations in Lebanon, [as] Ireland has done for a long time.”