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Nine Years Out of Government and Pinning Hopes on Those Who Challenge it!!
By Ann Wright
Nine years ago, on March 19, 2003, I resigned from the U.S. Department of State in opposition to President Bush’s war on Iraq.
A lot of water has gone under the bridge in the past nine years, but the concerns I have about our government and its policies have only grown—with the second 4 years of President Bush and now 3 years of President Obama.
U.S. policies continue to elicit concern/hatred around the world
U.S. continues to create and implement policies that invite concern and/or hatred from most of the people of the world while governments/heads of governments continue to be coerced, bribed, and bought off to go along with whatever the United States decides is best for itself.
Ten and one-half years after the events of 9/11, America continues to consider itself a nation under siege by groups of non-state actors (al Qaida, Somali pirates and God know who else as we, the American public, are not cleared to know), and by the remainder of Bush’s Axis of Evil—Iran and North Korea.
The third of Bush's Axis of Evil, Iraq, is now free of U.S. occupation forces after 8 years, but is hardly a nation of democracy and rule of laws, very similar to the United States in the past ten years of its War on Global Terrorism where laws against torture, illegal imprisonment, assassination and entrapment have been wholesale violated by the past two Presidential administrations.
The terrible Guantanamo prison is still open, military commissions rather than federal courts will adjudicate tainted evidence stained by ten years of imprisonment for the 150 still imprisoned there.
Justice Military style with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs declaring yesterday that Bradley Manning is guilty, just like President Obama did several months ago –so why even have a court-martial?
What military jury or judge will go against the public stated opinions of the President of the United States of America (a Constitutional Law professor, who must know the impact of a statement of the President—and a law professor to boot) and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?
Iran and North Korea still are U.S. Targets
Iran and North Korea, the other Bush Axis of Evil countries, continue to be in the cross-hairs of U.S. targeting for regime change and destruction. The coordinated U.S. and Israeli war-mongering against Iran and its nuclear program—still an energy program by estimates of all intelligence agencies—and the crippling sanctions that follow the same type of inhumane and illegal sanctions wrecked upon Iraq for 8 years before the US invasion of that country, will never result in an uprising against a heavily armed government, but the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iranians, just as in Iraq, where Secretary of State Albright said that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children will be acceptable to the Obama administration.
Afghanistan: Drones and Night Raids Murder Innocent Civilians
Afghanistan is suffering tremendous civilian casualties from the U.S. invasion and occupation, as did Iraq during its US invasion and occupation. Just this past week, the U.S. maintains that only one soldier massacred 16 civilians in 3 homes in two villages, hardly believable after endless years of U.S. military night raids by squads of soldiers who killed hundreds of innocent civilians, and certainly not believable to members of the Afghanistan Parliament who have visited the area and investigated the massacre. http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/15-0
Thousands of Afghans and thousands of Pakistani civilians have been killed by U.S. military and CIA drones in the past 3 years. The Obama administration has exponentially increased the number of drone attacks in both countries. The Pakistan government has refused to allow supply convoys from the port of Karachi to travel through Pakistan to resupply US and NATO bases in Afghanistan because of the drone attacks that have killed so many Pakistanis.
Israelis Are Still Attacking Palestinians, but Palestinians Refuse to Surrender
Nine years ago, my letter of resignation http://www.govexec.com/defense/2003/03/diplomat-resigns-to-protest-war/13703/ focused on my opposition to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, but I also mentioned the lack of Bush administration effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The lack of effort has continued in the Obama administration.
In the past 3 years, all during the Obama administration, I have been to Gaza four times, the first time days after the Israeli 22 day attack on Gaza that killed 1,440, wounded 5,000 and left 50,000 homeless. I have been to Israel and to the West Bank in the past 3 years and have seen the illegal Israeli settlements, the apartheid walls and the demeaning endless checkpoints. I was a passenger on the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla that the Israeli commandos attacked and killed nine unarmed passengers and wounded 50 others. I was an organizer and a passenger on the 2011 U.S. Boat to Gaza, the Audacity of Hope.
Nine years after my resignation, the land and sea blockade of Gaza continues as do the illegal Israeli settlements, the apartheid walls and the inhumane Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank.
Other than mounting Israeli crimes on Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, not much has changed in nine years!
Massive Assault on Civil Liberties in the U.S.
In my resignation letter nine years ago, I also mentioned by concern about the curtailment of civil liberties under Bush’s Patriot Act. Bush’s illegal surveillance and wiretapping was codified into US law. Under the Obama administration we have assassinations of US citizens by drones upheld by the Attorney General as due process—not judicial process—but good enough for this administration.
We have the National Defense Authorization Act (DAAA) giving the US military rights to arrest and imprison American citizens in the United States. Whistleblowers are now charged with espionage and if you are a Muslim in America, for the tenth year in a row, you had better watch out for local, state and federal police watching your every move. Secret America has placed cameras everywhere and is monitoring your every email, Facebook and GPS connection.
Two weeks ago, Attorney General Eric Holder, in defending Obama’s decision to assassinate by drone strikes three American citizens in Yemen, said that our Constitution does not require judicial process in determining whether Americans, or anyone else, are guilty of crimes. Instead, “due process” is all that is required-due process of a political administration determining who are their enemies and executing them without a trial. This Attorney General, like the three before him—Ashcroft, Gonzalez and Mukasey, have subverted our Constitution on torture, wiretapping, illegal detention and now execution.
And because of US government policies and the curtailments of civil liberties, I firmly believe America is less secure than in 2001.
U.S. Government is Running Scared
The US Government is still running scared. It is scared of everything and everyone, including Americans who are trying valiantly to turn our country and government from a fear based society to a rational society looking at the good and the bad and how we fix the challenges.
The brutal response of police to the OCCUPY movement across the nation is an indication of the fright of government and law enforcement to those who are saying that the scare policies of our government are not working and that the extreme corporate greed, much of it coming from the tremendous amounts of money thrown to “combat terrorism” must end. The double dipping of police in most big cities of the US, of city policing by day and being the hired security squads of corporate America, has blurred to many police what their duties and responsibilities really are.
My Hope is Standing with Those Challenging U.S. Policies
Nine years after my resignation from the US government, I am proud to stand with the millions of Americans who work each day to challenge our governments at every level, to force them to respond to the needs of the people, not the needs of corporate America and the military-industrial complex!
Those who challenge our government's unlawful policies are truly the hope for our country!
About the Author:
Ann Wright is a 29 year US Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. In December, 2001 she was on the small team that reopened the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. She is the co-author of the book "Dissent: Voices of Conscience." (www.voicesofconscience.com)