Mary Anne Wright resigned her post as deputy chief of mission in Mongolia on March 19, 2003, "the day before the United States launched air strikes on Baghdad" because "Wright decided she could no longer represent a government whose foreign policy she found indefensible." Wright sent Secretary of State Colin L. Powell a three-page typed letter in which she wrote: "'All my life I've been a public servant, and with every administration there are things that you personally may have to hold your nose and go, 'Oh, God,' says Wright, a retired Army colonel who joined the foreign service in 1987." 
"'But," she continues, "I never felt so strongly about any of them that I felt that I could not figure out how to either divorce myself from the policy so I wouldn't have to do any representing of it or else handle the PR work of whatever that policy was. I felt I could not support this administration's decision to go into Iraq, and when you disagree with a policy that feels like kind of a cornerstone--I morally felt that I could not participate in it.'" 
Tracy Hukill writes that "Wright arrived at her decision in January 2002, while watching President George W. Bush's State of the Union address on television in Kabul. Wright was sharing a two-room bunker with the four other diplomats assigned to the bare-bones U.S. embassy in Afghanistan (and, surely not pleasantly, sharing one toilet and one shower with 100 Marines) when Bush announced to the world that Iraq, Iran and North Korea had hereby been designated an 'axis of evil.'
"Wright recalls," Hukill says, "'We looked at each other and said, 'What? Why are they doing this now?' Over the next 14 months she watched, dismayed, while 130,000 troops amassed in Kuwait even as the Bush administration ignored Israel and Palestine, refused talks with North Korea and imposed what she considered the 'unnecessary curtailment' of civil liberties under the Patriot Act I. But what really chapped her was the abandonment of Afghanistan--planned, she now believes, from the moment Bush stepped into office. 'Having served for six months in Afghanistan and having seen personally how far we had to go to bring the security environment into one that you could really start working on civil reconstruction of the country,' she shakes her head. 'If we had had that 130,000 troops we put in Iraq and put them into Afghanistan a year ago, things would be a hell of a lot different in Afghanistan. We've squandered time that we could have been using to wrap up Al Qaeda for a purpose that had nothing at all to do with the war on terrorism.'
"Another irritant to Wright, who worked on contingency war plans for Iraq in the 1980s, was the scuttling of those plans, which called for something on the order of 300,000 troops, including a substantial deployment of civil affairs people and military police to guard infrastructure. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, fearing public outrage, cut it short--and now Americans have to pay for looting, infrastructure damage and the rest. Furthermore, she predicts a major troop drawdown between June 30 and the November 2. 'What we are paying as citizens for reconstructing Iraq should be a bill given to the big money guys of this administration--George Bush, Cheney - let those millionaires, those multimillionaires, pay for the ridiculous waste of money to rebuild that country,' Wright says."
- Veterans for Common Sense, Member, Board of Advisors 
- International Advisory Board, Save Jeju Island 
- Advisory Board, World BEYOND War 
Related SourceWatch resources
- Tracy Hukill, "Conscientious Objectors," Tom Paine, March 30, 2004.