By Scott Galindez 2/5/07

I first met Ann Wright in the basement of the US Capitol in June of 2005. We were waiting for a chance to get into Congressman John Conyers’s hearings on Iraq. The Republican Congress wouldn’t let the hearing take place in a hearing room, so the room that the meeting took place in was not big enough for all the press and public to get in. Ann was talking about starting a 24-hour encampment in front of the White House. That is the level of commitment Ann Wright brings to the cause of ending the war in Iraq.

Ann’s opposition to the Iraq War did not start in June of 2005. She resigned from the State Department on March 23, 2003. In her letter to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, she wrote:

This is the only time in my many years serving America that I have felt I cannot represent the policies of an administration of the United States. I disagree with the administration’s policies on Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, North Korea and curtailment of civil liberties in the US itself. I believe the administration’s policies are making the world a more dangerous, not a safer, place. I feel obligated morally and professionally to set out my very deep and firm concerns on these policies and to resign from government service as I cannot defend or implement them.
Ann Wright served 29 years in the US Army Reserve, achieving the rank of colonel, and served 16 years as a US diplomat.

In 1997, Wright managed the evacuation of the US Embassy in Sierra Leone, and of Americans living there when a coup d’état took place. She assisted in the evacuation of a number of diplomats from other countries, as well, and was given the State Department Award for Heroism for her work.

In December of 2001, Wright helped reopen the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. A few months later, she said the administration’s preoccupation with Iraq began to show in its slackening efforts to support rebuilding Afghanistan and fostering the roots of diplomacy on the ground.

Since that first meeting in the Capitol basement, I have had the honor to cover Ann Wright’s continued service to our country, including now as a leader of the anti-war movement. In Crawford, in August of 2005, Ann Wright’s leadership at Camp Casey was hard to overlook. Ann was referred to by many as the “Camp Casey Commandant.”

Truthout has traveled the country covering the anti-war movement, and wherever we go, Ann Wright is there providing steady leadership. We recently announced that Ann was one of three recipients of our first annual Freedom and Democracy Award. I’m sure I will see her soon. Wherever there is an important event calling for peace, Ann Wright will be there, leading by example.

Scott Galindez is the Managing Editor of Truthout.