Voices of the Iraq War Dissenters Ring Out

“One’s first obligation is to the moral truth buried deep inside our own souls.”

— Ex-Private First Class Joshua Key, U.S. Army [1]

From soldiers in the U.S. Army, who refused to be deployed to Iraq; to diplomats who resigned their offices rather than endorse an illegal war; to courageous whistleblowers inside the U.S. and British governments, who put themselves at risk to tell the truth about the lies that took their countries to war; this book has it all, and more. Entitled: “Dissent: Voices of Conscience,” it is co-authored by Colonel (Ret.) Ann Wright and Susan Dixon. Susan Dixon is a college professor. Colonel Wright was a high-ranking State Department diplomat, who objected to the Bush-Cheney Gang’s dastardly scheme to attack Iraq. Faithful to her duty to the U.S. Constitution, she resigned from her post rather than endorse policies that she didn’t “believe in” and could not “defend.” [2]

John Brady Kiesling, along with John Brown, are two other U.S. diplomats, who submitted their resignations over the issue of the Iraq War. The poignant letters that they wrote to the then-U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, are reprinted in full in the book. Mr. Kiesling criticized Powell: “Your loyalty to the President goes too far. We are straining beyond its limits an international system we built with such toil and treasure, a web of laws, treatise, organizations, and shared values that set limits on our foes far more effectively that it ever constrained America’s ability to defend its interest.” Mr. Brown wrote prophetically: “Throughout the globe the U.S. is becoming associated with the unjustified use of force. The President’s disregard for views in other nations, borne out by his neglect of public diplomacy, is giving birth to an ‘anti-American century.’ I joined the Foreign Service because I love our country…I’m now bringing this calling to a close, with a heavy heart for the same reason that I embraced it.”

Besides spotlighting some of the heroic voices of dissent, this book documents many of the damnable lies and flagrant half-truths, that took America into Iraq in the first place. To paraphrase that literary light, the late Mary McCarthy, just about every reason the Bush-Cheney Gang concocted to justify its pre-emptive strike on Iraq was a falsehood, including the “ands, thes and buts.” [3] Bush’s White House, literally, just made the crap up as it was going along. The book focuses on Powell’s badly-flawed presentation at the UN on Feb. 5, 2003, as just one of the prime examples of that egregious campaign of duplicity.

The authors focus on many of the prewar deceptions of the Bush-Cheney Gang, both in this country, and in the UK, too, since Bush’s poodle, the then-UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was one of the prime coconspirators in launching this conflict. To that end, the infamous “Downing Street Memos,” a/k/a the DSM, are part of the book’s Appendix. They show how the warmongering duo had intended to “use force [against Iraq] and then ‘fix the intelligence’ to support [the] decision.” The DSM were leaked to the London Times, in 2003. V.P. Dick Cheney’s role as one of the “chief architects” of the war is also highlighted, along with his then chief-of-staff, Irv “Scooter” Libby, a convicted, but pardoned felon; and Libby’s mentor, the then Deputy Sec. of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz.

Covered also in the book are the riveting stories of government insiders, who managed to get the truth out about the “machinations of our leaders,” which led to the Iraq War. Six of them are British: namely, Katharine Gun, Robin Cook, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, Clare Short, Carne Ross and Craig Murray. Denmark’s Frank Grevil and Australia’s Andrew Wilkie are two more, whose truth-telling led them to resign their government positions. Wilkie believed the U.S., UK and Australian governments’ “very deliberately distorted the intelligence in order to make uncertainty about the threat that Iraq posed seem certain.” This book underscored how Wilkie was “vilified by his government for speaking out and even received death threats from his fellow citizens.”

Another important document found in the book’s Appendix, is the notorious “Congressional Resolution of Oct. 2, 2002.” It unlawfully granted Bush the power to launch his criminal war of aggression against Iraq. I say that because I’m convinced, relying on James Madison, that “only” the Congress alone can declare war. It had no power to delegate that prerogative to anyone else. See, Art. 1, Sec. 8 (11). In any event, the fingerprints of the hawkish Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (IND-CT) and Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) are all over this instrument of mass death and mayhem. And you talk about lies, this Go-To-Endless-War Resolution is full of them. It accuses Saddam Hussein’s Iraq of possessing WMD, supporting terrorist organizations, and having ties to the 9/11 tragedy. All of which have been proven to be absolutely false!

Seven brave U.S.-based whistleblowers and/or dissenters’ stories are presented, too, in the book. They are: Bunnatine Greenhouse, Jessely Radack, Mary Ryan, Sibel Edmonds, Coleen Rowley, ex-U.S. Ambassador Joe Wilson and Russell Tice. Their accounts all make for compelling reading. They worked for agencies, like the FBI, the office of Consular Affairs at the State Department, the Justice Department and the Army Corps of Engineer. Mr. Tice, for example, labored for a total of 18 years for the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). In 2004, he leaked to the NY Times the fact that the Bush-Cheney Gang was engaged in widespread eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without any court approved warrants. On April 18, 2005, he explained to the Congress why he chose his particular course of action. Mr. Tice wrote: “The freedom of the American people cannot be protected when our constitutional liberties are ignored and our nation has decayed into a police state.”

I would be remiss if I failed to say something about the horrific costs of the Iraq War that these wonderful individuals of conscience tried to stop. As I write, an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis are dead, 3883 U.S. troops are in their grave and over 29,000 have been seriously wounded, while 4.2 million Iraqis have been displaced and the U.S. taxpayers are stuck with a bill for the war that may exceed $3.5 trillion. What price the other members of the Allied Coalition have paid must be added to this summary.

The authors also submitted an historical overview about what may have driven the Bush-Cheney Gang to seek “regime change in Iraq.” This led them, in part, to the Neocon-infested “Project for a New American Century” (PNAC). This “think tank” had long advocated a “military strategy and logistics for a war to topple Saddam Hussein.” One of the key ideologues in that ultra-hawkish clique was Richard Perle. He has had very close ties over the years to Israel’s Hard Right regimes; whether headed by Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Netanyahu or Ehud Olmert. [4]

Finally, this carefully crafted tome, “Dissent: Voices of Conscience,” is fully sourced with tons of footnotes and an excellent bibliography. It is due for release on January, 15, 2008. In it, you will also find the authors’ call to action for budding Peace Movement and Whistleblower activists. It’s labeled: “Resources for Action and Education.” I’ve only covered some of the important information found in the book. There is plenty more, along with an insightful chapter on the opposition to the war “in the military,” both in the U.S. and the UK. What is clear from reading this splendid work is that the Iraq conflict was a “war of choice” for its cunning perpetrators; that it was based on deliberate lies; and that some stouthearted individuals–in the U.S., the UK, Denmark and Australia–did stand up, bravely, to resist it.


[1]. Ex-Private Joshua Key moved to Canada rather than to go to Iraq. He is seeking refugee status north of the border. See, http://thetyee.ca/News/2005/08/02/IraqDeserter/

[2]. Col. Wright resigned on March 19, 2003, from the State Department. She had also served for 26 years in the “U. S. Army/Army Reserves.” Her letter of resignation is in the book.

[3]. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?

[4]. http://batr.net/neoconwatch/ and