Lies Leaders Tell

The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq brought many senior-level resignations in protest of Washington’s pre-emptive attack. U.N. officials quit in frustration. Members of the U.S. diplomatic corps walked out. And in May 2003 Britain’s Secretary of State for International Development Clare Short resigned her position. In her resignation letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair, Short wrote, "The Security Council resolution that you and Jack [Straw, the foreign secretary] have so secretly negotiated contradicts the assurance I have given in the House of Commons and elsewhere about the legal authority of the occupying powers, and the need for a U.N.-led process to establish a legitimate Iraqi government. This makes my position impossible." She concluded, "I am sad and sorry that it has ended like this."

Clare Short has served as a member of the British Parliament since 1983. In 1997, she was named Secretary of State for International Development, where she was known for her passionate, outspoken commitment to the poor and vulnerable. "Not since Judith Hart more than 30 years ago have we had a minister from either side of the political divide who has so passionately advocated for the issues of Third World development in British politics," said Christian Aid international director Roger Riddell. Short was interviewed in October by Sojourners editor-in-chief Jim Wallis in Washington, D.C.

Sojourners: What led you to be such an outspoken member of the Cabinet on the war, and what led you to resign?

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Sojourners Magazine January 2004
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