Bush on Ecstasy. UN Weapons Insepctor Scott Ritter on Caffeine.
matter what you may think about Scott Ritter, this much is true:
Unlike our President, Ritter has a noteworthy military record.
was born in 1960 to a military family. Immediately after attending
Franklin and Marshall College, he joined the armed forces and worked
as a military intelligence officer. Ritter distinguished himself
as a ballistic missile expert in the Gulf War under General Norman
1991, Ritter joined the United Nations weapons inspections team
(UNSCOM) and took part in more than 30 inspection missions, 14
of them as chief. He resigned from UNSCOM in 1998, charging that
their missions were undermined by infiltration from the CIA and
lack of support from Washington and the UN Security Council.
Ritter is one of President George Bush’s harshest critics — which
is why Mike Kaspar and I dialed his phone number while he was staying
at the Sportman’s Lodge in Studio City, California. Ritter
agreed to an interview on our KUCI radio show, Weekly
Signals. He shot back answers in rapid fire succession,
supremely caffeinated in a United States Marine Corps kind of way.
should we view the capture of Saddam Hussein?
should keep a couple of things in focus,” Ritter said. “First
of all, Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who had committed crimes
against humanity. His demise should be welcomed by all. Nobody should
shed any tears for what has happened to Hussein. But let’s
bring this back to what’s going on in Iraq. Saddam Hussein
never posed a threat to the United States worthy of the sacrifice
of a single American life. The President of the United States never
made a case for war based upon the capture of Saddam Hussein.”
what was the war about?
has always been about the weapons of mass destruction that Hussein’s
government was alleged to have possessed and the threat that these
weapons posed to the security of the United States.
was about alleged links between Hussein's Government and Osama bin
Laden’s Al Qaeda network.
was about the danger that these links posed when you bring in the
weapons issue — that Saddam could transfer weapons of mass
destruction technology to terrorists who could perpetrate an attack
on the United States that would make September 11, 2001 pale in
what this war was about and we now know, nine months into the occupation
of Iraq, that the President of the United States mislead the American
people and indeed the entire international community about weapons
of mass destruction.
Bush exaggerated information. He misrepresented intelligence date.
He fabricated intelligence data. There were no links with Al Qaeda.
There were no weapons of mass destruction. So to gloat over the
capture of Saddam Hussein and imply that this somehow justifies
the entire war is irrational exuberance.
liken it to a teenager on ecstasy who’s walking around happy
but not really knowing why they’re happy. The drug will wear
off very soon and that teenager is going to come crashing down to
reality. That reality is the quagmire in Iraq — one in which
the resistance is not diminishing, but growing.
president has a political problem on his hands. If he doesn’t
find weapons of mass destruction and justify his stated reason for
going to war, the American people are going to reflect long and
hard about why Americans are continuing to die. Why it is that tens
of billions of our tax dollars are being squandered on this disaster
in Iraq, while we have projects here at home that could definitely
benefit from that money.
would you, Scott Ritter, handle Iraq?
first thing I would do is stop personalizing this conflict. It’s
not about Saddam Hussein. This is about Iraq. Let’s focus
on the nation state of Iraq, not on the individual. Now that we’ve
depersonalized it, we allow ourselves to break free of what I call
the theocracy of evil. When we personalize it and say that this
is about an evil dictator, we create a situation where we can postulate
that the ends justifies the means. If Hussein is evil, that means
that we can lie, cheat and steal to get American forces engaged
deal with the hard facts. Does Iraq pose a threat to the United
States worthy of war? No.
would seek to exhaust every venue possible, especially venues that
involve inclusion of the United Nations and the framework of international
law that the United States committed to when we signed the United
Nations charter. That’s the route I would go — the route
of international law and multilateral engagement. Not this unilateralism
that the Bush administration has undertaken. On the surface, it
appears we can get away with it because of our overwhelming force.
In the long run, it will lead to disaster.
Do we have a consistent Bush foreign policy?
we started isolating Iraq as humanitarian problem worthy of military
intervention how hypocritical are we? What about the Sudan? Where
millions of people have died? What about Chechnya where the Russians
are carrying out mass deprivations? Are we talking about going to
war with the Russians? Are we saying that we need to intervene militarily
in North Korea? Do we step in everywhere around the world?
answer is: of course we don’t. It’s not our job.
when people come forward now and say that we were justified to go
into Iraq because of Hussein and the brutal crimes that he committed,
they’re simply putting up a smoke screen to hide their real
reasons for intervention. These reasons had nothing to do with Al
Qaeda or weapons of mass destruction.
are we in Iraq?
president stated this in his national security strategy document
in September 2002. This is about American unilateralism. It’s
about the imposition of an American hegemony on the world. Listen
to what Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld told the U.S. senate
since the invasion of Iraq: Going into Iraq is the first step in
a transformation of the entire middle east to suit those ends.
we extricate ourselves from Iraq anytime soon?
is the tragedy of it all. One of the reasons I argued so vociferously
against this war was that I knew this was a war we couldn't win.
is an extension of politics. There is a difference between military
victory and winning the war.
have the best military in the world, but we’re still going
to lose this war because we don’t have a solid foundation
on which we’re building our presence in Iraq. We got into
Iraq on a lie. The international community is not supporting us.
The Iraqi community is not supporting us. This is going to collapse.
going to be stuck in Iraq for a decade. Americans are going to die
for the next ten years. Then we are going to leave Iraq in defeat.
We will have never achieved anything meaningful though our intervention.
The people of Iraq have suffered for 30 years under a brutal dictatorship
and now we are guaranteeing that they’re going to suffer for
decades to come.”
— Nathan Callahan,
December 16, 2003
article originally appeared in the OC