Remember Scott Ritter? The former Marine intelligence officer was a senior weapons inspector in Iraq between 1991 and 1998, and is the living contradiction to the oft-repeated claim that "everybody thought Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction" before the US invasion more than three years ago. Ritter kept insisting there were no WMDs. "My government is making a case for war against Iraq that is built upon fear and ignorance, as opposed to the reality of truth and fact," the BBC reported in September 2002. Ritter's address to the Iraqi National Assembly's Arab and Foreign Relations Committee was broadcast in the Arab world, covered extensively in Europe and virtually ignored here.
The truth of the matter is that Iraq is not a sponsor of the kind of terror perpetrated against the United States on 11 September, and in fact is active in suppressing the sort of fundamentalist extremism that characterises those who attacked the United States on that horrible day.....
The truth of the matter is that Iraq has not been shown to possess weapons of mass destruction, either in terms of having retained prohibited capability from the past, or by seeking to re-acquire such capability today.
Ritter managed to persuade the Iraqi government to allow the unconditional return of inspectors in an attempt to avert war, but war came anyway. This week, in an interview by David Rolland, editor of the San Diego City Beat, and running in several other alternative newspapers, it's deja vu time, but with Iran.
[W]hen I speak of Iran, I say be careful of falling into the trap of nonproliferation, disarmament, weapons of mass destruction; this is a smokescreen. The Bush administration does not have a policy of disarmament vis-á-vis Iran. They do have a policy of regime change.....
We created the perception of a noncompliant Iraq, and we stuck with that perception, selling that perception until we achieved our ultimate objective, which was invasion that got rid of Saddam. With Iran, we are creating the perception of a noncompliant Iran, a threatening Iran. It doesn't matter what the facts are. Now that we have successfully created that perception, the Bush administration will move forward aggressively until it achieves its ultimate objective, which is regime change.
How realistic is the fear that, even with current situation in Iraq, the US would invade Iran? "You'd be surprised what kind of plans are being hatched up right now," Ritter tells Rolland.
And if you go to the School of Advanced Military Studies in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., as I have several times, you'll see the maps on the wall clearly indicate an American interest in pushing forces into Azerbaijan. Why? It neighbors Iran. Why is that important? The shortest route to Tehran is down the Caspian Sea coast, [where] the Army is planning an incursion right now.
We civilians may say there's not enough troops. We don't count. The military believes they can do this mission, and they are planning to do this mission because they have received the political guidance from their commander-in-chief to accomplish this mission. That's the only reality that counts. None of the pundits that appear on TV, none of the ill-informed people writing op-eds, have a vote in this matter. The only votes that count are those who have the authority to order military action and implement those orders, and that's the president, his inner circle and the military, and they are preparing for war with Iran as we speak.
I usually dislike Q&A pieces, but this one is definitely worth reading. Oh, and Ritter is a bipartisan basher. He doesn't like the Clinton administration any more than the current one, knocks the "peace movement," and thinks that Americans aren't fulfilling their patriotic duty of protecting the Constitution.
[R]epresentative democracy isn't a one-phase process, where you vote, and then -- boom -- somebody gets elected and now that's it, you back off. There's a thing called accountability. They're still accountable to you, and you have to hold them accountable for what they do in your name. It's a constant process. We have to supervise, because, remember, they work for us.
The other aspect of citizenship is to empower oneself with knowledge and information so that in the conduct of supervision of those whom we elect, we do so based on knowledge and information, on facts, as opposed to rhetoric, fiction and bald-faced misrepresentation of fact. It's the citizen's responsibility for this empowerment -- no one else's.
Thanks to The Unknown Candidate for the tip.