Scott Ritter

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I read with increasing disappointment the fawning “news” article on useful idiot Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector and current darling of the “peace” movement.

While I know that it would take some research on your part, it may have lent a greater sense of balance and objectivity to your “reporting” if you had noted that Mr. Ritter has made the following statements in the past:

“[Saddam is a] real and meaningful threat…” – 1998, criticizing Clinton administration policy on Iraq.

“[Iraq is] winning its bid to retain its prohibited weapons…Once effective inspection regimes have been terminated…Iraq will be able to reconstitute the entirety of its former nuclear, chemical, and ballistic missile delivery system capabilities within a period of six months.” – 1998, testifying before Congress in September. Inspections ended in December when Iraq unceremoniously threw UN weapons inspectors out of the country.

“Even today, Iraq is not nearly disarmed…Based on highly credible intelligence, UNSCOM suspects that Iraq still has biological agents like anthrax, botulinum toxin, and clostridium perfringens in sufficient quantity to fill several dozen bombs and ballistic missile warheads, as well as the means to continue manufacturing these deadly agents. Iraq probably retains several tons of the highly toxic VX substance, as well as sarin nerve gas and mustard gas. These agents are stored in artillery shells, bombs, and ballistic missile warheads. And Iraq retains significant dual-use industrial infrastructure that can be used to rapidly reconstitute large-scale chemical weapons production.” – from an article Mr. Ritter wrote in The New Republic, December 1998.

I don’t doubt that intelligent, reasonable people can change their minds on issues that concern them. However, sweeping changes of opinion such as we’ve seen demonstrated by Mr. Ritter are normally driven by hard evidence and facts that contradict an earlier opinion. Mr. Ritter has offered no such hard evidence. He disingenuously states that, “I don’t know what Iraq has today”, supposing, one would conclude, that the Iraqi regime, demonstrably one of the most brutal in modern history, has unilaterally decided to suspend its weapons programs and destroy its stocks of anthrax, botulinum toxin, clostridium perfringens, VX, sarin, and mustard gas AFTER kicking out the weapons inspectors.

Mr. Ritter has not been involved in UN weapons inspections or any real aspect of intelligence-gathering, UN-sponsored or US-sponsored, since 1998, when he made the above statements. He HAS, however, been paid upwards of $400,000 over the past two years by Shakir Al-Khafaji, an Iraqi-American businessman who even Mr. Ritter admits is “…openly sympathetic with the regime in Baghdad.”

It would have behooved the young reporter to have pointed out some of these disconnects in Mr. Ritter’s thought processes, and possibly to have asked some hard questions of Mr. Ritter. But that, of course, requires that the writer suspend his bias. Alas, that may have been just a little too much to ask.