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[casi] Re Scott Ritter "inconsistencies"

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It would be wise to bear in mind that the Weekly Standard is the
product of zionists William Kristol and Fred Barnes, both of whom
have been observed as TV "Talking Heads" on TV and in
the printed word in support of (1) Israel's Ethnic Cleansing War against
the Palestinians,  (2) another US War against the Iraqi government and
"Arab" population that Bush No.1"Bombed Back into the Stone Age" in 1991,
and (3) joining the chorus demonizing the next Arab domino in
the Middle East, Saudi Arabia.  It is entirely logical that their publication
feature an attack against voices that question the motives behind Gulf
War II and demand that the US back up their obviously questionable
claims that "Saddam" (the only person in Iraq) has an arsenal of weapons
of mass destruction and represents a threat to the US and "the entire

Eric Herring wrote:

> Dear all
> A useful piece on the inconsistency of Scott Ritter. Not
> mentioned is his book Endgame, in which he basically argued
> that Iraq was so dangerous that the US should go to war
> with Iraq immediately, and failing that the US should do a
> deal to get proper weapons inspections and the lifting of
> the sanctions.
> Cheers
> Eric
> >From the November 19, 2001 issue: The strange career of
> former U.N. arms inspector Scott Ritter.
> by Stephen F. Hayes
> 11/19/2001, Volume 007, Issue 10
>  "IRAQ TODAY represents a threat to no one."
>  It's hard to imagine that argument coming these days from
> anyone other than Tariq Aziz, or another of Saddam
>  Hussein's propagandists. But those are in fact the words
> of Scott Ritter, former chief U.N. weapons inspector in
>  Iraq. This represents an astonishing conversion. Ritter,
> after all, abruptly quit that job in frustration three
> years ago,
>  complaining of Iraqi obstructionism and U.S. acquiescence.
> At the time, he had quite a different view of Baghdad:
>  "Iraq presents a clear and present danger to international
> peace and security."
>  But Ritter has lately been hawking his Iraq-as-a-lamb
> theory to everyone who will listen--from his perch as a Fox
>  News analyst, in regular appearances on NPR, to reporters
> at newspapers across the country. When his former
>  U.N. supervisor, Ambassador Richard Butler, suggested that
> Iraq might be responsible for the spate of anthrax
>  attacks in the United States, Ritter told a Boston Globe
> reporter that such speculation is "irresponsible." Asked on
>  Chris Matthews's Hardball whether Saddam Hussein has
> anthrax, he equivocated: "Well, there's--you know, we,
>  as weapons inspectors for United Nations, destroyed Iraq's
> biological weapons program. There's a lot of things
>  that are unaccounted for such as growth media, which
> allows them to--to grow these germs. But the basic
>  factories, the fermentation units, etc., had been
> destroyed. So, you know, the--the chance of Iraq having
> something
>  like this is--is slim to none. We won't ever know until we
> get weapons inspectors back in. But Iraq's not on the top
>  of my list in terms of, you know, places we should be
> worried about."
>  Obviously, Ritter's views on Iraq have changed over the
> past three years. Indeed, they've basically flipped. Then,
>  Iraqi leaders were inveterate liars; today, they are
> victims of American "propaganda mills." Then, Saddam Hussein
>  was hell-bent on building his deadly arsenal; today, he
> wants to feed Iraqi children. Then, the key to Iraq's future
>  was overthrowing Saddam Hussein; today, Hussein is a
> "viable dictator."
>  The Scott Ritter of 1998 would have some fierce debates
> with the Scott Ritter of 2001. But the Scott Ritter of 2001
>  doesn't even admit to having changed his mind. "That's a
> common criticism," he says, but "I just ask people to
>  take the time to review the record. When I first resigned,
> which was in August of 1998, I spoke out--and I said this
>  to the Senate--that I'm speaking out as an inspector, even
> though I'm not an inspector. And what that means is, I'm
>  speaking out in defense of the resolution, 687, that the
> Security Council passed that the United States endorsed.
>  And this called for 100 percent disarmament, and we have
> less than that."
>  So does Ritter believe, as he wrote October 12 in the Los
> Angeles Times, that Iraq really "represents a threat to no
>  one"?
>  "From a conventional standpoint, I'd say that Iraq
> represents virtually a zero-sum threat," he insists. On
> weapons
>  of mass destruction, Ritter hedges a bit. "I'll always
> maintain that we never got 100 percent of the weapons, but I
>  will maintain--and the facts speak for themselves--that we
> got 90-95 percent of it," he says. "In the past three
>  years, we just don't know what's been going on. And that
> should be put on the table right off the bat. But what we
>  do know is that using 1998 as a benchmark, Iraq, frankly
> speaking, hasn't had the time or the resources to
>  effectively reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction
> program."
>  Among the former arms inspectors, Ritter is unique in his
> benign views of the Iraqi threat. Butler has referred to
>  this as "Ritter's crap." Iraqi leaders, needless to say,
> are thrilled with what the Washington Post's Colum Lynch
>  called Ritter's "bizarre turnaround." They now "seem to
> view their erstwhile enemy as an asset in the propaganda
>  war against the United States." But don't take the Post's
> word for it. On Iraq's official
> a few words of token
> criticism of the former weapons inspector, there is a
> tribute
>  to Ritter, in a rather fractured translation from the
> original Arabic.
>  "The admittance of Scott Ritter and his enthusiastic in
> calling for the lifting of the unfair embargo and to halt
> the
>  continuous bleeding of Iraqi people is a conscience
> scream." Then there is an appeal to other former U.N.
>  inspectors to follow in his footsteps. "The truth veiled
> by the American poisoned propaganda . . . sooner or later
>  the truth will shine. . . . He who will not participate in
> revealing the truth and support Iraq will regret in the
> future. He
>  who says the truth, as Scott Ritter did, will be happy,
> conscientious, and proud to be one of the honest people who
>  participated in revealing the truth. Those who will be so,
> we will admire and greet."
>  The part about admiring and greeting is literal. Ritter
> was welcomed back to Baghdad in July 2000, with the
>  blessing of Saddam Hussein. The reason for his trip? To
> produce a documentary film, "In Shifting Sands," that
>  would chronicle the weapons-inspection process and, he
> says, "de-demonize" Iraq. The 90-minute film, which he
>  says he is close to selling to a broadcast outlet, was
> produced with the approval of the Iraqi government and
>  features interviews with numerous high-level Iraqi
> officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz.
>  U.S. intelligence officials and arms control advocates say
> Ritter has been played--perhaps unwittingly--by
>  Saddam Hussein. "If you're Scott Ritter," says one arms
> expert, "the former 'cowboy' weapons inspector, kicked
>  out by Saddam Hussein, you're not going to get back into
> Iraq unless Saddam Hussein invites you and wants you
>  there."
>  Ritter doesn't entirely disagree. Though he claims the
> film is an attempt to be "objective" about the situation in
>  Iraq, he predicted before its completion, "the U.S. will
> definitely not like this film."
>  He acknowledges, as well, that the U.S. government doesn't
> like how the film was financed. Shakir al-Khafaji, an
>  Iraqi-American real estate developer living in Michigan,
> kicked in $400,000. By Ritter's own admission, al-Khafaji
>  is "openly sympathetic with the regime in Baghdad."
> Al-Khafaji, who accompanied Ritter as he filmed the
>  documentary and facilitated many of the meetings, travels
> to and from Iraq regularly in his capacity as chairman of
>  "Iraqi expatriate conferences." Those conferences, held in
> Baghdad every two years, are sponsored and
>  subsidized by Saddam Hussein.
>  The conferences are little more than propaganda shows,
> designed to bash the United States and demonstrate to
>  the world that Hussein has support even among Iraq's
> expatriate community. The official conference website
>  posts several articles condemning U.S. "terrorism and
> genocide" against Iraq.
>  Ritter says al-Khafaji had no editorial input on the film
> project but that without his help, the movie would not have
>  been made. "I tried to get independent sources to fund the
> movie," he says. "People can talk about the funding all
>  they want. If I'd been able to be bought--from '95 to '98
> the CIA paid me. Did I do their bidding?"
>  Ritter says the FBI investigated the relationship between
> him and al-Khafaji and found nothing. "They surrounded
>  my house, they stopped me on the street," he says.
> "Nothing."
>  HOW DID THE MAN who was arguably Public Enemy No. 1 of
> Saddam Hussein's Iraq end up three years later as
>  perhaps the leading American apologist for Iraq? Ask the
> average American about Scott Ritter, and those who
>  don't confuse him with the clumsy guy on "Three's Company"
> will probably still tell you he's an American hero.
>  Ritter was the ex-Marine tough guy who very publicly
> resigned his position as chief U.N. weapons inspector in
> Iraq
>  in late August 1998. Since the end of the Gulf War, he had
> been part of the team enforcing the cease-fire
>  agreement that prohibited Iraq from developing weapons of
> mass destruction, the equipment to make such
>  weapons, and the vehicles (missiles) to deliver them. By
> the mid '90s, the inspection process had deteriorated
>  into a potentially lethal game of hide-and-seek. Ritter,
> as he put it, was "the alpha dog," a badass inspector there
>  to show the deceitful Iraqis who was in charge.
>  Except for the occasional armed confrontation, the routine
> was predictable. Iraqi leaders would insist that they
>  were fully disarmed, and shortly thereafter U.N.
> inspectors would happen upon, say, a stash of VX nerve
> agent or
>  perhaps some shells containing mustard gas, 97 percent
> pure. When the inspectors showed up at potential
>  weapons sites, the Iraqis often simply refused to give
> them access.
>  "The fact of the matter is that since April 1991, under
> the direct orders and direction of the president of Iraq,
> the
>  government of Iraq has lied to the Special Commission
> about the totality of its holdings," Ritter later
> testified.
>  Ritter became frustrated and demanded a more aggressive
> inspection process. "He used to write me the most
>  strident memos about their refusal to let us do our jobs,"
> says Richard Butler, former head of the U.N. inspection
>  team and Ritter's boss. "I remember him banging his fist
> on the table--telling me to let him go in."
>  But as Ritter grew more determined to force inspections,
> the Clinton administration grew wobbly. "We have been
>  directly told, 'Do not do these inspections,'" Ritter
> recalled shortly after resigning. "And since April [1998]
> we have
>  not been allowed to do these tasks, largely because of
> pressure placed upon the Special Commission by
>  administration officials."
>  A week after his resignation, following a whirlwind of
> debriefings and interviews, Ritter was invited to testify
> at a
>  joint hearing of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign
> Relations committees on September 3, 1998. Strom
>  Thurmond, the South Carolina Republican, introduced Ritter
> as "a tough and demanding inspector" and a
>  "dedicated American."
>  Ritter wasted no time in offering his assessment of the
> continuing threat: "Iraq has not been disarmed." The
>  United States, he claimed, had deliberately thwarted the
> U.N. inspections for fear of a confrontation with Iraq. He
>  ripped the administration for its refusal to back up the
> inspections process with a legitimate use of force,
>  including, but not limited to, removing Saddam Hussein's
> regime.
>  Ritter was such a hawk and so critical of the Clinton
> administration's non-confrontational approach that he drew
>  the ire of Senator Joe Biden. "They have responsibilities
> above your pay grade--slightly above your pay grade--to
>  decide whether or not to take the nation to war alone or
> to take the nation to war part-way, or to take the nation to
>  war half-way," the Delaware Democrat scolded. "That's a
> real tough decision. That's why they get paid the big
>  bucks. That's why they get the limos and you don't."
>  But the hearing's most sober moment came just minutes
> later, when Sam Brownback, Republican from Kansas,
>  asked Ritter for his opinion about the continuation of the
> Iraqi weapons-of-mass-destruction program. "Once
>  effective inspection regimes have been terminated," said
> Ritter, "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."
>  All inspections stopped in December 1998. That same month,
> in an article written for the New Republic, Ritter
>  again warned of the continuing Iraqi threat, this time in
> much greater detail. "Even today, Iraq is not nearly
>  disarmed," he maintained. "Based on highly credible
> intelligence, UNSCOM [the U.N. weapons inspectors]
>  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. This agent is 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."
>  Saddam Hussein had successfully faced down the United
> Nations and the United States, and if Scott Ritter was
>  right, that was big trouble.
>  SO IT WAS, and is. But Ritter now utterly contradicts his
> testimony of 1998, according to which Saddam Hussein
>  could have reconstituted a fearsome arsenal of weapons of
> mass destruction by the middle of 1999. By that time,
>  in a June 1999 interview with leaders of the Fellowship of
> Reconciliation, a peace organization based in Nyack,
>  New York, he had changed his tune. "When you ask the
> question [does] Iraq possess militarily viable biological or
>  chemical weapons? The answer is 'no.' It is a resounding
> NO! Can Iraq produce today chemical weapons on a
>  meaningful scale? No! Can Iraq produce biological weapons
> on a meaningful scale? No! Ballistic missiles? No.
>  It is 'no' across the board. So from a qualitative
> standpoint, Iraq has been disarmed. Iraq today possesses no
>  meaningful weapons of mass destruction capability."
>  Virtually every expert on Iraq and arms control disagrees.
> Ambassador Butler, Ritter's former boss with the U.N.,
>  says that Iraq never disarmed during the 1990s and almost
> certainly has weapons of mass destruction today.
>  Charles Duelfer, Butler's number two, believes Iraq
> currently has biological and chemical weapons, and the
>  means to deliver them. Arms control experts Gary Milhollin
> and Kelly Motz, with the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear
>  Arms Control, detailed in the July issue of Commentary the
> steady and stealthy weapons trade with Iraq.
>  Butler, for one, is nonplussed when asked about Ritter's
> change. "In a day filled with lots of phone calls,
>  interviews, etcetera it's almost a waste of time to
> comment on that," he says. "I don't want to sound arrogant,
> it's
>  simply ridiculous." Pushed, though, he offers this
> assessment: "I'll say this about Scott, either he's
> misleading the
>  public now, or he misled me then."
>  Duelfer, too, rejects Ritter's all-clear declarations on
> Iraq. "Why would [Saddam] have given up his intent to
>  develop these weapons? He's made credible arguments that
> these weapons have saved them in the past, in the
>  war against Iran, in the Gulf War," says Duelfer. "Why
> would Saddam say, 'This saved my ass one time,' and then
>  say, 'Oh yeah, you're right. This isn't moral. I'll
> stop.'"
>  "Maybe Scott's got some very narrow definition of
> 'threat.' I just don't see it."
>  Ritter is dismissive of his former supervisors. "Those
> critics?" he says. "Screw 'em."
>  In his less guarded moments, though, Ritter appears to
> acknowledge that Iraq retains weapons of mass
>  destruction. Just minutes after he told the Fellowship of
> Reconciliation that Iraq has "no meaningful weapons of
>  mass destruction capability," he qualified that assertion.
> More than that, he offered a justification for Saddam
>  Hussein to repudiate the agreement that ended the Gulf War
> and rearm Iraq.
>  Iraqi leaders, he said, "see their neighbors' weapons of
> mass destruction, they see the inevitability of conflict
> with
>  the United States, and they're not going to give up their
> weapons. When Madeleine Albright made that awful
>  statement in March of 1997, that economic sanctions would
> continue while Saddam was in power regardless of
>  weapons disarmament, she basically closed the door on any
> hope that the Iraqis would get rid of their weapons."
>  Ritter says he doesn't want to whitewash Saddam, but that
> Iraq's "mistakes" are no different from those of the
>  United States. "We are the United States, and I'm not
> trying to give Saddam Hussein the moral equivalency that
>  the United States has, but I believe that it's
> disingenuous to acknowledge that we are capable of making
>  mistakes, and on the other hand interpreting everything
> the Iraqis do as having nefarious intent. This is a nation
>  that has been devastated by a war, bombed to hell and
> back, and then it has these brutal economic sanctions
>  which leave the country in disarray. There will be
> mistakes."
>  Earlier this year, Ritter worried in the Harvard
> International Review about pre-Gulf War "propaganda mills in
>  America" that "demonized Saddam in the most extreme
> fashion in preparation for war." Saddam Hussein, he
>  argued in a recent interview, is simply misunderstood. "We
> try to apply our own perceptions of morality and
>  ideology to an environment that we just do not
> understand." He pushed the same line at an appearance last
>  month at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock.
>  "When I say Saddam Hussein, you say 'evil,'" Ritter
> rebuked his audience. "I say 50,000 liter fermentation
> unit, and
>  everybody goes, 'biological weapons.'" (Actually,
> everybody probably goes, "Huh?") "Well, that's not
> necessarily the
>  answer. The answer might be that Iraq wants to make
> single-cell protein so that it can feed its cows, so the
> cows
>  can produce milk, so the children can have something to
> drink."
>  Yes, Scott Ritter is right. There may well be propaganda
> mills in America. It certainly looks like he is running one
> of
>  them.
>  Stephen F. Hayes is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard.
>  November 19, 2001 - Volume 7, Number 10
> ----------------------
> Dr. Eric Herring
> Department of Politics
> University of Bristol
> 10 Priory Road
> Bristol BS8 1TU
> England, UK
> Office tel. +44-(0)117-928-8582
> Mobile tel. +44-(0)7771-966608
> Fax +44-(0)117-973-2133

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