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[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] Roger Stroope Peace is a Human Right Austin College To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Hcarlstad@aol.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, MegElizF@aol.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Hanif@global-peace.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Cynthy1244@aol.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Alicenash@aol.com, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Importance: Normal From: "Edward H. Lee" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Mailing-List: list email@example.com; contact firstname.lastname@example.org Delivered-To: mailing list email@example.com Precedence: bulk Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 20:15:29 -0700 Subject: [iac-disc.] Transcript of Ritter interview on C-SPAN... Note: Disclaimer appended at end. --- Transcript of C-SPAN Washington Journal interview with Scott Ritter: August 1, 2002. Host: We want to welcome to C-SPAN Scott Ritter, former U.N. Security weapons inspector. Thank you for joining us. Ritter: Thank you for having me. Host: Day Two of the Senate Foreign Relations committee hearings on Iraq. Why are they taking place? Ritter: Well, ostensibly they're taking place as an exercise in American democracy. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has a responsibility to conduct oversight of executive branch policies. And right now we have..it appears there is a push for war on Iraq. And one would think that it's the proper role of the Senate to have hearings on this. And I agree. The problem is that the way these hearings are being conducted are a far cry from what Senator Joe Biden says they are. These hearings are a foregone conclusion: that Saddam must go. And very little time is spent on the case for war, and a lot of time is going to be spent, especially today, talking about a "post-Saddam" Iraq. This isn't an objective, top-to-bottom, critical investigation of the Bush policy, on whether or not there is a case for war. They've already said, "Saddam must go". We now need to find out how we're going to facilitate this. Host: Julian Borger who has a story in the London Guardian this morning, online, we found it...from the testimony yesterday: "Saddam Hussein will have enough weapons-grade uranium for three nuclear bombs by the year 2005". Agree or disagree with that? Ritter: Well, totally disagree with that, especially based upon the evidence presented in the hearings. This is purely speculative rhetoric put forward by Khidir Hamza and Richard Butler. Nothing in the way of fact was put on the table to back this up. It's ludicrous to think that Iraq is producing enriched uranium today. We eliminated those factories from 1991-1998, they were wiped off the face of the earth. All the production equipment was wiped off the face of the earth. And Iraq, in order to have this capability today, would had to have reconstituted this manufacturing base. That's tens of billions of dollars of the highest technology available. And no one's put any evidence on the table that shows that this in fact has happened. All we have are people saying, "My goodness, the sky is falling! The sky is falling!". But that's not a case for war. I mean if Iraq has this stuff, it is... But to have people come forward and put forth unsubstantiated allegations? No, that doesn't quite hack it. Host: Did you request to testify before the committee? Ritter: It's not my responsibility to request to testify. I think I made it clear to Senator Biden and others...look, I've been calling for these hearings since May and June. I came down to Washington D.C., and did a little tour of the Senate offices -- meeting with staffers and Senators -- saying: 'You must have hearings on Iraq; it's your constitutional obligation to the American people'. At that time, Joe Biden and his staff said, 'No, we have no interest in doing this'. I think the pressure was put on him, and now he has these hearings. But it's up to Senator Biden to select who will testify. There's been a huge demand for a broader base, [for] more dissenting voices to appear, so you have a true debate, a true discussion. Senator Biden, for his own reasons, chose not to assemble that kind of witness list. Host: You had said in a recent piece in the Boston Globe, when asked the question, "Does Iraq truly threaten the existence of our nation?"...you say Iraq does, but you went on to say that with the exception of, for example, mustard agent, all chemical agents produced by Iraq prior to 1990 would have degraded within 5 years. Ritter: I say with the exception of mustard agent and VX...I think I have two caveats in there. What I mean by that is Iraq's main nerve agent[s], sarin and tabun - they produced these, and they weaponized them. But these nerve agents will degrade over time. And after five years, these nerve agents lose their shelf life. So if Iraq did hide.... Now, let's go back... We disarmed Iraq to a 90-95% level. That means we can account for the factories. That means we can account for the means of production. [But] we can't account for everything produced by these factories. And a lot of people point to that and say because you can't account for them, then therefore Iraq automatically has them. That's not the case. Being unable to account does not automatically translate into Iraqi retention. But let's assume that Iraq did hide some of these weapons from us. If they hid sarin and tabun nerve agents from the weapons inspections, those weapons would be useless today. There's no sense in even talking about those weapons, because they are no longer viable. For Iraq to have viable sarin and tabun, they would have to reconstitute and rebuild factories that we destroyed. And there is no evidence that they did this. So that's why I bring this up. When people talk about 30,000 munitions, that's scaring people. That's a scary concept. But if it's 30,000 munitions filled with sarin and tabun, it's not scary at all - because that stuff's utterly useless today. It's the same with liquid bulk-anthrax. After 3 years, under ideal storage conditions, it germinates; it's totally useless. So we're concerned about how much anthrax Iraq produced? [That] we can't account for it all? I agree, we can't. But science took over. The anthrax produced by Iraq, if they indeed hid it from us, is no longer viable, and no longer represents a threat. Host: Our phone lines are open for Scott Ritter. (202) 585-3880 for Republicans, (202) 585-3881 for Democrats...we have a line for third parties. And also our email: firstname.lastname@example.org... So bottom line...what do you fear from Iraq? Ritter: I fear more for our policy on Iraq. I don't fear from Iraq. I don't find that Saddam Hussein's Iraq represents a threat to the national security. Saddam Hussein is an awful man, a brutal dictator, he is a scar on the world...in terms of his morality...he represses his people...all of this. None of that is a case for war. None of that is justification for American military troops marching off to engage in combat. Until we can document that Iraq poses a threat to the national security of the United States, we should be talking about war with Iraq. Host: Colombia, South Carolina...Republican line. Good morning. Caller: Yes, I'm just curious, when you were inspector there, did you go in and find things that you weren't aware of prior to going in? Isn't there a possibility that he has underground facilities? And also, just the very fact that he doesn't permit the inspectors in there now, and given the situation where the Iraqis lost the war, I don't see how they have any authority to throw the inspectors out. Certainly, if Mr. Clinton had any backbone at all he wouldn't have permitted that to be done. Ritter: Well, interesting concept. First of all, let's correct the record. Saddam didn't kick the inspectors out of Iraq. The inspectors left in December 1998 after they were ordered out by the United States government two days before the United States began bombing Iraq -- Operation Desert Fox -- which is a unilateral action, with some minimal support of the British, carried out without the authority of the Security Council. This bombing was triggered by manipulation of the inspection process by the United States, who then was empowered with intelligence information gathered by the inspectors, used by the United States to target Saddam Hussein -- total violation of the mandate of the Security Council. So if you were an Iraqi, and I hate to ask people to do this, but would _you_ let the inspectors back in? And the answer is: no. The U.S. violated the mandate of the Security Council. The U.S. misused the inspectors, and Iraq is loathe to allow the inspectors back into their country today -- especially when the rhetoric for war is so high -- when these inspectors have shown their capacity to be abused and used as a tool of espionage. Now, did we find everything in Iraq? No. Did we find things we didn't know about? Yes, absolutely. I'm not here to give Iraq a clean bill of health. I'm not saying we accounted for everything. I'm talking about the threat posed by it. Underground facilities? With all due respect to Secretary Rumsfeld, from 1993 to 1998 I took in several teams, equipped with the world's most sophisticated ground-penetrating radar, some of the world's best geophysicists, Americans out of Boston. And we examined Iraq for underground facilities. We not only didn't find any underground facilities, we found out that Iraq is not conducive to this. If you start digging a hole in most of Iraq, within minutes water starts filling in. They have a very high water table over there. And if you're going to put a facility underground, you're going to have to have a lot of water removal, a lot water pump capability. All of this is detectable by satellite photography. Secretary Rumsfeld, nor anybody in the Administration for that matter, has put forward any evidence to back up what they say. Host: Democrats line. Southgate, Michigan...good morning. Caller: Good morning Steve, how are you today? Could I ask you just a real quick question before I ask Scott Ritter something? What ever happened to Peter Flynn? Is he still part of the C-SPAN crew? Host: He sure is... Caller: Great. Host: He's on vacation for about a week. Caller: Ok, I just miss seeing his cute face on TV, that's all... Anyway, back to Scott Ritter. Mr. Ritter, thank you so much for the work that you've done. And I'm so disappointed that Senator Biden did not select you to testify on that committee. I've been watching it on C-SPAN the last couple of days, and I'm going to contact him today and just express my dismay that he has not asked you. And I wanted the people out there who are out there listening this morning to know that, you in fact are a Republican aren't you? Ritter: I'm a card-carrying member of the Republican Party, and I voted for George Bush for president. Caller: Yeah, you voted for George Bush! Well anyway, I just wanted to bring that up because a lot people think that you're some kind of a radical, like me, a Democrat. But I know you're not, and I know you're very serious about this. I've read many articles about you, and your inspections that you've done in Iraq. And also the comments that you have tried to bring to the powers-that-be here in this country. And I also wanted to tell you that I was watching CNN last night, and thank you so much for putting that little twerp, Tucker Carlson, in his place. He really tried to blind-side you with that unfair accusation. And those of us that do a little research beyond the front pages of our local newspapers know what is going on in this country. And we're at such a precipice in our history of our nation.... Host: I'll stop you there, and we'll get a response. Thanks for the call. Ritter: Well, I think her point about protesting Senator Biden is very important. Senator Biden has an extremely important position. He's the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the United States Senate. And he is constitutionally obligated to the American people to conduct oversight of our foreign policy. And I think he's pulling a sham. I've said it right up front: these hearings are a sham. That this is more reminiscent of a Stalinist kangaroo court where you rubber-stamp the predisposed conclusions, as opposed to a debate, an honest debate. And I think that Americans should demand more of their elected representatives. Remember, this is government of the people, by the people, for the people... And it only works if we hold our elected representatives accountable. Senator Biden has failed American democracy by holding these hearings in a manner that he has. We have to understand, we're talking about going to war against Iraq. We better have a real debate, a full debate, an honest debate. I am [of] one opinion. There are many others. I am not saying that everyone should march to my drum. But my tune should be heard if we're truly talking about trying to come to the bottom line as to whether or not this war is warranted, whether or not it's worth the lives of American servicemen and women. Host: [The] L.A. Times has a photograph of Richard Butler. Who is he? Ritter: Richard Butler is an Australian diplomat who has had a long and distinguished history in arms control. This is a man who played a very important role in much of what the United Nations has done in terms of non-proliferation, nuclear non-proliferation, and he came to the United Nations Special Commission, my organization -- the organization that I was involved in from 1991 to 1998 -- he came in the summer of 1997 and took over the reins from Rolf Ekeus, a Swedish diplomat. And he had a very difficult job to do, Richard Butler. Unfortunately, I feel that he failed to do it properly. One of the reasons why the United States was able to launch this air strike in December of 1998 was because Richard Butler was complicit to American pressure to allow weapons inspections and the weapons inspections process to be manipulated for unilateral American policy objectives. Host: One of the issues that had come up, and I know you Washington testimoniers are hearing me, was whether or not Saddam Hussein would be sharing this technology with terrorist groups. His response, Richard Butler, is that "given his psychology and aspirations, Saddam would be reluctant to share what he believes to be an indelible source of his power". Agree or disagree with that? Ritter: Well, I have a problem with a statement from Richard Butler, or any person who has yet to meet Saddam Hussein, when they talk about the "psychology" or disposition of Saddam Hussein. I don't think he's qualified to talk about Saddam Hussein. But I do agree that Iraq is unlikely to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorists of non-Iraqi sources. These are weapons that Iraq developed and acquired for their own self-defense, their national security. Iraq has declared war against Islamic fundamentalism for the past 30 years. Saddam is a secular dictator who is not predisposed to supporting Islamic fundamentalism. He crushes that. If you're a Wahhab, part of the sect of Sunni Islam that Osama bin Laden espouses, [if] you proselytize in Iraq, you're executed almost immediately after being arrested. That's the brutal nature and reality of Saddam's regime. And I find it incredible for people to think that he would share weapons of mass destruction with al-Qaeda. But then again, your question presumes that he _has_ weapons of mass destruction. Let's not cloud the issue. Focus on the threat: does Iraq have weapons of mass destruction today? Do they have that capability? If the answer is yes, it doesn't matter if he shares it with terrorists or not; he's a threat that needs to be dealt with. But if the answer is no, then we shouldn't be talking about war. Host: This program is simulcast on our radio station, it is available in the Washington-Baltimore area at 90.1, also nationwide on XM and Sirius satellite. Frederick, Maryland. Republican line. Good morning. Caller: First a comment, and then a question for Scott Ritter. First is, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. [In] the context in which we're talking about evidence of weapons of mass destruction, most of that evidence is likely to be not open for public view. And so my question for Mr. Ritter is, wouldn't it be better to have these hearings in a closed session where you can actually air all this information that the intelligence community has? Thank you. Host: Thank you. And we should point out that you used that quote in the Boston Globe piece. That was from Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, again repeated, "the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." You said: "This only reinforces the fact that the case for war against Iraq fails to meet the litmus test for the defense of our national existence", that you in the earlier part of your piece so eloquently phrased in the words of President Lincoln. Ritter: True. Why do democracies go to war? We go to war so that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the face of the earth. That means that there must be a demonstrated threat to our nation. When I hear Secretary Rumsfeld and others make these cute comments, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence", this only reinforces that they _have no evidence_...they have no evidence about Iraq. Yes, the constitution provides for closed hearings. The constitution recognizes that sometimes in the [interest of] national security, there is information that can't be put forward for public dissemination. I'm a 12-year veteran of the Marine Corp. I'm an intelligence officer. And I know that there are sources and methods that we don't want to share publicly. Host: Did they not have closed hearings yesterday? Ritter: No, these hearings are open hearings. Look, I've spent some time with Senator Dianne Feinstein and others on the intelligence committee, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee. That is the proper forum for such closed hearings on sensitive intelligence information. And while they will never share what they have been given to anyone who doesn't have clearance or need to know, they stated with all certainty: 'no such information has been provided'. No such information has been provided. Yes, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. But Secretary Rumsfeld and others must go before the Congress, the Senate, in close hearings if required, and present what they have regarding the threat posed by Iraq, before we go to war. Host: The Senate Armed Services did have a closed session with Secretary Rumsfeld and others. Now the purpose of that hearing was to talk about our role in Afghanistan. Do you suspect, though, that Iraq came up in that discussion? Ritter: I have no way of knowing. I would hope that Iraq would come up in that discussion. I hope every time Secretary Rumsfeld and other officials present themselves before the U.S. Congress that they are held accountable for the rhetoric that comes out regarding Iraq. When Secretary Rumsfeld talks about Iraq factories "going deep", when he talks about biological factories on the "back of trucks", mobile around Iraq, people need to hold him accountable for these words, because these are inflammatory words. These are words that spread fear amongst the American people, that create the perception that we might have some information regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, when in fact, I personally bear witness to the the reality. I searched for these very mobile factories that you're talking about for five years. I hunted down this stuff. And when you do a raid on Iraq, take out a truck depot, and you find no trucks with biological stuff, does that mean Iraq doesn't have the trucks? Or they're just good at hiding it? [So] you create this never-ending cycle that will have no end. You have to substantiate the threat before you brief it to the American public. Host: Democrats line, Darien, New Hampshire, for Scott Ritter. Good morning. Caller: Hello there. It's Darien, Connecticut, but that's alright. Host: I apologize. Caller: That's fine. Oh Scott, thank god for you. I want to ask you, don't you think Bush is pushing this agenda to go after Saddam just to keep his image going as a war mongerer, because he is so bad at diplomacy? And if this is found out to be a conspiracy just to keep him in office until 2004, can't he be impeached before the November 2002 elections, so we can get a president elected who is top-notch in diplomacy with foreign leaders, and can make we, the people, feel safe and secure...like I used to feel when President Clinton was in office? Right now I'm running scared everyday, and I'm on edge as I'm sure many Americans are and feel the same way as I do. Ritter: Well, the beauty of the American process is that we can hold our elected representatives accountable, every November, when we pull the lever. And if you feel that way about President Bush and his administration, I think you should vote accordingly. I am not going to call President Bush a war mongerer. I'm not going to denigrate the man. I disagree with his policies. But remember that President Bush inherited this Iraq situation from Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton spent eight years fumbling on Iraq -- fumbling badly. It is Bill Clinton, and under Bill Clinton's administration, that the inspections process was destroyed, discredited. It's because of Bill Clinton that we don't have weapons inspectors in Iraq today. And we also have to remember that it was a bi-partisan Congress that passed the Iraqi Liberation Act in 1998, authorizing, as public law, $100 million of American taxpayer money, to support the cause of removing Saddam Hussein from power. So this isn't just a Republican issue. This isn't a Democratic issue. We have Joe Biden, a Democrat, basically holding what I called sham hearings, designed to rubber-stamp Bush's war. So both Republicans and Democrats alike have boxed themselves into a rhetorical corner in regards to this inflammatory rhetoric they put out about Saddam. That's why I say, let's cut through the rhetoric, and deal with the facts. Does Iraq pose a threat? If they do, we have a case to go to war. If they don't, then we should not be talking about it. Host: Sandy Berger, who served in the Clinton Administration as National Security Advisor, has a piece this morning in the op-ed page of the Washington Post. He calls it "Building Blocks to Iraq": "concluding that regime change is the necessary goal is to begin the discussion, not to end it." The words of Sandy Berger... Next is a call from Pensicola, Florida. Our line for independents, for Scott Ritter. Good morning. Caller: Good morning. Mr. Ritter, I want to thank you. You're a breath of fresh air. I'm a veteran of 25 years in the Navy, just left the Navy. I left because of this new administration we have in the office. I don't agree with everything they do, and don't disagree with everything that they do. But I saw the debate yesterday on C-SPAN, and I tell you that was a sham. And I saw the debate last night with you on Crossfire. And I also saw the third debate that we've had so far, and that was on Donahue last night. And that's a damn shame when we have our fellow Congressmen that won't stand up for the American people and give them an open debate on attacking Iraq. Ritter: Well again, I think what the caller is talking about is the reality that this is democracy that we're talking about. We live in a democracy. I can't emphasize this more. It sounds like trivial rhetoric, but the fact is that if the people of the United States refuse to get involved in the policies carried out in their name, then they have to understand that sometimes things are going to happen that they might object to. Right now we are talking about the potential -- the real potential -- for war with Iraq. And it's imperative that our elected representatives have real and meaningful debate and dialogue about this. And again, I just want to reiterate, what Senator Biden has perpetrated yesterday and today is not real and meaningful dialogue. He's trying to pull one over on the American people. If people feel that in fact this isn't a real and meaningful dialogue, they should hold him accountable. His phone should be ringing nonstop, day after day after day, and the phones of every Senator sitting on that committee. Host: King Abdullah of Jordan met with President Bush today. He met with a Washington Post reporter yesterday, here in town, and he said that the 'reluctance by allies to confront the Bush administration over Iraq may have left U.S. policymakers falsely believing that there is little opposition to a war'. A quote from King Abdullah: "In all the years I have seen in the international community, everybody is saying this is a bad idea...If it seems America says we want to hit Baghdad, that's not what Jordanians think, or the British, the French, the Russians, the Chinese and everybody else." Ritter: I couldn't agree more strongly. I've had the opportunity to speak before the French senate, to address British Parliament, to speak to the Canadian Parliament, to address NATO, on this issue, at their invitation... And I have to say, there is no support for this war. The problem though is that the Administration sends its representatives out, and the first question they ask of people is, 'Would the world be better place without Saddam Hussein'? And the logical answer is, 'yes'. Yes, he's an evil man. But then when they talk about how they want to get rid of Saddam, no one agrees with it, but the Administration always comes back and says, 'Yeah, but the King of Jordan said that the world would be a better place without Saddam Hussein. Therefore, we're justified in going forward'. That's not the case, as the King so rightly points out. Host: Merritt Island, Florida. Republican line. Good morning. Caller: Good morning. This is the first time I'm able to call in and speak to you. Hats off to Mr. Ritter. I watched him last night on the Tucker show, I think it was Crossfire. Totally disagreed with Mr. Tucker and his demeanor, and how he was totally unprofessional, and bringing up something that was totally irrelevant to the main subject. Host: What was that caller? Caller: In terms of him taking money, from someone....he made it seem that Mr. Ritter was non-believable, that he had another agenda than what he specifically stated this morning. Mr. Ritter, I bow to you humbly. I believe every word that you say. Unknowing to all the Senators and all the politicians in Washington, D.C., Americans are not as stupid as they want us to think. Ritter: Well, since you brought it up, I think we need to address this. What Tucker Carlson brought up was an article written by a gentlemen named Stephen Hayes, who writes for, I think, The Weekly Standard. And when I resigned, I decided to talk out about Iraq policy. And I wrote a book, which I think is an incredibly good book about Iraq, very relevant today... I've written a number of articles, etc.. But I just wasn't getting the message out. I worked with a number of documentary film teams on producing documentaries on Iraq. And they fumbled badly. I think they edited my words out. They had a slant that wasn't reflective of the truth. So I figured the only way to make a documentary was to make it myself. I formed a production company, and I sought to get investors. If I could've received money from the Jewish-American Federation, I would have done it. If I could have received money from you, I would have done it. The bottom line is: no one buys off Scott Ritter. The movie I made, "In Shifting Sands", is an hour-and-a-half documentary, which is _the_ most objective, honest look at the weapons inspection process in Iraq that has been produced. I, my company, received $400,000, from an American citizen of Iraqi origin. He had no editorial say in the making of the movie. As I said, it doesn't matter where the money came from. I'm grateful to this man for providing this money... Host: Who was it? Ritter: His name is Shakir al-Khafaji, he's a Detroit, Michigan businessman. This money has been investigated by the FBI, by the Treasury Department, by the IRS. There has been no impropriety found. In fact, when I met with the FBI, which I did over half-a-dozen times over the course of the making of this movie, I told them if you ever find there is a 'quid-pro-quo' arrangement between Shakir al-Khafaji and the Iraqi government in regards to money that Shakir has given me, I will terminate the making of this movie. This money will not be tainted with dirty money. The FBI has come back and said they have no evidence of this. Everything shows that this money is Shakir's money. Furthermore, when I showed the movie to the FBI, they said they liked it! I wish Tucker Carlson had taken a look at the movie before he came after me on national TV. But that's his politics, not mine. Host: An e-mail from a viewer who says, "The cable talk-fest couldn't get enough of Scott Ritter when he was being critical of our Iraq policy under Clinton. Now that he's critical of Bush administration policy, if it can be called a policy, we hardly see Scott on television. So much for the liberal media. I wrote to Senator Biden last week, and asked him to call you to testify. I guess the committee only wants to hear one side." Ritter: This has been sort of heart-warming. I think that all of the Senators have been inundated with tens of thousands of phone calls, faxes, and letters in regards to these hearings. They know that they're perpetrating a sham, and they know they'll be held accountable. I only hope that the Senators are men enough and women enough to recognize the error of their ways, and maybe hold additional hearings, so that all the facts can be brought to bear. Host: And another e-mail from a viewer in California: "Regarding Iraq, isn't it against international law to invade another country, topple its leader, and impose new ones?" Ritter: Well, this is a problem... Of course it is. It's a violation of the United Nations Charter. We're signatories to this charter. It's something that's coming up in Great Britain, our closest ally on this war. British lawmakers have directly confronted Tony Blair, and said, if we support the American action on Iraq as currently constructed, it will be a violation of international law, and Great Britain can have nothing to do with this. I wish we had similar debates here in the United States. Host: Our conversation is with Scott Ritter, who from 1991 to 1998 served as a UN weapons inspector. Next, Democrats line, Modesto, California. Good morning... Caller: Hello, good morning. Can you hear me? Host: We sure can. Caller: First of all, I had a nephew and a first husband that served in Desert Storm. And I was told that the weapons that they [Iraqis] were fighting with against us, that we supplied them with that. Is this so? That they were using old weapons that we had given them? Ritter: Well, first of all, I fought in that war too, and my hats are tipped to your relatives who served their country so proudly. It's not that the weapons that we fought against, that the Iraqis possessed, were provided by us. Most of the weapons were actually Chinese or Soviet or even French origin. But weapons of mass destruction: the United States provided a great deal of financial assistance, in terms of loan guarantees, etc. They were diverted by Iraq to acquire the technology in Europe, which they used to build their weapons factories. And the tragedy is that the United States knew this at the time. And we did nothing to stop it, in the 1980's. Now we're in a situation where this capability is coming back to haunt us. Host: Kait. Maine, New Jersey. Republican line. You're next. Caller: Mr. Ritter, how are you? Ritter: I'm doing fine. Thank you. Caller: I have a few things I'd like to say to you. I find you a seditious, traitorous American. Host: Why do you say that? Caller: Well, I don't understand why you think you have all the answers, and that foreign policy, which is dictated by the President and sanctioned by the U.S. Congress, should not be followed through by the wisdom of the U.S. Congress and the U.S. President, regardless of who they are. I remember seeing you years ago, after you were kicked out of Iraq with the other inspectors, saying that there wasn't enough done, that there should have been more inspections, that there are weapons in Iraq. Now I find you doing things that, frankly, I'm worried about your motives. I mean, they seem to be financial. I don't think you should be interfering the way I do n't think Jesse Jackson was interfering with foreign policy. And if you remember, I also compare you to Neville Chamberlain. Remember, he allowed Hitler to march through the Blitzkrieg and create World War II. And the third and final thing is, how many people have you lost at the World Trade Center, and what do you say to the next 3,000 survivors if Iraq and the al-Qaeda, again....and you know that they're going to attack this country sooner or later...what do you say to them then? Thank you Mr. Ritter. Host: So, bottom line, what's your point or your question in all of this? Caller? Ritter: I think his point is that I'm a traitor. Um...first of all, I'm not going to disgrace the memory of the victims of Sept. 11th by bringing them into this conversation. We're talking about Iraq. Again, here's the total mis-construing, misrepresentation, of what I've said. I've been consistent from the time I resigned until today in saying that: we should have weapons inspectors in Iraq, these inspectors should be operating fully within the mandate given to them by the Security Council, there should be no deviation from this. Eighty percent of my testimony to the Senate in 1998, was about American manipulation of the inspection process. I said at that time that Iraq isn't disarmed. I said that on this show. Iraq is not disarmed. I don't know how clear I can be on this. According to Security Council resolutions, Iraq is not disarmed. We need inspectors to go back in and finish the job. But what we did disarm meant that we had fundamentally eliminated the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. So we don't have to sit here and worry about Iraq attacking us today. And, with all due respect, read the Constitution, and then call back, because the President doesn't "dictate" foreign policy. Congress doesn't compliantly rubber-stamp foreign policy. And at the end of the day, it is government of the people, by the people, for the people. The second you disassociate yourself from that, this becomes something other than the American democracy that I put on a Marine Corp. uniform for 12 years to defend. Host: Killeen, Texas, with Scott Ritter. Good morning. Democrats line. Caller: Good morning. Good morning, Mr. Ritter. Ritter: Good morning. Caller: I wanted to ask you a question. Do you think that this war might have been taken personally by Bush's father, and his father's kind of influencing him to do this? Because, it's like you just said, if you have the evidence showing that it's not a great need for this war at this time, do you think there's a possible personal issue here? Ritter: Well, actually, no. I think one of the few people advising President George W. Bush _against_ this war is his father. His father is somebody who recognizes the need to have a broad-based coalition, to act multilaterally, to act within the framework of international law. And also understands that if you get rid of Saddam Hussein, what's next? We have the devil that we know, we have the devil that we can contain today, and to just go in precipitously eliminate this guy, we open up a Pandora's box to which we have no answer. So... Host: Is there another way, though, to get rid of him without going to war? Ritter: Well, again, I think it is. Now we get a little academic here. I think we focus on the 'person' of Saddam Hussein too much. You know, Saddam Hussein is a product of modern-day Iraq. Iraq is a nation where 60% of the population are Shi’ia. You talk about wanting democracy in Iraq? No one wants to give the Shi’ia full power to the world's second largest proven reserves of oil. So let's throw away the rhetoric of having democracy in Iraq. Twenty-three percent of the population: Kurds. Find me somebody around that region who wants an independent Kurdistan. Not a single one. Except the Kurds. So let's throw away that. So we're talking about 17% of a population of 20 million, Sunni Muslims, who themselves are fragmented into tribal groups, family groups, etc. Saddam Hussein is reflective of this reality. He is an Albu Nasir, "tribesman", who has achieved power, and who has empowered his tribe. You have a situation where 20,000 people control the fate of 20 million people. If you eliminate Saddam Hussein, and put in a Sunni like him, that's the same system you're going to get. So we have to talk about changing Iraq from within. Something has to happen _inside_ Iraq that changes this, the way that they create their leadership. You're not going to do that from forcing change from without. Lift economic sanctions, allow Iraq to reconstitute its economy, allow the development of a viable middle class. You studied history: the middle class is a prerequisite for any democratic institutions. Allow an intelligent, worldly, technocratic class to grow. And suddenly you'll find that Iraq will change. It'll be a slow change, it won't happen overnight. [But] Saddam Hussein is 65 years old...he's not going to be around for a while, or in a while. When his son takes over, or whoever takes over, they'll be taking the reins of over a different Iraq. And Iraq will continue to evolve in that way. And that's the best way to get an Iraq that's a responsible member of the international community. Not going in, decapitating Saddam, and trying to install our own vision of what Iraq should be. Host: Our guest, Scott Ritter is a graduate of Franklin D. Marshall College. He earned his Undergraduate in Soviet history. As I said, he spent a dozen years as an intelligence officer and U.S. Marine Corp., and served as a weapons inspector for the United Nations. Our next call is Westchester, Pennsylvania...Republican line. Good morning to you. Caller: Good morning. I can't agree with the last caller more. There's nothing more for me to say really, he said everything that I wanted to say. I'm so happy for Scott Ritter, I'm glad we should not go into Iraq and bomb everybody, kill everybody, just to get Saddam. We should do everything as the last caller said. Host: Atlanta, Georgia, you're next. On Democrats line. Good morning. Hello, Atlanta? Caller: How are you? Host: Good morning. Caller: Scott, you mentioned earlier that Russian, Chinese, Europeans, and some other countries, disagree with the United States to attack Iraq. Is that correct? Ritter: That's my take from the people I've met personally, from what I've read in newspapers, yes. Caller: If that's the case, [then] it tells me that (a) Iraq is not a threat to the United States or Europe, or (b) that those countries are not the United States' friends. Ritter: Well, I think you could actually have both. You could have a situation where a nation isn't a friend of the United States and still oppose our policy on Iraq; you could have a situation where people _are_ our friends, like France, like much of Europe, and are opposed to our policy on Iraq. It's bad policy. It's such a bad policy that everybody's rejecting it, whether they’re our friends or not our friends. Host: Potomac, Maryland. Good morning, you're on the program. Republican line. Caller: Hello? Host: Go ahead, caller. Caller: Yes. I just want to ask Mr. Ritter to comment on the fact that none of the terrorists that participated with Sept. 11th or associated with them was Iraqi. And why does the United States attack Iraq instead of attacking somewhere from which the terrorists came? Ritter: Well, that's a good point. I mean, essentially as we've seen, there's such a concerted effort in the Senate, right now in these hearings, to link Saddam Hussein with al-Qaeda and those who perpetrated the attack. The reason why they want to make this linkage is that once you have it, there will be no debate for war. We will clearly go in and remove Saddam. We've seen a lot, or heard a lot, lately about this Salman Pak training camp in the south of Baghdad, where they have an airplane where Islamic fundamentalists are trained. And this, I think we need to point out, this is all a lie. We know what that training camp was. It was built in the 1980's as a hostage rescue camp, to train Iraqi security forces on hostage rescue and airplanes, trains, buses, etc. In 1992 we noted that it was turned over to Iraqi intelligence, the Department of External Threats, so that they could _go after_ Islamic fundamentalists more efficiently. There is no linkage between Iraq and those that perpetrated Sept. 11th, at least none that's been made. And, as the caller rightly pointed out, there wasn't any Iraqis on that list of hijackers. I think the majority came from Saudi Arabia. Host: Los Angeles, Democrats line, for Scott Ritter. Good morning. Caller: Yeah, Mr. Ritter, first of all I'd like to commend you for being a U.N. weapons inspector for, you know, 7 whole years. My question is, as you were talking about what you think is possible, and what should be done with Iraq...if it was up to you, if you were calling the shots, how would you see the situation play out in Iraq with Saddam Hussein? Ritter: Well, the first thing is let's examine why our policy is not being embraced by the rest of the world. And that's because we've chosen a unilateralist approach to solving this, as opposed to an approach that's multilateral and based on international law. We do have consensus on how to deal with Iraq: The international community has decided that the best way to deal with Saddam is to go after his weapons, send in weapons inspectors, disarm Iraq, and that point in time economic sanctions that have been levied on Iraq for more than a decade would be lifted. And then Iraq could begin the long and difficult task of rebuilding its shattered economy and its shattered society. I think right there the world is in agreement. Everybody in the world is in agreement with that course of action...except the United States. So, if I were calling the shots, that would be the course of action I'd be putting forward. We wouldn't have all this friction we see right now. This is something the world would agree to, and frankly speaking, Iraq would agree to. If we could get weapons inspectors back in Iraq, that were not open or prone to being manipulated by the United States for the purposes of targeting Saddam, I think we could have a mandate to do their job, and we could have this problem solved within a matter of months. Host: Enter Bruce Muellenhoff [an email]: "What motives are driving the U.S. in declaring war against Iraq, if not their weapons of mass destruction?" Ritter: Purely political. I think this is a domestic political situation. We've demonized Iraq and Saddam Hussein now for more than a decade. We've called Saddam the 'personification of evil'. We've called him the Middle East equivalent of Adolph Hitler. He may be that. The problem with this rhetoric is that in doing such, we've eliminated all other considerations. You can't do business with the 'personification of evil'. You can't negotiate with the Middle East equivalent of Adolph Hitler...because visions of Neville Chamberlain immediately scream to mind. So our politicians have painted themselves into a rhetorical corner. Right now there is only one option that's politically viable here in the United States, and that is to confront Saddam Hussein and to eliminate Saddam Hussein. This is about politics, plain and simple. There's not a single politician out there with the courage to step forward and say, 'this is bad policy'. Senator Chuck Hagel, who I have great respect for, said it best two years ago when I talked to him: don't expect any profile and courage moments from any members of Congress with regard to Iraq, because there's no one, Republican or Democrat, who's willing to put their political future on the line by speaking truthfully about Iraq today. Host: Does all of this in any way strengthen Saddam Hussein inside Iraq? Ritter: Saddam Hussein's stronger today than he has at any time since 1991. He's not stronger militarily, but politically. We're making it virtually impossible for any meaningful opposition to arise in Iraq. Host: Why? Ritter: Well economic sanctions, depending on whose numbers you use, have killed between 300,000 and 1.5 million innocent Iraqi civilians, most of them being children. We're not teaching the Iraqis to love us. We have devastated their economy. We have 20 million people today who live without hope for a better future, people who wake up in morning with a devastated economy, a shattered financial system. And they blame us, they blame the United States. So any time we bring in an Iraqi opposition and embrace them in Congress, and give them the American 'seal of approval', we've condemned them, in the eyes of the Iraqi people. The Iraqi people will never support any American-appointed government. You think Hamid Kharzi has a hard time in Kabul? If you withdraw the international security assistance force, and the American protection, he has a life expectancy of days, if not weeks. The same will happen with any American-appointed government that takes over from Saddam Hussein. Host: And very quickly, today we're likely to hear the sentiment again from King Abdullah of Jordan, in essence: don't think about going after Iraq until you get the situation resolved between the Israelis and Palestinians. What's the genesis behind that? Ritter: Well, there is a lot of frustration that the United States is willing to hold Iraq, ultimately Saddam Hussein, accountable for failing to comply with international law, for behaving in a manner which is not consistent with international norms. The Arab world isn't worried about his weapons of mass destruction; they do buy into the fact that he's a brutal dictator, and a blight on the earth. But they are also saying, look: what a double-standard. We have Israel, over there, doing this -- and I'm pro-Israel, don't get me wrong here -- but I'm just giving you the Arab perspective. We have Israel getting away with what in the Arab mindset is much greater sins to international law, much greater abuses of human rights -- and the United States isn't doing anything to deal with this. So they find a contradiction there. And they're telling the United States, you can't expect us to support your war on Saddam until you show you have some even-handed balance with regard to Israel. Host: Where are you living these days? Ritter: Albany, New York. Host: Scott Ritter, former U.N. weapons inspector. Thank you for being with us. Ritter: Thanks. --- Disclaimer: This transcript is not necessarily a verbatim transcript, although reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the content provided. Interpretations should not be made using the transcript as the sole source of information. The transcript is provided for use by anyone for educational purposes and not intended for use as original source documents for the material and information provided. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, I make no representation as to the accuracy of, and cannot accept any legal responsibility for any errors, ommissions, mis-statements or mistakes within the following transcript, nor make any warranties or representations (whether express or implied) as to the non-infringment of first or third party rights, satisfactory quality or fitness for any particular purpose. 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