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Posted on Jul 31, 2007
Cindy Sheehan Speaks
AP Photo / Gerald Herbert

Antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan speaks at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., July 23.  Later, she marched to Capitol Hill, where she was arrested after demanding that House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers begin impeachment proceedings against President Bush.

By Scott Ritter

(Page 2)

The “impeach now” folks, along with much of the antiwar movement in America today, lack the basics needed to win a game, yet alone dominate a season.  But maybe the sports analogy doesn’t resonate with certain members of this movement.  I have alluded to a different model in other writings, using the “firefighter benchmark” as a reference for those on the fringes of America’s political left to perhaps make greater inroads, intellectually and practically, into the mainstream of American political life.  While some in the “impeach now” crowd have been derisive of such a model, my experience in presenting it to crowds of Americans of all political walks across the nation shows that the “firefighter benchmark” is a sound one which is readily grasped by most, if not all, who hear it. 

In short, since American firefighters are perhaps best placed in any given community to understand that community’s overall health (given their responses to a variety of emergency situations that cut across all socioeconomic-political boundaries), they have much more in common with progressive social activist groups than many would acknowledge.  Also, because firefighters are positively entrenched in the mainstream of America’s social fabric, anything the antiwar community could do to get a conservative firefighting crowd to embrace their cause would probably be successful in swaying mainstream America, the basic underlying premise of the “firefighter benchmark.”

For those in the antiwar community who still don’t get the connection, perhaps it can be explained by using a war analogy (and thus bringing the analogical motif full circle).  We in the modern antiwar movement often speak about the need to be antiwar but pro-troop.  This concept often finds itself in conflict with the argument that in order to best support the troops, one must also support their mission.  I support the armed forces of the United States, and their mission of protecting America from its enemies.  This does not make me pro-war, in the same way that supporting America’s firefighters in their effort to combat fire doesn’t make me pro-fire.  However, many Americans fail to understand the difference between supporting a soldier’s mission and supporting war.  I support firefighters, but hate fire.  I understand that sometimes fires occur, and when they do I want a professional, highly trained, well-led and well-equipped firefighting team to respond to the situation.  But I, as a citizen and a firefighter, also recognize that the best way to handle fire is to prevent fires from occurring.  As such, I am a huge proponent of fire prevention across the entire spectrum of American life. 

I likewise support a professional military, well equipped and highly trained, because I am all too aware that there may be threats to my country that require military action.  But I hate war.  If we handled fire in America in the same cavalier way we handle war, we would be giving civic awards to arsonists.  But we recognize destructive fire as an evil, and we condemn those who set destructive fires deliberately.  It is high time we provide the same social stigma to those who promote war.  The antiwar movement needs to find a way to convince the American public that supporting the antiwar cause is like supporting fire prevention, advocating a “war prevention” mentality that embraces the military just as our community embraces firefighters, but rejects those who promote war as policy with the same repudiation and disgust we show those who commit acts of arson.

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The key to this, of course, is instilling a national sense of community that matches the social awareness most Americans exhibit when dealing with local issues.  Small-town America, for the most part, still functions well.  It does so because there is still a sense of communal belonging, where residents feel a sense of involvement that serves as the bedrock of citizenship.  This sense of communal belonging seems to fall apart the further one is removed from Town Hall, so that a vote on property taxes and the funding of a school district receives greater citizen participation than does a national election where military conflict is the primary issue at stake.  The problem is that one doesn’t make citizens.  Of course, Americans born into this great land of ours are granted that status at birth, without having to do anything to earn it.  But titular citizenship is far removed from participatory citizenship.  It is like comparing an illusion to reality.  Ask those who immigrated to America and chose to become citizens what best defines an American and they will tell you “the Constitution,” since they actually had to take (and pass) a test on the Constitution in order to receive citizenship.  If your Lou Dobbs-type citizen (born and bred as a legal American) had to take and pass a test on the Constitution today in order to retain citizenship, we would probably see our population drop by over 80 percent. 

The Constitution is the key.  But how do we instill a sense of ownership of the Constitution into the psyche of the average American?  My parents always believed that that which is of most value should be earned, not given.  While I’m not in favor of taking citizenship away from Americans, I am in favor of providing every American the opportunity to discover what it really means to be an American citizen.  In short, I am espousing a return to the basics, this time in the form of mandatory national service.  Without exception or deferment, all able-body Americans, upon reaching the age of 18 (or upon graduation if they are in school when they reach 18), would have to serve their country for two years.

In this model, the first two months of such service would be compulsory military basic training, in which the draftee would be imbued with discipline and the necessity of adhering to a chain of command.  At the end of their basic training, the draftees would be given a chance to choose a three-year enlistment in the armed forces or a two-year hitch with nonmilitary service options.  These options could include tours with the U.S. Forest Service as wildland firefighters/forest technicians, or with the U.S. Health Service as EMT/paramedics serving rural and/or inner-city communities, or as teaching/education assistants, or as national infrastructure repair crew members, or any other form of service which provides needed labor for our nation while imbuing the draftee with a sense of duty, responsibility and belonging.

A national draft along the lines of that mentioned above would enable America to return to the basics of citizenship.  Those drafted who successfully served out their tour of duty would feel a sense of ownership of America, and as such they would be much more likely to participate in the various processes which make this nation work and succeed.  Such participation is the foundation of what makes the American democratic experiment work.  Without it, our system falls prey to the predatory trends inherent in the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about so many years ago.  Without it, the vacuum of citizenship is filled by special interests that care more about their bottom line than defending the Constitution.


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By abc, August 18, 2007 at 12:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am onky doing a test for my design work.

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By Douglas Chalmers, August 15, 2007 at 9:16 pm Link to this comment

#93160 by Bill Jones on 8/08 at 12:11 pm: “...A Federal Slave Army is one of the worst ideas I’ve heard in a long time, and is totally inconsistent with the Constitution. The victims of this scheme wouldn’t be “serving their Country” They be doing the bidding of the corrupt thugs in D.C. and their corporate masters….”


“America: Freedom to Fascism” - Director’s Authorized Version http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1656880303867390173 1 hr 51 min http://www.freedomtofascism.com

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By Hank Roth, August 15, 2007 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Forget Congress Cindy
We need a Kucinich/Sheehan partnership
in the White House in 2008

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By Bill Jones, August 8, 2007 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ritter has lost it. A Federal Slave Army is one of the worst ideas I’ve heard in a long time, and is totally inconsistent with the Constitution. The victims of this scheme wouldn’t be “serving their Country” They be doing the bidding of the corrupt thugs in D.C. and their corporate masters.

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By Marshall, August 4, 2007 at 5:26 am Link to this comment

#92097 by cyrena on 8/03 at 10:32 pm

Thanks for your “perspective” link Cyrena - not exactly the kind of factual reference I had in mind, but at least you looked outside the box you were typing into, even if it was just an opinion piece… but it appears that fact and (your) opinion are synonomous to you.

In the US, guilt is the result of due process, not accusation.  Simply because you believe Bush, or whoever, committed crimes doesn’t mean they did.  You can cite the Constitution all you want as your “proof”, but the irony there would be unbearable since you’d be ignoring the very rights that it (and the Bill of Rights, and other amendments) guarantee… one of which is that courts assign guilt, not left wing private news sites or their readers.

Bush has not been indicted, let alone convicted, of any crime - despite your belief (and that of the blatantly partisan websites you inhabit, like “truthout”) that the Constitution itself somehow convicts him.  There’s really no argument here.  I believe that you believe Bush is guilty of crimes.  You’re entitled to that opinion, but please understand that that’s what it is.  I don’t think I need to post anymore on this topic.

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By cyrena, August 3, 2007 at 11:32 pm Link to this comment

#92074 by Marshall on 8/03 at 8:43 pm

•  Cyrena - Though you see impeachment as a slam-dunk, like Sheehan, you’re well in the minority; both in public and in Congressional opinion.

Yep, I’m responding twice again Marshall, to a different part of your same posting.

And yeah, while impeachment has not been a “slam dunk” (nor have I ever suggested that it is a “slam dunk” any more than it has been a “slam dunk” for me to go to work and do my job everyday) it IS easy enough, if one simply follows the instructions in the manual.

And, while I’m also very accustomed to being in the “minority” in most of life’s demographics, I am not in the “minority” at all, in public opinion on this matter.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/080307J.shtml

And, you can also link to a copy of the Constitution at the Library of Congress, (it has not yet been removed – at least not that I’m aware of) or….if that’s too much trouble, just use the google. Type in U.S. Constitution in the search window, and it’ll all come right up for you.

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By ellechero, August 3, 2007 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment

I agree with everything in this except for two things:

1. I don’t think mandating service is very much in line with a free society. I’d rather see it offered as an opportunity. I don’t think that too much freedom is the problem and that it can be solved by more coercion.

2. I think saying everyone has to join the military is a bit over the top. If it has to be mandatory, then one should have the option of being a firefighter, EMT, whatever.

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By cyrena, August 3, 2007 at 10:20 pm Link to this comment

Yet you cite only your opinions in response, so that statement rings rather hollow.

Oh Marshall, PLEASE. The rule of law is hardly my “opinion”, and I didn’t writethe Constitution, so that’s not my “opinion” either. I can hardly post that stuff here, just as I should not have to post the Geneva Conventions, or the Convention Against Torture, or any of the rest of that, because you are supposed to be smart enough to look up that stuff on your own. That’s what makes it a NO BRAINER.

So, we’re back to that. I can’t do your citizen work for you Marshall, because I’m not posting for the purposes of giving you a private tutorship in the basic construction of this nations’ governing structure.

I don’t find the Constitution to be at all ambiguous, and I still think it would be helpful for you to read and comprehend that, before you can move on to what might be advanced commmentary.

For people like me, the Constitution IS a no brainer, and is basically idiot proof, as long as one is able to read.

It does not, (and I would repeat this) reflect “policy”, (which is OPINION oriented) but rather the rules of the process.

You don’t get that. You’ve never been able to get that, because you consistently indulge in the very thing that you accuse others of doing, which is to parse words and pick and choose pieces of propaganda with support your own, OPINIONS.

Fortunately, most people don’t fall for it. Still, as I’ve mentioned previously, it’s just as well that your posts do occassionally toss the poison in the midst, if only to keep it real, so that we know there are people like you out there….lurking, and dangerous.

Are you posting from Kennebunkport? Do then not have a library there? Ah…probably not.

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By Marshall, August 3, 2007 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

Cyrena - Though you see impeachment as a slam-dunk, like Sheehan, you’re well in the minority; both in public and in Congressional opinion.  That doesn’t mean you have no argument - only that its basis is far from a “no brainer” as you seem to think.  Regardless, it’s obvously not going to happen so the point is moot.

<<None of the stuff you ever site, actually is legitimate though.>>

Yet you cite only your opinions in response, so that statement rings rather hollow.

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By Douglas Chalmers, August 3, 2007 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

#91596 by Douglas Chalmers on 8/01 at 10:46 pm
(476 comments total): “...More strange happeneings - the very recent TruthDig blog “The Last Days of Democracy” has been removed. “Sorry, Page Not Found” is the message I keep getting for the past 24 hours despite contacting them. Something I said there that yours or ZK’s downtown LA friends didn’t relish, Scheer? See http://www.truthdig.com/20070730_the_last_days_of_democracy/ .....”

I see that “The Last Days of Democracy” page is back now with a new address - but my posting about “Bravery” has been removed. Why???

That proves that it really was something I said that was being censored. So much for you version of FREEDOM OF THE PRESS gone sour, Scheer!!! http://www.truthdig.com/interview/item/20070802_last_days_of_democracy/

Additionally, all of the comments from the alternative podcast page link have been removed. That is really sleazy!!! Put them back, eh, Scheer…. mine too! http://www.truthdig.com/podcast/item/20070730_the_last _days_of_democracy/

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By RogerART.com, August 3, 2007 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

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By Verne Arnold, August 3, 2007 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

Addendum;

I am presently living in an Asian country ruled by a military junta.  They have blocked 40,000 web sites.  I love youtube but it is blocked.  Every time I cannot connect to a site my first question is; is it the junta?  Think about this.  It is more important than you can imagine.

My point is; don’t take this freedom of expression on the web for granted (or any other for that matter)...it can be taken from you in seconds.  What will you do if it is suddenly taken away?  You cannot express yourself, can’t contact your favorite blogs, e-mail goes away…then what?  I would strongly suggest you find an alternative way to organize and communicate…this connection is so fragile…you have no idea.

Is this off topic…I sure hope not.

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By Verne Arnold, August 3, 2007 at 6:03 am Link to this comment

#91497 by Rob D on 8/01 at 2:54 pm
(Unregistered commenter)

I have to say…of all of the comments I’ve read here you pretty much nail it.  Corporatism, inertia, money and apathy.

I’ve been railing for years that we need to get off our ass.  My cynicism exceedes my hope and I find myself laughing out loud…with tears in my eyes.

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By cyrena, August 3, 2007 at 1:45 am Link to this comment

#91862 by Marshall on 8/02 at 9:23 pm

•  ….”Cyrena - Not sure how you misconstrued my post to question the constitutionality of impeachment; my point was that impeachment isn’t a tool to be invoked upon disagreement with policy, as Ritter and I agree is happening in this case.”…

Marshall, I went back to try and understand myself, how I could have “misconstrued” your post. (I‘m always willing to learn, and try to comprehend these various world views). Sometimes things get lost in the translation, (especially via the internet). So, this is where I got whatever I misconstrued:

•  #91617 by Marshall on 8/02 at 2:21 am
“Cyrena - the existence of an impeachment campaign is no proof of its                    
necessity or its constitutionality.”….  As someone who opposed the Iraq war, Ritter makes clear the corrupt nature of invoking impeachment because one disagrees with policy.”

I think I see the problem though. We are obviously looking at things on different levels, and I generally have a tendency to think more on the nonpartisan level, when it comes to the foundational structure of our government, and the Constitution, is not “policy”. “Policy” is obviously, incredibly partisan, because “policies” of the past several years have been determined by the Oligarchy, that clearly does not represent the interests of the citizens of the US. So THAT would be a partisan difference in “policy”.

But, that’s not even what I’m talking about, and so we aren’t even on the same page here, because I’m at the very basic, and what you might even call conservative level? I mean, the textbook (Constitution) example of an executive branch that would need to be IMPEACHED – is THIS one!!

Seriously, all partisan politics aside, this is a NO BRAINER, and has nothing to do with “policy” disagreements, and EVERYTHING to do with the myriad laws that have been violated by these people.

Your focus is always narrow, which we can see, because you present this argument in context to the war on Iraq, and that is only a “subgroup” of the impeachable offenses that have been committed by this regime. So no, it’s not about a “policy” disagreement. Not the same. “Policies” change, the law does not, except by already agreed upon procedures.

So, I would say that’s really your primary bad habit; mixing partisan ideologies (and the narrow nature of them) and confusing the resultant “policies” with the foundation of our system, as outlined by the Constitution, as well as civil codes of our laws. You see it as a “policy disagreement” and that is incredibly cynical, and offends the senses of even a pragmatic realist such as myself, because I have an overwhelming respect for the rule of law, and integrity, and a very sincerely patriotic attachment to that Constitution.

Meantime, this is a historically unprecedented Constitutional crisis, because our Republic, has in effect, – been HIJACKED-!! The result has been a complete breakdown in the system of checks and balances, and so we are in a seriously dangerous crisis, that Congress has so far failed to resolve. And, because it happens to BE the executive branch, that is primarily responsible for the total breakdown of that part of the system, we don’t have a prayer of reversing this, and getting back on track, UNTIL we can get them out of the cockpit so to speak.

So, that’s my “documentation” for my own view….the Constitution. And, I have no problems at all, with providing bona fide documentations. None of the stuff you ever site, actually is legitimate though. It’s made by fox. So, I’m not “insulting” you, I’m just saying that all of the stuff you post, is most propaganda. And, I agree that it has been very difficult for the average citizen to discern the difference, especially in the past 7 years. We are inclined to “trust” the media, and so it becomes a shock when we realize we’ve been so intentionally mislead, and these same corporate news people, continue to do that.

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By Douglas Chalmers, August 3, 2007 at 1:14 am Link to this comment

#91856 by cyrena on 8/02 at 8:29 pm:- #91780 by 500,000 Dead Iraqi Children: “I thought Scahill was out of line back then but I realize now that he probably knew more about Scott than the rest of us…”
“Thanks for the extra insight as well. Scott should take a mental health break. Maybe even retire….”

If we aren’t on some kind of path of denial or refusal, we all have been at some time. Just living in this distorted society with its fantasies and illusory values constantly affects us in some way or another.

Sadly, wanting to make it all right again is only another form of fantasy/illsion/denial as the reality is far different. Everybody must “sweep their own doorsteps” for all of the doorsteps in the street to be clean.

We are all responsible and all accountable so we all must do our part to reform and to create positive change. One person banging their head only eventually results in one person with a sore head. The problem is still unresolved.

That is, now is the time to start acting if people want to make a positive change. Merely waiting for the next election and expecting yet another weary candidate to solve all your problems is no longer enough. That is a sure path to failure in the end.

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By Marshall, August 2, 2007 at 10:23 pm Link to this comment

#91623 by cyrena on 8/02 at 3:35 am
#91621 by cyrena on 8/02 at 2:57 am

Cyrena - Not sure how you misconstrued my post to question the constitutionality of impeachment; my point was that impeachment isn’t a tool to be invoked upon disagreement with policy, as Ritter and I agree is happening in this case.  But you make a great case that the concept of impeachment is actually IN our constitution and I thank you for that.

As to Cindy’s admitted pacifism; I was responding to your implication that I made it up.  I understand that your approach to discussion excludes substantiation and factual reference, so do excuse me for using them - bad habit of mine.

And of course, I’d expect you to malign Scarborough the interviewer instead of addressing the content of the interview - by your logic, you’d better stop visiting Truthdig.com because it frequently posts interviews by his cohorts like O’Reilly… but I don’t see you being critical of that, so I guess it’s okay.

Also - no need to continue posting two responses to me; I actually do read posts the first time and respond to the points rather than the attacking the poster.  Nother bad habit I guess.

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By cyrena, August 2, 2007 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

#91780 by 500,000 Dead Iraqi Children on 8/02 at

•  I thought Scahill was out of line back then but I realize now that he probably knew more about Scott than the rest of us.

Ditto. I saw/heard Scahill as well, and while I never thought he was out of line, (because he didn’t blast Ritter at that particular event) this certainly shows that he knew a lot more than we did.

Thanks for the extra insight as well. Scott should take a mental health break. Maybe even retire.

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By michael pugliese, August 2, 2007 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: Google videos: 9/11 Press for Truth, Loose Change 2nd Edition, America: Freedom to Fascism

See, http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/
  First, if you have not seen the film and want to watch it, be sure to watch Markyx’s annotated version, which he very kindly named after this blog, Screw Loose Change. Markyx did a terrific job on this, and we strongly recommend watching this version rather than Dylan Avery’s cut.

James has put together a list of major lies in Loose Change. Here’s Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.

I compiled three very easily refuted lies in the movie. I also showed three tricks and distortions that are used throughout the film.

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By 500,000 Dead Iraqi Children, August 2, 2007 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sounds like Scott was promised a job in the coming Hillary administration.

In the 1990s when Clinton was in office, Scott was all on board with the genocidal embargo against Iraq.

When Bush won in 2000, Scott suddenly found his conscience and opposed the war. Well, good for him. But we don’t like his latest flip flop now that he sees the possibility that the Democrats are going to win in 2008.

I was saw Scott speak at a World Can’t Wait even. Jeremy Scahill followed and blasted Ritter with both barrels. He told us all how much Ritter is detested in Iraq, how much the Iraqis hold him responsible for the emargo.

I thought Scahill was out of line back then but I realize now that he probably knew more about Scott than the rest of us.

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By Douglas Chalmers, August 2, 2007 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment

#91704 by Skruff on 8/02 at 9:24 am: “...Here’s the last days of Democracy site. they repositioned it, but it was not “removed” as I posterd earlier. 
http://www.truthdig.com/podcast/item/20070730_the_last _days_of_democracy/
If this doesn’t work, go to http://www.truthdig.com/podcast/ ...it’s the first article…”

Thanks, guys. Skruff, I did try the podcast before - don’t know what happened. The main page still doesn’t work - http://www.truthdig.com/20070730_the_last_days_of_democracy/

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By lilmamzer, August 2, 2007 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

#91698 by michael pugliese:

This is precisely why we need more folks like Scott Ritter.

But you won’t get them.

All you will get is more Cindy Sheehan and convergence with the “9-11 Truthers”, wchi means the “anti-war” loony left is beyond dead - it’s become a freak-show laughing stock.

When was the last time you heard CIndy or anyone else on the left criticize Hugo Chavez for shutting down the free press in Venezuela and for his support of repressive Islamic human-rights abusers like Ahmadinejad’s Iran?

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By Skruff, August 2, 2007 at 10:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here’s the last days of Democracy site. they repositioned it, but it was not “removed” as I posterd earlier. 

http://www.truthdig.com/podcast/item/20070730_the_last_days_of_democracy/

If this doesn’t work, go to http://www.truthdig.com/podcast/

it’s the first article.

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Chris Bieber's avatar

By Chris Bieber, August 2, 2007 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

This is quite sad…hardly any poster even bothered mentioning the PURE UNADULTERATED FASCISM that National Service IS and IS PART OF….

Serving the State…the siren song of TYRANTS throughout history…National Service was a key to Lenin/Stalin/Mao and the European socialist powermongers…

liberals of the past protested in the streets…now they vociferously propose it(because they want EVERYONE to serve the State) or because it will “stop” the militarization as more of the INDENTURED CITIZENS will be given a “choice” between fightin and dying in the sands of the MiddleEast or…

Carrying bedpans in Ohio….or…digging ditches in New Mexico..or supplying Security for Government operations…or squelching “proterrorist” protesters…

it is a tough call on which route ugly American youth would choose.. lazy, illiterate and unemployed, desensitized to death and INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILIy via culture and images and conditioned into following orders choosing to patriotically serve the State through military service..

or socialist goodbodies who want to help the lessfortunate….with the hand and club and EXPROPRIATED MONIES from the pliant American Taxpayer choosing social service…

The obvious statism of the antisocialist?? Conservatives…marching! with the socialist Liberals of today…for a Brave New World - and opposing that evil _____ at the next 2 Minute Hate!!

and we are to believe there is a difference?

and what about those of us REFUSING to be complicit/obeying the serve the State “offer”??

will we be branded “traitors” or “proterrorists” or “ThoughtCriminals”???

would we get to choose which Halliburton Detention Camp we would get sent to????

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By michael pugliese, August 2, 2007 at 10:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

http://marccooper.com/ritter-v-sheehan/
  Meanwhile, back to Sheehan. I’ve been reading on some liberal list-serves how last month Sheehan pulled together a meeting in Philly to explore—omigod—how to unify the the peace, pro-impeachment and the"9/11 truth” movements. The latter, of course, are the certifiable loons who believe the Twin Towers were dropped by “controlled demolitions” set off, presumably, by the Bush Administration. These are the whack-jobs we want more unity with? Didn’t Cindy Sheehan say she was retiring from politics?
  Unfortunately, Sheehan’s efforts have borne some fruit—so to speak. Check out this upcoming event in which the “unity” sought be Sheehan is at least partially reflected. One expert fringe-watcher has extracted some real nuggets from the stew of participants and backers of this horrific event. He notes that speaker Webster Tarpley was a long-time militant in the proto-fascist LaRouche cult. One of the other guest speakers, Ralph Schoenman, has a long checkered history dating back to the 60’s when he was accused of manipulating his then-boss Bertrand Russell into endorsing actions he knew nothing about. Jean-Paul Sarte threw a fit over the way Schoenman tried to hijack an international citizens’ war crime tribunal over Vietnam. Since then Schoenman has been on a constant trajectory away from Earth and is now deep into 9/11 conspiracy crap which he professes on his regular radio show on the ultra-marginal WBAI.

More alarming, Susan Udry, a leading rep from the “moderate” anti-war coalition United for Peace and Justice is also participating. What she ought to be doing instead is running away as fast as she can from any association with the pebble-brained “9/11 truth” movement.

Also, Stewart Mott, a very wealthy long-time funder of liberal and progressive causes has also got at least tangential involvement in this freak show. He’s loaning out his Mott House to be used as part of the facilities when he ought to be padlocking it.

This is precisely why we need more folks like Scott Ritter.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 1st, 2007 at 1:05 pm and is filed under Main. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
39 Responses to “Ritter V. Sheehan”

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By lilmamzer, August 2, 2007 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

I never thought I’d see it, but here it is.

An article in TruthCrap with which I have no arguments.

And authored by Scott Ritter, no less.

The best part, of course, is the amusement I get reading all the comments here - making me smile right now.

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By Verne Arnold, August 2, 2007 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

#91596 by Douglas Chalmers on 8/01 at 10:46 pm
(453 comments total)

“More strange happeneings - the very recent TruthDig blog “The Last Days of Democracy” has been removed. “Sorry, Page Not Found” is the message I keep getting for the past 24 hours despite contacting them.”

Whoa! It’s true…WTF?  I can’t get it either.  WTF? 

Maybe the jigs up!  Man oh man…what a rush if “it” actually happened…the bad guys pull it off and we’re fucked.

Gee…maybe we should have done something!

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By Skruff, August 2, 2007 at 6:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

91596 by Douglas Chalmers on 8/01 at 10:46 pm points out

“More strange happeneings - the very recent TruthDig blog “The Last Days of Democracy” has been removed. “Sorry, Page Not Found” is the message I keep getting for the past 24 hours despite contacting them. Something I said there that yours or ZK’s downtown LA friends didn’t relish, Scheer?”

The site still posted, but unaccessable (use site search)

Truthdig Podcast: The Last Days of Democracy Truthdig speaks with Elliot Cohen, author of “The Last Days of Democracy,” who argues that the United States is in political and cultural decline, with media and telecommunications giants engaged in “a well-organized effort to hijack America.”  07/30/07

You are right Mr Chalmers They took down the site and will not respond to the question “Why?”

As far as I am concerned this inexplicable deletion has ruined any small credibility this site may have once had. 

I’m fucken outta here!

Where the hell are the rest of you “truth-seekers”

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By Skruff, August 2, 2007 at 6:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

91431 by Sharon Ash on 8/01 at 11:32 am

“Anti-war movements work so well, that’s why we have had no more war since Vietnam!!!”

I am sure this is sarcasm, and I appriciate the humor in case I am wrong, we have had the following “wars” some declared some undeclared (like Viet Nam) 


Lybia
Somolia
Bosnia
Granada
Nicaragua
Guatamala
Panama

and a dozen other little “dust-ups”

We also assisted in the genocide which killed 250,000 in East Timore, and the Assassination of Salvatore Allende which left Chile a murderous police state for 25 years.

As Nancy Reagan said: Just say NO!

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By Skruff, August 2, 2007 at 5:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ardee

“Thank you Skruff for proving my point so succinctly…Oh and by the way if you beat your wife or child in front of me Ill kick your ass but good.”

Me beating on someone, that’s a real laugh…. you made my day! 

The designation “wife-beater tees” has come to mean teeshirts with over the shoulder straps commonly worn by “real men” who usually have their gut sticking out between the shirt and pants.


I have a tip for you.  Please read, think, then re-read before posting.  Of course as I said below you are “free” to behave in any manner you choose.

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By cyrena, August 2, 2007 at 4:35 am Link to this comment

•  As to Cindy’s admission to being a Pacifist who opposed WWII, she stated this at the end of an interview with Joe Scarborough on 3/16/06 which I’ll be happy to post.
***************************
It’s like I said before marshall, the fact that Cindy Sheehan is a pacifist hasn’t a damn thing to do with the destruction of Iraq, or the destruction of our Constitution or the destruction of our Republic. We don’t CARE if she’s a pacifist. OK? It’s not an “admission”, because it’s not a CRIME to be a pacifist. Besides that, she doesn’t quite impress a LOGICAL person as a “pacifist”, which is the opposite of an activist in layperson terminology.

•  the existence of an impeachment campaign is no proof of its necessity or its constitutionality.

Are you on crack? Or maybe the same stuff that Limbaugh chews and snorts? Have you even READ the Constitution?


Or, maybe we don’t have the same copy of that document,. I guess we don’t have the where impeachment is not only specifically provided for, but actually REQUIRED, because the founders were smart enough to foresee occasions just such as this. We are fortunate in having only needed to use it once in our own recent history, with the likes of Nixon, and once the procedure was wrapped up, (which took only 4 months) and they were ready to lower the boom, he fortunately had enough sense, (at that last moment) to go ahead and save himself the further disgrace of its formality, by resigning.

Then the radical republicans used it as their lowest point (at least until then) to harass Clinton on some BS that had nothing to do with anybody paying taxes. We didn’t care about that either.

However, it’s mentioned those 10 or so times in our Constitution, to be used for exactly these purposes. To rid ourselves of a regime that is currently involved in the same fascist behavior that brought Europe crashing down.

Now, if you somehow find something -IN OUR CONSTITUTION- that is “unconstitutional”, (like impeachment) and you think it is “corrupting”, then…you really ARE crazier than a loon, and you should quit hanging out with Limbaugh.

Those drugs are dangerous.

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By cyrena, August 2, 2007 at 3:57 am Link to this comment

As to Cindy’s admission to being a Pacifist who opposed WWII, she stated this at the end of an interview with Joe Scarborough on 3/16/06 which I’ll be happy to post.

It’s like I said before marshall, the fact that Cindy Sheehan is a pacifist hasn’t a damn thing to do with the destruction of Iraq. We don’t care.

As for impeachment being unconstitutional and corruptible, I guess we don’t have the same copy of the same document. Or, you’re just crazier than a loon.

And, if I wanted my household exposed to Joe Scab, we would just watch it here.

We prefer to study the real thing.

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By Marshall, August 2, 2007 at 3:21 am Link to this comment

#91591 by cyrena on 8/01 at 10:31 pm

Cyrena - the existence of an impeachment campaign is no proof of its necessity or its constitutionality.  As someone who opposed the Iraq war, Ritter makes clear the corrupt nature of invoking impeachment because one disagrees with policy.  Which is why the Democrats won’t come near this issue, as Cindy admits to being told in her clip.  Calling me a hater doesn’t bolster your argument, and I do respect Ritter for standing up among his peers on the left and calling this rather ludicrous campaign what it is.

As to Cindy’s admission to being a Pacifist who opposed WWII, she stated this at the end of an interview with Joe Scarborough on 3/16/06 which I’ll be happy to post.

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By greenback, August 2, 2007 at 3:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@SecularDerelict
I noticed you are using FOX News Talking Points: anytime someone criticizes something serious about the neocons, quickly respond with the “tinfoil hat” label. You people are so bizzare. You must not have been keeping tabs on progress with 911 Truth & Justice. I hate to break it to you but presently there are hundreds of Government & Miliatry Officials & Architects & Engineers who have stepped forward for Truth & Justice with evidence (PatriotsQuestion911.com). In fact there are a hell of a lot more Architects & Engineers demanding an investigation into the mass murder of 9/11 than there are those who support the Official Conspiracy Theory (that jive talk about 19 dudes with box cutters taking down the world’s most highly defended military in the known universe). Last I checked there were hundreds of Architects & Engineers supporting an investigation; and only four engineers supporting the Official Conspiracy Theory (they’re from the NIST, a Bush Administration agency; you know, like the other Bush scientists who were busted about falsifying environmental impact statistics). How’s that tin foil hat feel on your head, dude? Also, Impeachment is proper because Bush/Cheney have a list of documented crimes against the nation. I know you must prefer rogue nation behavior, but here in America, we pride ourselves on the rule of law. Finally, you are very strange fellow for trying to label the impeachment movement as a bunch of crazies when there are substantiated grounds for it. Also, the impeachment of Cheney or Bush will be is very, very fast. It will not disrupt or distract from the important business of passing nonbinding resolutions and holding all-night gripe sessions over bills destined to be vetoed. Impeachment in the case of Dick Cheney need not take the three months it did for Nixon or the two months it did for President Bill Clinton. In fact, it could take a day. Here’s why:

Bush and Cheney’s lies about Iraqi ties to al Qaeda are on videotape and in writing, and Bush and Cheney continue to make them to this day. There was no al Qaeda in Iraq until the invasion.

Their claims about Iraqi weapons have been shown in every detail to have been, not mistakes, but lies.

Their threats to Iran are on videotape.

Bush being warned about Katrina and claiming he was not, all on videotape.

Bush lying about illegal spying and later confessing to it are on videotape. A federal court has ruled that spying to be a felony.

The Supreme Court has ruled Bush and Cheney’s system of detentions unconstitutional.

Torture, openly advocated for by Bush and Cheney and their staffs, is documented by victims, witnesses, and public photographs. Torture was always illegal and has been repeatedly recriminalized under Bush and Cheney. Bush has reversed laws with signing statements.

Those statements are posted on the White House website, and a GAO report found that with 30 percent of Bush’s signing statements in which he announces his right to break laws, he has in fact proceeded to break those laws.

For these and many other offenses, no investigation is needed because no better evidence is even conceivable. This impeachment will be swift. And it will require only a simple majority. We already know that the Democrats can vote as a block if they want to, and that a few brave Republicans might join them.

Whether the Senate will then convict Cheney will depend on how much pressure citizens apply and how much information the House manages to force onto television sets. The latter could be surprisingly large and substantive, since the conflict of an impeachment is certain to generate incredible ratings.
(source:afterdowningstreet)

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By Lenny, August 2, 2007 at 3:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What’s “ill-conceived” about impeaching the Prez for the felonies he has admitted on TV, such as domestic spying sans FISA warrants, or the actions the court has deemed illegal, such as detention without trial and torture and “extraordinary rendition”?

Nevertheless, we must remember to be compassionate to those who have offered up their bodies and minds to the Machine, such as our patriotic friend Scott Ritter. People who have spent a lot of time in the military culture tend to believe in the intrinsic value of following orders, and think that we all should learn it, when no such intrinsic value really exists. It’s an indispensible tool if you need to move an army, but it doesn’t play well outside the military.(Or in Nuremburg)

Call it a draft or call it National Service - slavery is slavery. Nuts to that!

Cindy Sheehan may at times sound like she skipped a few classes back in college, but she’s right when she calls out Congress for their refusal to perform their duties to defend the Constitution against all enemies, particularly the domestic.

Come back, Scott. You’re too good a man to lose.

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By Douglas Chalmers, August 1, 2007 at 11:46 pm Link to this comment

More strange happeneings - the very recent TruthDig blog “The Last Days of Democracy” has been removed. “Sorry, Page Not Found” is the message I keep getting for the past 24 hours despite contacting them. Something I said there that yours or ZK’s downtown LA friends didn’t relish, Scheer? See http://www.truthdig.com/20070730_the_last_days_of_democracy/

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By cyrena, August 1, 2007 at 11:31 pm Link to this comment

#91285 by Marshall on 7/31 at 10:37 pm

•  What many who oppose the Iraq war and feel represented by Sheehan fail to realize is that Cindy opposes US involvement in ALL wars, including WWII.  I heard her state this directly in a TV interview.  This, along with the loss of her son, appears to be what fuels her ill-conceived impeachment campaign - Ritter is dead on about that.  Hers is not, nor has it ever been, a position based on rationality.  As such, she appeals to the hatred the far left has for this administration but has been asked to do their thinking for them and she’s obviously not up to the task.
•  What many who oppose the Iraq war and feel represented by Sheehan fail to realize is that Cindy opposes US involvement in ALL wars, including WWII.  I heard her state this directly in a TV interview.  This, along with the loss of her son, appears to be what fuels her ill-conceived impeachment campaign - Ritter is dead on about that.  Hers is not, nor has it ever been, a position based on rationality.  As such, she appeals to the hatred the far left has for this administration but has been asked to do their thinking for them and she’s obviously not up to the task.
Ya know Marshall, you definitely do hang in there, as the “main-mole” determined to inject poison wherever you can, and doing a lousy job, since it’s all so very transparent. I swear, you inject more hate into these forums than all of the other “radicals” combined. You give true meaning to the concepts of misogyny, and an overall anti-social rational. I’m thinking there are few (if any) people you don’t HATE.

And, it’s so obvious in your pathetic arguments. Like, why do we CARE, that Cindy Sheehan opposes “ALL” war. (as if we’re likely to take YOUR word for the fact that she said it anyway, and I don’t). It still has nothing to do with what’s going on in real time.

In reality, there’s nothing the LEAST bit “ill-conceived” about her impeachment campaign, since the ideology of the “campaign” as you call it, is based on something as fundamental as THE RULE OF LAW, as in…the CONSTITUTION, which includes our legal commitments, -as a nation- to the International rule of law as well. There isn’t the least thing RADICAL about that. The only thing “radical” about this so-called impeachment “campaign” is that we even have to have it. Had we relied on the Constitution long ago, the Cabal would be gone, and the Middle East would not be burning out of control.

So, it is pathetically sad, that you would continue to twist your own radical agenda through this forum, by corrupting the very definition of what our democracy is about.

On the other hand, it’s probably just as well that you keep posting this stuff, just as a reminder to all, that the danger continues to lurk among us, and it’s people like you, that we have to tell our kids to watch out for.

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By cyrena, August 1, 2007 at 10:32 pm Link to this comment

#91477 by Analog Kid on 8/01 at 1:52 pm

•  He said, “If you have to go to war, you will think twice about voting for it”.  Sweden also pays for higher education, guess where that money comes from?  You get that money once you have done your service.  I know these ideas seem socialist, but they are preventive.  Going to the draft only allowed the rich people to use the poor people to fight for what the rich people with benefit from.  If we all have to go to war, people will actually make sure that reasons(WMDs, links to Bin Ladin and what ever excuse they have come up with next) is actually true.

Analog Kid,
You hit the nail on the head here, and this is NOT a “new concept” for us here in America. We certainly had a mandatory selective service process in place in the years of earlier wars, but it’s never been mandatory in the sense that Sweden’s has been. (They have like “the” model government in Sweden) Still, my point was that even as recently as 2003, as the troops were initially heading over, at least two Democratic representatives/senators made the same proposal; basically, to reinstitute at least the lottery nature of the draft that we had in place in Vietnam, requiring everyone to at least register.

Of COURSE everyone went hysterical at the very thought of it, and started demonizing the guys that had suggested it. (and, I would have to go back to notes to verify who they were, but Rangle and Levin come to mind) But, that was the whole point; they KNEW that it would shape up (as a “volunteer” army) to be disproportionately comprised of black and brown citizens, and the near majority of all of them – poor. And, as long as it’s “other people’s blood” no one much cares. (or so it seems). BUT, when there’s even a “chance”, that it could be one of their own, they are likely to think twice about agreeing to a war of choice, or an illegal war of aggression.

So in the end, a re-call to that mandatory “lottery” might very well have prevented this war ever happening. Your lesson from your roommate was very well taken, and I thank you for sharing it.

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By greenback, August 1, 2007 at 9:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Has Scott Ritter exposed himself? Is he a gatekeeper? Certainly he would be a gatekeeper serving on the outermost perfery of the kingdom of the DC Elite, and a very good one at that. But it comes across pretty clear that he is, especially with his anti-impeachment stance, and especially since he doesn’t provide an alternative to dealing with an executive branch blatantly violating the supreme law of the land. That’s too bad Scott, I thought you were a Patriot through and through.

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By SECULAR_HERETIC, August 1, 2007 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

I will have to do some thinking about the national service idea.  At the same time I agree 100% about progressives letting tin-foil-hat-wearing “truther” and “impeach-now” nutjobs know where they stand in relation to honest, progressive activism.  I opposed the invasion of Iraq and I too am very concerned about issues like directive 51.  At the same time we still have a lot more freedom under the Patriot act than we would under the Milita movement/Nazis or Fundamentalist Muslims who are the source of most of this disinformation about this or that being an inside job.  Just something to think about.  I also think that impeachment basically would serve as a means of overturning the democratic process.  Personally I don’t tolerate any 9/11 Truth or Impeach Now spam (and that’s what it is SPAM) on any of the media or journals I post and I would suggest others do the same.  I don’t feel a need to be polite.  Trust me, if asked your opinion about 9/11 truth and you don’t make it perfectly clear that you think the questioner is a tinhat who has been sold a bill of goods by a bunch of right-wing nuts they will assume that you agree with them about this nonsense and go on slandering innocent people (accusing them of mass murder) in your name.

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By ardee, August 1, 2007 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

for Ms. Ash..

I seem to have jumped the gun on that assumption. Went back and reread the post and now I humbly apologize…still pissed at Skruff’s complete idiocies, sorry.

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By ardee, August 1, 2007 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

#91431 by Sharon Ash on 8/01 at 11:32 am
(Unregistered commenter)

Anti-war movements work so well, that’s why we have had no more war since Vietnam!!! 

ardee responds:
All this shows is an abysmal lack of knowledge of history. Look it up Ms. Ash, there have been Americans killed in fighting since Viet Nam…..

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By ardee, August 1, 2007 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment

#91417 by Skruff on 8/01 at 10:26 am


“We see a populace rather estranged and disengaged from the political process, a selfish, me first and damn you culture, apathetic to the needs of anyone not themselves”

Freedom is the ability to act in a way you decide to act!  It is not “improved” by folks saying greed averace and “selfish, me first and damn you ....” attitudes are unacceptable. In a “free country” a miser is free to collect money, a narcisist is free to concentrate on himself, and the rare few who wish to help others are free to sacrifice their money to the cause.  The way one acts in a “free nation” does not have to conform to a majority idea. I don’t like wife-beater tees and flip-flops in fancy restaurants, but that’s my hang up. I have no right to impede behavior that isn’t hurting (physically) me.

Thank you Skruff for proving my point so succinctly…Oh and by the way if you beat your wife or child in front of me Ill kick your ass but good.

This nation suffers from far too many Skruff’s who fail to understand at all that this nation must be a two way street. We have a responsibility to our neighbors and they to us. That is the only way this thing will work.

What I perceive Ritter as proposing has nothing to do with giving Bush a million more soldiers but in bringing the war home to all those families. The two year service commitment would have to be optional and rewards as tuition or training offered, and I htink it a damn good proposal still.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, August 1, 2007 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

Forgot to add, other ways to “produce a winning season” are to juice up, buy off officials and play for a team that has the money to afford multi-million dollar contracts for wunderkinder.  What BS, Scott!  With your exposure and influence, you should station yourself every day at Bush’s front door demanding that he and Cheney resign.  I think that would be “service” we could all love.

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By cyrena, August 1, 2007 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

#91260 by Frank Cajon on 7/31 at 8:15 pm

•  ….My other big problem is that whatever one may feel about Cindy Sheehan, she is one of the few that is willing to stand up and be counted and shout out in defiance against a war that took the life of her son.”…

Frank, I too had this problem, with the piece by Scott Ritter, and I’m actually surprised, because I have read other books by him, which have been excellent, but because he’s written from his extensive knowledge in intelligence and his work with the UN as a professional in WMD. His books (or those that I’ve read) have not resulted to attacking an ordinary citizen who has done extraordinary work. And, while she might not be a Martin Luther King, Jr., she’s definitely become a stellar student of his philosophy, and is willing to DO something. I can remember back to the days BEFORE she because her campaign, and it seemed like that was my prayer or chant everyday…why doesn’t somebody DO something. (I was, and so were a few other of us old activists left over from the 60’s and 70’s) but we just couldn’t ROUSE anyone. SHE DID.

•  I was in another blog site recently that made fun of her appearance. What in the fuck does that, or her being arrested have to do with anything?

It has nothing to do with nothing, (at least not her appearance) and that’s just ignorance and a super-shallow mentality that you’re hearing/reading.

•  Now I hear Scott ripping her credentials to be an antiwar spokesperson because she surrounds herself with ‘radicals’. Sheehan isn’t always going to be 100% on target, but, I’ll venture to guess Scott might have a different perspective if he had lost a son in that pointless hell.

NONE of us is EVER 100% on target, even when we know what that would take. Scott does miss this most important, (ALL important) point that you made. She lost her son, and he didn’t have to die, and he shouldn’t have died, at least not in THIS “war”, and NEITHER SHOULD ANY OF THE REST OF OUR LOVED ONES. It is the banality of it all, that she has forced into the forefront, and that’s the whole point. Millions of people are dying needlessly. SHE figured out, that her son died for nothing, and a coming to that realization is more painful than most can deal with. She’s had to courage to acknowledge that, look it in the eye, and call it what it is, and bring the notion of accountability to focus.

And ALWAYS, (as there have been from the beginning) there will be those who will criticize and smear. One must grow a terribly thick skin, to deal with it, and to stay with it. Losing a child is one awful way to grow it.

I think that Ritter is particularly upset about the presumed “assault” on Mr. Conyers, because he HAS in fact been a quasi-supporter of the anti-war effort. But, he’s still a politician, and he still has the legal power invested in him, to STOP it. It’s what we expect them to DO, as our representatives. And, it’s not about personalities or egos or any of the rest of that. It’s about the fact that the bodies are piling up, as we continue to pour fuel on an out-of-control inferno.

Scott uses a fire analogy here, that I wonder if he even gets himself…which is that the job is to PREVENT the fire in the first place. And when one does occur anyway, the first priority is to save the lives, and then to put the fire OUT. Iraq is the opposite. The fire was intentionally set, by the mere invasion and occupation, and the fuel has always been our military presence there. And yet, instead of trying to put it out, (and save some lives in the process) our regime just keeps adding more fuel, in the form of more troops, and more “construction”. More to burn.

Quite a paradox.

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By Martha, August 1, 2007 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

Scott Ritter wants to talk about “morality”?  That’s rich. Why does Truthdig continue to feature his work?
CNN asks him about the arrest for online sexual predator activities and he says he can’t talk about it.  Why does Truthdig continue to feature his work?
Hey Ritter, by your predictions we should be in year two of war with Iran, remember?  Why anyone should believe a word from his mouth at this point is beyond me but what I do know is he’ll never get near my children.

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By Jim Gibson, August 1, 2007 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

Scott Ritter made a real nice military career for himself and saw nothing wrong with the masters of war until he jumped like a rat from their stinking death ship just a few short years ago. Now he’s turned coat and exposed some of his masters deciet and feels this should give him some special standing within the antiwar community. Get to the back of the line Scott. You were useful for awhile, now you’re being an irritation.

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By Skruff, August 1, 2007 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

91432 by lawlessone on 8/01 at 11:34 am:

“I and many of my fellow members were utterly opposed to the Vietnam War and yet despised other equally vehement war protesters on the grounds that they had not earned the “right” to oppose it”


Only way to “earn it” is with a gun?

Sorry, I do not believe that!

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By yours truly, August 1, 2007 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Smell a rat, anyone?  More specifically, a mole, because one has to wonder when a former military intelligence officer, after spending years as a dandy of the anti-war movement, suddenly turns on that movement.  Yes, he could be sincere, but on the other hand, fool us once, blame him, fool us twice, blame us.  It’s not as if there isn’t a long, sordid history of moles toing the line for various progressive causes, and then, when they get the signal, showing their true colors.  For example, in the ANC, there was the infamous mole who had made it to the top echelons of that liberation movement, before he finally was discovered. 

Why would Ritter be turning again?  Perhaps he’s got the word from his intelligence handlers, “Do whatever you can to scuttle the antiwar movement. They’re getting too close to troops out now, and once that happens, we’ll all be in serious trouble?”

Maybe not, but there’s no dismissing who he was and where he came from, and now this sudden switch?  A dilemma?  How to handle it?  No leadership role for him in our peace movement, that’s what Yes, he’s made contributions, but in a cost/benefit analysis, he’s not worth the risk.  Besides, in a successful peace movement, everyone’s a leader, so why take chances?

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By Rob D, August 1, 2007 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I respect Mr. Ritter a lot and he is obviously a very thoughtful man. But I think America with a large standing army is another step down the road to fascism. To this Canadians eyes you pay far too much fealty to men in arms already.Every football pre-game is a tribute to military values. Support the troops. Period. No.Tell me what the troops have done and I will tell you if I support it.I have a few friends in the military here in Canada and they mostly agree. You don’t get a free pass because you wear a uni.

Don’t you get the feeling that mainstream America really doesn’t matter anymore? Do you really think Hilary Clinton is going to change the direction of American foreign policy? I don’t. Whoever gets the nomination for either party and becomes Pres. will be following the will of the corporatists who want to keep the money flowing in the right direction..directly into their pockets. Its all about crafting the message correctly for the suckers. Give them what they want to hear and then throw it away once you get into office. Remember “compassionate Conservatism”? I hooted in derision when I first heard that but a lot of Americans seems to buy it.

No. Its all about a war for resources now, keeping rising powers from challenging Western hegemony over oil and its myriad product offshoots. And most Americans want to be the biggesst power in the world and will give in when the powers that be tell them that is at stake. The latest incredibly cynical proposed arm deals with Saudi Arabia and assorted countries around Iran tells you a lot. Of course, Israel must get more, just to keep things on an even keel.

I have gotten past being cynical and just laugh a lot about such things these days. The democratic ideals America always said it stood for? Lost in a cloud of illegal war, offical lies. a willing and knock kneed press, torture justified, habeas corpus denied, Katrina already forgotten…Its not something like bayonet drills are going to assuage. People like Sheehan actually stop watching their big screen TV`s. get off their ass, and do something. She isn’t perfect and deserves some criticism for missteps but I hear a note of derision in Scott’s comments that are reminiscent of Marc Cooper who specializes in that.

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By Forge Dunzump, August 1, 2007 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Scott, I have previously considered, and agree with many of your points, specifically
That:
a)we are well served by adhering to constitutional structures (no brainer)
b)that we as a nation betrayed ourselves, though by allowing ourselves to become both repelled and inured to politics (except for those individuals attracted to power and a few others), rather than as you posit.
c) that a stronger understanding of the value of our national and other community would be beneficial amongst all of us, and that a national service corp would be usefull in promulgating same.

All that said, it seems apparent that you are biased against certain potential allies in the fight for what is right for our nation.  Sure Sheehan et. al. have their flaws and warts, but politics make strange bedfellows.  Your argument referencing complicity of the legislature does nothing to reduce the criminality of engaging us in a war under false pretences and it is far to facile that you say it does.  Your normally very systematic reasoning seems to have fallen down somewhat on this.  Impeachability is a judgement of Congress.  That there are former and present collaborators of the ring leaders that will be holding court is regretably part of the process.  Numerous well educated, well informed citizens of this country believe that this administration is highly impeachable.  Bruce Fein, former AAG under Reagan for one comes to mind, as does the discussion on Bill Moyer’s TV program last week.  In any case thanks for keeping the discussion going.

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By Beau, August 1, 2007 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

<a>“Scott Ritter was a Marine Corps intelligence officer from 1984 to 1991 and a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998.”</i>


“Was” is the key word here. 

Now Scott’s an armchair quarterback (yes, a sport’s analogy, Scott).  He writes.  He talks. He lectures. 

Ever run for any public office Scott so that you might enact some of those things you writeand talk about?

Naw.  Time for you to find a rocking chair grandpa.  The older you get, the better you were.

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By Tim Kelly, August 1, 2007 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maybe a part of the solution is to stop viewing soldiers as heroes.  It is one thing to be forced into military service by an out-of-control gov’t (i.e. Vietnam), quite another to willingly sign up to kill people for money (under the guise of patriotism).

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By yours truly, August 1, 2007 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What’s this about boot camp for everyone?  What’ll they be reading, Mein Kampf?  As for a moribund anti-war movement, that’s all hokus pocus, whatever the latest contrived opinion poll.  And impeachment has to be one of our goals, easily attainable once we force Congress to cut off all funding for the Iraq war, because, as soon as our troops are back home with their loved ones, they’ll be asking, “What was it again, Mr. President, that you sent us to Iraq to fight and die for?”  And after George W. Bush the Second is impeached off he’ll be carted to the International Court of Criminal Justice, where we can look forward to:

“Members of the jury, on the charge of crimes against humanity, have you arrived at a verdict?”

“Yes, your honor, guilty as charged.”

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By Analog Kid, August 1, 2007 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When I was in college I had a roommate from Sweden.  Sweden requires that all able bodied citizens participate in their army.  I first thought this was the greatest threat to freedom of choice.  When I talked to him about it though he didn’t see it that way.  He said, “If you have to go to war, you will think twice about voting for it”.  Sweden also pays for higher education, guess where that money comes from?  You get that money once you have done your service.  I know these ideas seem socialist, but they are preventive.  Going to the draft only allowed the rich people to use the poor people to fight for what the rich people with benefit from.  If we all have to go to war, people will actually make sure that reasons(WMDs, links to Bin Ladin and what ever excuse they have come up with next) is actually true.  If you don’t have to go, who cares?  I think Mr. Ritter hit it right on the head.  Give it a thought.  I am for it.

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By C Quil, August 1, 2007 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

When I saw the title of the article and then the author, I thought he was being sarcastic. The answer to war is more war. The answer to unprecendented military build-up is more military build-up. What’s the use of having all those soldiers hanging around if you can’t use them?

Eisenhower was right, but nobody listened to what he said in his farewell speech. Now the military-industrial complex is the military-industrial-petroleum complex. There are something in excess of 735 U.S. bases throughout the world in other people’s countries.

The government and the arms manufacturers and KBR types are sucking the lifeblood - literally - out of the U.S. The debt is enormous and they are still spending. It’s like having a high limit credit card stolen, maxed out and then tossed, leaving the cardholder with none of the goods and all of the bills.

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By janet maker, August 1, 2007 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment
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The idea of mandatory national service is too dangerous to even contemplate for a second, which is how long it would take for the draftee’s “choice” to be removed and all draftees instead fulfilling the neocons’ agenda: trained troops to attack Iran, Syria, Venezuela, and whoever else disagrees with them. Really insane.  Scott Ritter is either unbelievably naive or else complicit.

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By yours truly, August 1, 2007 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment
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We can get the troops out now by forcing Congress to cut off all funding for the Iraq war.  After that the impeachment of Bush/Cheney will be a cinch.  Why?  Because our troops, once they’re back home with their loved ones, will be asking, “What was it again, Mr. President, that you sent us off to Iraq to fight and die for?”  And following their impeachment, off they go to the International Court of Criminal Justice, where we can look forward to -

“Members of the Jury, on the charge of crimes against humanity, what is your verdict?”

“Guilty as charged, your honor.”

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By lawlessone, August 1, 2007 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In the early 70’s, as a Vietnam combat vet and an active member of the VVAW, I found myself in an interesting position.  I and many of my fellow members were utterly opposed to the Vietnam War and yet despised other equally vehement war protesters on the grounds that they had not earned the “right” to oppose it. 

I feel much the same way today.  I am utterly opposed to the Iraq War to the point of believing those at the top who started it should not only be impeached immediately, but turned over to an international tribunal for exploration as to whether war crimes have been committed.  I am simultaneously a strong believer in a well trained, well equipped military.  There is no question we need one.  I am not opposed to Wars per se, only idiot ones fought primarily for ego or money or power.  For instance, the first Gulf War seemed to be justified as to both grounds and conduct.

Your suggestion that there should be mandatory government service of some sort by youths right out of high school before they go on to college is an excellent one, particularly if it is accompanied a tough initial “boot camp” mixing all races and classes, physically conditioning them, training them on weapons while also educating them on what the Constitution says and means.  There would have to be a choice left to the individual perhaps between the military and other appropriate types of public service with quasi-military discipline such as a renewed civilian conservation corp or perhaps the peace corp and the like. Plus, there would have to be assurance that a place is found for everyone “inducted” regardless of physical infirmity. 

The proposal needs one other component though.  If no completed service, then no citizenship, no medicare, no vote.  That is the only way to insure citizenship is finally accepted as a “privilege,” not a right. 

(For extra credit on the subject, read Robert Heinlein’s thoughtful Starship Troopers, the book of course, not the silly movie.)

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By Sharon Ash, August 1, 2007 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Anti-war movements work so well, that’s why we have had no more war since Vietnam!!!  It is alright to vent against war, but if you want real change, support peace.  Support the formation of a U.S Department of Peace and Nonviolence (HR-808).  Insist upon the implementation of a Peace Tax Fund in our government.  Give your dollars to those colleges and universities who promote peace studies and designate that your dollars are going only to that department.  Be pro-peace, and work for it. Or, you can just waste time standing on a corner holding a sign that says No More War and then sit back and just watch the military spending budget drop. Not!  As for Cindy Sheehan, she has paid the ultimate price, in the loss of a child, and as a mother, I am not about to tell her what she can or cannot do, but she is, beginning to sound a little shrill, to me.  (i.e. annoying and ineffective)

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By Skruff, August 1, 2007 at 11:26 am Link to this comment
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“We see a populace rather estranged and disengaged from the political process, a selfish, me first and damn you culture, apathetic to the needs of anyone not themselves”

Freedom is the ability to act in a way you decide to act!  It is not “improved” by folks saying greed averace and “selfish, me first and damn you ....” attitudes are unacceptable. In a “free country” a miser is free to collect money, a narcisist is free to concentrate on himself, and the rare few who wish to help others are free to sacrifice their money to the cause.  The way one acts in a “free nation” does not have to conform to a majority idea. I don’t like wife-beater tees and flip-flops in fancy restaurants, but that’s my hang up. I have no right to impede behavior that isn’t hurting (physically) me.

The movie “Wall Street’ exemplified what “THE USA stands for” giving our children another santa / benevolent god fairy tale may make all the doo-gooders feel warm and fuzzy, but forced volunteerism isn’t moral or democratic.

Change the system, change the future.

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By Patrick Story, August 1, 2007 at 11:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m sorry, but Ritter, usually a sensible analyst, has descended into a lot of blather here. It’s too tedious to take it apart, but I’ll say that as a whole, his position sure makes me want to support the “impeach now crowd.”

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By ardee, August 1, 2007 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

#91260 by Frank Cajon on 7/31 at 8:15 pm
(30 comments total)

Mr Ritter’s article has a certain regimented, military compartmentalist approach that is no surprise seeing his credentials. I confess to not having read his books, or have the inclination to after this piece. Mandatory National Service is not a new idea. We had a fairly close approximation to it in the Vietnam era. Proposing to take 2 years from the lives of every American in the same article as slamming Cindy Sheehan for being a poor representative for the current antiwar movement is quite an achievement. Congratulations, Scott.
What he is saying, it does not take a rocket scientist to discern, is, let’s bring back the draft, and make it universal so that you can’t dodge it. This feeds the cannons for Bush/Cheney and whatever other psychotic may step in after them and continue our imperialistic escapades, and gives millions of others, after getting a ripped bod in boot camp, to empty the bedpans, clear brush in the back country, do dangerous inner city work for low pay, and otherwise be altruistic models in a mass Kumbaya at the end of the day. A sort of a Bush/Cheney Youth. That this erodes freedoms, is wildly impractical from an economic standpoint alone, and is dangerously close to the militaristic Israeli model doesn’t seem a concern. Scott, wait till the anti-Zionist element here gets ahold of this, if you think I am being critical.

Frank, I could not agree with you less….sorry to say. A draft would bring a war home to the public and force them to deal with it and its effects. It might be the very best thing to happen to this nation, unless it is Ritter’s suggestion of a two year service commitment for all. It might be used to reengage our youth in the process of democracy and it might offer college tuition or job training as incentive.

We see a populace rather estranged and disengaged from the political process, a selfish, me first and damn you culture, apathetic to the needs of anyone not themselves, and if we do not alter this trend we doom our nation.

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By farbie, August 1, 2007 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

Excellent article, Scott.  I also read your earlier article, “Calling Out Idiot America,” where you give an excellent brief history of the Muslim “religions.”  The Shiite-Sunni divide is far more complex than I had ever imagined.  I take issue, nevertheless, with your impression that impeachment should be “off the table,” especially with respect to Dick Cheney.  The limited Articles of Impeachment introduced by Dennis Kucinich with respect to Cheney are very close to the legitimate impeachment concerns you express in your article.  Why not support his impeachment?

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By Max Shields, August 1, 2007 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

A draft isn’t the real issue. The root cause of our aggressive wars are NOT the people who put on the uniform and the solution isn’t in making more people serve.

I have no issue with serving community - to the contrary. But what is the purpose of making every citizen go through boot camp to be taught to kill another human being - for equality? No, this is arse backwards. Community, national service yes. Military service needs to be re-thought purely from the perspective of defense.

The U.S. is in the war business. It is our largest exported commodity and we produce most of the world’s weapons (including WMD/Nuclear). In a word, we are the world’s primary supplier. We have nearly 1,000 basis and have started numerous conflicts and wars over the last 100+ years.

That’s the cause and that’s what needs to change. Not some band-aide notion of “if we draft everyone into the military” maybe then we’ll think twice….” That’s a solution just waiting to discover loopholes for those who wage the wars.

Let’s create a peace movement; one that begins in the home, in our schools and communities. An army for peace.

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By Ken Back, August 1, 2007 at 10:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ll stick with Lou Dobbs thank you!

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By Mudwollow, August 1, 2007 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

I guess if you’re an ex-Marine, being “imbued with discipline and the necessity of adhering to a chain of command” is the promised land. But a massive lobotomy campaign may produce the same results with less effort. The volunteer army we now have appears to adhere to and parrot the absurd prevarications of their commander-in-chief with great discipline. Maybe the Hitler youth was a good idea also, but I’m not sure. I guess it depends on who is imbuing whom with what.

A national draft would make our population think differently about how important oil is to them. A national draft could raise the question “your SUV or your life”. But does Mr. Ritter truly believe that a national draft would be carried out without exceptions or deferments? Harboring that vision requires an inordinate amount of disciplined adherence to the chain of command.

I love Mr. Ritter and think he’s a fine American. But I don’t think Mr. Ritter’s military training has helped to free him, his mind or his soul. Scott burns through a lot of words to say “the masses are asses”. But we’ve known that all along. Possibly some of the stuff Scott would like to see happen could be accomplished through a national initiative process such as the one Mike Gravel as put forward. But Scott does not mention any such national initiative alternative. Possibly I missed it but I didn’t read how Scott intends to accomplish his objective. I wish Mr. Ritter good luck with his proposals but if the ultimate society of the future is to be built on the military model, militarism as we have know it throughout history must first disappear.

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By ivawfan, August 1, 2007 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

IVAW are the “firefighters” to support.
www dot ivaw dot org

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By Max Shields, August 1, 2007 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

And what, Mr. Ritter is the rather sophmoric use of analogies like - firefighers and soliders all about?

Firefighters are first and foremost first responders to an event - usually a fire. They do not invade a home and knock down the doors and kill its occupants with missiles because they are suspected of having started a fire somewhere else.

Certainly a defense military has a place: FOR DEFENSIVE PURPOSES, not to roam the world and offensively invade and occupy sovereign nations. That is not the intent of the founding fathers and the Declaration of Independence or Constitution. That is the result of a out of control military and corporate industrial complex.

Our notion of defense has been corrupted by Orwellian talk such as yours. Soldiers are in harms way because this government put them there. They create atrocities because they are put in a situation which is threatening. A threat by the way that being there perpetuates.

You may want to reconsider your analogies. Dig a little deeper into your motives and see if you can find the constitution you refer to and by all means READ IT!

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By Darrel Rodgers, August 1, 2007 at 9:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a somewhat reluctant ROTC officer during the Vietnam era,I find for the fist time someone writing sense.  I was appalled when the draft was ended.  I feel that an all volunteer army has severed the link between the general public and the act of going to war.  The opposition to the Vietnam war reached such a large part of the public because of the perception that so many of our citizens had that they or some member of their family could be drafted and sent to fight in that war.  With an all volunteer army much of the public can treat the war as professional sports team.  They can put tags and flags on their cars but they face no potential cost for their support. The fact that the children of the elite makes up such a small portion of the armed forces only makes it worse.

My proposal for making war more difficult to start would be to accept your concept of national service. Exemptions should be rare so that the Bulshes and Cheneys of this generation could not easily escape service. Retain a period when the President could commit troops.  Then require draftees to be subject to service in that war.  Finally war should automatically include a significant tax increase.

Thank you for taking an unpopular stand.

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By ShockandAwe, August 1, 2007 at 9:36 am Link to this comment

Cindy takes attention away from the people who REALLY have the power to end the war, the Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Whenever Cindy and IVAW show up at an event, all eyes are on Cindy.

When I was in Iraq the first time, we all hated Cindy Sheehan because we thought she used her son’s death to launch a political career. When I joined the anti-war movement, I thought she was a mother who was trying to end the war to avenge her son.

Then she goes and announces her running for office. I think Cindy has done a lot to help the anti-war movement, but she’s a politician now.

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By GW=MCHammered, August 1, 2007 at 9:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There’s a cause for American apathy. ‘Battered Spouse’ and ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ come to mind. Through-n-through, we’re a nation of users, abusers and enablers. Where have all the healers gone?

“Sunni Arab Bloc Quits Iraqi Government” is the direct result of obvious-momentous imperialism… Bu$hCo’s largest embassy in the world turns foot-in-the-mouth monument.
.
“World Domination is but a mad man’s lust to scatter his ego-seed. It is both his God and his Satan, his Heaven and his Hell.”

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By Scott, August 1, 2007 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

I’d be carefull about using the fire-fighter = soldier and arsonist = warmonger analogy. It’s scary how many arsonists are also firefighters. Look up the statistics yourselves, they’re not hard to find.

I think the better analogy was of the peace movement as a football team trying to get back on track by going back to the basics. With that in mind, how about getting back to thou shalt not kill?

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By Max Shields, August 1, 2007 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

Cindy Sheehan, Mr. Ritter, is a citizen activist. She is demanding what is clearly constitutional - the investigation of impeachable offenses by the president and vice president of the U.S.A.

Where does you sense of civic duty not comprehend that simple right, no, make that obligation? It is about democracy; which is not some orderly process of nose counting - we don’t have the votes or the numbers. The numbers, according to polls show a majority of Americans agree with Cindy and Dennis Kucinich (who is using the sytem with a resolution to impeach the vice president) on the impeachment of Dick Cheney and nearly a majority for the impeachment of George W. Bush. Those numbers are growing. Constitutional legal experts have written/documented just cause for such action.

So, you may not like Cindy Sheehan’s methods, you may think some “anti-war” groups are not effective in ending the war. But that’s not the point. In a democracy, they have the right and obligation to work to create the numbers, to create a movement for justice based on the Constitution.

So you my friend are a hypocrite (and I may add a royal disappointment). While you have the right to your opinions, I’d suggest you stick to what you know and provide as meaningful input to an illegal war and provocation of another on the horizon in the Middle East. In a word you are over-reaching on this one and seem way out of your league.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, August 1, 2007 at 8:07 am Link to this comment

I think a well constructed constitution of any country ought to make it easier to get lying sociopaths out of office (Tony’s history), including reps, and until it does, we should be thankful for the Sheehans and Hoffmanns and Malcoms who try to raise awareness. 
Exploiting the luxury of sitting at home on your ass and conveniently punching a keyboard to get your ideas out (which is what I do) is ineffective.  This is 2007 and you’re not going to mobilize America for more than a day or two, Scott.  People are fat and busy. Voters in 2006 gave a clear mandate which their reps dismissed out of hand.  That apparently isn’t enough to mobilize America and, in my mind, there’s little out there that could be a more serious affront to our democracy.

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By Sara Kenney, August 1, 2007 at 7:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Mr. Ritter,
I do have your books, and have been following you for years, but I cannot agree with you in this article. First I want to know if you had the chance to see Cindy’s and Ray McGovern’s interview on Democracy Now last week> http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/27/144218
The question of the Consitutionality of impeachment comes up and I think that Cindy and McGovern both make a good case for impeachment. I do agree that a total review of the system is needed, as we have fallen far from what the founders laid out in Constitution. So I am not sure if impeachment or total examination should be approached immediately, but I’m sure impeachment is a quicker fix. Either way, the war needs to end now.
Also, the $20 Billion arms deal with Saudia Arabia needs to be stopped, and is just another example of how this government no longer represents the people.

The other point you make, of mandatory service, I also disagree on. I am speaking as someone who has just completed a year of voluntary service as an Americorps VISTA, or domestic peace corps, volunteer. This past year has been an amazing experience, and I urge others to try it, but I would never want to be FORCED to serve nor do I think it would have been as rewarding an experience if I had been forced to serve. The great thing about America is that you have a choice to serve your country, but the worst kind of service is forced service, a draft.
The Nazi’s indoctrinated their youth through service camps. Putin’s regime has started ‘youth camps’ of their own. Should the United States of America engage in indoctrination through ‘mandatory service’?
I cannot fathom how you, Mr. Ritter, could even suggest something like this. What about youth who work on a family farm, or work for a family business, or work to take care of their family in some capacity. Two years of service should always be by choice, not by force.
If I were forced into becoming a VISTA, I would have hated my government for it. I was underpaid and often under appreciated by my supervisors, but I carried on because I believe in something bigger than them. I believed in the good people in America and I wanted to try and help them, the underserved, not the rich or the privileged. And I am afraid that such a mandatory service as you suggest would do just that. It would feed the rich and bury the poor.
Please, rethink fueling this corruption through mandatory service…think about this. with more and more people VOLUNTEERING in America (and their are statistics to back this up somewhere), why not boost FUNDING to programs already established like Americorps??Americorps doesn’t get a fraction of that 20 billion dollar arms deal. If we did, you bet more Americans would volunteer because there would be more positions available. No one can live on nothing, service costs money. While I wasn’t working, I was given a small living stipend to get me through the year. It was barely enough to survive but I wouldn’t have been able to volunteer without it.
Why does Peace Corps get all the recognition and Americorps does not? Do you know that every year the Corporation for National and community Service has to FIGHT to get funding? Our government would rather send Americans abroad on tours of duty than work at home, on domestic issues, because it makes America look powerful and generous to our ‘allies.’
You see, there’s always some interior motivation in ‘service’.

Please Mr. Ritter, direct some of your frustration toward building infrastructure here at home by supporting Americans who voluntarily give up their time and energy to serve America at home. Support and increase funding for Americorps!!!!
God bless America.

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By Not My Brother, August 1, 2007 at 7:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I found Scott Ritter’s article interesting, as well as the comments which followed. I don’t think it offers a viable solution. Mandatory national service is contrary to the spirit of the Constitution. The real solution, I think, is much simpler—make high school graduation contingent upon passing the same test that immigrants must pass in order to become citizens.
  Problem solved.

P.S. Here’s the definition of “fascism” from the 1969 American Heritage Dictionary: “A philosophy or system of government that advocates or exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with an ideology of belligerent nationalism.”

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By Verne Arnold, August 1, 2007 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

Have you seen it?  Have you seen the news articles on Google and yahoo?  Have you seen the shift?  It started blatantly yesterday.  Lower casualties, the surge “may” be having an effect?  Yes, yes, the Iraqi government is failing, BUT, the violence is down.  Troop casualties are down so we need to calm down and give this thing a chance.

Bush is still linking Al Qaeda with Iraq.  The old adage is true…tell a lie often enough and people will accept it as truth.

Beware Gates…he’s a smoothie!  He and Rice are a tag team.  We will now have to decide whether or not there are acceptable reasons to stay in Iraq.  We will generously be given many options to guide our feelings and emotions to “the right decisions” as regards our government’s future direction there.  We are being played…good cop, bad cop…Gates is the good cop…be careful.  There is evil afoot by masters of the game.  This is new to us naïve, pampered, spoiled, foolishly confident Americans.  Orwell must surely be laughing because he warned so completely about that which we fall prey to. 

Sorry Scott, you’re racing to irrelevancy. 

Yes, the anti-war movement isn’t…it’s constipated.  Cindy Sheehan, bless her, will get nowhere.  The malevolence present here is overwhelming, smothering, and is beyond simple Boy Scout solutions.  RIP America.  These guys are so far ahead of us we aren’t even in the race.

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By Skruff, August 1, 2007 at 5:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I remember this argument. The button down “Chamber of Commarce for Peace” folks made the same arguments when we “smelly” “dirty” “potty-mouthed” “hippies’ protested against the Vietnam war. 

The adage best propigated is “divide and conquor”

Will it work this time?  Will unprecidented attacks of a Gold Star Mother and a misreading of strong constitutional principles unhinge moral indignation about an illegal war, AND the failure of the Government to “Provide for the common welfare” (as in Katrina) Time and tide will tell,

BUT

From experience I know the real “dirty” “Foul” “double-dealing” “fifth Columnists” for who they are…and they are not Cindy Sheehan!

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By Meg, August 1, 2007 at 3:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

we’re at war kids. I side with the Mbyá Guarani warriors of the word. We’re all indians except who is not -to paraphrase an ethnographer. Part of our social paralysis is precisely our ethnocentrism.

A favorite quote by Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone from the 40 follows that of Hughes:
Harlan Fiske Stone on Conscientious Objection


[22] Chief Justice Hughes, in his opinion in United States v. Macintosh, 283 U.S. 605 (1931), enunciated the rationale behind the long recognition of conscientious objection to participation in war accorded by Congress in our various conscription laws when he declared that “in the forum of conscience, duty to a moral power higher than the State has always been maintained.” At 633 (dissenting opinion). In a similar vein Harlan Fiske Stone, later Chief Justice, drew from the Nation’s past when he declared that

[23] “both morals and sound policy require that the state should not violate the conscience of the individual. All our history gives confirmation to the view that liberty of conscience has a moral and social value which makes it worthy of preservation at the hands of the state. So deep in its significance and vital, indeed, is it to the integrity of man’s moral and spiritual nature that nothing short of the self-preservation of the state should warrant its violation; and it may well be questioned whether the state which preserves its life by a settled policy of violation of the conscience of the individual will not in fact ultimately lose it by the process.” Stone, The Conscientious Objector, 21 Col. Univ. Q. 253, 269 (1919).

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By 127001, August 1, 2007 at 3:42 am Link to this comment

A well written article which reflects much of my own insights, but I do disagree with the limitations of the solutions presented. Primarily the military service. This feeds the warmongers, and does not promote peace.

In fact, there are numerous ways to serve this nation and only one MINIMAL way would be the military. I do agree that civic responsibility should be reflected by mandatory national service of some sort, but there are many social problems in this nation that could be minimized or even resolved with national service. Homeless, poverty, needs of the elderly and disabled, environment, national resources. A Peace Corps for America from Americans.

As for the sense of community within smaller towns and neighborhoods.

Scott Ritter, you are living in the past. Its not there, and if it is it is an extreme exception, not the rule.

The larger government in this country reflects the smaller communities, and vice versa. They just don’t get the publicity, and in many ways are far more vicious and destructive to the citizens and the fabric of this nation.

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By Outraged, August 1, 2007 at 3:05 am Link to this comment

Scott, sorry to say but, there are several flaws in your logic.  First of all, mandatory service does not induce one to allegiance to anything let alone America.  Secondly, even if this mandatory service took place, you assume some idealistic notion of great leadership with which to identify, hardly realistic.  I’m not saying there aren’t any.  What I’m saying is, is that the leader I’ll end up with?

It seems you know how it worked out for you, but you Scott are one individual.  Do you really feel that you can ascertain how the “average” American will internalize this notion.  You also neglect to mention the myriad of people HARMED by mandatory service.

I do understand where your trying to go with this however the reality is a bit more complex.  Have you considered the animosity which might arise by those who feel their freedoms have been infringed upon?

I personally hesitate even to advocate education which I believe is the answer, because this too can be subverted for ulterior motives, badly presented or worse yet presented in such a way as to “turn people off”.

I do agree that people do not understand WAR.  THIS WAR was based on lies and deceit and IS an act of aggression.  Irregardless, that doesn’t change the fact that we may HAVE to go to war at some point not because we WANT TO but because we have to.  People who really believe that it’s possible to just throw down our weapons and never have war again are deluding themselves.

In my arguments with people I give them this scenario:  Let’s say the Iraqi’s had invaded OUR country.  There you are, some political leaders did “something” and now a group of Iraqi soldiers are pounding on YOUR door.  You’re in your home, say, maybe hiding upstairs with your children….what do you do…? You’ve heard the stories, they’re taking away all the men and boys, you’ve seen the dead in the street, you’ve already survived countless bombs…what do you do…?

I agree that there is such a thing as a necessary war, and I agree that some of the anti-war movement has “turned people off”, however what you’re advocating is ridiculous.  If what you say “could” work show me a time in history when it has.

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By Eron, August 1, 2007 at 1:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I wanted to mention that while I found the article (and particularly the “fire prevention” metaphor) as a viable and interesting summation of the problem at hand regarding America’s role in war, I do find the notion of compulsory armed forces “basic training” to be counterintuitive.

Coupling an attempt to force youth to “respect the chain of command” to a system where a rather rampant form of multinational corporate capitalism is already in position to benefit so grandly from militarization is dangerous. In our current system, to increase the conceptual connection between citizen and military is but to increase the already considerable lure of war/profit cycle (not to mention the status of defense and prison outsourcing).

Instead of starting our renovation of America by starting at the age of 18, I think it would be wildly more useful to attempt to work toward building a stable and engaging educational & health foundation from birth.

My qualms come from a deep-seated doubt that any amount of dill sergeants or wildfires could make a happy citizen of a kid who didn’t have enough to eat (or died from gangs or drugs), couldn’t go to the doctor, was only groomed to make multi-choice answers, can’t read beyond the fifth grade level, and knows the moment their compulsory duty if over that they won’t get paid as much because of there gender or skin color (or, if they’re white males, that they are earning less than the previous grenerations). 

The locus of my disagreement is that I don’t know if I want to be part of a society that says you don’t have to read even one whole novel throughout all your schooling, but that if you learn to march in line you’re a model citizen. The whole thing strikes me as vaguely Heinleinian…

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By Douglas Chalmers, August 1, 2007 at 1:20 am Link to this comment

Quote 2002 - Time: “What were you doing in Baghdad?”

Ritter: “Waging peace. My goal in Baghdad was to facilitate a debate here in the United States on America’s policy toward Iraq, a debate that’s been sadly lacking. We’re facing a critical moment in American history and I believe this is something that has to be more thoroughly looked at. Why go to Iraq? You’re talking to me now because I went to Iraq. I’ve been saying the exact same thing for years and I didn’t get the call from Time magazine….”

Well, that has been his story since the 1990’s. We are a very long way down the track from then and still mired. The real problem is much closer to home…..

As Ritter said, “...apply the lessons of “The Art of War” to your past experiences…”. That is fime for understanding the situation but the more appropriate response personally now is to study and apply “The Art of Peace” instead! See http://www-cse.ucsd.edu/users/paloma/Aikido/artpeace.html

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By rupa, August 1, 2007 at 12:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cindy is absolutely correct in her opposition to US involvement in WWII in so far as the seeds of WWII were sown in WWI. History happens on a continuum. Of course every generation can produce new cannon fodder but people would do well to consider the past even if it goes only so far back as Vietnam.

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By Marshall, July 31, 2007 at 11:37 pm Link to this comment

What many who oppose the Iraq war and feel represented by Sheehan fail to realize is that Cindy opposes US involvement in ALL wars, including WWII.  I heard her state this directly in a TV interview.  This, along with the loss of her son, appears to be what fuels her ill-conceived impeachment campaign - Ritter is dead on about that.  Hers is not, nor has it ever been, a position based on rationality.  As such, she appeals to the hatred the far left has for this administration but has been asked to do their thinking for them and she’s obviously not up to the task.

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By TC, July 31, 2007 at 10:44 pm Link to this comment

“The Greeks abroad were gradually growing more and more apolitical. The work that should have been everyone’s was now done only by the resistance organizations, castes closed at the top. But who wanted to be a mere member carrying out orders when anyone might hoist himself up to the heights of authority? It was logical enough: since the leaders had failed, why not become a leader yourself and see if you couldn’t do better? And that was why, chiefly abroad, there were a lot of small independent groups all savaging one another in Xeroxed publications and so adding to the general confusions, which in turn contributed to the process of depoliticization.”
– Vassilis Vassilikos, 1971, (author of the novel Z, for which Z Magazine is named), from the opening of his novella, The Harpoon Gun.

Cindy Sheehan says she quits the antiwar movement, then before anyone much has a chance to believe it to be so, she returns – for virtually all intents and purposes not having left in the first place. Good for her, and for the movement. Alexander Cockburn states that the antiwar movement is “dead” but says so on the heels of citing the millions of regular views his great antiwar site Counterpunch receives. Thus, in that fact alone it can be seen that while the antiwar movement is certainly not as alive as it could be, it is far from dead. At least, as far as anyone can know. Now Scott Ritter says Cindy Sheehan and other such activists are “rejectionists…failing to comprehend the fundamental necessity of the constitutional process” for creating change, except that as everyone knows, Sheehan has declared her intention to run for Congress, which is about as fundamental of a constitutionally regulated process as there is.

So there is some confusion, but let’s be clear, so as to not foster the depoliticization Vassilikos refers to, that the majority of Americans hold many progressive views, regarding health care, Iraq, the environment and so on. It’s not like progressive activists have had nothing to do with that. Nor is it the case that they have had everything to do with it. It means useful work is being done, perhaps more than has been realized recently. And much more remains to be done as we continue cutting through the confusions.

There’s a lot to resist, and a lot to create, as John Pilger noted recently when referring to an “abdication of cultural forces”:

“Hundreds of millions of dollars go to corporations spinning the carnage in Iraq as a sectarian war and covering up the truth: that an atrocious invasion is pinned down by a successful resistance while the oil is looted.

“The other major difference today is the abdication of cultural forces that once provided dissent outside journalism. Their silence has been devastating.” ...

http://apragmaticpolicy.wordpress.com/2007/07/26/abdication-of-cultural-forces/

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By Fools on the Hill, July 31, 2007 at 10:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

But Cindy is correct, the Dems can defund it and end it.  So they should be held accountable.

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By Frank Cajon, July 31, 2007 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment

Mr Ritter’s article has a certain regimented, military compartmentalist approach that is no surprise seeing his credentials. I confess to not having read his books, or have the inclination to after this piece. Mandatory National Service is not a new idea. We had a fairly close approximation to it in the Vietnam era. Proposing to take 2 years from the lives of every American in the same article as slamming Cindy Sheehan for being a poor representative for the current antiwar movement is quite an achievement. Congratulations, Scott.
What he is saying, it does not take a rocket scientist to discern, is, let’s bring back the draft, and make it universal so that you can’t dodge it. This feeds the cannons for Bush/Cheney and whatever other psychotic may step in after them and continue our imperialistic escapades, and gives millions of others, after getting a ripped bod in boot camp, to empty the bedpans, clear brush in the back country, do dangerous inner city work for low pay, and otherwise be altruistic models in a mass Kumbaya at the end of the day. A sort of a Bush/Cheney Youth. That this erodes freedoms, is wildly impractical from an economic standpoint alone, and is dangerously close to the militaristic Israeli model doesn’t seem a concern. Scott, wait till the anti-Zionist element here gets ahold of this, if you think I am being critical.
My other big problem is that whatever one may feel about Cindy Sheehan, she is one of the few that is willing to stand up and be counted and shout out in defiance against a war that took the life of her son. I was in another blog site recently that made fun of her appearance. What in the fuck does that, or her being arrested have to do with anything? Now I hear Scott ripping her credentials to be an antiwar spokesperson because she surrounds herself with ‘radicals’. Sheehan isn’t always going to be 100% on target, but, I’ll venture to guess Scott might have a different perspective if he had lost a son in that pointless hell.

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By 911truthdotorg, July 31, 2007 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

Cindy Sheehan is the only candidate who would be able to start the drum beat for a new, true 9/11 Investigation.

Anyone with any sense and who believes their own eyes, can plainly see that the “official” 9/11 story is an absolute LIE.

Cindy can bring that fact to the forefront.

I hope she does without sounding like a nut case.

Google videos: 9/11 Press for Truth, Loose Change 2nd Edition, America: Freedom to Fascism

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