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Scott Ritter on War With Iran

Posted on Dec 19, 2007
Scott Ritter
Truthdig / Zuade Kaufman

By Scott Ritter

(Page 3)

Harris: Before we move on, what are you optimistic about as we close the year and some of us being to make resolutions?  Having told us before, there are no weapons of mass destruction, having been vociferous about the fact that the Bush administration is not doing their job, what keeps you optimistic in all of this?  How do you not become jaded?  How do you not become disillusioned?

Ritter: I’m a student of history.  I allow myself to go back and examine the history of the United States, and I recognize that throughout our history our nation has been faced with serious problems, and yet we overcame these problems.  It wasn’t pretty, and it didn’t happen overnight, but I’m a firm believer in the resiliency of the American people and our system of government because it’s founded in the Constitution.  And as long as we respect that Constitution and abide by that Constitution, I’m comfortable with the fact that we will recover.  It’s not going to happen overnight.  It won’t happen in the next decade.  I’ve said—.  This invasion of Iraq has set in motion events that are going to take decades to cure.  And so I’m not optimistic about 2008, 2009, 2010; I’m optimistic about 2020, that America will heal itself.  But we’re not going to heal ourselves without a fight.  That doesn’t mean that I can just sit back and throw my feet up and say, “I’ll just wait until the time passes.”  No.  We’ll heal ourselves because we will wake up collectively.  Congress will reawaken.  The presidency will be brought in line with the Constitution, but not without a fight.  And so 2008 is going to be a fight, 2009 is going to be a fight.  We have to fight, because if we don’t, then I have no confidence whatsoever in America healing itself.

Harris: Tell me a little about your dig.  You’re leading a dig on Truthdig,  And it’s called “Calling Out Idiot America.”  Can you share with us some of what you’re saying?  Your thesis, if you will?

Ritter: That was the first piece I wrote.  I was approached by Mr. Scheer [Robert Scheer, Truthdig editor] and Ms. Kaufman [Zuade Kaufman, Truthdig publisher] to write for Truthdig.  I thought probably the best thing to do is to set the tone of how I was going to approach this, which wasn’t going to be a kinder, gentler dig; it was going to be an in-your-face dig, but not one that was irresponsible.  I chose, right off the bat, the issue of Iraq.  I say we have a responsibility to the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are over there and a responsibility to our government to be engaged on Iraq.  But, sadly, most Americans were ill equipped.  I was driving down— I had just talked to the publishers and the editors of Truthdig and I was driving down from L.A. to San Diego, formulating this concept of—how do I explain Shia, Kurds and Sunni to people?  And I was listening to the radio and the Green Day song came on, “Calling Out to Idiot America.”  I said, “That’s a great title.  That’s pretty much what I’m trying to do.”  With all due respect to the American people, we’re 300 million people, technologically advanced, but we’re probably the most ignorant people in the world ...

Harris: How do you mean?  How do you mean?

Ritter: ... so I have no qualms about calling Americans idiots when it comes to issues like Iraq, Iran and other areas around the world that somehow in our nationalistic—.  We thump ourselves on the chest and say we have a right to intervene, but when you ask people to talk about the reality of that country, we know nothing about it, so we’re basically sticking our nose in an area that we’re ignorant of.

Harris: Mm-hmm.  How do we cure that?  Because I think that’s the main reason we can’t make change.  At least that’s one speculation: that we are thousands of miles away from where the action is going down.  We’re disconnected.  We’re over here living our lives, we’re doing our own thing and there’s a war going on.  Maybe that’s why we aren’t up in arms collectively.

Ritter: It’s a huge part of the problem, the complacency of a society that has been dumbed down by the narcotic of consumerism.  If you just think about it, we wrapped ourselves in this cocoon of comfort and so long as the powers that be keep us waddling down a relative path of prosperity, we don’t want to rock the boat.  But the fact is, we must empower ourselves with knowledge and information.  That’s why I’m grateful to Truthdig for giving me a chance to write, because I view it as an outstanding forum for informing people and for having people empowered with knowledge and information so that we make informed decisions.  We go back.  We talk about our system of government.  It doesn’t work if we, the people, are divorced.  And if you accept, as I do, that the Constitution of the United States is the foundation of our government, that preamble says that we, the people of the United States of America, we shouldn’t take that lightly.  The Supreme Court has said, because of that preamble, the Constitution belongs to us; we are the defenders of the Constitution.  And so it’s imperative that we, the people, get empowered and we empower ourselves through the acquisition of knowledge and information and then assert ourselves onto a system of government.  But it’s going to require people to stand up and shake off this apathy, as I said, the narcotic of consumerism brings the bear.  I love Christmas.  I help my Jewish friends celebrate Hanukkah.  I think there’s nothing wrong with this time period, but we also need to reflect on how far we’ve shifted away from a holiday that celebrates human beings coming together and instead become involved in a holiday that’s about conspicuous spending.

Harris: Yeah.


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By Howard, December 20, 2007 at 6:58 am Link to this comment

RE:  post by #121448 by weather on 12/20 at 3:11 am
(Unregistered commenter)

Israel’s Christmas Gifts to America

Give your tirades against a little tiny country a rest, man.

Israel wasn’t even remotely mentioned in the article, and here you are like a pop-up field mouse up and at ‘em again and again making your incessant remarks that are not at all relevant here.

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By weather, December 20, 2007 at 4:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Israel’s Christmas Gifts to America

A jar of Vaseline, another invoice for $ Billions and a nuclear power plant of trouble - all very carefully wrapped and packaged and signed:Made in Israel, we make our problem your problem

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By i,Q, December 20, 2007 at 1:05 am Link to this comment

One last hooray for team USA! i, Mr. Ritter join in your fight song and i demand more from my teammates. My fellow Americans, it’s the two minute warning and we’re down by a score. Time to buckle down, because It’s crunch-time.

We need to stop repeating the tired refrain that our government has been bought up by the corporations and their lackeys and we are powerless to stop them. This thinking is merely a subconscious attempt to deflect responsibility for our government’s failures. In this specious scenario, we gift our very nation to outside, “unassailable” or “immutable” forces—i use quotes here because i don’t think that these self-serving enemies of the common interest are either of those. Instead of holding ourselves accountable for the current state of affairs, we rationalize our broken government without acknowledging that it, simply put, is a reflection of the collective laziness of our electorate.

It is essential that we all take Ritter’s advice and study the playbook of our nation, the Constitution of the United States of America. To be true team players, we must hold our elected representatives to account, and in turn the actions of those who would contrive to abuse elected authority, playing fast and loose with the rules. We don’t have the luxury of blaming it on the referee, because we are the referee. This team plays dirty, and should be ejected from the game.

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By critical point by Ritter, December 19, 2007 at 10:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

from the article, Ritter:
“Now I need to make a point here: I continue to say that there’s never been a nuclear weapons program in Iran.  And the National Intelligence Estimate doesn’t provide any evidence to sustain its assertion that there was a nuclear program.”

False assumptions, as mentioned here, are routinely fed to the public by most all of the news network hosts. I remember Geraldo trying to pull this with Mr. Ritter in the latter’s appearance on Geraldo’s Fox show back in the late 90’s. Geraldo was foaming at the mouth to encourage the obliteration of the Iraqi people. Ritter was calm and reasoned, almost to a fault, but as the show proceeded some calmness was induced in Geraldo and the show, actually, had a beneficial effect.

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