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Scott Ritter on War With Iran

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

By Scott Ritter

(Page 4)

Ritter: We need to recognize that there’s an enemy out there.  And if we look in the mirror long enough, we’ll realize that the enemy is us.

Harris: I think you make a good point.  Some of my busy friends would say, “You know what?  What time do I have to make a difference?  Is there anything the average Joe can do to help affect change?  Besides writing the senator and writing the congressman, what else can you do?

Ritter: The first thing is to recognize that there’s a need.  That’s step one.  You have to say, “There is a need for change.”  The next thing, after that, is to allocate time.  I keep hearing people say, “I don’t have time.”  Last night was Monday Night Football.  Heckuva game, by the way.  I sat in a bar with my friends.  These are good guys; they’re not stupid.  But they keep telling me over and over again, “That foreign policy stuff is too complicated, man.  How do you expect us to get our fingers wrapped around it?  You’ve been living this for your life, but we don’t do this.  We have jobs and everything.”  And I said, “That’s fair enough.”  But then we’re watching the game, and they start criticizing play calls.  They say, “You know, if they’d given the ball to the fullback on this play, statistically speaking on second down through the guard and tackle off the right side, he’s going to gain 3.5 yards.”  I said, “How do you know that?”  They go, “Oh, we studied the stats.”  I’ll tell you what: If you’ve got enough time to study sports stats so that you know this kind of information, you can make that kind of analysis, you’ve got enough time to study American foreign policy and have an informed opinion about places where Americans are dying. 

Harris: You would agree, then, that the more informed, and the more masses, the more people that are informed, the better off we are.  We benefit from that, don’t we?


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Ritter: It’s the only way we can be.  It’s not one of these things that we would say is an “elective.”  We don’t get to opt out of this one.  If you call yourself an American citizen, you have to be informed.  It’s a responsibility of citizenship.  It’s not something you can opt into or opt out of.  If you opt out of it, turn in your passport and leave my country.  If you want to be a citizen in America, you’ve got to opt in and say: “Hey!  I’m here.  I count.  I’m relevant, and I’m going to be informed.”

Harris: I think it is the job of every American to know something about foreign policy and something about government and be able to talk intelligently about these subjects, because that only means a better public.  So I agree with you there.  But we are preaching that Americans need to participate, yet the chief American is not participating.  He’s not doing the things that we’re preaching Americans should do.  So then, how, at this time, can we mount an effort to overcome the backward thinking that’s coming out of the White House?

Ritter: One of the reasons why the executive headed down the path towards unilateral executive power is that they got frustrated with the slow pace of democracy.  I think the first thing we have to recognize is that the American people can’t allow themselves to be frustrated by the slow process of democracy.  The other thing they have to recognize is that the rule of law means nothing unless the law is enforced.  And we have a president who is showing a wanton disregard for the rule of law.  There are constitutional remedies for executives who behave in this manner.  It’s called impeachment.  And I’m a big fan of the American public letting Congress know that impeachment is on the table.  It’s Congress’ job, not to impeach, per se, but to investigate.  And we have clear examples in the case of Iraq of the potential of wrongdoing that Congress has yet to investigate in a satisfactory manner.  And now we’re taking a look at Iran.  If we speak of holding the president to account for his actions, how about starting to hold Congress accountable for their failure to act in accordance with the will of the people?  And what I’m talking about is a Nancy Pelosi and a Harry Reed, these “great” Democrats.  And I say “great” in quotations because I don’t think they’re great at all.  These Democrats who were elected to office by the will of the people and who have said that they are going to do nothing to tie the hands of this president when it comes to issues such as Iran and Iraq.  And the last thing they’re going to do is defend the Constitution by holding the president accountable for his failure to abide by the Constitution.  It’s time we started holding these people accountable as well.

Harris: Certainly refreshing to hear that you still maintain optimism and that you still have belief.

Ritter: I have belief in the American people.  The government, as long as it’s reflective of the will of the people within the framework of the Constitution, I’ll continuously eye it in a suspicious fashion.  But the government we have in play today?  No, I don’t have any faith in it.  It needs to be changed, and this is our collective responsibility to elect people to office who will do our bidding in accordance with the Constitution and who will be held accountable to us.  Too many times we vote, but then that’s it.  We don’t do the second half of the representative democracy equation, which is to hold them to account.

Harris: Yeah.  If we keep calling the people, maybe they will answer one day.  I believe they have to answer.

Ritter: I agree.

Harris: Scott Ritter, the former chief weapons inspector in Iraq, is also the author of “Iraq Confidential” and the first man I heard say there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  Scott Ritter, thank you for joining us today on Truthdig.

Ritter: Thank you for having me.

Harris: All right then.  For Scott Ritter, this is James Harris, and this is Truthdig.

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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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