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Scott Ritter on Iraq.
July 26, 2004 7:53 AM   Subscribe

Scott Ritter on Iraq. Some interesting reading here from the man who stood up to the President, the pundits, the media, etc and told the world that chances are Iraq had few to no WMD. Now he's warning us that Saddam's people are really in charge and how Allawi's government is doomed to fail. Man, I hate the IHT interface.
posted by skallas (27 comments total)

 
Is this the same Scott Ritter who predicted military defeat in Baghdad?
The United States does not have the military means to take over Baghdad and will lose the war against Iraq, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter said.

"The United States is going to leave Iraq with its tail between its legs, defeated. It is a war we can not win," he told private radio TSF in an interview broadcast here on Tuesday evening.

"We do not have the military means to take over Baghdad and for this reason I believe the defeat of the United States in this war is inevitable," he said.

"Every time we confront Iraqi troops we may win some tactical battles, as we did for ten years in Vietnam, but we will not be able to win this war, which in my opinion is already lost," Ritter added.
As a prognosticator, his track record is less than stellar.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:14 AM on July 26, 2004


I hate the IHT interface with a passion myself. So I usually link to the "printer friendly version" as it is just so much better than that awful interface.

Saddam's people are winning the war (printer friendly)
posted by gen at 8:17 AM on July 26, 2004


You mean to say that military operations are over in Iraq?
posted by raysmj at 8:18 AM on July 26, 2004


pardonyou, getting Baghdad is the easy part. Holding it is the difficult part. Also, I'd like to remind you that the war is still going on and the coalition troops have gone past the 1,000 dead mark with no real stability in sight.

I'm curious as to how one would define loss. What if a civil war broke out or if Iraq became an Iran-friendly theocracy. Would we still have "won" because we deposed Saddam? I would think not.
posted by skallas at 8:21 AM on July 26, 2004


You mean to say that military operations are over in Iraq?

Don't be obtuse. That's not what Ritter was talking about back on March 25, 2003, just a few days after the start of the war. He was actually predicting the U.S. military's inability to defeat the Iraqi army and take over Baghdad. Nobody disputes that he was completely wrong in that prediction.

(on preview)same argument, skallas. Of course, we can argue about what's going on currently. I'm just pointing out that he has made fairly brash predictions in the past that weren't remotely accurate.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:24 AM on July 26, 2004


I'm not sure about that pardonyou.

"Every time we confront Iraqi troops we may win some tactical battles, as we did for ten years in Vietnam, but we will not be able to win this war, which in my opinion is already lost," Ritter added.

Couldn't this describe the current situation?
posted by gwint at 8:30 AM on July 26, 2004


Clearly Ritter was wrong about the ability (and desire) of the Iraqi army to fight the US. However, this guy is usually on top of his game. It was his job, armed with the best intelligence, to find the WMDs. When it became clear that there were none and that he, and all of us, had been lied to he blew the cover.

That being said, he seems to be making too big a deal about Breammers relaxing of the de-Baathification of the govt.
posted by jmgorman at 8:32 AM on July 26, 2004


pardonyou - actually, if you read the quote that you provided, Ritter seems to be talking about long-term prospects rather than immediate defeat.
posted by bshort at 8:32 AM on July 26, 2004


Nobody disputes that he was completely wrong in that prediction.

no, he was about 70-75% wrong, more or less. the US has taken over only Baghdad's Green Zone, more than a year after "Mission Accomplished". to say that 100% of Baghdad is under American control is like saying that 100% of Afghanistan is under Karzai/Western control (for those who watch mostly FoxNews: it isn't, the warlords do rule a nice fat chunk of the country except Kabul and a few other key regions)
posted by matteo at 8:34 AM on July 26, 2004


"I'm just pointing out that he has made fairly brash predictions in the past that weren't remotely accurate."

Too bad he didn't claim Iraq had WMDs and the ability (or intent) to nuke the USA in 45 minutes.

Then he would have gotten a pass, wouldn't he?

Unfortunately, Ritter's mistaken prognostication didn't needlessly cost the lives of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians.

I find it an interesting social pathology in the U.S. that pointing out the obvious, that killing thousands of people on a pretext, or by mistake or through conscious deception isn't a good thing is regarded as some sort of "far out there" opinion by Reds State wingnut armchair warriors and members of the 101st Keyboard Brigade.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 8:34 AM on July 26, 2004


So that man was right in his area of expertise (WMD in Iraq) and less right outside of it (general political and military issues).

Sounds about what you'd expect from any expert. And when experts stray from their area of expertise we tend to believe them if they're saying what we already think (and hold up their actual expertise as validation) and disregard them when they don't.
posted by obfusciatrist at 8:37 AM on July 26, 2004


and yes, like Ritter (whom I don't particularly like for his literally spooky CIA background, semel abbas semper abbas) I do think that it's very possible that the US will have to finally leave Iraq in a not completely dignified way. how and when will the complete handover of power in Iraq (by and to whom?) and America's retreat is going to happen, nobody can tell yet.
very probably it won't be as humiliating as Saigon, but it'll also be less jingo-friendly than a Jerry Bruckheimer movie
posted by matteo at 8:40 AM on July 26, 2004


The United States is going to leave Iraq with its tail between its legs

This still seems almost assured.
posted by rushmc at 8:52 AM on July 26, 2004


Ritter's been consistently right about Iraq in the face of universal dissent. First, that Iraq still had WMDs, and then that they did not. His take on what's happening there makes a lot of sense, and it scares me. He's saying the war over there was never won, that the resistance was a part of Saddam's plan all along, that Saddam's government will be back in power sooner or later, and, finally, that there's nothing we can do about it. As far as I am concerned, this guy is the only guy who has never been wrong yet. Thought I hope this is the first time, I also hope somebody listens to him this go-round. If anything, he's shown his advice and insight should not be ignored.
posted by xammerboy at 9:00 AM on July 26, 2004


Obviously, Ritter's claims about the lack of WMD have been vindicated, but this
In August 1995, Saddam's son-in-law, Hussein Kamal, defected to Jordan...

...More important is Kamal's self-described reason for defecting: Saddam's order that all senior Baath Party officials undergo mandatory Koranic studies. For Saddam, this radical shift in strategy was necessary to his survival, given the new realities of post-Gulf War Iraq.

The traditional Baathist ideology, based on Iraq-centric Arab nationalism, was no longer the driving force it had been a decade prior. Creating a new power base required bringing into the fold not only the Shiite majority - which had revolted against him in the spring of 1991 - but also accommodating the growing religious fundamentalism of traditional allies such as key Sunni tribes in western Iraq.
would seem to contradict claims that Saddam's secular-nationalist Ba'athism precluded a relationship with Islamist terror organizations.
posted by Ty Webb at 9:13 AM on July 26, 2004


Um, no:
Rather than being absorbed by a larger Islamist movement, Saddam's former lieutenants are calling the shots in Iraq, having co-opted the Islamic fundamentalists years ago, with or without their knowledge.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:03 AM on July 26, 2004


I'm confused as to the people saying ritter called this wrongly. when did the US win the iraq war? I think i missed that.
posted by bob sarabia at 10:16 AM on July 26, 2004


kirkaracha, that quote only strengthens my point: that claims against a Islamist-Ba'athist relationship have been contradicted, and that those who claimed that secular Ba'athists wouldn't collaborate with, or co-opt, as the case may be, the broader Islamist movement were wrong.
posted by Ty Webb at 10:16 AM on July 26, 2004


"Co-opt" and "collaborate" don't mean the same thing.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:17 AM on July 26, 2004


No shit, but in this instance both are taking place within Iraq.

Don't get your undies in a bundle, I'm certainly not defending the Neocon "Saddam+Al Qaeda" fantasy, only pointing out that there has been Ba'athist-Islamist cooperation in response to Bush's invasion, something that many Middle East observers thought unlikely.
posted by Ty Webb at 11:31 AM on July 26, 2004


Didn't Ritter get arrested for chasing 14 year old tail?
posted by Rob1855 at 12:08 PM on July 26, 2004


Didn't Bush get arrested for . . . ah, never mind.
posted by hackly_fracture at 1:08 PM on July 26, 2004


Didn't Bush get arrested for

Which one? There's a lot to choose from.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:52 PM on July 26, 2004


Man, I hate the IHT interface.

The IHT interface is the fantastic -- better than any other online newspaper thing out there, by a wide margin. In my humble.

As regards another Warfilter post : yeah, yeah, yeah, whoo, best of the web, baby. And so on. Repeat as necessary.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:23 PM on July 26, 2004


IHT interface is fucking l33t, you close-minded haters.
posted by delmoi at 7:41 PM on July 26, 2004


..except it doesn't work properly for me. I'm using Opera with linux and the first line of text is obscured.
posted by salmacis at 1:08 AM on July 27, 2004


Wow. I thought everyone loved IHT's interface. First time I saw it, I was dead jealous for not having thought of anything nearly that clever. Mind you, they've had this interface for a few years now, since before everyone had the "a A" text-size change widgets. I've seen bits of their interface stolen on other sites, but this is still the nicest package, and works well for a newspaper. Feh. Hataz.

Oh yeah, Iraq and such. We're all screwed, they're all screwed, nothing's going to get better until it gets a whole lots worse. Or at least that's how I feel this five minutes. Ask me again in ten.
posted by billpena at 7:05 PM on July 31, 2004


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