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September 15, 2002
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IRAQFILTER: Coercive inspections - COMPLY OR ELSE. Full 60 page .pdf from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. TRANSCRIPTS: Donahue and Ollie North square off on Afghan covert ops and Iraq. Scott Ritter squares off with Fox News. SUBSTANTIVE DISCUSSION (inside, as per request):
posted by sheauga (14 comments total)

 
"We're not talking about combatants here, we're talking about the kinds of people who were killed on September 11th. So it is that construct that needs to be considered. And it ought to be -- it ought to be talked about and well read through and thought about, it seems to me."
A net assessment of Iraq's WMD.
The broader realist argument about the war on terror (fight Al Qaeda, not terror) has been absent from the national discussion.
The big change in the US last fall was not 9/11, it was the move to a neoconservative defense strategy - Open Democracy.

CIA experts must write things that are uncomfortable for the Pentagon or the State Department.
An uncomfortable reality check for fellow Saudis from an Arab News editor.
Cutting deals for support on Iraq
.
A resistance to the disease of thought.
posted by sheauga at 7:00 PM on September 15, 2002


Fallows

As usual, maybe a little wonkish, but very interesting
posted by matteo at 7:23 PM on September 15, 2002


This is a thousand times more palatable than invading on a whim. I hope it's getting serious consideration. The level of discussion in the mass media about this approach has risen recently, and I consider that a hopeful sign.
posted by NortonDC at 8:14 PM on September 15, 2002


a friend of mine who used to work for condie rice says:

"scott ritter is a bit scattershot – I’m not sure why he is still in the game as he’s been discredited by all of his former colleagues"

i asked her for any supporting documentation on this statement and was met with a cheney style response "he just is".... wondering if anyone else can support or discredit this insider line of thought?
posted by specialk420 at 9:00 PM on September 15, 2002


Scott Ritter is getting awfully close in catching foot in mouth disease.
posted by ZupanGOD at 10:16 PM on September 15, 2002


A hawkish critique from OpinionJournal: President Bush has failed the test of September 11.
posted by homunculus at 11:06 PM on September 15, 2002


ZupanGOD: Hey, thanks for telling us why you think that. Most people here, I bet, haven't the first clue as to why Ritter is considered the Fox News or warblogger bete noir. Something to do with a documentary that was funded by an Iraqi-born American, or blah blah. I've yet to read anything about him that doesn't come from a source that is virulently angry at him, so all talk has ended up sounding like it comes from the teacher on "Peanuts." Worse than that, however, is hearing hacked-off C-SPAN callers go on and on about him, without giving any convincing explanation as to why.
posted by raysmj at 11:08 PM on September 15, 2002


In that interview, Scott Ritter appears to be someone wishing to stick to the letter of fact whereas the interviewer appears to be dealing with unsubstantiated fantasy. There are a lot of 'what ifs' and 'maybes' in this debate, but little (yet) to indicate that Saddam Hussein poses any kind of threat to the lives of United States citizens. And yet military is gathering around Iraq, which makes me think that whether Saddam's threat is real or imagined, the USA is going to war anyway. So how exactly does this make Scott Ritter unreliable?
posted by skylar at 11:51 PM on September 15, 2002


My guess is that detractors are unhappy with Ritter's going to address the Iraqi parliament on his own and with his views in general. Not having seen his documentary, "In Shifting Sands", I can't judge whether he was only in it for the money. The film was featured at a major conference on Technology and Terrorism, so someone must feel it's worth watching. If anyone knows why Ritter is getting shoved out of being an official player and being treated as someone with intervenor status instead, I'd be interested to know too.
posted by sheauga at 12:38 AM on September 16, 2002


So how exactly does this make Scott Ritter unreliable?

I could give a fuck about Ritter. He's making sense, but fuck him -- it's hard to trust him with his background. The REAL issue here is not Ritter: real issue is, do you have evidence that Saddam is linked to Al Qaeda operations? (please, no "Atta in Prague" bullshit, gimme something better than that, even Mylroie is using that alleged encounter cautiously)
Do you have evidence that Saddam is willing to use weapons of mass destruction against the West if unprovoked?
posted by matteo at 10:10 AM on September 16, 2002


Exclusive: Scott Ritter in His Own Words - Time
The former weapons inspector explains his switch from getting in Saddam's face to picking fights with Bush
posted by sheauga at 11:32 AM on September 16, 2002


"I have a lot of doubts about the wisdom of pursuing war in the Middle East right now against Iraq, however, I think it's absolutely essential that Saddam Hussein be convinced the United States is going to do it in order for there to be a compromised solution reached."
- Dr Joe Cirincione from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
posted by sheauga at 11:41 AM on September 16, 2002


Just for comparison, not all former UNSCOM inspectors are as sanguine as Ritter. And the Frontline Q&A on Who Killed UNSCOM? is revealing (it's rather like Cock Robin, or the Orient Express); notably, the Iraqis themselves had spies inside the IAEA and tried to get inside UNSCOM themselves. For a blast from the past, here is Ritter bitterly denouncing the Security Council's failure to enforce "the severest consequences" it had threatened, which effectively cuckolded UNSCOM authority. The documentary he produced charged Butler with orchestrating inspections to coincide with US desire for a bombing campaign, a charge the Australian Butler hotly denies.
posted by dhartung at 5:16 PM on September 16, 2002


a friend of mine who used to work for condie rice says:
"scott ritter is a bit scattershot - I'm not sure why he is still in the game as he's been discredited by all of his former colleagues"


Well, a friend of mine who taught Condi Rice at grad school says she was a second-tier student, not particularly smart. That's no kidding.
posted by Raya at 8:35 PM on September 16, 2002


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