The inherent inhumanity of economic sanctions [against Iraq ] damages those who impose it. As an American, I resent having my national character stained this way. - Scott Ritter
Scott Ritter's resumé includes 12 years in the U.S. military -- including a stint as a Scud missile
tracker on the intelligence
staff of Gulf War commander General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
. He has also worked for the United Nations
as a missile site inspector in Russia
But Ritter's most prominent job was in Iraq. From 1991-98 he was the head of the United Nations weapons inspection teams in Iraq. In a very public disagreement with the Clinton administration, Ritter resigned his post in 1998 claiming that the administration was unwilling to back the weapons inspection teams in disputes with Iraq. Ritter charged that Sandy Berger, Madeleine Albright, and the foreign policy crew in the White House wanted to avoid confrontations with Iraq - which prevented him from doing his job.
Yet, as President George W. Bush prepares America for another war with Iraq, Ritter has become one of the loudest and most prominent voices of dissent. Ritter, a self-proclaimed conservative Republican, made many friends on the right when he was attacking Clinton's policies, but now that he's disagreeing with a Republican President he finds nothing but criticism from the political right:
Time Magazine: Some on the right call you the new Jane Fonda, and joke about what you'll call your exercise video.
Scott Ritter: Those on the right who say that disgrace the 12 years of service I gave to my country as a Marine. I love my country. I'll put my record of service up against anyone, bar none. If they want to have an exercise video then why don't they come here and say it to my face and I'll give'm an exercise video, which will be called, "Scott Ritter Kicking Their Ass."
Ritter believes that American foreign policy
, vis a vis Iraq, has been seriously flawed. He believes the criteria we require to 'prove' Iraq has disarmed its weapons of mass destruction
programs is unattainable. Since we'll never be able to prove the WMD capability is gone, we'll never remove the sanctions. To Ritter, this is an inhumane sentence of slow death
on the Iraqi people.
There can be no honor in a policy that has resulted in the doubling of the infant mortality rate in Iraq and that leads to the death, through malnutrition and untreated disease, of 5,000 children under the age of 5 every month. -- Scott Ritter
With his experience in Iraq, Ritter believes that Saddam Hussein
's weapons capability is virtually nil
. Iraq has disarmed, but the semantics
of the UN resolutions make it virtually impossible to prove so - the illogic
of trying to prove a negative. And Ritter watched and protested as the UN's weapons inspection process was hijacked by the United States and turned into a branch of our espionage
The U.S. has perverted the U.N. weapons process by using it as a tool to justify military actions, falsely so. ... The U.S. was using the inspection process as a trigger for war. -- Scott Ritter
To Ritter, it is clear that the Bush administration
does not care about Iraq's weapons capability, nor is war against Iraq in the security interests of America, but instead it will be a war waged to further the personal and political agenda of the Bush administration
In September 2002, as the dogs of war began to howl, Scott Ritter traveled once again to Iraq - not as a weapons inspector, but as a private citizen. Ritter entreated the Iraqi government to allow the UN weapons inspectors back into the country. For he believes that unless Iraq unconditionally allows the inspectors back, there will be a war and Iraq will be destroyed. Ritter also believes that if the inspectors are allowed back, and if the United Nations acts as an honest broker, then the economic sanctions against Iraq will be lifted within a year.
Scott Ritter has also written a book on Iraq/Middle East policy - Endgame: Solving the Iraqi Problem Once and For All.