Salon interview with Scott Ritter

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Society
March 18th, 2003 • 4:55 pm

The following interview with former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter is exactly one year old — but it’s very much relevant to the present situation:

Salon Interview – Scott Ritter” by Asla Aydintasbas, Salon [premium access required]

I am highlighting the following two excerpts in particular:

I am a proponent of qualitative disarmament, not quantitative. Stop counting the bombs, and start looking at the facts. Can Iraq produce the weapons and is there evidence of this? If the answer is no and we put an effective monitoring regime in place to make sure they don’t produce it, haven’t we disarmed Iraq? I say yes. But politically that is unacceptable. But it’s not about weapons, it’s about Saddam. And because it is about Saddam, all of my logic, my construct means nothing.


I just cannot accept the argument that we have to intervene to remove Saddam Hussein on moral grounds. To eliminate Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs, and linking this elimination with economic sanctions — around 1.5 million Iraqis have died. We have killed almost six times as many Iraqis trying to eliminate weapons of mass destruction programs, than the weapons of mass destruction have killed in the entire 20th century. That’s a moral issue to me. We have to understand that if we wanted to act on moral grounds, we should have acted decisively in 1991. But by dragging this on for more than 10 years and making the Iraqi people pay the price, we lost the moral high ground. We have done so much wrong in the past decade that we missed our opportunity. It’s time to move on. If Saddam was rounding up and butchering 200,000 people, maybe. If Saddam was Milosevic carrying out active genocide, maybe. But that’s not the case.

To this, I’ll simply add this very simple fact, mentioned by Scott Ritter himself in a recent interview on French TV: George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, etc. don’t know what war is. They’ve never been to war. They don’t know anything about it.

Scott Ritter does. (He’s a former Marine captain.)

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