Ex-weapons inspector and former
Marine Scott Ritter is calling for regime change in Washington.
By Jan Barry
Ritter may be the Bush reelection team’s worse nightmare.
The former UN chief weapons inspector in Iraq and card-carrying
Republican is barnstorming America with a blunt message: George W.
Bush’s war on Iraq was waged on a “bodyguard of lies.”
“We need regime change, and we need it quick,” Ritter told a
gathering of peace activists in New Jersey on Sunday. “George W.
Bush does not have the right…to represent the American people, if he
told a lie. And he told a whopper.”
That whopper, said Ritter, was claiming that the US government had
evidence that Saddam Hussein was hiding massive amounts of weapons of
mass destruction and that was why Iraq must be invaded. The facts, he
said, are that “the inspections worked. The United Nations did
“I want the president impeached because he lied to the Congress of
the United States,” Ritter said. “He may well go out and tell
another lie about weapons of mass destruction” being found amid the
rubble in Iraq. But, Ritter said, any scheme to plant evidence would
run afoul of professional soldiers like those he served with in Gulf
War I. “I can tell you, my fellow officers won’t sustain that
Ritter is a former Marine major who worked as a weapons inspector for
the United Nations in Iraq from 1991 to 1998. These days he’s an
antiwar activist on a mission to pacify Washington, DC.
“What happened in Baghdad last month was not in accordance with
international law. What happened in Baghdad last month was a west
Texas lynching,” Ritter said at New Jersey Peace Action’s annual
dinner, where he was the guest of honor. “President Bush is
implementing a policy of imperialism.”
Ritter said Americans who don’t want the United States to go the way
of all empires—which, he said, die of indigestion—will have to
fight an historic political battle over the nation’s future. “We
can’t allow a bunch of neoconservatives to hijack America,” he
said. “It’s not a right-wing fraternity pin—the American flag,
we own it, the American people.”
Ritter said he has been taking his blunt message to college campuses
and other forums around the country. And when anyone demands that he
support the war in Iraq, he replies: “What part of war do you want
to support?” and describes in graphic detail the hell hole of war.
Recounting the story of a Marine in a battle in Iraq, Ritter said that
a soldier is only one face of patriotism. “Ladies and gentlemen, let
me introduce you to the other face of patriotism—the people of the
United States. … The other face of patriotism is the American
citizen who gets up in the morning” and carries out the duties and
responsibilities of citizenship.
“If you give up now, you are giving up on American democracy,” he
said. Ritter urged the assembled peace activists to reach out to
Republicans like himself and raise the constitutional issues and
uncomfortable facts that Bush has run roughshod over. Among those
facts, he said, is this glaring one:
“Bush was a deserter from his unit during the Vietnam War. He
doesn’t know what it means to support the troops.”
Jan Barry, a Vietnam veteran, is a journalist living in New Jersey.
Jan is also an editor of VAIW and a contributing editor of
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