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Traprock Peace Center

Scott Ritter: "Bush Lied...What are you going to do about it?" 

Scott Ritter, recently returned from the Middle East, challenged students at three high schools to hold Bush accountable for his lies that encouraged the American people to support his war on Iraq.

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Former U.N. weapons inspector talks tough to Mohawk students

December 19,. 2003

BUCKLAND - Read the Constitution and become an informed citizen to avoid a situation like the Iraq War, a former U.N. weapons inspector told Mohawk Trail Regional School students Friday.

"Our Constitution wins hands down," said former Marine Scott Ritter, who has become an unabashed critic of George W. Bush and his Iraq policy.

And he minced no words telling the students how wrong he thinks the war and Bush are, during a visit to the school sponsored by Traprock Peace Center of Deerfield.

After questioning both the United States' and the United Nations' resolve to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, Ritter resigned from his post in 1998 after seven years of service following the first Gulf War.

Ritter plunged dramatically into his Mohawk presentation, which he characterized as "in your face," and challenged students to come back at him in the same vein. He offered a graphic description of being shot and how a young soldier's life becomes gratitude for "one breath after another."

Ritter's message is resoundingly that the war did not have to start and ought not have and that President Bush is "either incompetent or a liar" to have told Americans he had proof Iraq was proliferating weapons of mass destruction.

"After nine months we haven't found any," Ritter said of the weapons claim. He said during his years on the ground in Iraq searching for them, he believes there were weapons, that they were hidden and that the Iraqis did "lie." But, he added, after four or five years "taking sites apart" to search for them, inspectors were "able to ascertain 90-95 percent of the weapons produced by Iraq had been destroyed."

"The system we call the United States of America failed, it failed miserably," Ritter said of the subsequent move to war. "Iraq is the manifestation of all the failures of American citizens. If you don't live citizenship, you're a consumer. Iraq is your issue; you're going to pay the price. My generation failed you."

"This is your life, what are you going to do about it?" he challenged students. "I can train a monkey to wave an American flag. That does not make the monkey patriotic."

Saying he is probably "the most anti-war person you're ever going to meet," the 12-year veteran said he's also "no pacifist."

"If someone threatens my country, if someone threatens you … I'm willing to lay down my life for you," he said.

 

* Gulf Veteran & Weapons Inspector to Speak

Press Advisory from Traprock Peace Center in Deerfield, MA. http://www.traprockpeace.org
Contact: Sunny Miller, Ex. Director 413 773-7427

Former US Marine and U.N. Weapons Inspector, Scott Ritter will speak at two area high schools in December through the auspices of Traprock Peace Center. Ritter's topic will be, "Disarmament Works, but Requires Political Will."

Traprock has made invitations on behalf of schools with assemblies of more than 300 students eager for an opportunity to hear both historic perspectives on disarmament efforts and a current assessment of military, social, economic and diplomatic prospects in Iraq. Traprock asks community members for support for this and other educational programs in our public schools, promoting thoughtful dialogue and engagement.

Writing and speech classes, history and social studies classes, J.R.O.T.C. and peace studies -- students and teachers will be interested in assessing Ritter's presentation. In presentations Ritter calls for engaged citizens to investigate his claims for themselves. Ritter will speak on December 19 at 9:15 at Mohawk Regional and at 1:20 in Amherst. A local & national press conference /call will give be held mid-day. For reservations for a Friday evening reception and dinner, call 413 773-5188 x. 3. See Traprock's web site for Ritter's previous commentary, at http://www.traprockpeace.org.

Former UNSCOM Inspector and Marine Intelligence Officer, Scott Ritter is ... a seasoned media commentator, and has been interviewed by Congressional staff and committees as well as CNN, MSNBC, NPR and the BBC, and on such shows as Hardball, Crossfire, Frontline, and Donahue. His assessments stem from nearly a decade of professional on-the-ground experience in Iraq.

* An authority whose knowledge of Iraq’s military and notorious police state apparatus is based on extensive, first-hand dealings with it. Ritter was stationed in Iraq from 1991 to 1998 and is credited with initiating aggressive intelligence-collection measures. He became familiar with the workings of the upper echelons of Saddam Hussein’s regime, and ‘rank and file’ operatives.

* A former intelligence officer with professional experience of planning military operations inside Iraq. Ritter served directly under General Schwarzkopf during the 1991 Gulf War. Ritter can speak with unusual depth and detail to the logistics of launching military operations inside Iraq. His right-on-the- money analysis made him a Pentagon “whistleblower” during that war, when he single-handedly refuted US military claims that it was shooting down Scud missiles.

* A recognized expert on Iraq’s program for weapons of mass destruction. In the course of his UNSCOM career, Ritter participated in 30 weapons inspection, 7 of them as chief inspector. The Iraqi government branded him a “spy” for his aggressive inspection style. Ritter can address questions on concealment, noncompliance, and destruction of weapons and production capability in Iraq. Ritter will explain why he trusts surveillance and forensic sampling, not Iraqi disclosures. Collaboration with intelligences services from many nations has given him a unique perspective on the “War against Terror.”

Author of Endgame: Solving The Iraq Problem Once And For All, and Frontier Justice, Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Bushwhacking of America. Ritter’s writings have appeared in the Boston Globe, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, The Guardian, & Arms Control Today.

December 15, 2003 Charlie Jenks

 

Traprock Peace Center
103A Keets Road, Woolman Hill
Deerfield, MA 01342

Phone: (413) 773-7427; Fax:(413)773-7507; contact by email


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