- Claiming Americans were "bushwhacked," Scott
Ritter, former United Nations chief weapons inspector in Iraq, believes
President Bush not only hid the truth, but he used deception to get citizen
support for the war.
- "Instead of presenting the issue honestly to the
American people, face-to-face, and letting us decide, we were bushwhacked
behind our backs," he said.
- Ritter, who is one of the Bush Administration's principal
critics over the war, will deliver a first-hand account of the Iraqi dilemma
and its failures this Monday, June 28, at the Napa Valley Opera House at
- "Look at the evidence coming out now. Clearly we
were lied to about the link to Al-Qaeda, about the weapons of mass destruction,
and about Saddam Hussein being a threat to the United States," Ritter
said. "We were told we'd be greeted with flowers--It'll never happen."
- Pessimistic About Outcome
- Ritter is unusually pessimistic about the ultimate outcome
for the United States.
- "I just don't see a transfer of power within the
next few weeks," Ritter said. "[Iyad] Allawi (the interim prime
minister) has no constituency, no government, or even a country."
- Since 1991, Ritter participated in 52 weapons inspection
missions, 14 of them as its chief. He spent 12 years in military intelligence,
including assignments in the former Soviet Union as well as the Middle
East. He led the UN weapons inspection team in Iraq in 1998.
- "Based on my recent observations, I'd be surprised
if Allawi survives to January of next year," he said. "The insurgents
have a bigger grip on the country now than he does. There are car bombings
every day, and scores of police are being killed."
- Media Sequestered In Compounds
- Ritter says Americans are not getting a true picture
of the war because the media are afraid to leave their compounds.
- "They rely on what they're told, and that's what
they tell the American people," he said. He believes that Iraq can
be another 10-year disaster, which could be a tremendous drain on the U.S.
- He believes at this point that it is a political failure
and not a military one.
- "I don't think our troops or the military have been
affected by this problem, yet. The world still knows how strong we are.
Our politicians have been hurt, not our military," Ritter said.
- "I don't think Bush thought up the Iraqi war himself.
I think high people in his administration took advantage of our trauma
after Sept. 11, to move the idea forward," Ritter said.
- If the U.S. fails to find a quick solution, Ritter believes
the end result would leave us in the same predicament the Israelis are
- Ongoing Nightmare In Israel
- "When Israel left Lebanon, they thought they had
set up a friendly government. In no time, the Hezbollah took over, and
the result has been an ongoing nightmare," he said.
- "While no one doubts the future of Israel, the country
is plagued with terrorist attacks. They must consistently use their wealth
and manpower in bomb-and-destroy missions, chaining their nation to an
endless occupation," Ritter said.
- "We, too, can continue to pound our chest at the
world, but the cost and drain on our economy, our young people, and our
prestige will be very high," he said."
- © 2004, Pulitzer Newspapers, Inc.