Remember Scott Ritter? The UN Weapons Inspector and former US Marine, no friend of Saddam, who said invading Iraq would be a huge mistake?
Remember how he was discredited?
Sex scandal allegations. Allegations that he was a lousy Marine officer and was kicked out of service. Ritter was characterized as "misguided," "disloyal" and "an apologist for and a defender of Saddam Hussein." Accused of being an ally of the Iraqi regime and a disloyal traitor.
Paula Zahn told viewers Ritter had "drunk Saddam Hussein's Kool-Aid."
On MSNBC, Curtis & Kuby co-host Curtis Sliwa compared him to "a sock puppet" who "oughta turn in his passport for an Iraqi one."
Kyra Phillips of CNN interrogated him, implying that he was being paid by Iraq —and all but calling him a quisling.
Right-wing extremists like World Net Daily made even wilder accusations of jewelry and gold paid to Ritter's family, accusations that circulated widely on the internet.
Statements he made were taken out of context and twisted and turned so that he appeared an enemy of the colors he served as a military officer.
Then came the allegations of him being a pedophile and a "sex fiend."
He was publicly destroyed.
Because he insisted that, if the Bush administration had evidence showing that Saddam is building nukes, then the American people have a right to see it before they sacrifice their lives.
He said "As an American citizen, I have an obligation to speak out when I feel my government is acting in a manner, which is inconsistent with the — with the principles of our founding fathers. It's the most patriotic thing I can do."
He wrote in 2002:
"Does Iraq truly threaten the existence of our nation? If one takes at face value the rhetoric emanating from the Bush administration, it would seem so. According to President Bush and his advisers, Iraq is known to possess weapons of mass destruction and is actively seeking to reconstitute the weapons production capabilities that had been eliminated by UN weapons inspectors from 1991 to 1998, while at the same time barring the resumption of such inspections.
I bear personal witness through seven years as a chief weapons inspector in Iraq for the United Nations to both the scope of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs and the effectiveness of the UN weapons inspectors in ultimately eliminating them.
While we were never able to provide 100 percent certainty regarding the disposition of Iraq's proscribed weaponry, we did ascertain a 90-95 percent level of verified disarmament. This figure takes into account the destruction or dismantling of every major factory associated with prohibited weapons manufacture, all significant items of production equipment, and the majority of the weapons and agent produced by Iraq.
With the exception of mustard agent, all chemical agent produced by Iraq prior to 1990 would have degraded within five years (the jury is still out regarding Iraq's VX nerve agent program - while inspectors have accounted for the laboratories, production equipment and most of the agent produced from 1990-91, major discrepancies in the Iraqi accounting preclude any final disposition at this time.)
The same holds true for biological agent, which would have been neutralized through natural processes within three years of manufacture. Effective monitoring inspections, fully implemented from 1994-1998 without any significant obstruction from Iraq, never once detected any evidence of retained proscribed activity or effort by Iraq to reconstitute that capability which had been eliminated through inspections.
In direct contrast to these findings, the Bush administration provides only speculation, failing to detail any factually based information to bolster its claims concerning Iraq's continued possession of or ongoing efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction. To date no one has held the Bush administration accountable for its unwillingness - or inability - to provide such evidence.
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld notes that "the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.'' This only reinforces the fact that the case for war against Iraq fails to meet the litmus test for the defense of our national existence so eloquently phrased by President Lincoln.
War should never be undertaken lightly. Our nation's founders recognized this when they penned our Constitution, giving the authority to declare war to Congress and not to the president. Yet on the issue of war with Iraq, Congress remains disturbingly mute."
For that he was vilified, called a traitor and a coward, dragged through the mud and destroyed. He was public enemy number one.
Somebody owes Scott Ritter an apology. I think that man is George W. Bush.
But he owes all of America an apology.
No, it wasn't the CIA's "fault" that "everybody" thought Iraq and its WMDs were such a threat. Everybody didn't. I didn't either. If you think that "everybody" felt that Iraq was a threat then you are buying into the latest line you are being fed. Iraq was NOT a threat that justified invasion. The "Saddam is a bad man" and "we liberated them from oppression" is an attempt to justify a war for a different reason than was given. Saddam is a bad man. We did free the Iraqi people. But that is not and was not why we invaded Iraq.
Mr. Ritter asked that our nation hold the Bush adminstration accountable for presenting evidence before we launched a war under false pretenses. We did not. And Mr. Ritter has been shown to be 100% right.
We have an election coming up. Let's hold Bush accountable now for what we should have held him accountable for then. It wasn't the three-lettered CIA that is to blame. It was two letters less. W.
Thank you Mr. Ritter for trying. You are a patriot.
NOTE: I shamelessly plagiarized the text from "Paula Zahn" to the word "Quisling." I liked the phrasing, but it isn't my own. It was written by Antonia Zerbisias of the Toronto Star.