Saturday, August 28, 2004

Patriotism

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.

Why?

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.

9 comments:

vrangel said...

Sad but nothing new.

John Kerry built his political career trashing his fellow Vietnam veterans as mass murderers, rapists, and war criminals.

this we'll defend said...

Not true, and what does that have to do with this post? Geez.

vrangel said...

True about Kerry.
Whether you like it or not.

I don't know what was the deal with Scott Ritter.
But the fact that he turned his position 180 degrees when war talk began didn't look good.
I don't know what his motivation was.

this we'll defend said...

Well, we disagree about Kerry, but that's OT.

I think Ritter's motivation was, oh, I don't know... the TRUTH?

And he was proven exactly (EXACTLY) right while the Bush administration were seemingly "stunned" by the lack of weaponized WMD. So who cares what Ritter's motivation was? He was right.

vrangel said...

You claim he is a partiot, then you say :
"... who cares what Ritter's motivation was? "

Let's say hypothetically Saddam paid him $100,000 to take a stand as he did.
He would still be right about lack of WMD, but can you call him a patriot anyway?

I'd say motivation is the key when you are talking about patriotism.

this we'll defend said...

Forgive me.

I titled this post "patriotism," and ended it by thanking Mr. Ritter for his patriotism. I thought it understood that I don't believe the baseless, false, and despicable allegations that he was a Saddam supporter or in the pay of that regime. I believe him a patriot.

Other than false charges of him being treasonous, I think it unimportant what his "motivations" were if he was telling the truth and known by most of the national security professionals who weren't partisan players that he was speaking truth.

What should matter is that he was speaking truth, not why he spoke it.

But I was pretty clear that I think he was speaking out and speaking truth because he loves the United States of American and cares more about our national security than he does about winning elections for democrats or selling books or getting his name in the papers, all charges bandied about at the time in an effort to distract citizens from the important issues he wanted us to discuss, namely whether invading Iraq was a good idea.

Suzanne said...

John Kerry built his political career trashing the administration for putting his fellow Vietnam veterans in a situation where they might be egged into commiting murder or rape.

It's the same thing with Abu Graib today. If the people "in charge" try to spin things to make it look like it's all the soldiers' fault, that's not the fault of the whistle blowers.

artbyruth said...

"Who cares what his motivation was, he was right."

Well, who cares what the motivation of the Swiftboats is, they are RIGHT.

Kerry lied about Cambodia.
He lied about the first Purple Heart

Looks more and more that he lied about the Bronze Star and now the "V" on the Silver Star
He stood with Hanoi Jane Fonda

He visited the North Vietnamese enemy while still a Naval reserve Officer and while our troops were still
POW's to that enemy.

He bad mouthed the soldiers causing them to be ridiculed when they returned home.

He participated in the "Winter Soldier Investigation" in which it was priven that some of the testimonies were frauds.
He stood side by side with the producer of the "Winter Soldier" Documentary when that producer lied about being an Air Force Officer.

He was at the protest meeting in which killing US Senators was planned.


And now he wants us all to forget these facts and remember him as a "hero".

It doesn't work that way.

Imagine if Bush had done even one of the above...just ONE...he would be impeached by now.

Also, your boy said there were WMD's and that we should get rid of Saddam Hussein long before the war.

You only have John Kerry to blame for all this mess. Stop pointing your fingers at everyone but your candidate.

I can't believe he hasn't fired his campaign manager yet. .....

this we'll defend said...

Kerry lied about Cambodia.
That might be true. It doesn't change that he was in Vietnam, but yes he might have told a war story. Uhh, I might have too. So might many of my friends. But this is not proven. But it might be true, unlike all of the rest of your charges.

He lied about the first Purple Heart
No, he didn't, that is a false charge and every document and every reliable source has shown that to be an outright lie. Kerry has always refererred to his first two wounds as "scratches" and called the third "minor - I was back to work the next day." And you should know better having read and participated in the many debates that have gone on here and at ALa71's page.

Looks more and more that he lied about the Bronze Star and now the "V" on the Silver Star
Based on what, more false charges? More and more people are coming forward to support his "story" - which isn't a "story" but the truth according to the United States Navy and many of the Swiftvets themselves in the past - and every document found supports Kerry. This is a despicable and scurrilous charge. It is beneath you Ruth.

He stood with Hanoi Jane Fonda
No, he didn't. He attended a rally with Jane Fonda (who was active in the anti-war movement along with millions of others) long BEFORE she committed treason and went to Hanoi. And he separated himself from that movement when it turned anti-American. I hope you don't think dissent itself is anti-American, and any charges that the movement was always so lumps the entire "movement" into a small box it won't fit into. Many patriotic and loyal Americans, including many Vietnam Veterans, participated in the anti-war movement.

He visited the North Vietnamese enemy while still a Naval reserve Officer and while our troops were still
POW's to that enemy.
YES - but say all the facts please, your insinuation (especially right after your false "Hanoi Jane" charge) is that he stood with Jane in Hanoi. He went to PARIS during the Peace Talks to show support for ending the war and try and free POWs because he felt our government wasn't doing what it should - and he failed, because thousands more Americans died before the pullout that everybody already knew was inevitable. And, unknown to him, he was under govt surveillance and the records show he did NOTHING disloyal and expressed NO support for the North Vietnamese enemy. The way you phrase these "charges" is pretty shameful Ruth. I expected better from you. Sec. Kissinger met with the same people in the same city at the same time to discuss the same things. How shameful of Kerry to express his opinion, huh? Who told him he could have one? Oh yeah, the Founding Fathers.

He bad mouthed the soldiers causing them to be ridiculed when they returned home.
Untrue. He badmouthed the leaders who were not doing the right thing. He did NOT badmouth soldiers, an outright lie that is fast becoming conventional wisdom on the right. When his 1971 testimony is taken out of context and only partial quotes are shown it might look like that, but you've read my debates with TYAAPA and you know better. Why keep repeating what you know is untrue? He STOOD UP for veterans and STOOD UP for what was right against a govt known to be lying. He asked for an immediate pullout instead of waiting years merely to save face because everybody knew we weren't going to stay in Vietnam. He was ignored, 14,000 more US troops died, and we pulled out just like everybody knew we would. And ridicule and hatred of the military was in full swing well before his testimony, so your contention that he "caused" the anti-military sentiment is really ridiculous. His "allegations" of rape and torture committed by US soldiers were in fact true. Just as they are at Abu Ghraib. And just as at Abu Ghraib it wasn't all or most soldiers - it was a criminal few. The Army is punishing those who shamed us at Abu Ghraib. The Army and the govt covered up similar crimes in Vietnam, and Kerry demanded the truth. I say good for him.

He participated in the "Winter Soldier Investigation" in which it was priven that some of the testimonies were frauds.
Yes, some of the testimony was fraudulent. So? Some wasn't, and Kerry didn't commit any fraud or know of any fraud. Some freaks lied, but many of the stories were verified and none of the frauds were the basis for his 1971 detailing of atrocities. You don't like it that he told of atrocities, but I hate more that atrocities happened. Kerry wanted it stopped and the govt was covering it up, and even encouraging it through the use of thingls like free-fire zones and body counts. Don't blame the messenger. Kerry didn't betray Vietnam veterans, our own government did. Read the whole testimony and not just excerpts. He clearly loved his fellow warriors and did NOT betray them, and even though the right might convince most Americans he did that won't make it true. It will just mean a lot of people will buy into a lie.

He stood side by side with the producer of the "Winter Soldier" Documentary when that producer lied about being an Air Force Officer.
Uhh, yeah, so? He didn't know the guy was lying. Nobody else did either. What is your point? Are you falsely and despicably implying that Kerry was involved in the deception? If you are, and it seems you are, shame on you. He did nothing of the sort.

He was at the protest meeting in which killing US Senators was planned.
Ahhh, guilt by association. Kerry was active in the anti-war movement and known to be a moderate, responsible, and calming influence within it. But some right-wingers see only the extreme and lump anybody to the left of them into the wild-eyed commie category. Is that you Ruth? Yes he attended such meetings. And argued against such things, calling them wrong, immoral, unethical, and illegal. But the way you phrase it makes it seems he was advocating it and involved in the planning instead of talking people out of such foolishness. Why not be honest instead of duplicitous? It should be easy to be forthright and honest if Kerry is as bad as you say.


And now he wants us all to forget these facts and remember him as a "hero".
What facts? You made many insinuations, but the only facts you provided are that he attended an anti-war rally that Jane Fonda also attended (I attended a Braves game she was at - does that make me a traitor too?). That he went to Paris to show support for the Paris Peace Talks between North Vietnam and the US. And that he was active in the anti-war movement. Oh, and by the way, he WAS a hero - in Vietnam and again when he came home and tried to save 14,000 US lives in what was clearly a pointless effort to save political face and avoid election problems for the party in power.

Imagine if Bush had done even one of the above...just ONE...

You mean like serve in combat in Vietnam? Take a stand on that divisive issue instead of merely making sure his ass was safe? Get involved in important issues of the day instead of partying and drinking throughout his 20s and 30s? yes, indeed, imagine.

Also, your boy said there were WMD's and that we should get rid of Saddam Hussein long before the war.

Yes he did. He was wrong about WMDs, but right about Saddam. I have always said Saddam was an enemy. But, again, there is a wide gulf between appeasement at one end and invasion at the other. We had more choices, but Bush saw only two.

You only have John Kerry to blame for all this mess.
Stop pointing your fingers at everyone but your candidate.
I respectfully disagree.