This past Wednesday, September 19, in Somerville, Mass., Scott Ritter, former UN weapon inspector, accused Colin Powell of knowingly lying about the presence of WMD in Iraq. Scott claims he knows this for sure because he briefed Colin Powell before he ever gave that infamous speech to the UN. He once was an admirer of Colin Powell but now he feels that Powell’s lying about WMD, at such a pivotal stage in the run-up to the Iraq war, made him "Scum" and not worthy of admiration or support, regardless of what else the man has done.
Ritter expressed real anger about the feeling of being betrayed by Powell and many others associated with the Iraq war. Ritter also accused the CIA of knowingly falsely claiming that there were still SCUD missiles left in Iraq, during the first Gulf War, that had not been destroyed and that this led to several Americans' dying while searching for missiles that the CIA knew did not exist. He stated that the CIA lied about the Scud missiles in order that America might retain credible reasons for maintaining sanctions against Iraq at that time. Ritter claimed to be speaking from first-hand knowledge.
The talk which he gave, following a comedy routine by local Boston comedian Jimmy Tingle, was anything but funny.
It was the gravest and most direct indictment of George W. Bush and the people that surrounded him at the time, even those we mistakenly trusted to represent the reasonable American’s point of view. It was all the more powerful because he was a direct witness to some of the critical pieces of evidence that point the finger at Bush, the vice president and his cabinet for direct and knowing lies.
Ritter made clear he feels that there is clear evidence that this was a war of aggression and that it breaches the UN Charter which is a treaty and as such must be treated as the "supreme law of the land" as per the US Constitution.
He feels that the antiwar movement needs a clearer focus and some bedrock legal and rhetorical framework based on the US Constitution, a sentiment with which I heartily agree.
Ritter laid out his critique of the anti-war movement as being badly organized, defocused and ineffective as a result.
He was promoting a short book on making war against the war mongers effectively using the same principals of organization that are used to make war.
One only has to look at the pathetic efforts of the Democrats in Congress trying to bring the war to an end, while being very concerned about winning the next election and countering the GOP attack machine. This alone is evidence that Ritter is onto something important in his analysis.
His cry is for others to stop being observers of this tragic debacle and become active and lead. Do not wait for some messianic leader to emerge. Too many people will have died or have been horribly injured before we are likely to be rescued by any messiah.
When questioned as to "whether 41 brave Democratic Senators should filibuster any war funding unless it contains a withdrawal schedule" he stated that this would be a bold tactic but only if the ground work were laid before hand to educate the American public as to why this was a valid tactic, given the string of filibusters that the GOP has now used to block any effective change in Iraq war policy.
Scott opposed impeachment right now, but feels that inquiries to get the evidence into the record should be taking place so that due process would lead inevitably to impeachment. Going too early would create voter blow-back.
His book, "Waging Peace," has been reviewed before on Daily Kos but I did not see any reference to his severe indictment of Colin Powell.
What Scott was unable to answer was why Colin Powell chose to lie and betray all of us who trusted him.