He used to be all for the military – now he’s one of the most fervent anti-war campaigners in the United States.His name is Scott Ritter, and he’s coming to Castleton State College.
Formerly the chief weapons inspector for the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq, Ritter is one of the few with inside knowledge of Iraq’s weapon systems to brazenly protest the war prior to the invasion on Iraq.
He’s the guy who said there were no weapons of mass destruction and that Iraq was not a threat to the United States.
Ritter, who will be speaking at the Fine Arts Center on Tuesday, Sept. 26, was born into a military family as William S. Ritter, Jr. After college, he signed up with the United States Marine Corps. He has worked as a military intelligence officer, an analyst for the Marine Corps Rapid Deployment Force, a consultant for Fox News and a ballistic missile advisor.
So why the change of heart?
As weapons inspector for seven years, Ritter coordinated teams searching for weapons of mass destruction throughout Iraq. Feeling that the Security Council and the U.S. government was keeping him from doing his job, he resigned in August of 1998, writing in his resignation letter that “illusion of arms control is more dangerous than no arms control at all.”
Ritter then accused U.S. intelligence agents of destroying the inspection team’s credibility, by using weapons inspectors as smoke-screen for spying.
He has since been an unreserved critic on U.S. policy towards Iraq, and more currently, Iran.
Ritter’s talk, titled “Targeting Iran,” was organized by professor Sanjukta Ghosh who asked him to come to speak because of several reasons.
“I wanted to bring in a military voice,” she said. “We’re already in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and we’re almost poised to invade Iran. I want [Ritter] to be here, chiefly, because there’s a real possibility of war and I have students set to be deployed next year.”
Ghosh, who has two students who are going to C.S.C. through the ROTC program and one student already in Iraq, wants her students to know what their going [to war] for. She said that most members of the Bush administration pushing for war have never been in the military. The ones that have served are not for military action. Ghosh also stressed that when most students register for selective service, they are unaware that they are also being registered for draft.
“The U.S. Army will be so thinly spread,” Ghosh said, “there’s a real possibility of a draft … I want my students in the classrooms, not the war fields.”
Ritter is the author of several books: “War on Iraq,” “Endgame: Solving the Iraq Crisis”, “Frontier Justice: Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Bushwhacking of America,” and most recently, “Target Iran: The Truth About the White House’s Plans for Regime Change,” which will be available Sept. 28.
Ritter’s speech will run from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. There will be a question and answer session afterward. The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.