by Peter Freyne
“Why aren’t Americans screaming bloody murder?” asked former U.N. Iraq weapons inspector Scott Ritter Friday evening before a packed house at Burlington’s Unitarian Church.
“When the president suspends habeas corpus,” said Ritter, “it should put every one of us in the street screaming revolution!”
Good point. Ritter was referring to the Military Commissions Act passed by Congress last month (Vermont’s congressional delegation voted against it.)
And the explanation offered by Ritter is simply that Americans cannot defend a document they do not know!
When’s the last time you read the Constitution of the United States?
“If you allow the terrorists to shred this document in the name of security,” said Ritter, “the terrorists win.”
The U.S. invasion of Iraq, he said, was an “illegal” invasion. “If you’re willing to hedge on that,” said Ritter, “what’s next?”
Good question, eh?
Ritter says the answer to what's next is - Iran. That’s the case he makes in his new book: Target Iran: The Truth about the White House’s Plans for Regime Change.
He told the Burlington audience Friday evening that he believes the plans have already been made by the Bush White House to invade Iran. Congress, he said, even Vermont’s congressmen, have bought into the false idea that Iran possesses a nuclear weapons program. And that he compared to the Vietnam War's Gulf of Tonkin Resolution - the fraudulent basis for the increased hostilities that left 58,000 U.S. soldiers dead. Afterward, yours truly asked Ritter a couple questions. We wanted to be sure on when he was predicting a Bush administration attack on Iran?
“A window of opportunity opens in March of 2007. I don’t think the president will have the ability to act before that. I think the president will start putting in play things to facilitate a strike using the lame duck session of Congress. But that doesn’t mean that we’re going to strike. I think you’re going to see pressure put on Congress to set in motion an aggressive stance against Iran."
“I think the plan’s been made. It’s just a matter of implementing the plan. But that’s complicated. That requires domestic political preparation, international diplomatic preparation and then military preparation. And if the president starts now, he won’t be able to get all those pieces in place until, I believe, March."
But hasn’t the November 7 election diminished the power of President Bush?
“But he’s still the executive and constitutionally he still has all the power he had beforehand. And on the issue of Iran, unless Congress is willing to step up to the plate and stop him, there’s nothing to prevent him from implementing his policies.
“The Congress has bought into the notion of Iran possessing a nuclear weapons program. Congress is making the same mistake on Iran that they made with Iraq about WMD.”
Catch Ritter yourself - tonight, Saturday at 7 p.m. at The Big Picture Theater in Waitsfield.
Free admission - priceless talk.