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January 28, 2006

Scott Ritter at California Democratic Executive Board Meeting

-- by Gary Boatwright

Scott Ritter was the featured speaker at today's luncheon at the California Democratic Party's Executive Board Meeting in Manhattan Beach earlier today. I transcribed his speech fairly accurately, but please do not hold Scott Ritter accountable for any small factual errors in dates or syntax. Here it is:

I'm a registered Republican, an American and a very conservative person, but that's not the reason I'm here today. I'm here more importantly, because Art Torres invited me. The most important title of all is American. One of the brilliant ironies is being a conservative Republican and being on the same side as progressive Democrats.

As a registered Republican, I'll tell you right now, you Democrats better sweep at least the House of Representatives to keep this imperial Presidency in check. When you as Democrats think about issues and platforms, the biggest issue is Iraq. Unfortunately the war in Iraq has gone incredibly badly, so there is political capital to be made.

There is another issue that is even a magnitude of order bigger, which is Iran. Let's look at some uncomfortable facts. If you ask Americans most polls say we should not go to war with Iran by 78%.  Let's talk about poll numbers, if Iran represents a threat to the U.S. 82% say yes.  If you ask why 76% will say Iran has an active nuclear threat. This plays into the ultimate fear perpetuated by Condelizza Rice's of a smoking gun in the shape of a mushroom cloud. This fear has even more resonance if you bring in the threat to one of America's best allies, Israel.

Most Americans say we should turn Iran over to the Security Council of the UN.  What happens ladies and gentlemen, if the Security Council says no, we will not support imposing economic sanctions against Iran. Where does that leave us?

It doesn't matter what the actual threat is, but what the American people perceive the threat to be. Now let me introduce you to John Bolton. What role does John Bolton play? Mr. Bolton has one job and one job only. When the Security Council fails to implement sanctions, John Bolton will stand up and say that America cannot be held hostage to the unwillingness of the UN to deal with this threat.

Remember that Americans already perceive Iran as an active nuclear threat. Our Imperial President has already said he does not need additional approval from Congress to go to war. If and when Bush declares war, say good-by to your business. Oil will go through the roof. Iraq, the second biggest producer may have to import oil soon. If we take Iran's oil off the market, China will now be competing with us to purchase oil in a restricted market. Every American airline will be out of business. Every car manufacturer will be out of business. There will not a single American manufacturer out there. We will see an economic collapse the likes of which we have never seen.

The first question we need to demand the Bush administration answer is where is the evidence that Iran has nuclear weapons? In 1970's Iran sponsored a terrorist to drive a bomb into marine barracks, so there is no love lost between me and the Iranians. But before we engage militarily, we have to make sure there is a threat that that is worthy of meeting it with military action. To this date the Bush administration has introduced no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program.

Iran is in full compliances with the non-proliferation treaty, which is more than we can say for our ally Israel. Between 1994 and 1998 I traveled back and forth to Israel several times. I am first and foremost an American. If we ask our men and women to go to war we have to make sure there is a reason that is worthy of the sacrifice we are asking them to make.

Have we learned anything since invading Iraq? Did we learn anything from the Downing Street Memos? The Bush administration has sold American public on the idea of regime change, but they have no evidence to back up their conduct. Whenever anybody stood up to talk about WMD in Iraq they were really talking about regime change. The same thing is happening in Iran. What anyone who talks about WMD in Iran they are really talking about regime change. This is the policy of the Bush administration; regime change.

Familiarize yourself with The National Security Strategy of the United States of America. In a nutshell, it says we can invade unilaterally and militarily with no regard to any other country in the world. They are dead serious about implementing a policy of regime change in Iran. Only one thing can stop a war with Iran. If you get a Congress that does not rubber stamp another war. I voted for George Bush in 2000. I'm telling you right now I will do anything I can in California or anywhere else to help Democrats take back Congress. Unless we have a Congress that respects the Constitution and the balance of power between the Executive and the Legislative branch there is no hope at all.

Q&A

Steve Young: What can democrats do with someone like you to bring America to our side to make the change you are talking about?

Scott: Fair question: I am still a registered Republican. But if I run for office, I guess I'll have to become a Democrat. Republicans have to say I reject the Bush agenda.

Steve: How do we get them to make that change?

Scott: A lot of Democrats voted for Ronald Reagan. You need a candidate who motivates Republicans. You are weak on foreign policy, national security and homeland security. All you have to do is tell Americans they should be afraid. Republicans exploit that fear. Democarsts need someone who can explain how to deal with their fear.

Q: What is the actual motivation of the Bush administration? Is it all just money for their narrow interests?

Scott:"  I can only hypothesize, but the man I voted for in 2002 is not the man who is President. He is not carrying out the vision he articulated in 2002.

Q: Project for a New American Century?

Scott:  The PNAC are parasites. During the Reagan administration we ran a campaign against communism. Soviet Union collapsed. Bush 41 came into office and said neo-cons are crazy. Their policy is inherently un-American.

Neo-cons came along and said we need a Pearl Harbor to motivate the American people. 9/11 happened. That's how they exploited Aermica's fear to fulfill their vision of an Imperial America.

Q: Democrats taking back the House and separation of power?

Scott: I have no sympathy for anybody who supports this war. For anytbody who voted for this war or continues to support it.

Q: What about the Iranians starting their own oil market? Could this be what is driving their need for nuclear weapons? Euros, not dollars.

Scott: What we should call the dollar is a petro dollar. The U.S. dollar is basically useless, backed by a failing economy. The world keeps backing up the dollar because it is the currency used to buy and sell oil. China and others are going to switch to Euros when they get tired of propping up the dollar. The Iranians are the ones making the noise, but what happens when Russsian, Venezuela say they are tired of buying with petro dollars?

Q: Iranian policy?

Scott: We can't separate Iraqi policy from Iran. Sunnis. Sistanii is still an Iranian. Has refused to take Iraqi citizenship. There was a compromise reached one week before the Cosntitution that will satisify the Sunnnis. Sistani came out and said there will be no Amendments to the Cosntitution.  Wait until 60% of the Iraqi population turns against us.

Q: Do you think we are going to have a draft?

Scott: Do I see a draft coming? No. Republicans don't want it. Democrats don't want it. Americans don't want it. That means we have to dumb down our military, whch means next time we go to war even more of our men and women will die.

It would be nice of Congresss asked some of the questions like Where are the WMD? Demanding evidence before we send our men and women to fight and die is not pro-terrorist, it is pro-American.

Posted by Gary Boatwright at January 28, 2006 5:49 PM

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Comments

I like Scott Ritter, but there is one point on which I strongly disagree with him. As Roosevelt said about the great depression, we have nothing to fear but fear itself. I see that as a truly progressive value. Joining the current administration in calling for more and more fear is NOT what we should do. It's time for rationality, sanity, and honesty. If we don't do that, we might as well forget the whole thing and collectively take off for LaLa Land. Truth has a lot more political value than fantasy.

Posted by: MJ at January 29, 2006 7:03 AM

I agree with MJ's reservation; we have to break the cycle of fear and violence. But most of Ritter's warnings and prognostications are valid, as I see it. My understanding of the Iraq war resolution is that Congress was unwilling to give the President any lattitude beyond the areas of Afghanistan and Iraq. If he wants to declare war on Iran and mount an ongoing war against that country, he has to go back and get specific authorization from Congress.

But the danger must be, that the administration will suddenly commence hostilities with Iran, without consulting the United Nations or seeking advice from America's allies. Otherwise, the run-up to a new war would entail months of debate and diplomatic activities. If this White House intends a surprise attack against Iran, it will represent another blow against our Constitutional separation of powers, with respect to an executive ploy, to leverage another war resolution out of Congress. A fait accompli.

It's hard to predict what such a pre-emptive, undeclared war would accomplish, other than the advancement of chaos. Under this cover it would be hard to see any of our country's interests being advanced. The harm to our economy that Ritter predicts would follow; and America's further isolation in the international community, while a regional war would likely drive Iran and Iraq into each others arms. A scheme like this would suggest madness in our own corridors of powers.

Are Cheney and Bush working toward the destruction of their own country?

Posted by: Copeland [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 29, 2006 11:36 AM

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