Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of meeting Scott Ritter, who has been an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq since before it started. Ritter is in Los Angeles to promote his book, Iraq Confidential. He came to my daughter’s high school to speak to students about the war in Iraq and getting involved in the future of their nation.
I had the opportunity to speak with Scott Ritter before the event. Scott Ritter had been tough on John Kerry’s vote on the Iraq War Resolution before the 2004 election, in an OP/ED in the Boston Globe on August 5, 2004, Ritter said:
Kerry needs to publicly reexamine the reasoning for his vote for war and articulate a clear strategy for Iraq that includes not only a plan for reengagement with the international community but also disengagement of American soldiers.
As John Kerry has done exactly what Ritter had suggested in his August ’04 OP/ED, I was curious to find out what Ritter’s thoughts were on Kerry’s recent Iraq proposal. So, I asked him…
Ritter told me that he felt that John Kerry’s Iraq plan was “rational, sound and plausible, however it was not enough unless he takes responsibility for his vote.”
“He has,” I told Ritter, “repeatedly starting in late October with his speech at Georgetown University and most recently with his “Dissent” speech, this last Saturday in Boston.” I told Ritter, I would be happy to send him copies of Kerry’s statements and speeches to verify this,
“Then, under those circumstances,” Ritter told me, “I would be behind his plan.”
I spoke further with Ritter about politics in general, my support for John Kerry and he was very gracious and warm. Before the event started, I clarified with him that I could quote him on his support for Kerry’s Iraq plan.
“Yes,” Ritter said and he went on to reiterate his earlier statement, “If he has taken responsibility for his his vote, then yes, his plan is the most sound plan out there, and I support it.”
Scott Ritter has promised to follow up with me on our conversation, with a phone interview in the near future. I’ll have more on his talk with the students at North Hollywood High School later.
AP News reported today that April is the “deadliest month this year for GIs in Iraq.” Clearly the time has come for Congress to adopt a plan that works and begin to withdraw troops. Ritter, like Kerry believes that Iraq is now in a civil war.
Longtime anti-war activist Tom Hayden wrote a great piece about John Kerry’s Iraq plan and speech earlier this week – “Iraq, John Kerry, The Coming Storm.” As things heat up in Iraq, and the situation grows more dire, it’s time for those opposed to the war to rally behind a sound, resolute plan. We look to others in the anti-war movement to join Scott Ritter and Tom Hayden in supporting John Kerry’s Iraq proposal.