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Exclusive: Scott Ritter on John Kerry’s Iraq Plan

by Pamela Leavey

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.

25 Responses to “Exclusive: Scott Ritter on John Kerry’s Iraq Plan”

  1. I still hope that Ritter understands the vote was not a vote for war, but addressing the threat of both Bush and Saddam.

  2. Marjorie

    Understand or not – what’s most important at thsi point is that he is behind Kerry’s plan. Ritter is a conservative and at this point he’s holding everyone accountable. I did not agree with everything he said, but he gave the students a lot ot think about.

  3. Pamela

    I’m so proud of you and more grateful that you are out there representing our interests like this, than I can say.

    Well done, woman.

  4. And I love the dark hair. Keep up and you’ll end up being a raven-haired beauty.

  5. Pamela,

    This is really an important example. Real conservatives are tough and principled. They also know when to start working as a team. Kudos to Ritter for setting the example. Look forward to the follow up.

    I liked this part of Hayden’s Op-ed, especially the tagline.

    “The fear of al-Qaeda continues to paralyze the American mind; one top Washington journalist even told me this week that the difference between withdrawing from Vietnam and from Iraq is that there was “no al-Qaeda threat” back in the day, as if a US withdrawal from Iraq somehow would increase the chances of al-Qaeda attacking New York again. [What’s stopping them from doing it now, port security?].”

    It also doesn’t make sense to me that when the polls are showing 87% of the Iraqi people just want us to leave, we are still discussing how long we should take. I don’t care if the door hits us on the way out. It is their country.

  6. Hey, there’s that hot brunette babe again!

    She’s everywhere. The other day with JK, now with Ritter. Wherever the news makers appear, there she is too. She must be some hot shot reporter or big name insider. That’s my guess…

  7. Hubby and I have this auto response. He says his raving beauty, and I agree to raving.

    Pam, the raven-haired beauty I agree with.

    Ginny, the Hayden point is important. The trigger of Al Quaeda, whom I have believe, irrationally, was air-lifted or escorted out of harm’s way to bully again, on cue.

    Still part of the family Bush calls his own.

    Now we are talking of dismantling FEMA at home, which was so effective under Clinton.

  8. Marjorie,

    W absolutely needs his shadow enemy, whether he directly or indirectly supports him, it seems clear to me he helped save his life when our Special Forces turned out to be as good as we were led to believe. Interesting that someone so promilitary didn’t realize they would accomplish the mission.

    I still would like an investigation of how many long term employees left FEMA between Bush’s re-election in 11/04 and September of ’05. Even if the ’04 hurricanes weren’t
    as bad as Katrina, it was a bad year overall and FEMA did not have anywhere near the problems they had in ’05.
    Just last month there was an article that we linked to about how BushCo has not found any one who will take Brownie’s job. There were 13 regional manager vacancies and an overall agency job vacancy of about 22%. Given the report just released on Katrina, it sounds like Chertoff should join Rummy in resigning for the good of the country.
    Haven’t heard anything about how Brownie’s new business is doing. He’s in Boulder (a town so liberal it is referred to in state as “the peoples republic of ..”) I should go check the Daily Camera.

  9. So Pamela,

    I guess you are the raving, raven-haired beauty blogging for Kerry. Works for me 🙂 🙂

  10. Well done! I was so happy to read this. I think the fact that there are even people who care enough to argue in favor of the Senator’s record helps so much. Thanks for setting Mr. Ritter straight, and I look forward to reading more.

  11. Pamela,

    This is fantastic — he agrees with John Kerry’s Iraq plan. And you’re right, we can enlighten him on what Kerry really said and did when he cast his vote, as opposed to what Bush did with the authorization, later. Kudos to you for landing this interview!

  12. Bravo, Pamela! Way to jump into action and “be the media.” @;-)

    Dave from P, I hope you’ve learned your lesson: a pretty ranter is like Chinese food, you’ll be hungry an hour later… if ya wanna raver with stanima, beauty and class… you know where the Goddess lives. 😉

  13. “Live blogging” as I read Hayden:

    “Kerry stands a definite chance of filling the moral void in the present political process. When he steadfastly embraces his anti-war record as a young man, the message resonates in several ways. He reminds Americans that moral courage can turn history around, and that we need to listen more carefully today to those who were right ahead of their time. The similarities between then and now – especially the deaths of American soldiers for draft-dodging politicians who refuse to admit their mistakes – is a powerful background echo that spans the decades.”

    Excellent paragragh: “moral void… steadfast embrace… moral courage… listen to those ahead of their time… and background echo that spans the decades” is an especially powerful image.

    We can work with this. 😉

  14. “abandon its [Democratic party/leadership] commitment to silent expedient”

    nice….

  15. “These establishment dissidents are numerous in the ranks of the Central Intelligence Agency and the upper echelons of the military.”

    ie, the smart folks… becoming “unhinged”
    love that image!

  16. “On a scale of ten, the likelihood of this plan, known internally to the Pentagon as the “Phillipine option”, is currently between zero and one. But parts of it could be put in motion very rapidly if the pressure of public opinion and alternatives like Kerry’s proposal gain traction during Iraq’s seething summer and the unfolding election campaign at home.”

    Again, good image. And I think a call to create our own “seething summer” here in the US. Where are those dissent tee-shirts?

  17. ps. Where is George Mitchell and why isn’t he part of the “wise people” council???

  18. “When in the course of a movement’s development it reaches the mainstream, the cause is adopted by millions, not by prophetic minorities alone, and the radicals sometimes disappear in the midst of their own success.”

    Beautiful. Personal example, both of my parents, one a Democrat, one of Republican, (both adults during the Depression and WWII), opposed the Vietnam war– from the outset. They weren’t radical people by any measure. Lesson to me was simple: I don’t have to be, look or act radical to hold common sense views… but demonstrating those views by any means available, and as publically as possible, is vital.

    As has been said over and over… when the Vietnam war came into people’s living rooms… the American people woke up. Well, we don’t own the airwaves anymore, but we do own tee-shirts.

    (Yes, I’m advocating tee-shirt advocacy!)

  19. Hi KJ, I also noticed the conservative, and, sorry, not so wise tilt, just wiser conservative, not even their best.

  20. “It should be energizing to live on borrowed time.”
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Hey MG! {{{Marjorie}}} Good morning to you!

  22. No, not even their best. But at least, it seems, those people have made the decision to step out of BushInc, something I’m not sure old Bubba Bill himself has done. :-\

  23. God, the last paragraph of Hayden’s blog brought me to tears.

  24. “When we act with personal urgency, as we should, it still brings results only gradually. When we take strong public stands, as we should, the effects are often unseen. When we become militant, as we should, we still reach the moderates only marginally. Connecting the dots of empire is hard and slow. Imagining a new story, one beyond the story of empire, will take time and work, but the work is good.”

    That is a celebration for all of us, and words to take to heart.

  25. “The Machiavellians will never recognize the movement’s work, or only in ways that we will not recognize. The recognition will be for historians and poets to describe. Our reward, as Bobby Sands once wrote from prison, will be seen in the smiles of our children.”

    I am a poet and writer, and in the words of Henry James… “be the person on whom nothing is lost”

    🙂 Ah, it’s another “beautiful day.”

    Thank you Pamela, for a wonderful blog and for being a stalwart advocate for John Kerry… every single chance you get. 🙂