Former United Nations weapons inspector Scott Ritter was the featured speaker for last week"s forum on the much-discussed possibility of the United States invading Iraq ("War on Iraq," NUVO, Aug. 21-28, 2002). Speaking to a near-capacity crowd of 300 at the Ashanti Room, Ritter bluntly criticized a potential invasion as an unnecessary and politically-motivated act by the Bush administration. As an alternative, Ritter called for the return of U.N. weapons inspectors to Iraq. "You can"t go to war until you"ve exhausted all other options," Ritter said. "And we haven"t exhausted all our options."
Scott Ritter, former U.N. weapons inspector, was the featured speaker at last week"s forum on Iraq.
Just a few weeks ago, Ritter"s seemed a lonely voice straining to be heard above the pounding drums of war. But now world allies and prominent members of the first Bush administration are publicly questioning the rush to invasion, and polls show Americans less supportive of a war that would cause U.S. casualties. Most of the panel of local experts that accompanied Ritter at the forum reflected the prevailing let"s-wait-a-minute perspective. "Waging war against Iraq can open a can of worms. Will we achieve any of our goals if the Middle East goes up in smoke?" -Dr. Pierre Atlas, professor of political science, Marian College "We struck Afghanistan with a big hammer, and now the rest of the world looks like nails. This world does not need people like Saddam Hussein in it. But should we invade Iraq? I am unconvinced." -Dr. John Clark, Hudson Institute "The military is not anxious to go to war because they are the ones who have to bleed and die. But it"s much better to fight before the weapons of mass destruction are there." -Lt. Gen. Carol Mutter, United States Marine Corps (Ret.) "No one objects to getting rid of the so-called "Butcher of Baghdad," but not at the cost of the lives of tens of thousands of civilians." -Dr. Mary Ann Fadae, Arab and Islamic studies professor "I stand before you as a representative of the youth of our nation and our world. These youth don"t want to fight, they want to learn." -F. Willis Johnson, executive director of Celebration of Hope "We should stop assuming that the Iraqi people want to be bombed into democracy." -Dr. Harry van der Linden, Butler University and Indianapolis Peace and Justice Center