'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Ritter Redux 

There's a good piece up on the Guerilla News Network site about the media's treatment of Scott Ritter, well worth a read. Ritter was a former UN weapons inspector who courageously risked his career and reputation to inform the American people about what was really going on during the run-up to the Iraq War. Ritter spent late 2002 and 2003 making speeches and giving interviews in which he explained why he believed Saddam Hussein did not possess significant quantities of WMD's and was not a threat to the United States. Not very surprisingly what he received for his trouble was one of the most despicable character assassination campaigns that I have ever witnessed.

It's interesting and informative to compare the treatment of Scott Ritter to the treatment of Ahmed Chalabi. Why was Ritter a lunatic bought and paid for by Saddam Hussein, while Chalabi was not a craven criminal bought and paid for by the mullahs of Iran? Ask that question the next time you run into someone complaining about the liberal media. Actually the difference in the media's treatment of Ritter and Chalabi serves as a good controlled experiment by which one can examine the accuracy of the Chomsky-Herman propaganda model, much like the pairing of Cambodia vs. East Timor explicated in Manufacturing Consent.

In a recent interview with The London News Review Ritter said of Chalabi et al.:

Every intelligence source has to be evaluated. With technical intelligence, you need a database of imagery to compare with what’s happening on the ground. And human intelligence traditionally has some checks and balances built in. Does the source have access to the information he or she claims? Do they have a record of reliable reporting? Can the information be corroborated elsewhere?

But Chalabi and Hamza don’t pass any of the tests. Chalabi’s a known fraud with political motivations. He doesn’t pass the common sense test and his information not only fails to be corroborated by imagery and data: it’s contradicted by them. And yet they believed it anyway.

And Hamza was just an outright liar. He wasn’t who he said he was. He should never have been trusted. Ever. So I have no use for these gentlemen. I find them culpable in the deaths, not only of 560 Americans, but also over 60 British soldiers and 10,000 Iraqis.

(edit: Fixed the reference above. The interview was with the London News Review, not the Times)

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