....LMB: "More Ritter Bashing"....

September 16, 2002

Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter is on a mission to avert the U.S. war on Iraq, and replace that plan with one to get weapons inspectors back into Iraq. As you might expect, Ritter is now being slandered as an apologist for Saddam Hussein, a traitor, etc. The kindest of these attacks is that perhaps Ritter is "inconsistent". Hard to say if the media is just shallow, or if they're intentionally making him look bad.

The anti-Ritter arguments only work if you force the facts into a particular frame. In 1998, Ritter quit the UN weapons inspection team because he felt that the U.S. was maniuplating the team for their own political ends. At the time, he warned that the U.S. should take the issue of Saddam's weapons seriously. And now, in 2002, Ritter is saying that there is no evidence the Iraq has these weapons, and that the U.S. should not attack Iraq.

So the shallow readings are:

#1- That's not what Ritter is saying. Ritter's claims are a bit more subtle than that, and what newsman worth his salt is going to bother with details? In 1998, he said that Iraq was 90-95% disarmed. Today, he says that there is no evidence that Iraq has these weapons because no inspectors have visited the country in 4 years. "Does not have" and "there is no evidence" are not synonyms. In addition, Ritter points out (although the media frequently ignores) the fact that many chemical and biological weapons naturally break down. Ritter has said that most of these substances are no longer dangerous after about 3 years, which means that unless they've made new chemical and biological weapons, the ones they had when he left Baghdad in 1998 are probably gone.

#2 Ritter supports a war on Iraq if they have WMD. He doesn't support one if there isn't. And since he doesn't think there's enough evidence to justify a war, he wants to send weapons inspectors back into Iraq.

#3 Typical "you're with us or you're against us" bullshit. Either you want war on Iraq and all of its related consequences, or you hate America and love Saddam Hussein. No grey areas like concern for human life, or wanting weapons inspectors instead of war, or fear that a war will have terrible future consequences. There's only war and treason.

Those are the mild arguments against Ritter. Here's a Ritter interview with Time Magazine in which they practically call him an agent of Iraq. Although Ritter gets in this nice rebuttal:

Time- Some on the right call you the new Jane Fonda, and joke about what you'll call your exercise video.

Ritter- (Long pause?) Those on the right who say that disgrace the 12 years of service I gave to my country as a Marine. I love my country. I'll put my record of service up against anyone, bar none. If they want to have an exercise video then why don't they come here and say it to my face and I'll give'm an exercise video, which will be called, "Scott Ritter Kicking Their Ass."

You go, Scott!

Posted by Jake at 11:53 AM

Look; war is ugly and worthless. The taking of innocent lives, or the crippling and maiming of people...

Nevertheless, allowing a person such as Scott Ritter to be the spokes person for the anti-war movement is like giving Adolph Hitler the Nobel Peace Prize.

Scott Ritter is a compromised individual, he has excepted money from a regime which starves, murders and gases their own people (how many people went hungry, and Scott took their food money), and it has come to everyone's attention that he likes little girls.. surfs the Internet Chat rooms looking for someone's child to..? yeah, the guy sounds reputable to me, sure...

No war, sure.. but not because some diddler says so.!

** If we do go to war with Iraq and remove Saddam, we may just end up with another Israel / Palestine problem on our hands... Kurdish politicians have already voiced their desire to have an independent Kurdistan.

So where will it end..? What are we getting ourselves financially involved in..? What will be the repercussions from terrorists..?

...and really President Bush, what are you trying to prove to your daddy.? "That you can finish off what he didn't..?"

Posted by: James vs. Scott Ritter at February 3, 2003 10:16 AM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

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