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News ::
5/21: Vigil for Iraq; Former Weapons Inspector Argues War in Unnecessary
25 May 2002
Modified: 26 Jun 2002
From 5:30 to 6:30 on 5/21/02 in Copley Square, about fifty people held a vigil opposing the sanctions on and the possibility of a wider war with Iraq. After the vigil, Scott Ritter, former chief weapons inspector in Iraq for the UN, argued that war with Iraq was unnecessary as there is no evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction any more.
5/21: Vigil in Solidarity With the People of Iraq;
Former Weapons Inspector Argues War With Iraq in Unnecessary
by Matthew Williams

Tuesday, May 21, 2002; Boston, MA--From 5:30 to 6:30 today in Copley Square, about fifty people held a vigil in solidarity with the people of Iraq, opposing the sanctions on and on-going bombing of Iraq and the possibility of a wider war against the country. People held signs such as “Another war will spare Saddam but not the people” and “500,000 children dead from sanctions”. After the vigil, Scott Ritter, a major in the US Marines and former chief weapons inspector in Iraq for the UN, spoke; he argued that war with Iraq was unnecessary as there is no evidence that Hussein’s regime has weapons of mass destruction any more and that Iraq poses no threat to the US’s national security.

Members of United for Justice with Peace (UJP), the main Boston-area peace coalition, have been holding vigils on Tuesday evenings in Copley since September in opposition to the Bush administration’s so-called “war on terror”. They chose to hold a vigil focusing on solidarity with the people of Iraq because of the high probability that there will soon be a second full-scale war with Iraq.

People at the vigil emphasized that they did not support Saddam Hussein’s regime. Instead, they pointed to the way US policy hurts ordinary Iraqi civilians. John McLeod of the Community Church of Boston and the Committee for Peace and Human Rights said, “I think our government’s policies are immoral simply because of the immense civilian consequences of the sanctions that have been going on for 11 years and have resulted in the deaths of so many hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.” Although it is impossible to calculate exact figures, responsible estimates for the number of civilian dead run from 200,000 to one million.

McLeod, who traveled to Iraq a year ago with Conscience International, continued, “The main impression I had was that the sanctions have been devastating to the society. It isn’t just a matter of the number of people killed. It’s an entire generation deskilled. The social fabric has been very badly hit by these sanctions. And now we’re going to launch a bloody war.”

In his talk after the vigil, Ritter (a self-described “card-carrying Republican”) argued that there was no evidence that Hussein’s regime posed any sort of threat to the United States and that therefore was no reason to go to war. He was chief weapons inspector in Iraq for seven years as part of UNSCOM, the United Nations Special Commission. Based on his experiences, he said, “Iraq *had* weapons of mass destruction. We destroyed them, the factories that produced them, and the means of production. I won’t say we destroyed 100% of them, but we destroyed 90-95%of them. From 1994 to 1998, we monitored Iraq’s infrastructure. We never detected any evidence that Iraq was attempting to reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction program.” He argued that this filled the UN Security Council’s requirements for Iraq. “We could make a case that we had qualitatively disarmed Iraq. Not 100%, but we had fulfilled the intention of the Security Council.”

Ritter also took care to refute the myth that Iraq kicked the weapons inspectors out in December 1998. “The weapons inspectors were ordered out by the US deputy ambassador to the Security Council. This was not done with the Security Council’s authorization.” By the time the Security Council found out the next day, the US government was already bombing Iraq.

Ritter, an expert in military intelligence, said that based on the evidence gathered by satellites and military planes flying over Iraq, “It is highly unlikely Iraq has rebuilt its weapons of mass destruction capability. This is not something you can do in a laboratory or underground. There is no evidence that Iraq has rebuilt factories capable of producing weapons of mass destruction.”

People at the vigil argued that a war would not help the people of Iraq any more than the current sanctions do. Elizabeth Leonard of the UJP and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom said, “We’ve been bombing Iraq every single day for years now, but we’re talking about a full-scale invasion. That country, like Afghanistan, is already in a state of stone-age inhabitation and we would be killing mostly civilians. [ . . .] They say that their smart bombs are so well guided, but they really aren’t. It’s impossible when bombing a city not to kill civilians.” The daily US and UK flights in the “no-fly zones” over northern and southern Iraq drop bombs regularly; although they are supposed to be responding to military threats, they frequently hit civilian targets.

Ritter, who fought in the Gulf War, said that while he believes that there is such a thing as a “just war”, there is no such thing as a “good war”: “In modern warfare, the civilian dies more often than the soldier.”

Asked why the US government would attack Iraq if not because of weapons of mass destruction, Leonard said, “The number one reason the US government has so much interest in going into Iraq is that they have so much oil. That was the reason we started this war in the first place. And I think we just want the power over all the Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries. We’re going into every country that has any access to oil at all.” As a result of the war in Afghanistan, the US government has been able to set up military bases in the oil-rich former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan in Central Asia. The interim president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, is a former consultant to Unocal, a US oil company that has long sought to build a pipeline from Central Asia through Afghanistan.

McLeod said, “Iraq is actually a third-rate, rinky-dink military power. I think this [threat of weapons of mass destruction] is fabrication to enable the United States to put together a client regime in Iraq.”

Any invasion of Iraq would be an undertaking of massive proportions. Ritter noted that while only 7,000 US troops were deployed in Afghanistan, invading Iraq would require 70,000-250,000 troops. Leonard predicted the US would simply get hopelessly bogged down in Iraq: “We went into Afghanistan and we still haven’t gotten Osama bin Laden. We’re still in fighting there, trying to get the terrorists out of there. The same thing is going to happen in Iraq.”


For more information on United for Justice with Peace, see For more information on Iraq, see the Iraq Action Coalition’s website: For more information of the “war on terror” in general, see ZNet’s Terror-War page:
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29 May 2002
Judging from the comments made in this article, the people organizing this Peace rally for Iraq aren't that much different from the Mainstream American Pigs
baying for blood.


Any American attack on Iraq will have nothing to do with Weapons of Mass Destruction, Terrorism, or any other Bullshit American Lie.

America wants to attack Iraq for one reason and one reason alone: OIL. Understand?

Those of you who repeat the 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' line--even to question "whether or not Iraq is fully disarmed" like Scott Ritter--inadvertantly buy into and regurgiate Official American propaganda.

Weapons of Mass Destructions is just a pretext or smokescreen for America to attack Iraq. If America were concerned about Weapons of Mass Destruction, it should get rid of its own, or maybe that of its client state Israel.

The USA is greatest manufacturer, producer, user, and proliferator of Weapons of Mass Destruction in the world.

Maybe you should start bombing America.

Also, I like how the article is careful to add the disclaimer that "People at the vigil emphasized that they did not support Saddam Hussein’s regime."

Yeah, well I want to emphasize that I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT support George W. Bush's Regime--or any other American Regime for that matter, Republicrat or....Republicrat.
did you finish the article?
29 May 2002
Dear Mr. Fuck Amerikkka,

I'm not sure you finished reading the article before you made your posting. One of the peace activists quoted did argue that the reason for the war on Iraq is oil. Most people believe it is about weapons of mass destruction though and this idea needs to be refuted; this is the point of having people like Scott Ritter speak. (It's worth noting that even the elite seem to have started believing their own propaganda (a common phenomenon--you repeat a lie often enough and you start believing it yourself), as the Pentagon is making plans to deal with biochemical weapons attacks during the invasion of Iraq. This just shows how deeply ingrained the belief is and the importance of refuting it.) Yes, the US has the world's largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction and is the world's largest arms dealer. Yes, this needs to be challenged and can be a useful way of showing the government's hypocricy. But if you want to communicate these ideas to working people, you need to start where they are; most people don't know these things and think that the government is basically benign and well-intentioned. Your approach is more likely to alienate people (I'm assuming you were being sarcastic when you called for bombing America). And I don't know of anyone at the vigil who supports the Bush administration, as you seem to imply they did.
Ritter's Okay. Zio-AshkenNazi Media Sucks.
31 May 2002
Although Scott Ritter - being a weapons specialist - seems uninformed about the broader scope of Anglo-American-AshkeNazi domination of the Mid-East, it's brave and honorable of him to expose the NATO-UN fraud of Iraq's so-called "weapons of mass destruction" (WMD).

Frankly, every political player has access to WMD. And "our" government has more stockpiled than any other terrorist organization in the world - even more than Israel!

It's true that naive and/or duplicitous American "activists" - often misguided by the corporate AshkeNazi media monopoly and their "independent" publications - know nothing about the history of the anti-Semitic ideology of Zionism, or the relatively benevolent leadership of President Hussein, which is why informed Canadians, Europeans and others get so frusterated by American "activists" - most of whom (like "our" government) are manipulated by the Mossad and their ubiquitous little henchmen.

If American "activists" where honest with themselves and others, they'd be openly discussing the Mossad, the Israeli pseudo-democracy, the question if that "Jewish" concentration camp should receive ANY aid, and the corporate Zio-AshkeNazi media-money monopoly.

These are taboo subjects in this land of so-called "free speech" - which only indicates that there's too much truth to be reveiled behind the blanket of lies and distractions concocted for American consumption.

The real culprit of 9-11 and The Establishment's "Clash of Civilizations" is not the bribed, blackmailed and pathetic Bush-Cheney regime, but the media and money monopolies.

These unlawful monopolies - which also control American energy abuse - are the crux of the problem that's pushing the entire world closer to bio-nuclear devestation.

As we "conspiracy theorists" and ecologists understand, IT'S ALL CONNECTED....

Which reminds me... what about that ludicrous Osama bin Patsy conspiracy theory that's still circulating in the "progressive" Zio-AshkeNazi media? What a joke!

I suspect the only folks who really believe the Zio-AshkeNazi media anymore are the fanatical Zio-AshkeNazis and their policy puppets at the Harvard Bureau of Imperialism.
See also:
Poor Author
03 Jun 2002
So Matt Williams writes a good article, which gets a nasty response that appears either to have been intended to disrupt or to have come from someone more focused on venting than on analyzing. And then after he replies, he gets a classic ramble from Jon Chance about the "ZioAshkeNazis," a slur Chance still thinks isn't offensive. But it was a good article! Sorry it attrtacted so much crap.
04 Jun 2002
Well, it's too bad "sympathy" is too cowardly to have an identity and doesn't understand the vitality of DIVERSITY of perspectives.

"Solidarity" can always be employed as a cute euphemism for NAZI-esque groupthink.

But nice to see my ramblings are becoming "classic" and that the penetrating truth about the Zio-AshkeNAZI class is so threatening to "The Chosen People" and other progre$$ive Establishmentarians.
See also:
Are Sharon and Arafat in Love?
05 Jun 2002
[John, please share details of your cooperative peace plan. Sounds similar to what we were proposing before the World Banksters and their Zio-NAZI henchmen pulled off the 9-11 job:

[Meanwhile, perhaps a loving relationship between Sharon and Arafat will be a good start toward genuine reconciliation and delay a messy nuclear war.... - JPC]

JERUSALEM - The long-simmering sexual tension between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat finally reached a breaking point Monday, culminating in a passionate kiss before a shocked delegation of Mideast negotiators.

Above: Arafat and Sharon share an awkward moment.

"You always got the feeling that there was something more behind all the anger and tension," said European Union Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana. "They wouldn't agree on anything, even though their people were dying, locked in this unending conflict. It never made sense—until now."

Continued Solana: "All that repressed passion. And neither of them would admit it to the other... or to themselves."

According to sources, midway through a 10 a.m. meeting to discuss a possible pullout of Israeli troops from several West Bank settlements, Sharon accused Arafat of secretly channeling PLO funds into Hamas and other terrorist organizations. The accusation prompted Arafat to rise from his chair and stand toe-to-toe with his Israeli counterpart. The ensuing heated exchange quickly escalated into a shouting match, which reached an unexpected crescendo when the two leaders embraced in a deep, passionate kiss.

"At first, I thought they were wrestling or something," said Anthony Zinni, U.S. envoy to the Middle East. "But then, I was like, 'Holy shit: They're kissing.'"

Following the six-second embrace, Sharon and Arafat retreated to their respective delegations. They then sheepishly smiled at one another for several minutes before declaring the meeting over.

Few Mideast negotiators expected Sharon, one of the most hard-line right-wingers in Israeli political history, and Arafat, who has made the fight for Palestinian statehood his life's cause, to leave Monday's bargaining table as friends, much less lovers. However, in retrospect, few are surprised.

"To tell you the truth, I can't say it doesn't make sense," said U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, one of the witnesses to the historic liplock. "It's like the boy in the schoolyard who torments the girl and pulls her pigtails because he's got a big crush on her. For the longest time, Yasser and Ariel simply didn't know how to express their true feelings for each other. Now they do."

"Everyone knows that the opposite of love is apathy, not hate," Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said. "Love and hate, they are merely two sides of the same coin."

Ivanov said he first saw signs that the two leaders had "more than control of the Gaza Strip on their minds" at a 1998 Israel-PLO conference in Cairo, at which Arafat reversed decades of PLO policy and polemic by acknowledging Israel's right to exist.

"For the first time in years, they were really getting along," Ivanov said. "Arafat tripped over a rug and landed right in [then Israeli Defense Minister] Sharon's arms. You should have seen the look they exchanged while Sharon held Arafat in his strong grasp. Nothing happened, but you could tell something was there."

Daniel Kurtzer, U.S. ambassador to Israel, recalled suspicious comments made by Sharon at a state dinner in his honor at the White House last September.

"Ariel had had a little too much wine, and he ended up confiding to me about how he has a crush on somebody he shouldn't like at all," Kurtzer said. "He said he couldn't say who it was because it would never work out anyway. At first, I thought maybe it was Crown Prince Abdullah, but now it's pretty obvious who it was."

U.N. Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen praised the kiss as "a positive step forward in Israeli-Palestinian relations." He was critical, however, of the two men's methods leading up to the embrace.

"If trapping Yasser in his Ramallah compound for months was Ariel's way of getting Yasser's attention, he should have tried a less antagonistic approach, like sending a card," Roed-Larsen said. "And Yasser is no better, trying to catch Ariel's eye with all those deadly suicide bombings. God, men can be so stupid and macho."

Sharon and Arafat have since returned to their respective home soil, each having expressed a need for "time to think." In the meantime, the Israeli and Palestinian peoples are anxious to see what will transpire as a result of Monday's historic kiss.

"One mini make-out session and now we're supposed to wait who knows how long to find out if they actually get together? Oh, it makes me so frustrated," said Olfat Hafez, a Palestinian refugee who for the past 18 months has been living in a camp near Hebron. "Still, if these two do end up getting together, the end will have justified the means."

See also:
Did you read what I said?
21 Jun 2002
Dear Mr. Williams,

I read your article through and through. Burying the issue of oil at the end of the piece--or as a sidebar issue in your protest--is the worst way to "reach the people where they are at." The issue of American geostrategic control of oil should be highlighted as the true motivation and pretext for the upcoming slaughter, not merely a token cause.

Secondly, I think you seriously underestimate "where the American people are at" to begin with. Do you honestly believe that many Americans--even the most brainwashed Mainstream Americans--don't know that geopolitical control of Oil is paramount in American aggression towards Iraq?

After all, it was only a decade ago that the slogan "NO Blood for Oil" was popularized during the protests against Operation Desert Slaughter.

Many Americans believe in and support American propaganda about "Weapons of Mass Destruction" because they believe in and support the American Empire itself. The question is Ideology--not ignorance, as your message and protest seem to infer.

As for bombing America, it seems to me that if the USA wants to put into practice its own principles and doctrine about "Weapons of Mass Destruction," it would start bombing itself and its client states such as Israel, which are the most dangerous WMD regimes in the world. Never mind questioning what moral or political right the USA has in appointing itself the Judge and Jury of WMD ownership--given the recent revelations about its Nuclear Hit List of 7 countries, its militarization of outer space under the guise of the Stars Wars Missile Defense, and other transgressions

Your job as an activist--even a safe liberal activist--is to fundamentally challenge not only official American propaganda, but also the underlying assumptions and rationale which underlie this propaganda. This includes fundamental lies about the Benevolence and Goodness of American foreign policy, the American Empire, and its client states such as Israel.

Finally, with respect to your comments about supporting the Bush Regime, I never said that you supported the Bush Regime. I said that I don't support any American Regime--Bush, Gore, Democrat, Republican, or whoever. The issue is the American World Empire--not just the US Government, as you suggest. All American Regimes would be bad.
I have read what you have said
26 Jun 2002
OK Fuck Amerikkka,

You may be right that I should have put the part about oil being the motivation for war on Iraq earlier in the article. These things are a judgement call and it's not easy to write an article in a short amount of time and get all the information in that you think is important and then prioritize where it goes. (Although, if as you argue, most Americans are aware that this is about oil, why does it need to go near the front?)

As for the matter of "where Americans are at", I think we can differ in good faith on that. We could both probably cite anecdotal evidence until we're blue in the face (fingers?), but I doubt that there's much in the way of systematic research on this subject out there from sources we would both consider reliable. So we're both relying on our intuition and making judgement calls. Getting angry at another person's judgement call is not going to forward the debate any.

I think we are agreed on the hypocricy of the US elite going on about WMD--we disagree on the best way to convey this to working people. I quite agree with that our job as activists "is to fundamentally challenge not only official American propaganda, but also the underlying assumptions and rationale which underlie this propaganda." I do not consider myself a "safe liberal activist"--I consider myself a radical (an anarcho-Buddhist, make of that what you will) looking for the best ways to convey a critique to a mainstream audience. Sometimes one needs to start small. I don't think I've hit upon exactly the right way to do it, but I doubt you have either. The point is to look for ways that are effective (I doubt there is actual a singular "right way" in this matter). I doubt think that starting from a radical place is the way to do it--because most people will automatically dismiss anything they perceive as radical; they have to opened up to progressive ideas gradually in most cases (although certainly, there are exceptions). But obviously, you don't think my methods are particularly effective. OK. You are free to write your own articles and submit them to the newswire then (although I'm guessing from your words that you don't live in the US, never mind Boston; but there may still be an IMC near you).