Scott Ritter, former UNSCOM Chief Weapons Inspector and author of Endgame, addresses the Minnesota Meeting. Minnesota Meeting is a non-profit corporation which hosts a wide range of public speakers. It is managed by the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
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(00:00:01) Good afternoon. (00:00:13) Good afternoon. I'm David cousins general manager of AT&T and a member of the board of directors of Minnesota meeting. It's a great pleasure to welcome you all here today members of Minnesota meeting represent. This communities leaders from business government Academia and the professions and this is our 17th year in the marketplace of ideas. I would also like to welcome our radio audience throughout the Upper Midwest who are hearing this address on the midday program of Minnesota Public Radio broadcasts of Minnesota meeting are supported by Oppenheimer wolf and Donnelly with offices in Minneapolis st. Paul and most importantly these days at www.iowadnr.gov calm. Providing legal services to businesses around the world. It's a great pleasure for me to introduce today's speaker. Mr. Scott Ritter former Chief Inspector in Iraq for the United Nations program known as unscathed from mr. Ritter's resignation from that critical post last summer made front-page headlines around the world. He did something that few senior government officials do he resigned on principle to object to a policy. He thought was not in this nation's interest both the UN and the Clinton Administration Ritter claimed at the time of his resignation had fatally undermined his efforts to eliminate or rocks weapons of mass destruction. He remains a vocal critic of u.s. Foreign policy in Iraq, and now you can slavia and of course, he has his own critics inside and outside the administration this afternoon. Mr. Ritter will discuss his beliefs that the US must scale back its program of sanctions against Iraq and initiate a bold new diplomatic. Effort to bring a rock back into the community of Nations. He will also we hope draw some parallels between our policies toward Iraq and the military action now underway in Yugoslavia. Mr. Ritter has just published a book on his experiences called endgame solving the Iraq problem once and for all before leading the uncircumcised staff in Iraq, mr. Ritter than a major in the Marine Corps served on the staff of General Norman Schwarzkopf during the Gulf War. He now lives with his family in Hastings on Hudson in New York following his address. Mr. Ritter will take questions from the audience Jane mrazek and Gloria mcclenahan of the Minnesota meeting will move among you as always with microphones to manage the questions and answers. It's my great pleasure to present to you and ask you to welcome. Mr. Scott Ritter. (00:02:53) Thank you very much for the kind words of welcome. Given the reputation that I have brought with me today that has been perpetuated in the media. I hope I don't cause anybody indigestion with my with my words, but it truly is an honor to be here and to speak before you today. I am not a polished public speaker. I am not a politician. I am not somebody with an agenda. I'm somebody who had a specific life experience that is as a chief weapons inspector in Iraq. And I felt that the job that I had was a very important job a job that Not only was good for the United States of America but also for the world community. So I come before you not as an expert on the world, but as somebody who has some insights into a very specific issue. That is Iraq. I come before you not to dictate to you how you should think but rather challenge you with ideas and Concepts to help you think I want you to walk away today. Not so much saying gosh Scott Ritter is right about everything. He's the smartest guy in the world. I want you to walk away instead challenged by me. You may disagree with what I have to say. But at least when you come up with your reasons for disagreeing they'll be based upon something based upon maybe ideas that were developed as you listen to what I have to say and are challenged by the way after you what I have to say and you formulate your own. Individual concepts of what we should or shouldn't be doing in Iraq. So, I hope I succeed and I'll be able to tell by the the questions I get afterwards whether or not I did so I spent a lot of time talking about the past. Who I was what I did in Iraq how we operate in Iraq, and that's very interesting. It's a fascinating a bit of business, but it's the past. It's beyond us. What I'd like to focus on today is the future where we're going to go Visa Vie Iraq. But as with anything in order to understand where you're going to go you have to understand where you came from. So let's talk about where we came from in terms of the situation in Iraq. Iraq policy in terms of the security Council in terms of United States has to be based upon a framework of legitimacy. There's a reason why we do things in Iraq, or there should be a reason why we do things in Iraq, the framework for legitimacy that the world has consensus upon is the concept of Iraq's obligation to disarm Iraq's obligation to be rid of what are you familiar ickly called weapons of mass destruction that is chemical weapons biological weapons nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles used to deliver these weapons. Iraq incurred this obligation at the end of the Gulf War of 1991 in August of 1990 Iraq invaded the sovereign state of Kuwait and the world Community is represented by the United Nations oppose this rightfully, so they viewed this as a transgression of the United Nations Charter an assault on a Sovereign Nation an act that cannot and would not stand and they were United in this. Early on in trying to formulate a response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait the United Nations passed a resolution 661 which imposed economic sanctions on Iraq is a means of compelling Saddam Hussein to leave Kuwait. (00:06:52) peacefully (00:06:54) these economic sanctions were severe And it was hoped at the time that they would work they did not. And by the end of 1990 the world community and the United States was faced with the reality that if you were going to get Iraq out of Kuwait you would have to do so through the use of military force. A resolution was passed 678 Which authorized the use of military force in the United States took the lead informant formulating or forming a coalition of 28 Nations. And from January to March 1991. A war was fought in Iraq was evicted from Kuwait. I was a participant in that war and it's something that I'm very proud of. One of the things I'm proud of that war is that it was a war that was set forth by the world Community to do the right thing the right thing being deliberate Kuwait. We succeeded in the Mandate given to us by the security Council. But one of the problems of that war was that in developing a base of support domestically here in the United States to engage in military action. The government while it was successful in building a coalition of 28 Nations took shortcuts in explaining the reasons for this war to the American people. Why were we evicting Iraq from Kuwait? We were told that Saddam Hussein is a regional megalomaniac an evil man, the Middle East equivalent of Adolf Hitler and he must be stood up to and that's the message that was hammered into us every night when we turn on the evening news. Now, I'm not a defendant of Saddam Hussein. He is definitely a bad man a brutal tyrannical dictator. But to call him the Middle East equivalent of Adolf Hitler. Put him in a category which requires then a response which lives up to the threat posed by Adolf Hitler. To call him Adolf Hitler means you need to eliminate Saddam Hussein evict him from the world. Terminate his existence And yet when the Gulf War ended in March 1991 Kuwait was liberated. But Saddam Hussein was still there. Now in terms of the the framework of legitimacy for the military action, we achieve what we intended to do. We liberated Kuwait but to the American people is very unsatisfactory War because we sat back turned on our TV and said but Saddam still there. What are we doing about Saddam? What are we doing about this evil man? This Middle East equivalent of Adolf Hitler. The fact of the matter is there was nothing we could do because there was no framework for action. Security Council resolutions only authorized the liberation of Kuwait but in the post Gulf War period people started addressing the issue of where do we go Visa Vie Saddam Hussein? And one thing that the world could achieve consensus on was that Saddam Hussein in the government in Iraq posed a real and meaningful threat to International Peace and security so far as they possessed weapons of mass destruction these chemical biological nuclear and long-range ballistic missiles therefore, even though Kuwait has been liberated before you can invite Iraq back into the framework the family of Nations. You must eliminate these weapons and the world agreed upon that in April 1991. They passed a resolution 687 which called upon Iraq. (00:10:35) to (00:10:35) disarm and created an inspection organization the United Nations special Commission on this committee to oversee the disarmament of Iraq. Now, this is the framework of legality that I'm talking about here. This is what the world agreed to Iraq must disarm if Iraq disarms economic sanctions will be lifted and Iraq will be welcomed back into the family of nation notice. There's no talk about Iraq disarming and then getting rid of Saddam Hussein. There's no talk about Iraq disarming and then Iraq, assuming a democratically elected government. Those aren't issues here the issues that the world agreed upon and developing. The framework of dealing with Iraq is the disarmament of Iraq only the disarmament of Iraq. And thus was born on scum. Now the history of US comes work in Iraq has a long and troubled one Iraq had no intention of complying early on Iraq took every measure from the very beginning to hold on and retain significant portions of their weapons of mass destruction and the special commission continued to pursue its work in an effort to uncover these weapons. This is something that dragged on from the originally envisioned six-month timeframe to 1 year 2 years 3 years 4 years and on to seven years. the special commission achieved tremendous results, but it did not come to the 100% level of disarmament required by Security Council resolution. And for that reason every six months to special commission would submit a report to the security Council stating just that fact, we accomplish the following but we cannot find that Iraq has complied with Security Council resolutions. Therefore the security Council extends economic sanctions against Iraq as a means of continuing the pressure on Iraq. (00:12:37) Nope, (00:12:38) economic sanctions are a difficult thing. I personally don't support them. I think they're morally reprehensible. I think they don't achieve very much but the world body. Agreed that they would be placed on Iraq to compel Iraq to leave Kuwait and then later continued to compel Iraq to disarm. So the key to lifting economic sanctions sits in the pocket of Saddam Hussein. All he has to do is disarm get rid of his weapons the keys put in the door turned and it in the door opens. He's welcome back into the world community. But Saddam Hussein is felt that he needs these weapons to continue to be a viable leader. therefore economic Center sanctions continue Now they weren't a big issue six months after the special commission was formed as Weapons inspectors went in were obstructed. Their work wasn't allowed to proceed. They weren't an issue one year later. They weren't really an issue two years later. But after three years people in the world, especially other other permanent members of the security Council such as Russia, France and China started ask questions. What are these sanctions doing? Are they having a meaningful effect on Saddam Hussein? Are they achieving what they were set out to achieve IE compel Saddam to disarm in compliance with Security Council resolution in the answer was no. Saddam Hussein had built around him a wall of security Economic Security. Saddam Hussein was not feeling the pinch of economic sanctions. The people who felt the pinch were the ordinary citizens of Iraq. 22 million people Who suffered grievously under the economic hardships brought by sanctions? By some estimates because of the accumulation of effects of Operation Desert Storm where the infrastructure of Iraq was destroyed by bombing and economic sanctions, which have not allowed Iraq to rebuild. The increased rates of disease and malnutrition have resulted in the deaths of five to six thousand children the age of 5 years every month To date some estimates you put out by the United Nations have 500,000 750,000 children under the age of five having died since 1990 is a direct result of economic sanctions. I don't know about you, but that number makes me very queasy makes me very uncomfortable as an American. I'm not about killing children and yet our policy of supporting continued economic sanctions is resulting in just that even though the key sits in Saddam Hussein's pocket. I'm disturbed by economic sanctions. And therefore you have to say to yourself as you do and weapons inspections in Iraq. I have to make sure that as I go forward in my job. I am assiduous assiduous in carrying out my task strictly as set forth by the security Council because if I am going to put a negative non-compliant result in front of the security Council, that means economic sanctions will be continued for six months and I have just condemned 30,000 children to die. Now that's a heavy responsibility but my responsibility again isn't sanctions its weapons inspections, but what I have to make sure as a weapons inspector in Iraq, is that I do not cheat on what I do that if I find Iraq non-compliant, they are non-compliant that I operate within the framework of legality and legitimacy set forth by the security Council and I was not alone in these convictions. He was the convictions of my bosses. My senior authorities the executive chairman of the special Commission in all Chief inspectors and inspectors worked in Iraq. This is how we operated. Our job was not an easy one. It was complicated further by the fact that the people in Iraq who hid these weapons from the weapons inspectors were the same people who were responsible for protecting Saddam Hussein Saddam Hussein tasked his presidential security forces to hide weapons and oversee what we call the content of the concealment mechanism to keep these weapons safeguarded from weapons inspectors. So ultimately in order to find the weapons in Iraq, we had to investigate this presidential security apparatus to investigate the people that not only had the weapons but protected the president of Iraq, so we became investigators of how Iraq protects the President. It's a very sensitive issue a very difficult issue one that required the people carrying out the investigation again to be very assiduous in how they did and went about their business. We had a mandate to find the weapons Iraq has no authority to hide the weapons and therefore we can carry out whatever means required to get these weapons. And if Iraq chooses to hide them with the people that protect the president so be it we investigate but we have to be realistic about what we're doing because in carrying out this investigation, we would become cognizant of information that was not only dealing with weapons of mass destruction. But also with the National Security issues of Iraq how they protect the president. Now normally this is an issue that can be handled internally inside the special commission. This information could be protected, but we were United Nations organization and we were dependent upon the support provided to us by other states to include the United States. And around 1996 1997 the United States made a decision that disarming Iraq was not viable that Iraq wasn't going to give up its weapons and the United States could not build a coalition that could compel Iraq to give up its weapons. So they salt an alternative policy that of removing Saddam Hussein from Power. Now one of the best ways to remove Saddam Hussein from power in their formulation of policy was to contain him initially and then seek means of removing. An ideal way of containment rests in the continuation of economic sanctions and therefore the special commission played an important part in the formulation of American policy use the weapons inspectors to continue to provide legitimacy for the continuation of economic sanctions, as long as the weapons inspectors provide a negative report. We can justify the continuation of sanctions and we can seek alternative means of getting rid of Saddam Hussein. Keep in mind the shift now sanctions are no longer a product of compelling Iraq to disarm but in the mindset of the United States a product of achieving the removal of Saddam Hussein, the United States itself is formulating policies that use the special Commission in a means that fall outside the framework of its legitimacy. Now this is further Complicated by the fact that in order to get rid of Saddam Hussein. The United States needs critical intelligence information intelligence information is not available in any other place except through the investigative work of the special commission as the special commission carried out its investigations into how Saddam Hussein protected as Weapons. We learned a lot about how Saddam Hussein was himself protected United States wanted that information. So the weapons inspection process began to be used by the United States not for the facilitation of disarmament objectives in Iraq, but rather to collect information to enable the United States to get rid of Saddam Hussein again, the special commission being used in a way that falls outside the framework of its legitimacy. Now I was not the Chief Inspector in Iraq. There's a misconception. I was part of a larger team a team of hundreds of inspectors. Every inspection that went into Iraq had a Chief Inspector. We had over 260 inspections in Iraq. I led around 20 inspections in Iraq. I was the Chief Inspector of those 20. I was the Chief Inspector responsible for investigating how Saddam Hussein hit his weapons of mass destruction from the United Nations. I was the Chief Inspector therefore responsible for carrying out these sensitive intelligence operations that derived information not only about how he hid weapons, but how he was protected. When I lead a team into Iraq, I'm responsible for their lives and their well-being. We don't go in armed with weapons. We don't go in armed with anything other than a blue baseball cap of questionable fashionable fashionable qualities and a blue certificate that certifies us as experts on mission for the United Nations. Carrying out the Mandate given to us by the security (00:21:34) Council. (00:21:37) Now when we go into the Iraqi intelligence service or the protection forces of Saddam Hussein and carry out an investigation. They don't like it oftentimes guns would come out often times. These guns would be pointed at us oftentimes. We would be threatened with bodily harm, but we stood our ground fast. Why because we were sure of the justification of what we were doing because we were carrying out the task given to us by the security Council and we were complying with the Mandate given to us by the security Council. There was no deviation. But when the United States starts to impose itself on the situation in use this process for means other than dictated by the security Council. We are no longer in that situation. We are no longer weapons inspectors. We are in fact spies. And that was a situation that I could not tolerate. And in August of 1998. I resigned from my position in the special Commission because I could no longer justify the continuation of my work knowing full. Well that while we stated publicly that we were operating in within the framework of Security Council resolution. The fact was we were operating well outside the framework. We were no longer a legitimate organization. I resigned and spoke out publicly in an effort not to destroy the special commission, but actually say the special Commission To speak out against the policies that were being perpetuated by the Clinton Administration not an effort to embarrass the Clinton Administration, but to get them to change these policies get back to operate within the framework of legitimacy set forth by the security Council I failed. In December 1998 the Clinton Administration use the inspection process one last time to justify. Operation Desert Fox is 70 our air Campaign, which was ostensibly launched to Punished Saddam Hussein for not complying with what with weapons inspections to degrade Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction capability. But in actuality was a last-gasp effort to get rid of Saddam Hussein using the information that was garnered by the on scum inspections. They failed. Saddam Hussein still in power the weapons inspection process Sons come is dead. And that's a situation we face today when we talk about the framework of legitimacy for dealing with Iraq understand that the security Council resolution that the special commission was charged with carrying out has not only been violated by Saddam Hussein, but by the United States itself And when we seek to look forward to come up with a viable means of brick coming to closure in Iraq, we have to stop looking at the past. We have to start looking towards the future. The future dictates that there will have to be a new framework of legitimacy built by the security Council supported by the United States, but we have a problem because the United States in the post desert fox period has not sought to build a foreign policy that seeks to revive the disarmament process in Iraq, but rather to overthrow Saddam Hussein to instill an opposition group inside Iraq United States policy actually runs counter to what the world Community is willing to do in Iraq. Our policy is is almost in 180° opposition. To what needs to be done to build a framework of legitimacy regarding Iraq policy. Now I was a big proponent of the weapons inspection process. I was part of it I believed in it. But today I have to say that it will not work. It won't work because we have violated that framework of legitimacy. We have to start talking about a new framework and the new framework requires that we come up with new and innovative ways of dealing with Iraq. The first challenge that I put down before you is to stop thinking in terms of the demonization of Saddam Hussein. When you look at the situation in Kosovo today, there is almost unanimous opinion even after the indictment of President Slobodan milosevic. That one will have to deal with presidents milosevic in order to come up with a diplomatic resolution to the problem. The state department has acknowledged this so why can't we when we start thinking about coming up with a solution for Iraq acknowledge that if we are to have a diplomatic solution we have to deal with Saddam Hussein. That's the first challenge I put before you. Challenge yourself to try and come to grips with the fact that we can deal with Saddam Hussein in reaching a diplomatic solution regarding what to do with (00:26:28) Iraq. (00:26:32) The next thing I want you to do is challenge yourself to break yourself out of the myths of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. These are horrible weapons Iraq had Coral capability, but the fact of the matter is between 1991 and 1998 the United Nations special commission achieved the qualitative disarmament of Iraq qualitative in 1991, Iraq had a well-developed chemical weapons program in 1998 that weapons program has been eliminated in 1991 Iraq had a well-developed biological weapons program in 1998 that program has been eliminated the same with their ballistic missile program the same with their nuclear weapons program now, they haven't been quantitatively eliminated Iraq has not disarmed 100% They do hold onto vestiges of these past programs, but these vestiges are placed in trucks and shuttled around from one Farm to another and do not constitute a viable weapons of mass destruction capability. As long as Weapons inspectors are in Iraq, carrying out their job of making sure I A cat doesn't reconstitute. So when we build a framework for dealing with Iraq, we have to think in terms of defining their disarming obligations in terms of can they produce weapons of mass destruction today? And the answer is no so therefore we have qualitatively disarmed them. We should get weapons inspectors back in Iraq, not for the purpose of hunting down the vestiges that are being hidden, but to prevent Iraq from rebuilding it's a totally different mindset. Finally, we have to go beyond disarmament. We have to go into thinking of the future of what we do with Iraq right now as we speak. The secretary of state is pushing a paper in Washington DC talking about a mini Marshall plan for the Balkans. Once the coast of a solution or Kosovo is solve the situation in Kosovo. If we recognize the importance of economic stability in the Balkans in terms of engendering a lasting peace, why can't we therefore project that same mindset into the Middle East into the Persian Gulf into Iraq? I tell you that if you want lasting peace with Iraq, you have to think Beyond disarming Iraq, you have to think in terms of rebuilding Iraq engendering stability in Iraq. And the key to that kind of stability is economic growth and development in Iraq will need a helping hand. The United States can play an important role in developing the framework of international Marshall plan for revitalizing the Iraqi economy and unlike the Balkans. Which are poor in terms of Natural Resources Iraq does possess the means to pay for this. It's sitting beneath their feet with some of the world's largest proven reserves of oil. All they need is a helping hand to engender stability get the oil up and out on the market. But nothing about our current policy is pushing Us in that direction. Nothing instead. We are stuck in the precepts of the past. We were judging Iraq based upon realities formed in 1980 and 1990. In our policies avoid of the current reality that exists in Iraq today, so I challenge you when you walk out of here today to think about Iraq to think about Iraq's policy because again, if we do nothing today, it's not going to hurt you right now. Iraq does not pose a threat to America or the world or any of its neighbors as we speak. Their economy is in Ruins, their military has been defeated. They have no ability to project power outside their borders. But if you do nothing if we do nothing as a nation and three to five years it will be a completely different story. And what we will find is that Iraq will be a threat a threat that will have to be confronted confronted militarily and that means that service members from the United States our sons and daughters our sisters and brothers. Our husbands wives mothers and fathers will be deployed overseas in a combat situation that will result in hundreds. Maybe thousands of them dying. We should be formulating policy that avoids that kind of situation not hastens it so that's my challenge to you. And what I'd like to do now is turn the floor over to your questions so you can challenge me on what I've just said. Thank you very much. Thanks God for the radio audience. You are listening to Scott Ritter. The former on scum Chief weapons (00:31:03) inspector and author of the book endgame Scott. I have a question here from Vicki lofquist. And she's the development director from the Minnesota International Center Vicki. How do you think the demonized view of Saddam Hussein can be changed? (00:31:20) How can the demonize view of Saddam Hussein be changed? It's not very easy because he's a demon he's not a he's not a good man. When we look at it from our personal standards of what's morally correct. He violates just about everything we believe in. This is a man who was a murderer. This is a despot. This is a man who is capable of ordering chemical weapons attacks against his own population a man who tortures people write on a regular basis. So he is a demon But one of the problems in formulating effective foreign policy. Is that while we in the United States have the benefit of being able to live our lives with a good moral compass. We know the difference between good and bad because we have the privilege of being able to live good and bad. We have a good life. We have a great country. We have Democratic institutions that allow us to flourish these do not necessarily exist throughout the world. And when you talk about Iraq and you talk about regions such as Kosovo or Serbia, you have to judge them not based upon what our own personal moral standards are but on the realities that exist in that country. You have to start understanding Saddam Hussein not as a man who if he was in the United States would be put in jail for life for repeated crimes against humanity. But the leader of Iraq the man who is a product of modern Iraq a man who is a product of the situation that surrounds modern Iraq. If you didn't have Saddam Hussein the man in power you would have somebody who behaved similarly to him Iraq has been ruled by autocratic leaders throughout this Century. There is no basis of democracy in Iraq today. So to judge Iraq from the standpoint of Saddam Hussein's failure as a Democratic leader is to judge them based upon the wrong set of standards. If you want to change Saddam Hussein, then you need to work not in terms of getting rid of Saddam Hussein, but getting rid of the things that made Saddam Hussein today with economic sanctions having devastated the basic fabric of Iraqi Society. We do have an opportunity through economic rebuilding of Iraq and the consequent consequences of the Iraqi Society being rebuilt to engender a viable middle class to empower a viable middle class in Iraq. If you study history in the birth of democracy it is that kind of middle class that serves as the starting point for the development of democratic institutions. So stop demonizing Saddam Hussein and start working on how do we change Iraq? How do we change the situation in Iraq and around Iraq so that you don't give birth to Saddam Hussein or future Saddam Hussein's we have to deal in terms of realpolitik not in terms of our own personal moral and ideological. This is although I firmly believe we should all have those and we should have we should guide ourselves by them. I hope that answered your question. (00:34:22) Thank you. Our next question is from Heather Harden. Who's with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Scott. It was absolutely riveting to watch the Bold Integrity with which you moved through these dramatic steps that led to your resignation sensing. What kind of man you are there had to have been an awful lot of effort on your part to work behind the scenes with this Administration long before you went public. (00:34:48) Will you (00:34:49) take us behind the scenes and tell us what really happened that caused the breakdown between you and this Administration and then give us some hope that we'll get Scott rivlin back on the international stage because we need this marvelous expertise that you've developed. (00:35:05) Thanks. well, there was a lot of behind-the-scenes efforts understand that the very nature of my work with on Skyrim was related to the intelligence business and the intelligence business is done by its very nature behind the scenes. I worked very closely with the United States in terms of developing a framework of support for the special Commission in terms of building a meaningful intelligence capability and ability to gather information that could help weapons inspectors find weapons. This was very controversial the United Nations never had such an organization is the one that I formed an intelligence unit an international CIA so to speak And we needed the support of the United States and I spent much of my time down in Washington DC while walking the corridors of the State Department of the National Security Council of the CIA of the defense intelligence agency working with the American bureaucracy to develop a plan to support the weapons inspectors. It wasn't easy. Because at the same time I was trying to engender an intelligence capability to support disarmament of Iraq. The United States was formulating policies are moving in a different direction. I knew that they were using us for their own ends. I'm an American citizen. I'm an American Patriot and I was struck with the Dilemma of what to do. As an American do I keep my mouth shut and say well gosh, you know, these guys are bigger than the Secretary of State. This is National Security advisor. Obviously, they know better so I should just keep my mouth shut and go forward and do with what they want. Or do I look at the framework of legality that I'm supposed to be operating under understanding that I receive direct orders from the United States government to carry out the Mandate given to me by the security Council I chose to go with the orders. I was given so I fought the United States on every step of the way as they attempted to use the process. I would not allow them to use the process. There's a continuous battle. It was a difficult battle. It's a battle that's resulted in my being charged with Espionage. I've been accused of being an Israeli spy a British spy and Iraqi spy spied for everybody apparently, but again, that didn't bother me as long as I was accomplishing my mission, which was to hone in on the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programs to ensure that the Mandate given to us was by the security Council was protected. When it became clear that I wasn't succeeding, I stopped working behind the scenes and started working in a more confrontational manner. I confronted my boss the executive chairman Richard Butler alerting him to the fact that the policies that he was approving were in fact being used to accomplish tasks that were not in keeping with the Mandate. He was given by the security Council that my people the people I'm responsible for the people in my unit were being called upon to perform tasks which were no longer. Only related to weapons inspection but had in fact become tools of Espionage against Iraq and I spent from April 1998 to August 1998 fighting a losing battle trying to get my boss Richard Butler in the United States government to move away from what I've used to be very self-destructive policies. I failed that's one reason why when I resigned I chose the option of speaking out publicly because I feel very strongly what I did. I spent seven years doing this job hundreds of my colleagues made many sacrifices trying to carry out this important task of disarming Iraq and yet it was being destroyed right before us. Destroyed in terms of we're losing the legitimacy of what we were doing. So when I resigned I chose to speak out publicly and again not in an effort to embarrass the administration or to embarrass my boss, but in an effort to educate those who could put pressure on them to change their policy Congress and the American people. I failed I'm very upset about the fact that I fail. But now what I'm trying to do is take advantage of the fact that I do have specific insights into Iraq and how policy is formed to work not in a matter of just making people understand what occurred in the past but also to talk about how we constructively move forward in regards to Iraq and on that note, I would say that I am currently involved in maybe not as an inside member but at least from the outside trying to influence the way policy is shaped on Iraq. (00:39:45) Thank you Scott. We have a next question from Frank Magnuson. Who's the head of the same Paul Academy and Summit schools (00:39:51) Scott. I think all of us are troubled by the impact of the economic sanctions, especially on children and given my work. I'm especially troubled by the fact that it has such a devastating effect on children in Iraq. My question has to do with the future and that is how can the world Community assure itself if economic sanctions are lifted and economic development supported in Iraq that the funds that come into Iraq and the support material support won't be abused by Iraqi leadership and especially by Saddam Hussein whom you define as someone who really is demonic That's that's a good question. The the key to understanding is that the weapons inspection process existed in Iraq, and we didn't need economic sanctions by 1998 to prevent Iraq from RE Army. We had disarmed Iraq qualitatively when you build a weapon a chemical weapon a biological weapon a nuclear weapon a long-range ballistic missile, there's an infrastructure that's required to build that weapon contrary to popular belief. You don't build a weapon in your basement not a viable weapon. Not a weapon that's going to have military significance. It requires a factory that factory has a signature things happen. When you when you start producing chemical weapons that are detectable now, we had a weapons inspection process in Iraq that comb the country top and bottom. Yes. We had trouble finding the trucks that are Act was hiding in farms and presidential palaces that had drawings blueprints components material hidden on them, but we had Problem finding factories. There were no factories. We had eliminated them. So if you have a weapons inspection process in Iraq that is focused on preventing Iraq from reconstituting. A meaningful weapons of mass destruction program you can lift economic sanctions. There's a resolution 1051 that is that is still valid. There's a resolution 715 that call for long-term monitoring and the monitor of Iraq's exports and imports. So even if Iraq gets the money if it seeks to buy material that's on a list of what we call Dual Purpose Goods Goods that can be used for civilian use as well as prohibited use. They have to declare that to the weapons inspectors and the weapons inspectors would be able to monitor this activity. To lift economic sanctions a precursor to that will have to be the reactivation of an inspection process to get weapons inspectors back into Iraq not to play the game. I was playing not to look for the material that's hidden. But rather to monitor Iraq to ensure that the important gains that have been made by the weapons inspectors over the last seven years aren't lost Iraq is at zero ability today to produce viable weapons of mass destruction. We must keep them at zero and the best way to keep in that zero is to get weapons inspectors back in so I'm in favor of trading the lifting for economic sanctions with the reinsertion of weapons inspectors, and that's how I would handle the issue of keeping Saddam away from revitalizing his capabilities. (00:42:59) Thank you Scott. We have a number of students with us today and a group here from De La Salle who sponsored by Graco? We have a student John halbach was a junior there and he has a question for you. Hitler do you feel that this comparison is a form of was a form of propaganda to support the actions of the United Nations in (00:43:21) Iraq? That's a good question. I absolutely one of the one of the problems with dealing with Iraq or even Yugoslavia today you have regimes in Serbia in Iraq, which are despicable you have presidents who behave in a way that we find morally reprehensible. But they are realities of their of the region that they come from they do what they do. Not only because they're bad people because of the situation that surrounds them. I think that. Oftentimes politicians and remember our Administration is composed of politicians. They have a tendency not to respect you the American citizen to be able to understand the complexities of a situation. They feel that in order to get their way in terms of policy what they want to do. They have to simplify the problem into sound bites that are easily digested by you and others now, what's an easy soundbite you want to say that Saddam Hussein comes from a notoriously militant Sunni clan in tikrit that has been in odds with the other 17 percent of the sunnis and has part is traded off power with Kurds and she is nor to become a dominant role in Baghdad that's complicated or do you say Saddam Hussein is the Adolf Hitler of the Middle East and everybody goes. Yeah. I understand that. I can I can understand that. Well, I happen to believe that if you took the time to explain Playing the complexities of the situation to people they have a realistic understanding of the threat that we're being asked to confront. I believe it is propaganda. Saddam Hussein is not the Middle East equipment Adolf Hitler. He's an evil man. He's a dictator, but he should be dealt as such he beat should be dealt with in terms of the realities of the problem. And I think you found you saw if you watch the debate at Ohio State University when Madeline Albright Sandy Berger and secretary Defence Cohen got in front of an audience and tried to explain our Iraq policy. You saw they floundered because propaganda wasn't being accepted at that point in time and they had no alternative way of explaining what they wanted to accomplish trust the American people they can understand the complexities of the situation and then that makes the formulation and selling them a policy that much easier. (00:45:43) Thanks God we have time for two quick questions and two quick answers Bobwhite a journalist for the Star Tribune has a question for you. Mr. Ritter with regard to economic sanctions. I think everybody in this room would share your abhorrence to the humanitarian consequences of them, but I noticed when people talk about sanctions, they rarely talk about the oil-for-food program that's been in place for I think about 10 years and has grown somewhat in Dimensions (00:46:12) from your observation. What's right or wrong (00:46:15) with that given that the sanctions have been in place. Why hasn't that been able to alleviate some of the problems you just described? (00:46:23) Well, this is one of the more difficult issues the oil-for-food is based upon a resolution 986 that was passed in 1996 and started be implemented fully 1997 under this Iraq is allowed to sell a certain amount of oil. I think it started 3.2 billion. It's up to five point seven billion. I could be wrong on those exact figures but it's a lot it's a lot of it's a lot of money that money is put into an escrow account. And from that account Iraq can submit orders to buy Food medicine humanitarian Goods the fact of the matter is because of the oil-for-food over two thousand fifty calories of nutrition per day per person go into Iraq. That's well above starvation. There's no excuse for anybody in Iraq going hungry at alone starving to death. The other reality is that before the Gulf War Iraq's requirements outside of Iraq for pharmaceutical goods for medicines amounted to three hundred million dollars today. They have more than enough money to buy all the medicine. They need there should be nobody dying in Iraq today of an untreated disease but sanctions are more than reality sanctions are politics now and Saddam Hussein is playing a cruel game of politics using the perception of the continuation of economic sanctions to perpetuate suffering on his people so that he could get sanctions lifted. He's using sanctions to lift sanctions and the reality is people are dying and Saddam is blaming those deaths on sanctions. It's matter. He could alleviate this harm by allowing Iraq to purchase the medicines by allowing fair and equitable distribution of food, but he doesn't because he wants sanctions lifted. Now. The question is who's to blame Saddam? Yes. He's an evil man. I'm not trying to say he's a good man. But who else is the blame because what empowers him to carry out this harm against his own people the continuation of economic sanctions, you have to ask yourself. Why were they put in place? They don't achieve what they were meant to achieve. They can't achieve what they were meant to achieve their for the sanctions are not viable in the longer. We continue to impose sanctions on Iraq were empowering Saddam Hussein to kill these people we become accessories and that's why I feel so strongly about (00:48:38) it. Question and Pia Lopez who's the editorial page editor from the Saint Cloud Times? Thank you. I'm wondering if you would comment on the new demonization of China that comes at the same time that we're trying to forge. A post-cold war policy of Engagement. (00:48:58) The last thing I want to portray myself is as an expert on China or an expert on Kosovo or an expert on anything other than what I dealt with in Iraq. I feel very comfortable when I talk about Iraq that I can take on anybody. I'll take on Madeline Albright Sandy Berger anybody on Iraq because I know from where I come but when it comes to Kosovo and China, I'm just like you I opened up the newspaper. I read what I what I read. I see what I see on TV, so I can't talk about the specifics of China. But what I can't talk about is a parallel of policy formulation that that I see in this Administration again, they oversimplify they demonize they take an extremely complicated situation and they try to simplify it. Another thing they do is they operate on them. We operate with this moral compass of what's right, and what's wrong if you look at in realpolitik in terms of what's of real National Security interests United States China ways in very heavily. We will have to deal with China for decades to come. They are a viable world power. And yet now you have a situation where China has been caught red-handed stealing the nuclear secrets of the United States. So how do you formulate a policy on the one hand which seeks to be Progressive in terms of developing relations between the United States and China and on the other hand deal with the fact that China has been poaching Secrets. It's a very complicated situation this Administration rather than dealing with the complexity of the problem seeks to contain rather than dealing with the complexity of Saddam Hussein. You contain Saddam Hussein you contain milosevic. You don't come up with viable Solutions with China right now. We're containing we are focused in on the stolen secrets. And so in order to come up with a viable solution that is explainable easily explainable to the American people. We demonize the Chinese on that but we pay a price in that demonization because by demonizing China on the issue of stolen nuclear secrets, we complicate the ability to move forward. And in other areas, that's a pattern that I see that emerges not only in China but in Yugoslavia and other areas where the foreign policy team of the Clinton ministration is sought to deal with complicated situations. Thank you very much. It was a pleasure talking to you. (00:51:30) Thank you Scott for an excellent and thought-provoking speech don't leave the stage just yet because we'd like to present to you a token of our appreciation the Minnesota meeting peace pipe created by the Minnesota artist Robert Rose bear. It's a complex world of Scott just said but there are some simple thoughts that do lead us straight to the heart of where we need to go and we believe this peace-pipe symbolize the importance of strengthening human bonds to create a peaceful and thriving Society. Thank you very much. Thanks to each and everyone of you for joining us today. We are adjourned. beautiful