Last fall, former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter was publicly vilified for claiming that Saddam Hussein could not have rebuilt his chemical and biological weapons programs after the last Gulf War. Today, reports Andrew Gumbel in the London-based The Independent, Ritter?s stance seems a lot more plausible than that of the Bush administration.
Ritter asserted before the U.S. invasion of Iraq that 90-95 percent of Iraqi ?weapons of mass destruction? were destroyed during his seven-year stint as aU.N. inspector and that international sanctions combined with US and British surveillance made it all but impossible for the programs to resume. Mainstream American media called him ?disloyal.? Cable news host Curtis Sliwa called him a ?sock puppet? who should ?turn in his passport for an Iraqi one.?
But it may be time for Americans ?to reassess who exactly has been the deceiver and who the dupe in this whole affair,? writes Gumbel. Citing a ?pattern of false information emanating from both Washington and London since last September,? Gumbel alleges the misinformation that ?launched a major war? is only now gaining wider exposure. Such lies, according to Gumbel, include:
Gumbel concludes that although Ritter has not ?been vindicated quite yet,? as it?s still possible that evidence of these weapons could materialize, the ?pattern of deception and unsubstantiated allegation is unmistakable, even as the political embarrassment for the Bush administration deepens.?