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Thursday, April 20, 2006


 

Scott Ritter indicts capitalism...then embraces it


I have tremendous respect for Scott Ritter as someone who has the courage of his convictions. His willingness to speak the truth, when so many others remained silent, is admirable. But Ritter also has some very strange ideas. His first was an article entitled "The Art of War for the anti-war movement," which criticizes the antiwar movement for a variety of things, among them not having a centralized leadership. You can find a critique of that article written by Bob Morris at Politics in the Zeros. And now we have his next article entitled "A Path to Peace with Iran."

In this article, Ritter is his usual scientific self while laying out the truth about Iran's nuclear program, in the face of the relentless media and political onslaught on that truth:

The reality is Iran does not possess an active, ongoing, viable nuclear weapons program. In all reality, Iran does not yet even possess the capability to enrich uranium on an industrial scale.

The fact that the IAEA safeguard inspections are at play in Iran may in itself come as a surprise to most observers of the ongoing Iranian nuclear saga. Iran is still very much a member, in good standing, of the non-proliferation treaty, and all of its nuclear activities continue to be under the stringent monitoring of the IAEA safeguard inspectors.
Ritter also correctly analyzes the incorrect analysis of the war in Iraq (and the potential war against Iran) in the antiwar movement, noting that while the criticism focuses on "'Big Oil,' the 'Neo Cons,' the 'Military Industrial Complex,' and more recently, the 'Israeli Lobby," the real source of the problem is bigger than any of those:
But it is wrong, and futile, to simply blame these power nodes, or the institutions they have come to so heavily influence. These power nodes did not simply appear out of nowhere. They are a product of American history and culture, a manifestation of the reality that, even more so than the processes of representative democracy, America is a product of unadulterated capitalism.
But although Ritter recognizes the underlying problem, he isn't willing to draw the requisite conclusions; indeed, he draws precisely the wrong conclusions:
Some might argue that this very definition in itself provides justification for a total rejection of the current manifestation of the American system, and the need to seek a new path or direction. There are those in the anti-war movement today who articulate such an argument. I, for one, am not prepared to embrace this way of thinking. I recognize both the good and bad inherent in the difficult blending of capitalistic greed and individual humanism that is modern America, and accept that this system is the best model in existence today, as long as it maintains a system of checks and balances that keeps the forces of excessiveness under control.

Since America is, first and foremost, a capitalist system, it is to capitalism that one must look to for these adjustments. We got the first inklings of this very sort of attitudinal wake-up call just this week, when Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, a Republican of distinction who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called for the Bush administration to "cool it" on the issue of Iran.

Senator Lugar did not base his arguments on grand ideological principles of peace and justice, but rather the more base passion of prosperity.
So, just like Harry Reid, who argues against war on Iran because "we don't have the resources," Ritter argues for arguing against an attack on Iran because it would be bad for capitalism (driving up oil prices, etc.). Ritter himself, I think, understands that such an attack would be completely unjustified, illegal, and immoral, but he is arguing that those of us who oppose such an attack should adapt to the right-wing by appealing to other arguments.

Scott Ritter should stick to speaking about what he knows. The facts. And keep his opinions to himself.

Update: More Scott Ritter (hat tip Firedoglake). Lots of good stuff, and some, in my opinion, completely inane things too (cf his comments on Cindy Sheehan).


Why stop here? There's more...

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