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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

An impossible thought

Let's hope and pray that former UN weapon's inspector Scott Ritter is wrong about these comments about war with Iran:

"First, American forces will bomb Iran. If Iranians don't overthrow the current government, as Bush hopes they will, Iran will probably attack Israel. Then, Ritter said, the United States will drop a nuclear bomb on Iran."

His prediction about the US intentionally torpedoing diplomacy has disturbing echoes with Iraq.

22 Comments:

Blogger paul said...

If only.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006 11:53:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Hardly surprsing seeing as the descision to go to war with Iran was made long before the Iraq war.

The crazies, as Bush senior would call them, wrote about it in their PNAC document.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006 12:37:00 pm  
Blogger weekbyweek said...

Ritter was at first a Hawk on Iraq, then when the situation suited him better he became Dove.

THe man is so inconsistent in most of his public positions on the ME.

He also suffers from manic depression, and his views are probably clouded by that condition.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006 8:03:00 pm  
Blogger Angela M said...

"Let's hope and pray that former UN weapon's inspector Scott Ritter is wrong"

Antony, given Ritter's previous veracity, and your securalist leanings, it looks as though you are off-the-hook from what would have been a reluctant need to pray.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006 9:42:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

weekbyweek,

Your's it typical of those who think that chnging one's mind in the face of new information, makes someoneinconsistent. To say he changed his mind when the situation suited him is completely erroneous.

Tim Blair tried to suggest the Ritter was for the war before he was against it, by selectinvely wuoting from Ritter's first book, but not surprisingly, left out Ritters conclusion at the end which were very much against the Iraq war.

The man has been a model of consistency, especially since 2001. Even when he was advocating strong measures against Iraq, he made it clear that he was doing so becasue he believed at the time that UNSCOM was beign crippled by Washingotn, and it turns out he was correct.

Anyone questiong the veracity fo what he has said has no idea what they are talking about.

Ritter has been accurate about the lead entire lead up to the Iraq war. In late 2002, while the Bushevicks were telling the world they were committed to a negotiations with Iraq, Ritter was telling the incredulous audiences that the Iraq war was an inevitability.

If he says ther will be a war against Iran, then it will happen. He may have been inaccurate abot the dates (originally making tentative suggestions it may have started in 2005) but is one of the best informed and best connected people around on this matter.

Ritte's depression is of no relevance whatsoever, but given that Ritter regards himself as a patriot, it's no wonder he is depressed at where Bush is leading America, and the world for that matter.

Thursday, February 09, 2006 12:24:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Incidently, Ritter is hardly alone in his conclusions:

Russian Ultranationalist Leader Expects U.S. to Attack Iran in Late March
http://mosnews.com/news/2006/02/07/vzhiriran.shtml

Thursday, February 09, 2006 12:43:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Heh. Fitting, Addamo. I place Ritter and Zhirinovsky in the same idiotarian category.

Thursday, February 09, 2006 10:08:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

James,

They do say idiots are close to God don't they?

Ritter is a bane of the right, becase he knwos what he is talking about and has a memory like a Swiss clock when it comes to recalling facts and specifics (especialy about US resolutions and poitical developments surrounding Iraq).

Mayeb you shoud lay off the tim B lair cool aid for a little while mate. His sandbagging of Ritter was lame. The worst Ritters critics can say about him is that he changed his positino about Iraq, in spite of him goving a clear reason why that happened.

I'm sure of he'd swtiched in the opposite sirection, he would be a darling of the war party. Much like that ex Trotskyite, Christopher Hitchens, who in spite of being considered the 5th brightest intelliectual of our time, whom Ritter managed to overcome in a recent public debate abotu the Iraq war.

Friday, February 10, 2006 12:23:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

TB's "sandbagging" of Ritter hit home pretty soundly. You all 'cos he's pretty much all you got. The guy's making a fortune. From an entrepreneurial angle, I like his POV. Not bad for a washed up diplomat.
I'm not surprised you think Ritter won that debate you mention. Can I see a transcript of it?

Re debating Hitchens, I seem to remember most left leaning pundits thought Galloway bested Hitchens when they went head to head. Galloway certainly defeated the factual Hitchens if ascerbic put downs are the measure of debating success, but as far as getting a sound case across, Hitchens wiped the floor with Galloway IMO.

And - unrelated, but delicious nonetheless - Ritter would seem to have a predilection for cruising the internet for underage arse.

Friday, February 10, 2006 1:25:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

TB's quoted selected passages from Ritter’s first book but omitted the conclusions, which state the complete opposite of the position TB tried to pin on him. In typical TB fashion, it was cowardly and lame and completely lost on anyone who actually read the book.

"The guy's making a fortune. From an entrepreneurial angle, I like his POV. Not bad for a washed up diplomat."

Are you serious James? Since when has making money offended you, of all people? That Ritter has made money is supposed ot mean what exactly? No one seems to mind that just about everyone in the Bush administration has cashed in on the war, including right wing shills and hacks like Horowitz, Hitchens and company.

I downloaded an MP3 of the debate, but I can't find the link. I'm sure you can Google it. Interestingly, right wing blogs were actually promoting the event beforehand and predicting that Hitch would wipe the floor with Ritter. It turned out to be otherwise. Hitch is so used to bluffing opponents with BS he invents on the spot, hoping that those interviewing or debating him are not versed enough to call him on it. Unlike the Galloway debate, Ritter shot Hitch down repeatedly with facts that Hitch was forced to reframe by interpretation, nuance, outright manipulation and feigned disgust. It was laughable to hear Hitch trying to tell Ritter about facts of the lead up to the Iraq war, that Ritter was on hand to witness or observe in person.

“Ritter would seem to have a predilection for cruising the internet for underage arse.”

Yes very predictable of you James, though I thought you would have been smart enough to see through that one.

Ritter’s critics often pull that one out when they are running out of rope. None of them however care to explain why it is the court records of that hearing were sealed, and why the case was merely "adjourned in contemplation of dismissal,". The authorities have said nothing about it since. The entrapment was apparently so transparent, so obviously the clumsiest sort of Cointelpro-style operation badly bungled by Washington’s political police, that the charges were dropped to the legal equivalent of a traffic ticket. It’s likely that the records were sealed not to protect Ritter, but to protect whomever tried to set him up.

Anybody who doesn't believe that Ritter was specifically targeted on account of his political activities probabyl still believes in the tooth fairy.

But if titillation is your thing, here’s a nice piece for you. It seems Daddy Bush and Ronnie has a thing for underage arse, irrespective of gender.

http://www.cloakanddagger.de/media/HEADLINES%20PAGE/WASHINGTON%20TIMES.htm

Friday, February 10, 2006 10:33:00 am  
Blogger Progressive Atheist said...

Let's not forget James Guckert, a.k.a. Jeff Gannon, the male prostitute who had special access to the White House press corps for two years, despite having zero journalistic credentials. Gannon was outed in February last year after he lobbed 'softball questions' to WH spokesman Scott MacLellan. Strangely, Gannon was in the same loop as Judy Miller and Robert Novak, being privy to information that Valeria Plame worked for the CIA. Despite numerous attempts to interest them, no church group showed the slightest curiosity when it was revealed to them that a male prostitute freely roamed the corridors of the White House, even at timers when no press conferences were scheduled.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Gannon

Friday, February 10, 2006 1:45:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Good point re Gannon. He was also registered as having satyed overnight at the White House on at least 13 occasions.

Now what would a male prostitute be doing sleeping over at the White House?

Friday, February 10, 2006 3:20:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Hehehehehehhehe wow...Ritter truly is your treasured boy, eh, Addamo?

"TB's quoted selected passages from Ritter’s first book but omitted the conclusions"

Right. Book's on order from Amazon. Cost me 75c! Hope to read it shortly and confirm/refute your assertions. I hope you're not spinning me some story about the contents of his book cos you're gambling I won't read it. That would be...disappointing.

Regarding your analysis of the Ritter-Hitchens debate; pardon me if I don't take your word concerning the outcome. I don't have time to read the transcript tonight seeing as I'm heading out in a few minutes. Although I did read an apt quote on a lefty blog that neatly sums up your position IMO:

"As you can tell, I’m too certain that one of these debaters is right and the other is wrong to be much of a judge."

Anyway, I did a brief search for opinions - seems the verdict is polarised. You guessed it; all the left-leaning blogs reckon Ritter won and all the right-leaning blogs think Hitch carried the day.

"Since when has making money offended you, of all people? "

It hasn't - as I think I made perfectly clear. I just think it's funny 'cos Ritter jars so with the leftist image of its ideal crusader.

On the subject of TB's misleading quotes - I'll reserve my judgement until I've read the book. However, it's indisputable that Ritter's being terribly clever after the fact - in 1999 he was harping on about Iraq's WMDs and post invasion with no WMDs uncovered, suddenly he's all "We all knew in 1995 there were no WMDs!" The guy's done some flipping amazing flipping, and no amount of your outraged bluster can obscure that fact. Still, as mentioned before, I reserve ultimate judgement until such time as I finish reading Endgame.

On the lighter side of things - it may well have been entrapment (or maybe not - who knows? Unsurprisingly enough, you detect a conspiracy), but that still begs the question why Ritter was going to meet underage girls he met on the internet - is this not a fact? Oh, and that link you provided which no doubt offers up some unimpeachable and damning evidence of Bush and Reagan's underage sex trysts doesn't seem to work.

Re Progressive Atheist - heh. The left's wet dream; Bush a closet homo. Hilarious what you guys will come out with.

Saturday, February 11, 2006 1:45:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

OOooooh!!!! Maybe shagging George Bush???? Wouldn't the very thought make us drool with lust at the scandal?

From the Wikipedia piece "Progressive Atheist" provided :

"Missing details in the Secret Service logs lead some to speculate that Gannon stayed overnight in the White House on several occasions. Most suggested poor record-keeping was more likely to blame, as Guckert wasn't shown checking in one day and leaving another; he was often shown checking in repeatedly while never having checked out (or the converse)."

Saturday, February 11, 2006 1:49:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

James,

You really do take this stuff personally don’t you?

“Hehehehehehhehe wow...Ritter truly is your treasured boy, eh, Addamo? “

Not really James. But like Galloway, he manages to get the right wingers into a lather, so he’s good value.

” I hope you're not spinning me some story about the contents of his book cos you're gambling I won't read it. That would be...disappointing.”

By all means go on ahead. Here is a book review by Daniel Pipes, who got all lathered up as he made his way through the early passages of the book, only to find Ritters conclusions at the end of the book completely to his distaste.
http://www.danielpipes.org/article/896

“Regarding your analysis of the Ritter-Hitchens debate; pardon me if I don't take your word concerning the outcome.”

I wouldn’t expect you to. But if you are interested in facts, you will find that Ritter definitely scored better. In fact he ran rings around Hitchens in that regard. Hitchen’s high point was his Shakespearean guffaw when Ritter dared to suggest. to booing audience, that Iraqi’s would have been better off had they still been under Saddam.

Hitch’s standard arguments, where raises guys like Zarqawi, Abu Nidal and Abdul Rahman Yassin, were tackled by Ritter for the first time I can recall, and Hithc was forced to rely on his fall back position of name dropping and mentioing meeting he had wirth people (none of which can be verified of course).

It’s great fun indeed.

“I don't have time to read the transcript tonight seeing as I'm heading out in a few minutes. Although I did read an apt quote on a lefty blog that neatly sums up your position IMO: “

I look forward to seeing what your take is on it.

“I just think it's funny 'cos Ritter jars so with the leftist image of its ideal crusader.”

Are you that simplistic to insist that all lefties have to fit to a mould?

“However, it's indisputable that Ritter's being terribly clever after the fact”

Hardly. He was giving speeches in 2001/2002 about the Iraq war. There are plenty of speeches and interviews he gave prior to 2003, where he was adamant the war would happen, and how it had nothing to do with WMD, and how Iraq had no WMD.

In fact, during his debate with Hitchens, he goes into great detail about what lead to the reason for the political reason for having to remove Saddam. He made the exact same points in 2002. Hitch, who’s ratinal for the war has flipped almost as frequently as has Bush’s, agreed with him.

"in 1999 he was harping on about Iraq's WMDs"

He was harping on about the fact that the US were holding sanctions in place under the pretext of forcing Saddam to disarm, but in reality, happy to see thet issue remain unresolved.

"and post invasion with no WMDs uncovered, suddenly he's all "We all knew in 1995 there were no WMDs!"

Wrong. He was stating this in 2002.

"The guy's done some flipping amazing flipping, and no amount of your outraged bluster can obscure that fact."

I agree to a point, but James, I am far from outraged. I never have quite figured out what made Ritter change his position, but then again, I don’t really care. I don’t look to Ritter as a moral Guru, but a source of information. He was there and while his critics harp on about his shift in stance, none have dared go him about his facts.

And speaking of A grade flippery, you wont find a better example than Hitch, who has cahed in big time by doign so. A man who was against all intervention, against Gulf War 1 etc. Contrary to having his feet held to the fire over this shift, he has become the darling of the pro war and right wing groups. It seems that moving from an anti-war to a pro war stance is a progression towards moral enlightenment, while the opposite is painted a weak kneed loss of direction.

On the lighter side of things - it may well have been entrapment (or maybe not - who knows? Unsurprisingly enough, you detect a conspiracy), but that still begs the question why Ritter was going to meet underage girls he met on the internet - is this not a fact?”
No idea. Given that the case records have been sealed, we’ll never know just what was involved.

Saturday, February 11, 2006 1:17:00 pm  
Blogger Progressive Atheist said...

I never suggested that Bush was a homo (your sexist term). But you are in dread fear that someone in the White House is.

What is clear from the Gannon affair is that, given their condemnation of homosexuality, the Bush admin is hypocritical for allowing a known male prostitute to freely roam the corridors of the White House.

Furthermore, you don't seem the least bit concerned about the lapse in security displayed by the Secret Service.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 12:25:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

It's much worse than that.

Gannon owned a numbero f gay male escort eweb sites, the mostg famous being militarystud.com. He had no journalistyic qulifications, other than an obscure $50 crach course.

The establishment he was writing for was not a reputable one, but a right wing blog.

Furthermore, it wa established that he spent at least 13 nights at the WH< niot by his singing in, but his failure to sign out, which means whoever invited hi to stay, was trying to hide the fact.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 1:43:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Woah, "Progressive Atheist", we are a delicate snowflake, aren't we. However, I'm having trouble seeing how using the term "homo" is sexist. Anyway, I have a couple of gay friends who I have been known to call "fag", "poof", "queer" and even "homo" to their faces. And these are popular "insults" thrown about within the gay community. It's done in jest, not malice. Get over yourself, you dull PC drone.

"What is clear from the Gannon affair is that, given their condemnation of homosexuality, the Bush admin is hypocritical for allowing a known male prostitute to freely roam the corridors of the White House."

Bullshit! Where did Bush or a White House spokesperson suggest that gays should not be allowed to maintain a career as a journalist or enter the Whitehouse? I believe that GWB has stated that he's against same sex marriage and no doubt homosexuality isn't a lifestyle he approves of. Nowhere has he said that homosexuals shouldn't be allowed to exist or shouldn't be allowed to work or shouldn't be allowed in his presence or home. I'm sure there are several gay people working in the Bush administration. Where's the hypocrisy?

"Furthermore, you don't seem the least bit concerned about the lapse in security displayed by the Secret Service."

You're right - I don't give a shit. And that wasn't the point you or anyone else was making. It's laughable that you would try to get indignant about White House security! Pretty lame attempt at a dodge there.

Addamo - this is such a non-event, I don't know why you're bothering with it. How does one become a member of the Whitehouse press corps? Talon News wasn't a blog, by the way. And according to that wikipedia piece, there were also occasions when he signed out but did not sign in. How do you know that other visitors to the White House are not subject to the same inconsistencies?

Sunday, February 12, 2006 4:13:00 pm  
Blogger Progressive Atheist said...

You are right that Talon News was not a blog, but it wasn't a news site either. It was a GOP propaganda site.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 7:39:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

So what?

Essentially, your big scandal boils down to the existence of a hack journo in the press corps. Wow! Heads must roll over this!

Monday, February 13, 2006 2:50:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

James,

I;m not investing too much importance onthis issue re Gannon, but it is weird is it not?

"How does one become a member of the Whitehouse press corps?"

Well apparently, after very extensive security checks, and vetting of qualifications. The rest of th epress corps would be provided passes that were valid for months, Gannon was an excpetion, veing provided with a daily passe by McClellan. While Mr Gannon was able to waltz in, a number of very respectable journo's were denied access.

"How do you know that other visitors to the White House are not subject to the same inconsistencies?"

Because this is the job of the Secret Service, and they take that job very seriously. If you've been around when Bush or any other president has mad a visit to a city, you know that the vicinity of the president goes into effective lockdown, even more so with Bush. Acces to the White House is not a trivial excercise by any means and whiel it is conceivable this might happen once, it is not likely it would happen more on a dozen occasions.

Monday, February 13, 2006 3:05:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

"Because this is the job of the Secret Service, and they take that job very seriously."

Hang on a minute, can't you see how you're contradicting yourself there? So seriously as to make an exception? Also, like all organisations, I'm sure the Secret Service has weak points. They're probably not super on the ball about recording the comings and goings of journalists they regularly come into contact with. Why is it that Gannon sometimes signed out but was not registered as signing in? Surely this would point to sloppy bookkeeping rather than some deeper conspiracy.

Thus, the question remains - how do you know that other visitors to the WH aren't subject to the same inconsistencies? And therein lies the point - you don't know. You're just guessing.

You're right not to invest much in this Gannon issue. It's going absolutely nowhere. It's just a salacious-sounding issue that the rabid anti-Bush crowd likes to drop, partially explained, in the hope that fallacious conclusions will be drawn. Which is precisely what happened above.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 2:53:00 am  

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