01/09/2006: Ritter v Hitchens
Bob Geiger has this great post and link to the audio of the debate Scott Ritter, former United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq and Iraq-war proponent Christopher Hitchens - over the Iraq conflict.
[Podcast- 1 hour and 40 min. -of the debate available at this link.]
Scott had many more *facts* of the basic background political policies and historical issues under Saddam that ultimately led to the AUMF and the current conflict. But, also, his critique of the conflict in conjunction with our American goals and values:
”…I will tell you this, as an intelligence officer who spent 12 years wrestling with difficult issues, including trying to solve difficult problems: You can't solve a problem until you first define the problem. Any solution void of a definition is no solution at all because what is it you're trying to solve? On the case of Iraq, we must take a look at how we got there. That is the foundation of our involvement and, ladies and gentlemen, it is as corrupt a foundation as you can possibly imagine.
When I speak of war in Iraq, let's personalize it for a second. Let's speak of 161,000 American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are over there serving their nation, our nation. They're ours. They belong to us. They wear our uniform. On their shoulders, our flag is sewn. And they're willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our Constitution and this is what we must focus on.
They're not there to die for Iraqis. They're not there to die for anything other than the Constitution of the United States of America. That's the oath they took. To uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. What is the Constitution? Why is it so important? Well, ladies and gentlemen, it is the document that defines who we are and what we are as a nation, as a people. A nation of laws – the rule of law is absolute, which means due process is absolute.
You'll have people today talking about "we're there for democracy. We're there to build a nation." But let's talk about the case that was made, because the case that was made by President George W. Bush for war in Iraq had nothing to do whatsoever with bringing democracy to the Iraqi people. It had nothing to do with liberating Iraq. It had everything to do with one thing: weapons of mass destruction. Chemical weapons, biological weapons, long-range ballistic missiles, nuclear weapons.
A war, again, that was about weapons of mass destruction. This is a fact that was put forward in the letter sent by John Negroponte, then the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations to the Security Council saying that American troops have entered Iraq because Iraq has failed to comply with its obligation to disarm -- and that international law dictates that America takes the lead in responding to this crime.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, international law dictated no such thing.
International law dictated that the Security Council remained seized of the event, that the Security Council would once again have to pass a Chapter Seven resolution, which it did not. The United States invaded Iraq in violation of international law – but more importantly, in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America, Article Six of which is quite clear: When the United States of America enters into a treaty or an international obligation, that's been ratified by two-thirds of the United States Senate, that is the supreme law of the land.
Our troops took an oath to uphold and defend that Constitution and yet they went to war in violation of that Constitution. Ladies and gentlemen, this is about as un-American a war as one can possibly imagine and we must register that fact when we talk about why we're there and where we're going.
I'm not here to defend Saddam Hussein or his regime. I'm not. I'm here to defend the United States of America and our way of life and I'm here to tell you right now that if you support this war, if you support this occupation, you support a process that represents the erosion of what it means to be an American.
You represent a process that legitimizes illegal wiretaps in the name of national security. You represent a process that allows the President of the United States and his administration to deliberately falsify information when presenting it to the Congress of the United States – and I need to remind you that when you lie to the Congress in the conduct of your official duty that, sir, is a felony that constitutes a "high crime." That is what we talk about when we speak of impeachment.”
Karen on 01.09.06 @ 04:03 PM CST