Northern Valley Beacon

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Monday, October 24, 2005


Best chance in Iraq: "mitigated failure"

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh and former U.N. chief weapons inspector Scott Ritter have a grim outlook on what our best chances are to survive Iraq. Ritter, a former Marine captain who participated in more than 50 inspection missions to monitor weapons in Iraq, says the only way we can avoid perpetual war is to accept "mitigated failure." That means accepting the fact that there is no way we can win the war in Iraq, but need to begin an extrication process that saves the lives of our troops and leaves some chance for diplomacy to start up again in our Middle East relations.

Ritter and Hersh, both authors of books on Iraq, exchanged views at a discussion covered by C-Span2.

Both men refuted the often-advanced contention that we were duped into the war on Iraq by the reports that the country concealed weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein maintained links with Al Qaida. We have long insisted that those reports were suspect at the time they were made, because people who had been on the ground and reporting on Iraq made reports to the contrary. The failure of Congress, the media, and the American people to confront the real evidence and ask the pertinent questions are all factors in our demise in Iraq, says Ritter. He says every Congressman who voted for the war, even if they believed the WMD stories, should be voted out of office.

Hersh emphasizes that Americans still are not getting the true story of what our bombings in Iraq are doing to civilians, what they are doing to build up the insurgency against us, and how we have destroyed our credibility and working relationships with allies.

We, too, wonder if Americans will ever desire to face hard facts again and if they have what it takes to do so. They seem to prefer Big Brother Bush, no matter how incompetent.

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