08/02/08 “Cleveland Jewish News” — – The former chief United Nations weapons inspector and a retired Middle East diplomat recently warned that America was heading straight toward imminent war with Iran.
And while both talked about wrong-headed U.S. policy in Iraq and Iran, they also criticized Israel for its role.
Scott Ritter, UN weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, and Edward Peck, onetime chief of mission in Baghdad and former ambassador to Mauritania, spoke recently at a forum sponsored by Cleveland Peace Action Now and Trinity Cathedral. Before the event, this reporter and a journalist from The Plain Dealer talked to Ritter and Peck.
The White House is using outright fabrications and exaggerations to persuade the American public that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program, Ritter and Peck claimed. The ultimate goal, they said, is overthrow of Iran’s Islamic theocracy.
Just as he did with Iraq, President Bush is falsely positioning Iran as a threat to U.S. national security and a leading sponsor of terrorism, contended Ritter, a 12-year Marine veteran who spent four years in Israel as lead liaison between the UN and the Jewish state on the issues of Iraq and nuclear weapons.
By demonizing Iran and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bush is repeating the failed policy used against Saddam Hussein in Iraq, said Ritter, 46, who resigned under pressure from his UN post in 1998. Ritter claimed he was punished for criticizing the White House’s handling of Saddam Hussein. Allegations that he spied for Israel were ultimately dropped following an FBI investigation.
There is an 80% chance of war with Iran, probably in March or April, insisted the impassioned Ritter, who was last in Iran in September 2005. A second window of opportunity for an air assault opens in October or November, he added.
Ritter has been making this prediction of war with Iran for at least three years. Internet research turned up a similar forecast he made in April 2005, insisting an aerial attack on Iran was likely that June.
Israel, according to his 2006 book, is largely responsible for the coming military action. The Jewish Daily Forward reported that in Ritter’s Target Iran: The Truth About the White House’s Plan for Regime Change, the antiwar activist writes: “Let there be no doubt. If there is an American war with Iran, it is a war that was made in Israel and nowhere else.”