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Target Iran: The Truth About the White House's Plans for Regime Change

de Scott Ritter

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592355,763 (4.63)1 / 3
In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Scott Ritter's War on Iraq was embraced by the antiwar movement in America even though his claims that Iraq had been effectively disarmed were ignored by both the Bush administration and the mainstream media. In the wake of the debacle, Ritter has been vindicated. Now Ritter, a former United Nations weapons inspector, has set his sights on the White House's hyping of Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program. In Target Iran he once again sets the record straight. This book offers Ritter's "national intelligence assessment" of the Iranian imbroglio. He examines the Bush administration's regime-change policy and the potential of Iran to threaten U.S. national security interests. The author also considers how the country is seen by other interested parties, including the United Kingdom (Tony Blair may once again be called upon by Bush to provide an international "cover" in any confrontation), Israel (the Israelis view Iran as their number one threat today), and the International Atomic Energy Agency (responsible for inspecting the alleged nuclear program).… (mais)
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As a U.S. Marine officer in the Gulf War, Ritter served as a ballistic missile advisor to General H. Norman Schwarzkopf and then became a high-up UN weapons inspector in Iraq until 1998. Now he is a vociferous, controversial critic of the Bush II administration and the Iraq War. In his latest expose, Ritter trains his inspector's eyes on Iran, meticulously analyzing the rhetoric about Tehran beginning with the first Bush presidency when Dick Cheney was secretary of defense, then skeptically parsing the protracted, politically tangled wrangling over Iran's nuclear program, and vehemently objecting to what he sees as excessive American alignment with Israel. The most interesting figure to emerge from Ritter's flinty yet invaluable inquiry is John Bolton, current U.S. ambassador to the UN and a neo-con instrumental in pushing for regime changes in the Middle East "at any cost." In closing, Ritter offers shrewd observations about why things have cooled off regarding Iran as the midterm elections loom and cautions that war with Iran would be catastrophic and must be averted. Donna Seaman ( )
  addict | Nov 3, 2006 |
Although this is a book about Iran, Ritter’s perspective was clearly formed from his personal experience in Iraq. From 1991 to 1998 Ritter headed the weapons inspection team that disarmed Iraq after the Gulf War. We now know that Ritter’s team was completely successful, but paradoxically it was the success of disarmament that was the greatest threat to U.S. policy toward Iraq. The peace agreement that ended the gulf war laid out a series of obligations incumbent on Saddam Hussein, including disarmament. In theory, if he met these obligations international relations with Iraq would be normalized. However, it is clear that the U.S. government, whether under Clinton or Bush, never intended to normalize relations with Iraq as long as Hussein was in power. This creates a serious problem for weapons inspectors operating in an international environment dominated by U.S. power: they are only useful to U.S. policy when they show that the hated regime is failing to disarm. Failure is success and success is failure. Ritter experienced this personally when he was ordered out of Iraq in 1998 as Clinton launched the Operation Desert Fox bombing campaign against supposed WMD sites that Ritter knew had been eliminated. Inspectors were then kept out of Iraq until the run up to the current Iraq War when Bush, with a great surrealism, demanded that Hussein turn over his weapons; weapons which did not exist.
In “Target Iran” Ritter argues that the same process, leading to forceful regime change based on the impossible demand to halt a non-existent weapons program, is now on going in Iran. Ritter presents a blow-by-blow history of nuclear diplomacy and weapons inspections in Iran. The chief protagonist is Mohammad El-Baradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), charged with assessing compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). El-Baradei is caught between the Iranian demand for a domestic nuclear power program, as allowed under the NTP, and the refusal of the United States and Israel to countenance an Iran capable of uranium enrichment (an integral part of such a nuclear energy program, but also potentially part of a weapons program). Iran is by no means portrayed as squeaky clean. Ritter cites multiple instances of Iran failing to report portions of both their enrichment activity and their trade in nuclear materials. However, the overall impression is that as long as the IAEA was able to hold out the hope of eventual certification that Iran’s nuclear program was peaceful, and as long as Europe was holding out the carrot of technical and trade assistance when that occurred, Iran was increasingly open and cooperative. However, the more successful the IAEA and El-Barredei were at providing a transparent accounting of Iran’s program, the more the US and Israel upped the rhetoric and attempted to push the issue into the UN Security Council where sanctions and threats of force could be enacted. [We now have reached this stage. Ritter’s prediction when I heard him speak is that the US administration will attempt to use security council inaction as an excuse to go it alone.]
Likely to be particularly controversial is Ritter’s attempt to explain the reason for US interest in Iran, which essentially boils down to Israel. This is the subject of the first chapter and I won’t attempt to summarize it here. However, I will say that Ritter is convincing in his claim that he harbors no ill will toward Israel, only toward some of the actions of its government, but I am suspicious of arguments that Israeli policy needs are driving the US government. I tend to see the relationship as more complex but essentially mutual.
One last note. I was rather disappointed that Ritter chose to forgo referencing in this work. His explanation is that his claims can for the most part be checked in publicly available accounts and that he did not wish to highlight the small amount of information provided directly by confidential sources by having them as the only unreferenced claims. I don’t find this entirely convincing, and oddly several times in the text Ritter prefaced a claim with something like, based on the account of an informed source, which seems to do precisely what he claimed to be avoiding. Bottom line is that the book would have been more useful with references for all of the typical reasons. ( )
  eromsted | Oct 26, 2006 |
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In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Scott Ritter's War on Iraq was embraced by the antiwar movement in America even though his claims that Iraq had been effectively disarmed were ignored by both the Bush administration and the mainstream media. In the wake of the debacle, Ritter has been vindicated. Now Ritter, a former United Nations weapons inspector, has set his sights on the White House's hyping of Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program. In Target Iran he once again sets the record straight. This book offers Ritter's "national intelligence assessment" of the Iranian imbroglio. He examines the Bush administration's regime-change policy and the potential of Iran to threaten U.S. national security interests. The author also considers how the country is seen by other interested parties, including the United Kingdom (Tony Blair may once again be called upon by Bush to provide an international "cover" in any confrontation), Israel (the Israelis view Iran as their number one threat today), and the International Atomic Energy Agency (responsible for inspecting the alleged nuclear program).

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