Scott Ritter, a former senior UN weapons inspector in Iraq, has addressed
a special session of the Iraqi National Assembly's Arab and Foreign Relations
Committee in Baghdad.
The following are excerpts from his speech, which was carried by Iraqi Satellite
"I understand that I appear before you today not only as the first American citizen to address your body, but also as the first non-governmental speaker as well. And I thank you for providing me with this opportunity..."
"My country seems on the verge of making an historic mistake, one that will forever change the political dynamic which has governed the world since the end of the Second World War; namely, the foundation of international law as set forth in the United Nations Charter, which calls for the peaceful resolution of problems between nations...
I feel I cannot stand by idly, while my country behaves in such a fashion
"As someone who counts himself as a fervent patriot and a good citizen of the United States of America, I feel I cannot stand by idly, while my country behaves in such a fashion...
"A case for war"
"My government is making a case for war against Iraq that is built upon fear and ignorance, as opposed to the reality of truth and fact.
"We, the people of the United States, are told repeatedly that we face a grave and imminent risk to our national security from a combination of past irresponsible behaviour on the part of Iraq and ongoing efforts by Iraq to re-acquire chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic weapons ... which have been banned since 1991 by a Security Council resolution...
"The truth of the matter is that Iraq is not a sponsor of the kind of terror perpetrated against the United States on 11 September, and in fact is active in suppressing the sort of fundamentalist extremism that characterises those who attacked the United States on that horrible day.
Mr Ritter is 40-years-old
"This is the truth, and once the American people become familiar with and accept this truth, the politics of fear will be defeated and the prospect of war between our two countries greatly diminished...
"The truth of the matter is that Iraq today is not a threat to its neighbours and is not acting in a manner which threatens anyone outside of its own borders.
When speaking of international law as set forth by the United Nations Charter, it is impossible to come up with any scenario today that would justify military action against Iraq based upon its current behaviour.
Iraq has not been shown to possess weapons of mass destruction
"The truth of the matter is that Iraq has not been shown to possess weapons of mass destruction, either in terms of having retained prohibited capability from the past, or by seeking to re-acquire such capability today...
"Iraq, during nearly seven years of continuous inspection activity by the United Nations, had been certified as being disarmed to a 90-95% level - a figure which includes all the factories used by Iraq to produce weapons of mass destruction, together with the associated production equipment, as well as the vast majority of the products produced by these factories...
"Iraq must loudly reject any intention of possessing these weapons and then work within the framework of international law to demonstrate this a reality.
The only way that Iraq can achieve this is with the unconditional return of
UN weapons inspectors, allowing such inspectors unfettered access to sites inside
Iraq in order to complete the disarmament tasks as set forth in Security Council
© 2002 BBC