UNITED NATIONS - Former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter released a new book, accusing President Bush of illegally attacking Iraq and calling for "regime change" in the United States at the next election.
Ritter criticized key figures caught up in the U.S.-led war at Monday's U.N. news conference. He said Bush lied to the American people and Congress about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction; U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan lacked courage; former chief weapons inspector Hans Blix was "a moral and intellectual coward."
Time has shown that the United Nations did a good job disarming Iraq while President Bush went to war based on 'a lie,' former U.N. arms inspector Scott Ritter told U.N. reporters July 14, 2003. Ritter, shown at a Nov. 20, 2002 news conference, said Washington had never meant to let U.N. inspectors finish the task of disarming Iraq, as assigned to them by the 15-nation Security Council. (Vincent Kessler/Reuters)
Ritter, a former U.S. Marine, was a weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998. He has been a vocal critical of the Bush administration's policy on Iraq.
Ritter said he wrote "Frontier Justice, Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Bushwacking of America" to educate people. The 209-page paperback, published by Context Books, has on its cover a picture of Bush in jeans and a cowboy hat, behind the wheel of a truck.
In the book, Ritter notes that the Bush administration's stated reason for launching the war was to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. The book argues that there is no evidence that Iraq possesses, produces or concealed nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. Therefore, Ritter argues that "the United States carried out an illegal war of aggression."
Bush, responding Monday to similar charges about the lack of evidence of illegal Iraqi weapons, insisted: "When it's all said and done, the people of the United States and the world will realize that Saddam Hussein had a weapons program."
Ritter said Bush's real goal was to get rid of Saddam Hussein's regime. "What is needed in America is regime change," Ritter writes. "Anything but Bush and (Vice President Dick) Cheney."
At the news conference, Ritter accused France and Germany of failing to get a Security Council or General Assembly resolution calling the war illegal and demanding a U.S. withdrawal.
Ritter had kind words for Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. He said ElBaradei was "much more honest" than Blix about appraising Iraq's nuclear weapons and the threat they posed.
Copyright 2003 The Associated Press