Speech of Scott Ritter at London demonstration 28 September 2002

transcript checked by Stephen Hewitt

Below is a transcript of the speech made by Scott Ritter in Hyde Park, London, England on 28th September 2002. Ritter was a UN weapons inspector in Iraq.

The transcript was copied from http://dc.indymedia.org//front.php3?article_id=32918&group=webcast and checked against the MP3 recording by muzikin on the Stop the War website. This recording is at http://www.stopwar.org.uk/audio/iraqseptdemo/ScottRitter.mp3 This and recordings of the other speakers are available from the following page (the links are near the bottom of the page at the time of writing this, 22 Feb 2003) http://www.stopwar.org.uk/press.asp

There is one sentence which is inaudible on this recording, and one or two places where Ritter has accidentally repeated a word and the repetition does not appear in the transcript.

Scott Ritter:

First of all, I want to commend you for being here today. We are on the verge of engaging in a military action against Iraq. The president of the United States has war plans on his desk that speak of sending a 100,000 or 200,000 American troops out to fight, to kill and be killed in Iraq. And yet here today we have a crowd four times that size, an army of peace, democracies divisions, waging peace, rejecting war. Thank you for being here.

Now people have asked me why am I here today, and the answer is simple - I am an American. I stand for what America stands for. America is a nation of laws, laws that are set forth in the Constitution which founded my great country and I reject the policies that George W. Bush is pursuing wholeheartedly.

Now what purpose do I see by being here today? I would like to send two messages. The first message is to Prime Minister Tony Blair in response to his dossier regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Mr Blair, I too share your concern about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, because I know more than you what Iraq had and what has been accomplished in the field of disarmament.

I know that, while we did not account for everything in regards to Iraq's weapons and there still things to be done in the field of disarmament, that weapons inspections do work, can work and will work if allowed to go back into Iraq unfettered by manipulation of the United States and Great Britain. I do know that there's a job to be done, I am not giving Iraq a clean bill of health, they have not yet earned it, they must do so and they say that they will hold themselves fully accountable to the rule of law as set forth by the Security Council and I for one am in favour of making Saddam keep his promise. But we too have a promise that we must keep, a promise of running a clean investigation free of the corruption of American influence that seeks to remove Saddam Hussein, not disarm Saddam Hussein.

So Mr Blair, while I commend you for publishing this document and reinforcing the concerns that I and many others have about unresolved issues, I say this to you, this document is not a case for war, this document is not worth one drop of blood from an American soldier, a British soldier or an Iraqi civilian. That is my message to Prime Minister Tony Blair and his government.

Now I have a message, a second message I would like to send to President George W. Bush, but first of all I need to say something. For those of you out there who are leading the chants of "down, down, USA", shame on you. Shame on you. [Clarion: In the recording no such chants were audible before Ritter said this. After he said it, it sounds as though a group in the distance started to so chant. But they were completely overwhelmed by the subsequent applause] This is an argument between you and the administration of George W. Bush, not between you and the American people. The American people are a law abiding people, the American people are a good people and the American people CAN be your allies if you let them. The first thing that has to occur is that you have to motivate the people of America and you are doing so today with this demonstration of democracy. You need to empower the people of America to confront the policies of George W. Bush, because the policies of George W. Bush are inherently un-American.

We have a saying in the United States, it's a saying that "friends don't let friends drive drunk". Ladies and gentlemen, we have an alcoholic at the wheel of American foreign policy, named George W. Bush, and we the people of the United States of America need your assistance to reach in, grab the keys from the ignition and say no, we will not allow you to drive the vehicle of international peace and security over the cliff of war. Thank you very much for being here today. Thank you.