Scott Ritter, who has made

Scott Ritter, who has made a lucrative career out of his formerly-obscure position as a U.N. weapons inspector, sounds off again. Ritter’s faith in Saddam Hussein and inspections is touching, sort of, but a little hard to make any sense of. He says that war is now inevitable: “We’re going to war, and there’s not a damn thing the inspectors can do to stop it….” This is “a shame,” because “inspections worked once and they can work again.” We’ll, let’s consider that. However well inspections may or may not have been working up until 1998, they certainly stopped working at that point because Saddam kicked out the inspectors, including Ritter. Saddam was able to do this because there was no credible threat of force backing up the inspection regime. So for the last four years, inspections have certainly not been “working,” since they haven’t taken place. Now inspections will be resumed. Why? Because of President Bush’s credible threat of force. Inspections may or may not work now, but if they do, it will be because President Bush forced Saddam’s hand, not because of ineffectual wailing by left-wingers like Ritter–who, for all of his professed devotion to inspections, was completely silent about their four-year cessation, and began his public complaints only when President Bush started pressing for their resumption. Whose side, exactly, is he on?

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