Questions, please.

Next Friday Ariontheweb will be interviewing controversial former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter for publication on Vibewire. Ritter has recently published a book, Iraq Confidential, which covers his seven years up to 1998 as a weapons inspector in Iraq. Ritter is a much talked about figure in the US, particularly with his strong stance opposing US involvement in Iraq. There's some interesting material on Ritter here, here, here and here. And some other stuff that I won't be mentioning, here.

Any suggestions for questions to ask?

UPDATE, 5/12, 5:10pm: The interview and has and gone, and went extremely well. In preparing for it, it became clear there were two approaches I could take: I could either try my best to nail Ritter for his possible duplicity and inconsistency, an approach which would make me feel like Bill O'Reilly on speed but lead to Ritter closing up; or I could take a less confrontational approach, drawing out the personal as well as the political and getting beyond the hackneyed debates of the past few years. Unsurprisingly, I took the second approach, a decision that definitely felt like the right one once I met the man, particularly his rippling, marine-trained biceps.

Once the two of us had relaxed and got into the rythym of the discussion, it was fun and constructive, with plenty of quotably quotes and interesting perspectives coming out of it. No smoking guns or world exclusives, but plenty of good material. I'll be writing the piece over the next day or two. Stay tuned.


NahumAyliffe said…
Hmm Ari,

Nice gig! The Wikipedia entry was rather interesting. Is he the first person to so publicly change his stance? Well in the same period, Christopher Hitchens has gone from a bleeding heart pinko to a blood thirsty hawk, so I'd suggest not.

Maybe getting Scott Ritter to engage in a dialogue about the differences between his opinions then and now might be a good start.

We all change our opinion, as you will no doubt be aware Ari! But what's the process? What is the catalyst for change? How does he feel about his previous antithetical statements?

In the US hysteria following the September 11, 2001 attacks, what caused people like Scott Ritter to move toward his viewpoint and what does he think caused people like Hitchens to take on such a Conservative stance.

The same stimuli. Two different thought processes. Two different conclusions. Maybe I'm just sprouting shit..

I'd also like to see what Ritter has to say about the differences between Iraq post 'liberation' and the 'Bad Old Days' of Saddam and the Baath Party.

Has the society changed?
Is it more or less stable?
Are the cultural and religious factions any more or less stable?
Is Civil war a likelihood?
How does he see the situation panning out?
Will the US run out of money, or will they be asked to leave?
Were there ever any weapons at all?

You should probably watch his film as well Ari.
Anonymous said…
The final straw for Christopher Hitchens was when the Iranian Ayatollah issued a fatwah against his close friend Salman Rushdie. I'm not sure what the ealier straws were.

As for Scott Ritter (who I think lost the plot completely), I'm not really interested in what he thinks of Iraq now. It doesn't sound particularly unique. I would be interested to hear what the country was like when he was an inspector.

I guess I'm more fascinated by dictatorships (and the pathological psychologies behind them) rather than what America did wrong this time.

James J. Na said…
Why not ask about how his "film" was financed?

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