Thursday, October 04, 2007

308. Ritter's Quiz

Scott Ritter, an intelligence specialist with a 12-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps, joined the United Nations weapons inspections team, or UNSCOM in 1991. He participated in 34 inspection missions in Iraq, 14 of them as chief inspector. Ritter resigned from UNSCOM in August 1998, citing US interference in the work of the inspections. Since then he has become a vociferous and outspoken critic of US Middle East policy, in particular the "selling" of the Second Iraq War to the American public. Recently he has been trying to warn that similar falsifications and misrepresentations will be employed by the Bush administration to justify an assault on Iran. Two of the main themes in his articles and public appearances are that the American public does not understand its own Constitution and has allowed the current administration to undermine it seriously if not fatally under the rubric of the Global War on Terror, and that the US public has little if any understanding (or interest) in the historical tensions that have been causing a rise in fundamentalism within the world of Islam.

Ritter writes:

The task of holding Congress to account is a daunting one, and can be accomplished only if the citizenry that forms the respective constituencies of our ignorant congressional representatives are themselves able to operate at an intellectual capacity above that of those they are holding to account. So rather than issue “pop quizzes” to our elected representatives, I’ve designed one for us, the people. If the reader can fully answer the question raised, then he or she qualifies as one capable of pointing an accusatory finger at Congress as its members dither over what to do in Iraq. If the reader fails the quiz, then there should be an honest appraisal of the reality that we are in way over our heads regarding this war, and that it is irresponsible for anyone to make sweeping judgments about the ramifications of policy courses of action yet to be agreed upon. Claiming to be able to divine a solution to a problem improperly defined is not only ignorant but dangerously delusional.

So here is the quiz: Explain the relationship between the Iraqi cities of Karbala and Baghdad as they impact the coexistence of Iraq’s Shiite and Sunni populations.

Most respondents who have a basic understanding of Iraq will answer that Karbala is a city of significance to Iraq’s Shiite population. Baghdad is Iraq’s capital, with a mixed Sunni and Shiite population. If that is your answer, you fail.

Click here to read the rest of Ritter's article "Calling Out Idiot America"