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Who’s the Bigger Pervert: Ritter or US?

From Matt Bai’s portrait of the former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, a compulsive public masturbator who is now in prison on morals charges:

What really agonizes Ritter is that Americans seem to care about his forays into chat rooms, or about Michael Jackson’s doctor or the Kardashians’ wedding, but not about the moral crisis that Iraq unleashed on the land. They keep talking to Scott Ritter about justice for what he has done, and yet no one is paying for the larger crimes he believes were perpetrated against the society.

“Everybody who lied about the war got rewarded,” Ritter said. “Because they played the game. Tell the truth about the war, you don’t get rewarded.” He paused. “And then, you know, let’s be frank — you compound it with me shooting myself in the foot on personal, behavioral issues.” An awkward moment passed between us. “I’ll just ask the fundamental question,” Ritter said, looking at me squarely across the table. “My personal missteps — how many Americans have died as a result of that? None. Other than my family, how many victims were there? None. And yet, in refusing to engage in a responsible debate about Iraq, how many Americans died? Thousands. And America seems to have no problem with that.”

It’s clear from this story that Scott Ritter has problems. Big problems. He’s a pervert who has earned his stint in jail. His logic in the above passage is a non sequitur. Boo, Scott Ritter!

Still, it’s interesting to contemplate part of his point here: that no prominent figures who argued for the war in Iraq have suffered for the disaster they visited upon this country. Rick Santorum, a big and unrepentant Iraq War hawk, a senator who voted for the war, is a leading candidate for the GOP nomination. Mitt Romney likes every position on the Iraq War, and has among his elite national security advisors a couple of men — Eliot Cohen and Robert Kagan — who were leading Iraq War proponents among the policy elite. The fact that Iraq isn’t even an issue in the GOP primary race tells you that the American public, or at least GOP voters, aren’t interested in learning any lessons from the Iraq debacle.

Again, none of this has anything to do with why Scott Ritter is in jail. But yeah, the jailed masturbator is right: America seems to have no problem with allowing the US foreign policy, military, and intellectual elite who led the country into this disaster to get away with it. Which, if you think about it, is truly perverse.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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