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93 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars American Militarism on steroids
Scott Ritter and Seymour Hersh have made at least two appearances at The New York Society for Ethical Culture in the past year to discuss US foreign policy issues concerning Iraq and more recently Iran. The October 16, 2006 appearance covered the issues of Mr. Ritter's current book Target Iran. Transcripts and podcasts are available.

It is Mr. Ritter's...
Published on October 29, 2006 by Tony Smith

versus
2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The story still goes on!
This book has many merits and is surely the best you can find if you are looking for a good overview of the Iranian nuclear issue up to the end of 2006. Included is the critical role of Israel, the US policy toward Tehran, the IAEA efforts (and some of its techniques) and many more. The problem is that the story is still going on and none knows how (and when) it will end...
Published on August 28, 2007 by Dimitrios


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93 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars American Militarism on steroids, October 29, 2006
By 
Tony Smith (Jefferson City, MO USA) - See all my reviews
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Scott Ritter and Seymour Hersh have made at least two appearances at The New York Society for Ethical Culture in the past year to discuss US foreign policy issues concerning Iraq and more recently Iran. The October 16, 2006 appearance covered the issues of Mr. Ritter's current book Target Iran. Transcripts and podcasts are available.

It is Mr. Ritter's contention that the Busch administration's primary tool of foreign policy is that of regime change. Any efforts by those nations that are so targeted to engage us in diplomacy have and will be rebuffed. This administration will not talk to those it considers it's enemies. This has been challenged in the media by the James Baker group, but it remains to be seen if they will effect any changes.

Target Iran, according to Mr. Ritter, in based on press coverage in the Middle East and private confirmation of those stories by members of our intelligence community. The story is that America is already working inside Iran with dissidents to identify targets. We are also said to be negotiating the details of staging areas for our base of attack for this widening of the Middle East war. Once that is completed, this administration intends to attack.

The public is and will be sold the same scenario in which (ala Downing Street memo), the facts will be fixed around the policy.

Why will this happen? One element is the influence of Israel. Iran is perceived, and not incorrectly, as a major threat to Israel. But Ritter makes the point that Israeli and American interests are not identical. After the recent events in Southern Lebanon, watching our congress and our administration give their complete support to whatever Israel was going to do, it's hard to see much separation.

Whatever the threat to us from Iran, Mr. Ritter says it's very much overblown at this point and should not lead to war. Iran, according to Ritter, approached this administration several years ago to normalize relations and limit it's nuclear research. They were rebuffed. Mr. Busch can only visualize regime change.

If this goes forward as Mr. Hersh and Ritter both seem to think is inevitable, what are the chances of success? According to these gentlemen, the results will be utter catastrophe. Iran will immediately shut off the oil spigot. Venezuela will create a hemispheric crisis by acting in sympathy and fail to honor their US contracts. US troops in Iraq will be under attack by the Shia and possibly because of a religious fatwa in response to our attack. Iranian missiles will be directed against the Saudi oil fields to further disrupt the world markets. The world economy will be plunged into a massive recession. This could lead to a ground invasion of US troops most likely from Uzbekistan that could easily turn into a trap. Our ground troops are seriously depleted and under equipped at this point already. Here is where Ritter says this administration could use field grade nuclear weapons to break the back of Iran. He thinks this is the ultimate deal breaker because it absolutely assures us that radical Arabs will find a way over time to deliver a nuclear bomb to an American city.

These scenarios seem outlandish, except there are so many radical Republican sources cheering on war with Iran, that one cannot expect this administration to not once again respond with a military solution as the first order of business. Of course, they visualize success not the failure predicted by Ritter.

The massive failure of our government during Katrina and the fiasco in Iraq are both symptoms of the same problems in the Busch administration. What if war with Iran leads to the doomsday scenario that Ritter and Hersh talk about. This book is a sober assessment of these issues and should be read widely by the public.

The potential of a Democratic House of Representatives in the near future will not change the scenario described by Ritter. American militarism is ascendant. As Ritter says, if the war in Iraq were going well, the public would be very satisfied. The fact that the war is against all tenets of international law and was an immoral act on our part is not something that most of us seem to worry about. Too many Democrats only talk about running a competent war.
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64 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Negotiation versus Regime Change, October 19, 2006
By 
R. E Westgard "Viking" (Bay Lake & St Paul, MN USA) - See all my reviews
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Scott Ritter provides chapter and verse on how conflict with the Axis of Evil nations could have been avoided with direct negotiation. The mullahs of Iran sought to negotiate with everything on the table, including nuclear weapons and a treaty with Israel. North Korea still wants direct negotiations. So did Saddam. We don't negotiate with regimes we want to remove. Bush prefers to "take them out" no matter how many Americans die.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A provocative critique of the Bush administration policy toward Iran., January 4, 2007
By 
Richard Hodgman (Kalamazoo, Michigan USA) - See all my reviews
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Scott Ritter speaks from the perspective of a person who has wide knowledge of military and nuclear issues as well as a US Marine with combat experience. He is obviously well versed in nuclear technology and reveals a wide depth of scientific expertise plus knowledge in the many aspects of modern world diplomacy. In the first Gulf War he risked his life doing reconnaissance missions over Iraq for the U.S. military to pinpoint Scud missile sites that were attacking Israel. After that war he spent several years as a UN arms inspector and helped unearth and neutralize the secret military arsenal of Saddam Hussein, including a surprisingly advanced nuclear weapons program. Ritter is a man of unquestioned patriotism and loyalty to his country. He has much to say that we all urgently need to hear.

This detail packed book, which strikes me as even-handed and objective, begins in the early 1990s and follows more or less chronologically the U.S. relationship with the government of Iran. It describes in depth how the U.S. administrations of Clinton and then Bush have descended into increasing states of distrust of Iran as it has become obvious that the development of nuclear technology is an urgent priority for that country, particularly as the finite limits of future oil production are becoming visible. It rightly points out the hypocrisy of the U.S. position in this matter since the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to which Iran is a signatory specifically stipulates the legitimate rights of nations to pursue the development of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. In fact the entire flaw in the post WWII nuclear conundrum is the near impossibility to discern a separation between peaceful nuclear activities and military applications.

The book takes us through the arcane details of the inspection process as it has evolved under the direction of the chief of the IAEA, Mohammed el Baradei, and the increasingly complex and often confrontational relationship between the Iranian regime, the Bush administration, and the often awkward role played by the EU3 (Britain, Germany, France), Russia, and China in attempting to formulate a UN policy to deal with an issue that is perceived widely differently by these various parties. The U.S.-Iran relationship has taken a number of forms but the underlying premise on the part of the current U.S. government is regime change, though never acknowledged in these specific terms. It is strongly justified in our most recent National Security Strategy statement of March 2006. And always just below the surface is the powerful influence of Israel and the "Israel Lobby" on U.S. policy.

The Bush administration has used various forms of subterfuge to try to convince the world of an Iranian program to build nuclear weapons although proof of this is lacking as Ritter painstakingly documents. This then becomes justification for preemptive military action that our neoconservative leadership is pushing for, while they tell us that U.S. aims in this matter are peaceful. It is apparent that Iran is being asked to prove a negative here, much like Saddam Hussein was prior to our invasion of Iraq. This has been further aggravated by Bush's recess appointment of the confrontational John Bolton as our representative to the UN. Our Iraq debacle is very possibly on the verge of being repeated in Iran and Scott Ritter is on a crusade to inform the American people of what is happening before it is too late, and the tragedy that awaits us if we give in to the neoconservative plans to overthrow the government of Iran by military force.

Toward the end of the book Ritter takes off the gloves and confronts the danger of conflating the interests of the U.S. with those of Israel. In his final chapter he spells it out and it is a powerful message. This is really the meat and potatoes of the book. Ritter details in horrifying yet convincing style just what will happen if the U.S. succumbs to Israeli pressure and mounts military action against Iran. It would jeopardize the very foundations of our civil society and economy. You have to read the book because I can't do justice to the compelling arguments this highly qualified and passionate expert makes. This is really so important that I want to downplay one obvious flaw of the book. It is literally filled with typographical and grammatical errors. At one point, for example, a page says Iraq when the author undoubtedly meant Iran. On another page it describes an event in 2005 which obviously occurred in 2004. I believe the Nation Books rushed this volume into print because of the urgency of the message and it needs another visit to the editors to clear up these flaws. However, this in no way compromises the essential content of the book.

A further point is in order here. Any public utterance that criticizes Israel risks the wrath of many Jewish people and the label of anti-Semitism. I agree with Scott Ritter that Israel has far more to lose by pursuing a military solution to her differences with the Islamic world than by the rational use of diplomacy. Israel is unique and deserves American guarantees of protection. Scott Ritter has no argument with this.

This is a book that cries out to a complacent and uninformed American public. It needs to be read widely.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Critical Piece of the Puzzle, Not the Whole Picture, December 27, 2006
Scott Ritter was proven correct about Iraq not having weapons of mass destruction, and this alone demands our respectful attention to his views of the foolishness of attacking Iran.

There are other reviews of the substance of this book that are excellent, so here I just wish to contribute three supporting observations:

1) Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror by LtGen Thomas McInerney and MajGen Paul Vallely, was published in 2004 and lays out the complete plan for US military domination of the Middle East, with Iran following Iraq, and then Syria etcetera. As lunatic as the plan may be (see my review for more details) it is a plan that will be carried out as long as Dick Cheney remains Vice President and George Bush Junior remains a fool who is clearly in way over his head.

2) Howard Bloom, who understood the coming Sunni versus Shi'ite world war for the soul of Islam, writing about it in The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History, now warns of a likely Iranian masterplan that first used Ahmed Chalabi to lure the American neo-cons into Iraq, and now has lured four carriers, two strike groups and an amphibious group within range of the supersonic Sunburn missile that carried a nuclear warhead, can explode a carrier, and travel at 3.0 Mach straight line, or 2.2 Mach when zig-zagging.

3) In addition to Scott Ritter's excellent analysis of how Iran can turn off the oil supply in Iran, portions of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and Kuwait, it is helpful to consider the extreme vulnerability of the US land supply route from Kuwait to Baghdad. A slide by Webster Tarpley showing this vulnerability is posted above.

Ritter gets a lot of respect from me--his integrity took him from a relatively minor position as a Marine Corps field grade officer, and elevated him to the role of speaker of truth for the public. I think he is right--the US will attack Iran, ostensibly in support of Israel--and this will be the greatest disaster of the 21st century, setting off a true world war between Sunni and Shi'ite in which the Christians are the "collateral damage" while the Jews experience a new form of genocide. I just shake my head, feeling helpless, wondering what it takes to get Scott Ritter's important knowledge in front of Congress.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but read the conclusion first., February 8, 2007
By 
Reader (San Diego, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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READ THE CONCLUSION AND POSTSCRIPT FIRST.

This is a very important book. Based on its rank in Amazon sales (in the 4000s or so), it's being purchased by quite a few people.

But there are only ten (ten) Amazon reviews. Only ten reviews of a book that gives authoritative, on-the-ground facts about Iran's nuclear capabilities.

Why so few Amazon reviews? Here's our guess. Readers get totally bogged down in the minutiae of weapons inspection, of Mossad spy disinformation, of EU vacillation, of the UN teetering on a Security Council resolution . . ..

But who reads the entire book? It's a total drudge read until you get to the CONCLUSION and POSTSCRIPT on pages 197-219. Those 22 pages tell the whole story.

We strongly recommend that you read these pages first. After you read the Conclusion and Postscript, then go back and read the knowledgeable detail in the first 196 pages. This is a great book, showing what's actually gone on, step by step, in the inspections done by Mohammed EI Baradei, IAEA Director, and his team.

The Iranians are nowhere close to having nuclear capabilities.

This is the conclusion of Scott Ritter, one of the men who took part in the Iraqi inspections, announced that Saddam had NO "weapons of mass destruction," and was completely ignored by a war-hungry Bush administration. And Scott Ritter was completely right. We went to war with Iraq for NO REASON AT ALL.

So, read the conclusion and the postscript first. Here he says with admirable clarity what others are saying--including Stephen Walt and John Mearsherimer (book forthcoming), James Petras, and Jimmy Carter.

We need to take back our country.

Israel and America are two separate countries. Iran is no danger to the US. It's Israel's problem (if it is a threat, which evidently it is not), but, as Ritter says, "Once again [as in Iraq], the world finds itself on the brink of another Middle East war in which the United States is using trumped-up charges centered around false threats of weapons of mass destruction. . ." ( p, 201) As Ritter shows, all these false threats are being orchestrated by Israel and its friends in the United States.

Israel itself has a formidable nuclear arsenal, uninspected by anybody--IAEA in particular. And they are not even members of the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty).

Ritter acknowledges Israel's feelings of paranoia, but points out that in this case those feelings will lead to its own destruction.

And what about the United States? What could be the outcome for the US of such a war? This is the most disturbing part of the book. Anyone who is familiar with the location of Iran knows that they are strategically placed to stop the flow of a great deal of the oil that reaches the West. Result? Our economy would grind to a miserable slowdown when the price of oil goes to $150-200 a barrel. Other results, equally horrifying, are described by Ritter.

Scott Ritter is a patriot who knows what he is talking about. He has all the credentials to be credible. We had better listen to him.

We'd better listen to him soon.

The word is out that an attack is being planned for this spring. Let's hope it's not true.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary Stuff, November 10, 2006
By 
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A must read. A possible next target for the US or Israel (check today's news). Let's

hope our new Congress is able to make the right decision,after getting the best unbiased

intelligence. They should make sure Scott Ritter (who was very accurate on Iraq. He;s

not as knowledgeable on Iran-but who is) is thoroughly involved in their discussions.

Before any military action,strenuous efforts at real diplomacy with all the players

in the region are essential.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Most Important Reading, January 9, 2007
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Scott Ritter has detailed all the details from the Gulf War to the present threat of war on Iran. It is a very important reading, for it provides a thorough expose of all the players, and the events taking place behind the scenes.

Ritter can be counted upon for telling the truth. His background in the military and position as a prior weapons inspector provide him with the personal knowledge. His integrity and caring support this background as evidenced in Target Iran.

I highly recommend this book.

Sharon G. Mijares, Ph.D. Primary Author: The Root of All Evil: An Exposition of Prejudice, Fundamentalism and Gender Imbalance
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Important work, but proofreading would have helped, December 4, 2006
By 
eab (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
Scott Ritter's book on Iraq was a two-for-one special: an accurate assessment of Iraq's WMDs (none), and an accurate prediction of the mess we'd face if we ignored his advice. For that reason alone, this book bears reading too, but -- my goodness -- can't Ritter afford to hire someone to proofread his work? There are several hundred typos and many very basic grammatical errors. I'm not finicky, but at some point one wonders whether he devoted the same careless thought to the subject matter as obviously he did to its presentation.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read, June 9, 2007
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The subject matter is of increasing importance for Americans and the world. Mr. Ritter once again lays open the myths that surround another nation that is very misunderstood by the U.S. government and the people. As the U.S. moves closer and closer to a possible confrontation with Iran this book becomes increasingly important for Americans to be able to equip themselves with the facts so they can see through the rhetoric that is put forth by an increasingly hostile administration.

It is essential that we are not caught ignorant once again while this administration leads this country into another blunder in the Middle East. Mr. Ritter does an excellent job laying out what the international community has done to confront Iran's intransigence, and how the U.S. has hindered and complicated matters behind the scenes and publicly. His message once again seems prescient hopefully this time his warnings will be heeded, but the only way that will happen is if American's acquaint themselves with the facts so they won't succumb to the fear tactics yet again.

The main criticisms I have with this book is its choppy narrative and the lack of sources noted. The narrative seems to bounce around a lot which can be a little confusing at times. The lack of noting his sources becomes problematic when discussing the book or the issue because you can't point to Mr. Ritter's source and say that's where he gets his information. Mr. Ritter's earlier works gives him the credibility needed to pull this off, but for those that are die hard interventionists it would have helped to be able to see the sources.

These are the reasons I could not give this book five stars, but the importance of the subject makes this book a must read. I would certainly recommend this book to everyone.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!!, February 7, 2007
While the country debates the troop "surge" the administration and its Israeli "Ally" plan the next war right under our noses. Too bad there is such little discussion of this in the mainstream press.

Ritter's book is well written and authoratative.
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Target Iran: The Truth About the White House's Plans for Regime Change
Target Iran: The Truth About the White House's Plans for Regime Change by Scott Ritter (Paperback - September 28, 2007)
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