Yet, a few paragraphs before, he quotes Ritter’s boss at the UN agency, “ ‘Oh, no, he wasn’t prescient, I can’t agree with that’ said Richard Butler, who was Ritter’s boss under the United Nations in Iraq. ‘When he was the “Alpha Dog” inspector,’ Butler said, referring to Ritter’s own description of his aggressive tactics, ‘then by God, there were more weapons there, and we had to go find them — a contention for which he had inadequate evidence. When he became a peacenik, then it was all complete B.S., start to finish, and there were no weapons of mass destruction. And that also was a contention for which he had inadequate evidence.’ ” Butler should know the truth, but Bai simply disregards what he says entirely.
Then we have Bai’s strange seeming apologias for Ritter’s repulsive current behavior. Take this line from the article:
It’s not as though Ritter, who is the father of twin 19-year-old daughters, was trolling an adolescent site looking to prey on minors. Nor did he ever hint at meeting with the fictional Emily face to face.
No, he was trolling regular websites looking for minors.
As Bai writes:
In fact, the police in Colonie, N.Y., encountered Ritter twice in 2001 — and quietly arrested him once — after he contacted cops posing as under-age girls in chat rooms. (Ritter was caught using the unsubtle screen name OnExhibit.) In both cases, Ritter agreed to meet the fictional teenagers in the parking lots of fast-food joints, with the intent of masturbating in front of them, only to be confronted by cops when he got there.
Yes, Bai shows he was his own worst enemy. Ritter knows he has only himself to blame for his behavior, and for not taking the years since he was first caught, and justice was lenient with him, to get real help. Now he is going to prison.
But since anyone who wanted to know about Ritter could find the sordid details years ago when they first appeared in print, Bai cites the leftist journalist Mark Crispin Miller, who wrote of the “murky but effective charge of something like attempted pedophilia” in 2003 – what is the purpose of now dredging this up once again?
The answer is rather clear: We are supposed to sigh our collective heads and feel very, very sorry for Scott Ritter, an unsung hero whose personal problems have led him to lose the ability to earn a living, and to go to jail, instead of being praised galore and used as a pundit on CNN.
Chalk up Bai’s article as one more example of the Grey Lady’s continued efforts to get out of prison anyone who was a 60s leftist terrorist or an anti-war person who exposed the would-be lies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The only problem is that if these folks are in prison, their own behavior got them there. We may feel sorry, especially if it is the likes of Ritter who is psychologically damaged, but the politics the editors and writers of the Times approve of and which in this case Ritter holds, is no excuse for the freedom.