A Cautious Man
October 17, 2005
 
If there’s something you need
That you just don’t have
Well just don’t sit there
Feeling bad

Okay, so I haven't posted a lot, lately. I've thought of a lot of clever, insightful, and interesting things to say (trust me on this), but I just haven't put fingers to keyboard that much.

So, today, I was chided by not one, but two different people, about the fact that if I have something to say, I better get up and say it. One told me directly, both electronically and in person. The other didn't say it to me personally, but told those of us who attended his talk this evening about the importance of getting up and speaking out.

The first is the Curmudgeon, whose reappearance I noted in my last post. That would be, that last post I made nearly three weeks ago. So, maybe he had a point when he visited the comments section of that last post and wrote: "What - I'm back, so you've taken a powder?" He repeated his chiding in person this evening, when we both attended a talk in our town, by Scott Ritter. That's the same Scott Ritter who was described as follows in a Time Magazine profile in September of 2002 (remember 'way back then?) -

Never mind the naysaying European heads of state, the anxious Arab leaders or the skeptical senators — the unkindest challenge to President Bush's plans to take out Saddam Hussein this week came from erstwhile true-blue American hero Scott Ritter. Familiar to Americans as the rock-jawed Marine intelligence officer who stood up to Saddam's bullies in 1998 while serving with the UN inspection team, and got himself singled out for expulsion even before UNSCOM was withdrawn, Ritter was back on America's TV screens this week, but with a dramatically different message: President Bush had no proof of any new weapons of mass destruction threat emanating from Iraq, Ritter says, and he was lying to the American people to get them to go to war. Once a favorite guest of hawkish Republicans who regularly invited him to testify at congressional committees about the dangers of turning a blind eye to Iraq's weapons programs, this week Ritter was instead addressing the Iraqi legislature, decrying his own country's claims — and warning that readmitting inspectors was the only way to avoid a war.
Mr. Ritter's talk did not just focus on the past, but he did point out that we have to learn from those mistakes of the past, in order to have a cear-eyed view of how to deal with the mess created by the Iraq invasion.

As part of that talk, he made it clear how important it is that we make our voices heard. After hearing him speak, I realize that there's nothing like having a complete grasp of your subject, an unshakeable belief in the need to speak out, and a steely glare that can face down any heckler (as he pummels him with more facts, of course). When asked what people should do, his answer was very simple - do something. Get out there. Make a statement. Don't wait for the Republicans, for the Democrats, for the New York Times, or for anyone else to talk straight. If more people did that, who knows what could happen?

Anyway, I bought a couple of copies of his new book (to read and to pass on), and took his admonition to heart. We all need to get out and make our voices heard - and no matter how many people we may reach, it helps to keep passing it on.

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