November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website,, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.

THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to, a multimedia blog and resource center.

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Iraq: the Logic of Withdrawal

Letters to New York Times Magazine on November 24, 2002 About Scott Ritter

Letters to the Editor
The New York Times Magazine
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036-3959

To the Editor:

The November 24, New York Times Magazine article on Scott Ritter created a misconception that his trip to Iraq renewed public interest in him after stints of “driving himself to the basements of ill-heated churches to speak to 30 people.”

While making no reference to the growing public concern about the war since last spring, or Mr. Ritter’s role in that growth, the writer skips forward to September, when Mr. Ritter went to Iraq. The writer then notes that he is in “greater demand than ever,” thereby leaving the impression that the Iraq trip was a PI stunt and that it worked to bring Mr. Ritter back to national attention.

The truth is, Mr. Ritter’s message was already in the spotlight, well before the trip to Iraq.

When the writer was researching this piece, he contacted me twice for information, and I wrote to him 4 times. I referred him to the Traprock Peace Center website, which recounted our work with Mr. Ritter since April, with web-links to newspaper articles on the events, photographs and op-ed pieces by Mr. Ritter. We were not the only group to work with Mr. Ritter, but have had a prominent role.

A few highlights – On July 23, he spoke to an overflow crowd at Suffolk University in Boston after an editorial board interview with the Boston Globe, which requested an Op-Ed piece. The talk inspired a widely circulated Truthout piece by William Rivers Pitt, and the book “War on Iraq” with Mr. Ritter. From August 20-22, Traprock toured with Mr. Ritter to Wichita (spoke to 225 people), Indianapolis (300), Chicago (editorial board meeting with Tribune) and Baltimore (editorial board of Baltimore Sun and event with 250). The tour produced broad media attention with regional television (including being met by TV on arrival at the the Indy airport), radio (morning drive-time in Indy), and newspaper and magazine (In These Times) event coverage and interviews. The Tribune and Sun both published favorable editorial pieces within a few days. These and other events spurred many requests for speaking engagements.
This hardly describes meetings in “church basements before 30 people.” He also had an international audience. Well before his trip to Iraq, he had been invited to address the Labour Party Conference in the UK on September 29.

Going to Iraq did not make Mr. Ritter popular. His messages – that, despite problems, weapons inspections did work in Iraq, and that this country is on a perilous push toward war, resonated with a growing public unease with the war.

Charles W. Jenks
President, Traprock Peace Center

This letter is exclusive to The New York Times Magazine.

To the Editor:

Your article attempting to discredit Scott Ritter (November 24th) takes advantage of a neat dilemma: critics who have long opposed US policy are stubborn and dogmatic, while those -- such as Ritter -- who are former hard-liners are, by definition, self contradictory. Is it really so shocking that when Ritter first left UNSCOM he was still a hawk and that it took him time to see the US campaign against Iraq in a new light?

It is you, more than Ritter, who who insist on focussing on the storyteller and not on the story that he tells. As we begin new inspections that may be only a pretext for war, Americans need to know that earlier inspections were misused for spying by the US and Israel. This fact -- buried in your psychoanalysis of Ritter -- is bound to create discord in today's inspection demands. You spend so much time on the alleged emotionalism of Ritter's reaction to "Desert Fox," the US's 1998 bombing of Iraq, that you omit Ritter's point: it was we who withdrew the inspectors prior to the bombing. Nor do you find time to give more than a caricature of Ritter's deconstruction of the Bush Administration's worst case scenarios of Iraqi weapons, which it uses to justify war. You completely omit his analysis of the carnage and chaos if the President attacks Baghdad.

The Soviets used to put dissidents in insane asylums. It is sad to see you engage in the verbal equivalent.

David Keppel

Page created November 25, 2002 by Charlie Jenks.