"Unregistered 207: Scott Ritter"
Interview with Thaddeus Russell
Unregistered Podcast (April 22, 2022)
The man who exposed the lie of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Scott Ritter, joined me to discuss the war in Ukraine, NATO expansion, the personality and politics of Vladimir Putin, and what he sees as the last battle to destroy Nazism.
1:52 Thaddeus Russell: "... You may not agree with everything he says, but I guarantee you will learn a lot about a war that Americans know very little about. This is my interview with Scott Ritter."
"I am joined from outside Albany by Scott Ritter. From those of us on the anti-war side of things, Scott Ritter is arguably the most important person on our side, certainly during the Iraq War. One of the great great heroes who challenged the major narrative that sent us to war and did so successfully so that nowadays no one takes seriously weapons of mass destruction in the hands of the Iraqis because of you, largely. I wanted to say that at the outset. And that's who you are to many of us. And you've done similar analysis since the Iraq war that has been absolutely crucial for those of us who have challenged American foreign policy during this time.
2:59 "Nowadays, you are making the rounds of the media -- I should say the altternative media -- because the regular media won't have you. And you are offering what I think is the most penetrating analysis of the Russia-Ukraine War that I've seen. But I do have some questions about it. But I want to get into a few things with you. So, Scott, the western media, as you know, has consistently portrayed this war as a Ukrainian victory. I find that amazing given that you and most people in alternative media are consistently calling it a Russian victory. So can you tell us, first, who is winning this war and why do you think that?
3:42 Scott Ritter: "Well, hands down Russia is winning. Russia will win. Russia has already won. This was never in doubt. Ukraine never had a chance. The perception of Ukraine putting up a defense capable of beating Russia was created from two separate threads, so to speak. One is the Russians themselves. Understand that Russia didn't call this the invasion. Russia didn't call this a military operation. Russia called this a Special Military Operation. Which means that it deviates from the norms and standards that one would normally associate with a military operation. Doctrinally, this is very important. When Russia goes to war in modern combined arms operations like we're seeing in Ukraine, from a doctrinal standpoint they bring two things: overwhelming firepower. Russia has not just superiority in artillery but supremacy in artillery compared not just to Ukraine but any other nation that they'll fight. Artillery is the heart and soul of the way Russia fights a war. They will overwhelm you with firepower which, unfortunately, is a copacetic way of saying they're going to kill you. They're going to smother you with high explosives and whatever is left we'll have to deal with the second part, which is mass. Russia masses armor and armored fighting vehicles and then they punch a hole through the area that they just bombarded. And they penerate deep into your rear area. They annihilate your logistics, your command and control, they roll up the flanks of your defenders. That's the way the Russians fight. Very bloody. Very brutal. Very methodical. That's not how they started this war."
5:50 "This war was started with a very soft approach. Russia went out of its way to say that it does not want to inflict any harm on civilians, and it wants to minimize the impact that this special military operation will have on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure. That was a goal that a Russian general called the 'Syrian Touch.' The western media goes 'Wait a minute. Doesn't that mean that you're blowing Aleppo up? No. That's what ignorant people say. People who have studied Russia and know Russia and studied history, its a matter of just studying what Russia did in Syria. Russia worked with the Syrian Army to surround urban areas where jihadists were located. And then they confronted the jihadists with the inevitability of their demise. And rather than us coming in and blowing up every building and killing everybody in here, why don't we bring in some busses and let you get on these busses and then we'll evacuate you so that we reduce the impact."
6:57 "And this happened over and over and over again. The Russian military police became expert at negotiating a ceasefire between the Syrian army and the jihadists. And they coordinated with humanitarian evacuation of not just the fighters but their families and taking them up to Idlib in northern Syria. This was the Syrian touch and that was the approach the Russians said they were going to take in Ukraine. To come in soft and give the Ukrainians the opportunity to choose non-violence as the means of resolving this issue. Russia said it's inevitable. They will de-Nazify. We can talk about this later but they have a thing for the Nazis. There will be no tolerance. That odious ideology will be annihilated. And the demilitarization that means that the Ukrainian military that since 2015 that has been trained as a de-facto proxy of NATO will be taken apart. Russia will no longer allow a NATO proxy to exist on its soil."
8:08 "Russia had been led to believe that they were going to be greeted by the Russian-speaking population and that many of the Ukrainian officers were going to remain in their barracks. They were led to believe this by the work of their 5th Department of the FSB which is the group that does intelligence in Ukraine. Well, 150 of their officers were just arrested by the Russian government for getting it wrong. Apparently, for Whatever reason, whether they were corrupt, whether they were incompetent, whether it was a combination of the two, their guarantees of a peaceful Ukrainian civilian population and a compliant Ukrainian military were dead wrong. The Russians instead of being welcomed were resisted from the start. The Ukrainian military, rather than stay in its barracks, chose to fight."
"Now, I'll say this about the Ukrainian military, you can be critical all you want of them and their ideology. But they're professional, they're well equipped, they're well trained, they're well led, and they fight like demons. It's the second largest army in Europe. Just keep that in mind. The first largest army in Europe is Russia. But the second largest army in Europe is Ukraine. This isn't a small, pathetic little force. We're talking about 260,000 regular forces, equipped with thousands of tanks, thousands of fighting vehicles, thousands of artillery pieces, trained to NATO standards, with modern communications equipment fighing on their own soil, their own homeland. They know Ukraine like the back of their hands. Literally. They also have upwards of 400-500,000 reservists and territorial militias. So, we're talking something like a million men under arms. A million men under arms. So anyone who thinks this is tiny little Ukraine being rolled over by the large Russian army .... "
"The Russians came to play with 200,000 troops. Now, normally with basic military math, if you do an offensive operation you want a 3 to 1 advantage. For every defender, you want three attackers. The Russians are coming at it with the exact opposite for every attacker, there are three defenders. And you say: How can they do this? Because the Russians in their Phase One operation focused not on territorial acquisition but on shaping the battlefield. The most important thing for the Russians is to isolate and destroy the 60-to-80,000 Ukrainian troops that are in the Donbass region, threatening the Russian-speaking provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk which we have to remember for the past eight years have been bombarded on a daily basis with 14,000 people being killed, one of the main reasons why Russia is carrying out this special military operation. It's because of this eight years of bombardment.
"But the Russians realized going in that if they focused on defeating these 60,000 troops, that you had the rest of that very large Ukrainian army that I just told you about are going to come down and get in the way and possibly set the Russians up for a defeat. So, the Russians needed to shape the battlefield."
11:33 "You do that by fixing those 60,000 troops in place. Limited frontal assaults carried out by the Lugansk and Donetsk people's militias with Russian army support. You do a military feignt coming down from the north out of Belarus toward Kiev. Everybody's like: "No, they're trying to capture Kiev. No, they didn't. How do 50,000 men capture a city of 3.1 million? Can't happen, won't hapen, will never happen. No military professional will tell yes, that's plausible. What they can do, is surround it and thereby fix the Ukrainian forces in place there and divert reinforcements that otherwise would have gone to Donbass, send them up to Kiev. That was the purpose of what the Russians were doing and even the Ukrainian military says that's what they did and they were very effective at it. They didn't suffer a defeat at Kiev."
"They came down and carried out a very forceful demonstration. Understand that a demonstration attack has to be very convincing, which means you have to fight. And you're fighting on terrain that is to the advantage of the Ukrainians. And the Russians suffered losses. They were always going to suffer losses when you carry out a convincing feint. If the Ukrainians don't believe that what you're doing is real, they're not going to divert their forces. They have to buy into the notion that you're trying to surround Kiev. In order to do that, you have to attack, even though it's not to your advantage to attack. So the Russians suffered some setbacks there. Tactically. But Operationally and strategically, Kiev was a great victory for Russia because it achieved what they wanted it to achieve.
13:10 "The same thing with floating the ships off the coast of Odessa. The Ukrainians believed that the Russians might carry out an amphibious attack on Odessa. So they kept their considerable forces in place in Odessa and they reinforced them. This freed up the Russians to do what their primary objective was on Phase One, which was to create a land bridge between Crimea and Russia. Central to that land bridge is the city of Mariupol. Mariupol, of course, is defended by the Ukrainian Marines, very elite forces, also the Azov Regiment, a neo-Nazi unit of some infamy. These two units decided they were going to fight street to street. And so Mariupol has been destroyed as a result. People say 'That's a war crime.' It's not a war crime. When the Ukrainians made the decision to put a tank next to a hospital, that hospital is no longer a hospital. It's a military target. When they dug in to residential areas, those residential areas became a military target.
14:13 "The Russians worked with the Ukrainian government and the international humanitarian groups to create so-called humanitarian corridors to evacuate as many people as possible. But the Azov Regiment opted to keep over 150,000 Ukrainians in place holding them hostage. They became human shields, the belief being that Russia wouldn't bomb a neighborhood that had a lot of civilians. And they were right. What the Russians did is come in and fight a very brutal house-to-house combat to clear the Nazis out."
14:45 "Now they have the nazis cornered in the Azov Steel Factory. And I think we're looking at the last hours of their existence. They were given an opportunity to surrender they opted to fight. And the Russians are obliging their desire to die in the cause of Ukraine."
"But now that you've cleared this land corridor, the Russians now have shaped the battlefield to their advantage. Now they're going to bring their forces down and they're going to carry out what's called a double envelopment, to come in from the south, come in from the north and you're going to surround the Ukrainian forces that have been fixed in place in the Donbas. This, again if it was doctrinally, this would take place very quickly. Russia would overwhelm them with artillery and punch through with armor. But as Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, said last week: "I know there are people who want us to go faster. But we're fighting on our timetable, not theirs." He said "This is going to be a very literate campaign." What he meant by that is "by the book." They're going by the book, slowly but surely. The goal is to maximize the enemy casualties with minimum impact on civilian infrastructure and the lowest possible casualties on the part of the Russians.
"So they go slow, they go sure, they overwhelm with artillery, where necessary they close with infantry and armor where that's provided and the end result, usually unfortunately, is at the end of every day a couple hundred more Ukrainians are dead, maybe one or two Russians are dead. And then they move on to the next day. That kind of exchange ratio the Ukrainians can't match. their military is depleted. Their command and control is virtually non-existent. Their logistics is wiped out. There's no more fuel. There's no more ammunition. There's no more vehicles to maneuver. And I think we're going to see in the next days and weeks the total collapse of the Ukrainian army."
16:41 Thaddeus Russell: "Now, you're saying that Putin has undertaken a very restrained strategy here, a very restrained approach to this war. Why? Is it because he's a nice guy?
16:54 Scott Ritter: "Well, I don't mean, I'm not going to comment on him nice guy, bad guy. He's a professional. He's a Russian patriot who recognizes that the Ukrainians are Slavic brothers. This isn't Russia going to war with Nazi Germany. This isn't Russia going to war against Finland, and I use that name on purpose because the Fins should be paying attention to what's going on in Ukraine right now and understand that if they keep pushing for NATO membership, this too could be their future. -- we'll get into that if you want to -- but yeah, these are Slavs. These are Ukrainians. These are brother Slavs. This is almost like a civil war without the hatred on the part of Russia's side. They don't have animosity toward the Ukrainian people. They don't have animosity toward the Ukrianian army. So their goal wasn't going in to destroy Ukraine. You destroy the land of an enemy. You preserve the land of a friend. And they view the Ukrainian people as their friends, as their brothers as their cousins."
17:59 "They have a problem with the government. They have a problem with the military that became a NATO proxy. And they have a huge problem with the Neo-Nazi ideology. I think most Americans, you know, we pooh-pooh that. We go 'Come on. They're not real Nazis. There's just a couple of them. It's not big deal.'
"First of all, there's more than a couple of them. And it is a big deal. Imagine, if you will, being in the U.S. military and someone came up to you and said, 'Well, the American military is a racist organization.' No, it isn't. We let everybody in. But what if the KKK had a militia down in Alabama and overnight the U.S. government went, well, why don't you guys organize that militia and we're going to incorporate you into the U.S. army intact. The KKK Battaliion. Boom. And then you can become the KKK Regiment. You can bring all your brother KKK guys and you're going to be a unit and we're going to put you on the border and you're going to represent our country enforcing the border. Now, is the U.S. military a racist military? Yes, indeed because it has incorporated and tolerates the most racist unit possible. Is the United States of America a racist country? Yes, because we have incorporated and tolerated racist military units intact. We've mainstreamed them, we've legitimized them. Well, that's what the Ukraine has done with the Nazis. They've taken Nazi units. They've brought them in and made them part of the army. And then they've given them front-line positions of authority on the battlefield. And they've taken their officers and imbued them throughout the Ukrainian military."
19:35 "The Nazis run Ukraine. It's as simple as that."
"Now, again, people say, 'Well, wait a minute. They're a minority. How can that happen. Well, let's talk about Russian history for a second. You know there was two groups that emerged from the  revolution: the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks. Mensheviks means small. Bolsheviks mean big. But the reality was the mensheviks were the biggest party, the Bolsheviks the smallest party. Why did the Bolsheviks win? Because they were violent. The Bolsheviks came in and they killed, they arrested, they beat up, they used violece to seize control. So a minority used violence to seize control, so a minority took control and defined the entire early years of the Soviet Union."
20:19 "The Nazis are a minority but they are violent. And they come in and they intimidate. They intimidated Victor Poroshenko, the president before Zelenski. They told him if he didn't pass their legislation, if he didn't push their legislation through parliament they would mini-Maidan him, Maidan being the violent revolution that mainstreamed these nazis in 2014. They actually ransacked his office and threatened to drag him out and run him through the streets. Normally, you call that an insurrection. But that's what happened to Zelenski. They told Zelinski if he signed the Minsk agreements creating a ceasefire that they would hang him by the neck until dead on the main street of Kiev, the capital. This wasn't a secret thing they did. They made a video and broadcast it."
21:12 "So the Azov Battalion, the Nazis, run Ukraine. They run every aspect of Ukraine. This is why Stepan Bandera, the Ukrainian nationalist who fought side by side with Adolph Hitler during World War II whose gunmen were the guys who pulled the trigger on the 30,000 Jews at Babiyar. His gunmen were the guys who guarded concentration camps. His gunment were responsible for the deaths of a hundred thousand Poles and two hundred thousand Russian civilians he's now the hero of Ukraine. They say 'Well, it's just nationalism. Really? Well, what if I put up a statue of Adolph Hitler in Germany? And say, 'Don't worry about it. I'm not supporting nazis. It's just German nationalism that I'm supporting. No. It doesn't fly. It doesn't fly with Hitler in Germany. It doesn't fly with Bandera in Ukraine. But they put up a statue. They have a national holiday. He's a national hero. They name streets after him. They put up monuments to the Waffen SS units where the Ukrainian nationalists fight. They have parades where the Azov Battalion put on nazi uniforms and march down the street with their hands up in the air and they have swastikas tattooed on [themselves]. The Nazis run Ukraine. That's just the reality of it."
22:24 Thaddeus Russell: "Wow. I have to say I haven't seen a whole lot of evidence of their actual ideology, the Azov Regiment. I've seen lots of insignias which are linked to the Nazis for sure on their uniforms, etc. But I haven't heard them talk. I haven't seen much discourse from them that I could identify as Nazi or fascist or anything. Can you tell me what the evidence is, besides Bandera and what he represents?" 22:46 Scott Ritter: "Well, a key aspect to this kind of virulent nationalism is the concept of ethnic purity. The Ukrainian nationalists believe in an ethnically pure Ukraine. Now, where have we heard this before? Nazi Germany. They Aryan nation ethnically pure Germans. They view the Poles as sub-human. That's why they target the Poles for elimination. And they view the Russians as sub-human. They call them Orcs. And if you haven't seen the evidence go take a look at the Russian speakers that they arrest and Saran-wrap to a pole, pull their pants down, molest them in public, paint their face green. and it has happened over and over and over again, today, right now as we speak. That's what the nationalists do. The term they use, 'Glory to Ukraine. Glory to the Heroes,' dates back to World War II, to the Banderas."
23:46 "And, again, it's about Ukrainian purity, And that's the biggest thing. It's the expression of Ukrainian natinalism as a racially pure, homogeneous people that views anyone who is not Ukrainian as sub-human.
24:04 Thaddeus Russell: "So they don't believe in, like, the Slavic Brotherhood, I guess."
24:07 Scott Ritter: "No. They view the Russians as ethnically impure. They call them “Orcs” out of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings."
Thaddeus Russell: "OK. Fairly persuasive. And fairly troubling. So the western media is lying about that. And they're also, apparently, according to you, lying about the basic fact of who's winning the war. Why, why -- and this is very important and all sorts of politics behind this -- Why is the West portraying this war as a Ukrainian victory, why are they lying about that?
24:44 Scott Ritter: "Well, Let's start off with the media's inability to tell the truth. We know that prior to the Russian Special Military Operation beginning, that the media had started to report on the Nazi threat coming out of Ukraine. Magazines like the Atlantic magazine, Atlantic Monthly, said, you know, Ukraine's got a Nazi problem. The New York Times ran front-page stories about the Nazis and how much of a problem this is. The U.S. Congresss, when the U.S. military would go over and train the Ukrainian military, the U.S. Congress was looking at photogaphs of U.S. servicemen training an Azov Battalion person who had a swastika. And they said, 'whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!' time out. You can't do that. So they passed legislation that said you can't train the Nazis. Because it was problematic. That all went away when Russia started amassing its troops. It's as though we forgot there was a Nazi problem. We minimized it. Suddenly it was just this minority, wasn't a big deal. So the west convinced itself to lie about the reality of the Nazi problem in Ukraine. They know what the truth is. But that truth is inconvenient with the new mission of elevating Ukraine to a cause worthy of American support.
"And what is that cause? The cause is going against Vladimir Putin. Notice I didn't say going against Russia. I will say that there's literally no Russian experts on mainstream media today. None. You have anti-Putin experts. People who hate Putin. But you don't have anybody who can actually converse intelligently about the reality of Russia. And if you're treating this nation of 160 million people as the personification of one man, your ignorance is being worn on your sleeve."
26:57 "Vladimir Putin is the elected president of Russia. Now he's been elected for many many terms. He's been around for 22 years. Some people will say that's a dictatorship. Dictatorship leaders don't win presidential elections by 54 percent. Dictators tend to win presidential elections by 98 percent, right? 54 percent is a little too close for comfort. Because Russia is a democracy. It's not a perfect democracy, but one of the reasons why it lacks perfection is that the United States has corrupted the political opposition by buying them, forming them to support their own policy of regime change. Now people will say, Hey, man, Biden may have said that but we know he didn't mean it. That's not the American policy because they said so.'"
"Ask yourself this. What was the reset of the Obama administration? You remember 2009. A nice little red button, misspelled. Hillary Clinton and Sergei Lavrov pushing it and laughing and chuckling and chortling. That was a policy of regime change. We were trying to empower a sitting president, Dmitry Medvedev who had done a cute little constitutional swap with Putin in 2008 where Putin became Prime Minister and Medvedev became President, because the constitution of Russia only allowed Putin to serve two consecutive terms. But he could come back for a third."
"We decided, the United States, that we were going to empower Medvedev to become the new Boris Yeltsin: that is a weak compliant leader who would do whatever we wanted to do so we could economically exploit Russia and keep Russia weak. And we put pressure on. We tried to bribe Medvedev. We promised him things with arms control and missile defense and all this. It was so bad that in March of 2011 Vice President Biden, at the time under Obama, who had the Ukrainian portfolio flew to Moscow and he met with the opposition, the ones that we bought and paid for, and he said, Vladimir Putin shouln't consider running for president again. It would be bad for him. And bad for Russia. Sounds like a threat. Sounds like one of those mafia, you know, making him an offer he can't refuse kind of things."
"It's regime change. We didn't want Vladimir Putin to be in office because Vladimir Putin was the opposite of Boris Yeltsin. A strong leader who wanted to have Russia take care of Russia first. Not bow to the United States. Not cave in to NATO. Not allow western companies to come and economically exploit Russia's resources. And Putin came back into power. And ever since then, we've been demonizing him. We have been saying that he is the personification of evil. He's all that's wrong with Russia. He's a dictator. He's an autocrat. All the things that he's not.
29:49 "But the people who are saying this are people who never studied Russia. They studied Russian exploitation. What I mean by that is these are the people that were educated in the late 1980s and 1990s. They got their Ph.Ds in how to exploit Russia. People like Michael McFaul who became a U.S. ambassador, senior advisor, the architect of the 'reset.' People like Fiona Hill and others, if you go back, one thing they all have in common is they wrote Ph.Ds that attacked Putin as a dictator. It's almost as if they had the same paper. They just removed the cover and put on a cover sheet with a new name, and they just run it througha Ph.D. paper mill. And they all said the same thing: Vladimir Putin is a dictator, an autocrat, and they defined Russia in the person of Vladimir Putin. This is wrong. This is ignorant. That's not what it is. But that's why the media has bought into this.
30:50 "How else can you explain William Browder? You know, Mr. Hermitage. He was of the class that went in and economically exploited Russia. He went in there and took advantage of loose Russian tax laws, loose Russian laws to create a 250 billon dollar hedge fund. How do you do that? You can only do that if you, yourself, are corrupt and you are, you know, playing a footloose and fancy free game. The Russians finally called him on it. Just like Vladimir Putin called in all the oligarchs as soon as he became president and said 'You can't get involved in politics. You have to play a clean game.' They said the same thing to people like Browder. Browder wouldn't play a clean game. So he was made persona non grata and his hedge fund broken up. His lawyer --- who is not a lawyer, by the way -- Magnitsky, was arrested, died in prison, and as a result we have the Magnitsky Act which imposes sanctions and restrictions on Russia."
"But Browder has been shown to be a liar. Nobody believes any aspect of his story. But now that Vladimir Putin is the enemy, Browder is now brought back into mainstream TV as if he is a Russia expert. He is brought in to explain Russia. He is a common criminal. He's a man who stole from the Russians. Robbed them blind. Violated their tax laws. And now he's explaining the Russian soul, I guess, to the American people? That's the absurdity of this position."
32:25 "Masha Gessen. She writes for The New Yorker. And I'm going to say some things and it's not reflective of me.
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34 Putin doesn’t care
. . .
36:08 "Guess who doesn't have a plan" The West. We promised these sanctions thinking thinking that russia would never, ever you know, take it to the limit. That we wouldl never have to implement these because they'd be so horrible. These are massive things. Whatever term you wanted to throw on there, we threw on there. News flash. Vladimir Putin doesn't bluff. There's no bluff in him. He's not prone to hyperbole. He doesn't throw out irresponsible threats. But when he says something. The wise man would take it to the bank. Because it's going to happen. He said that if you ignore my diplomatic outreach, in December 2021, I will invade Ukraine. We ignored his diplomatic outreach. He invaed Ukraine. And now we were stuck going, I guess we have to sanction them."
"But Germany went: 'All right. But Joe, you told me when I was visiting you that you had some liquified natural gas that you could bring over here.' 'Oh, yeah, we don't have any liquified natural gas we could bring to you. We've got nothing. Your economy is going to collapse. The French economy is going to collapse. The European economy is going to collapse. That's the reality. As bad as this hurts Russia, it's hurting Europe more because Joe Biden didn't have a plan. Because Joe Biden didn't treat Russia seriously. Because Joe Biden bought into the cartoonish caricature of Russia as ruled by one man, of Vladimir Putin whom we're not even getting right. We call him corrupt. He's the least corrupted politician in Europe today. We call him irrational. There's nothing impulsive about Putin. Everything he does is planned very carefully, with the consequences thought out well in advance. That's why he has a plan. Because he thought out the consequences well in advance.
43 Russia the sick child
Putin flipped the switch
48 Why don’t you invite russia in NATO needs an enemy and that enemy needs a name: Russia
55 Ukraine a Tar baby for Russia
1:12 Medals for Nazis
1:16 Odessa and then Donbass
1:23:37 Thaddeus Russell: "They're going to round up all the Nazis and kill them?"
1:23:39 Scott Ritter: "Kill them or capture them."
1:23:40 Thaddeus Russell: "That's a grim business"
1:23:47 Scott Ritter: "They chose it. When you choose to dance with the Devil, the fires of Hell are going to burn you. And I’m not a religious man. I’m just saying that this is it. And what I don’t get is why the average American isn’t nodding their head ‘yes!’ at this point. For goodness sake. If I put Schindler’s list on TV, I’ll have people ready to – if you get the Average American to watch Private Ryan and by the time Tom Hanks has breached the wall and gets up there and his guys are gunning down the Germans you’re like ‘Yeah. Shoot ‘em. Shoot ‘em. Shoot ‘em. Because you hate them. And that’s just a movie. That’s fake. Imagine reality where these pigs are raping on a daily basis and video taping it and putting it on the Internet. Where they are Saran-wrapping people to poles, painting their faces green, sexually abusing them in public. Where they murder Russian prisoners of war on tape. Torture Russian prisoners of war. This is who they are. This is for real. Ideology. This like a religion of hate. I don’t get why Americans aren’t saying ‘Yes!’ I could understand some distance if we hadn’t fought World War II, if we hadn’t paid the blood price, if we hadn’t gone to total war against Nazi Germany. Had we just been observers, maybe we wouldn’t take it so personal. But we did that. And guess who else takes it personal. The Russians. 23 to 32 million people died in World War II destroying Nazi Germany. Do you think they’re going to let it resurrect itself next door in Ukraine? Never. Never.
1:25:25 Thaddeus Russel:“That’s powerful. I was in the Soviet Union in 1987 and they took us on a tour of some of the military cemeteries of World War II. And this was just an open field that went to the horizon in which there were mass graves each the size of a football field, each with 10,000 bodies in them. And you could see that stretching to the horizon. One football-field size cemetery after another. World War Two runs through the culture of Russia like nothing else. It is on the top of their minds all the time and certainly as a state, a nation state, it is always on the top of the Russian mind. Right?”
1:26:14 Scott Ritter: “Look, what is the number one holiday in Russia? May 9th. Victory Day. When was the last time the United States held a parade on Victory in Europe Day? We don’t. We may have back in the day when we had a number of war [veterans]. But now that the [old] guys are all dying, it’s out of sight out of mind. Guess who’s not out of sight, out of mind in Russia? There may not be any veterans left but the sons and daughters, the grandsons and granddaughters carry the photographs of their relatives who served. And they call themselves The Immortal Regiment. And they parade in the tens of thousands in every city in Russia on May 9th in honor of what happened. Never forget. Never forgive. That’s the other thing. Never forget and never forgive. The Nazis do not deserve your forgiveness. And that’s why we don’t get it. That’s why Putin is more popular today than ever. That’s why the Russians are rallying behind this war. It’s not that they’re susceptible to propaganda. It’s that this is their life. This is their DNA. Their blood. And we don’t get it here. We’re the ignorant ones not understanding what’s going on. You can’t allow neo-Nazi ideology to resurrect itself in the heart of Europe. You can’t. And Russia is making sure that it won’t happen again. The West may be uncomfortable with it but, believe me, we owe them a great debt of gratitude when this is all done.”
1:27:44 Thaddeus Russel: “So you see this very clearly as a Just War, then?
Scott Ritter: “Yeah. I wish that there was a way that they could have avoided this conflict. I think had Ukraine chosen perpetual neutrality and a settlement of the Minsk Accords that Ukraine might have been able to allow this – because the Nazi ideology can’t grow unless there is a festering cesspool of hate. This war has given them the hate. That’s why you can see them taking even more control now. But if Russia had been able to create a condition of peace, of peaceful co-existence, non-violence, no NATO, no NATO trainers coming in and training the Azov Battalion, [then] there’s no longer any need for the Azov Battalion to exist, maybe these right-wingers could have sunk back into the cesspool from whence they came. So even though they might exist, they wouldn’t be a dominant force. And that’s OK. I wish that had happened. But now that this has happened and the ideology has taken root and moved rapidly through all of Ukrainian society, then it's a just war. And the number one justification for this war is the destruction of Nazi ideology."
1:29:15 Thaddeus Russel:"I'm going to have to sit with that for awhile and think about it. It's hard for me to accept what you're saying.
1:29:22 Scott Ritter: "I respect that. I know I have a certain reputation in the American anti-war movement because of my stance on Iraq. If you mistake me for a pacifist, you're wrong. Call me anti-war? No. I hate war. I despise war. But I recognize that the human condition is deeply flawed and sometimes evil manifests itself in a manner where war is the only solution. And if that's going to happen, you need people like me who have made war their business, war their life. Because war isn't for amateurs. When an amateur crosses the line of departure, they're soon dead. War is for professionals, people who live, breathe it. Hopefully we can keep them penned up in a cage and just throw raw meat at them for twenty years while they prepare for war but never have to go to war. But when you need us, you cry Havoc! and let loose the dogs of war because there is a dirty job to be done. And I believe that in Ukraine there is a dirty job to be done."
"However, because I have a bias towards violence, I understand that there are other perspectives that may, in fact, be right. That's the beauty of democracy. You and I can sit here and have a civil discussion, where we can debate, where we can have a dialogue. We can work out these problems so that maybe we can come to a common understanding without any animosity. We need this kind of dialogue here and it's a shame that the media is not facilitating this. Why is this happening? I mean, I'm glad that this is happening now. But why is it happening here? Why isn't this something that's happening in every town hall in America today, where people could -- But if we had a town hall you know what would happen. "Putin lover!" "You're a shill for Russia." "Nazi lover!" And it would turn into a shouting match or screaming match because America has become more Jerry Springer than Thomas Jefferson."
1:31:27 Thaddeus Russel: "You're not anti-war. You sound, to me, like very much a Marine, still. Are you still a Marine?
Scott Ritter: "Once a Marine, always a Marine. You don't go through that training, that preparation, that experience without it staying with you. I'm also a Marine with bad knees and a little soft in the belly right now, so I know what my limitations are."
1:31:47 Thaddeus Russel: "But your, sort of, orientation toward the world, your attitude is very much like a Marine, I would say."
Scott Ritter: "Absolutely. And I recognize that