It is unfortunate that Courtland Milloy chose to write about Scott Ritter's recent speech to a group of college students, because Mr. Ritter's selective use of facts to defend Iraq is so unbalanced ["A Call to Arms by an Enemy of War Against Iraq," Metro, Nov. 13].

Mr. Ritter talked about starving Iraqi children, omitting the fact that their situation is the result of a brutal regime. Saddam Hussein spends millions of dollars on weapons of mass destruction and on palaces for himself and his cronies rather than on the care of poor Iraqi families. He has refused to comply with 16 U.N. Security Council resolutions spanning more than a decade requiring his regime to disarm, halt its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and stop its repression of the Iraqi people, which has included rape, murder and other human rights abuses.

Mr. Ritter also neglected to inform the students that the economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations, not the United States, date to the conclusion of the Persian Gulf War, which started when Iraq invaded its Arab neighbor Kuwait. To have the sanctions lifted, all Iraq had to do was fulfill the agreements it made at the end of the war.

Mr. Ritter, as a former U.N. weapons inspector, should know better than to place the blame anywhere but on Saddam Hussein. Mr. Milloy did a disservice to The Post's readers by repeating Mr. Ritter's selective interpretation of the facts.


Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs

U.S. Department of Defense