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Former chief U.N. weapons inspector to Iraq will speak at Coastal Carolina University

October 3, 2002

Scott Ritter, the controversial former chief weapons inspector for the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq, will speak Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Wheelwright Auditorium as part of Coastal Carolina University's Kimbel Distinguished Lecturer Series. The event is free and open to the public, although tickets are required for admission. Tickets will be available beginning Oct. 10 at the Wheelwright Box Office and Coastal's Higher Education Center in Myrtle Square Mall.

Ritter, labeled a hero by some, a maverick by others, and a spy by the Iraqi government, will speak on the topic, "The Coming War with Iraq: How Did We Get Here?"

In charge of searching out weapons of mass destruction within Iraq during the 1990s, Ritter was on the front lines of the ongoing battle against arms proliferation. In recent years, he has provoked the anger of many military and government officials by insisting that Saddam Hussein's weapons arsenal has been substantially disarmed and that Iraq represents no real military threat to other nations. A Republican, Ritter is sharply critical of the Bush Administration's current policy in the Middle East and believes a U.S.-led war against Iraq would have catastrophic consequences.

Ritter is the author of Endgame: Solving the Iraq Problem - Once and For All, which critiques American foreign policy in the Persian Gulf region and offers alternative approaches to handling the Iraqi crisis.

A ballistic missile technology expert, Ritter worked in military intelligence during a 12-year career in the U.S. armed forces, serving in the former Soviet Union and the Middle East. A former major with the U.S. Marines, Ritter also served in the Gulf War at Marine Central Command headquarters in Saudi Arabia. He joined the U.S. weapons inspection team, or UNSCOM, in 1991 and took part in more than 30 inspection missions.

Ritter was born in Florida and raised in a career military family. He earned a bachelor's degree in Soviet history from Franklin and Marshall College.

The Kimbel Distinguished Lecturer Series is sponsored by the William A. and L. Maud Kimbel Distinguished Lecturer Series Endowment Fund. The purpose of the series is to present programs promoting an appreciation for intellectual values in broad social issues, religion, geopolitics, and the arts.

For ticket information, contact the Wheelwright Box Office at 349-2502.