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Former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq to speak at UTPA April 5
Posted: 03/22/2007
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The University of Texas-Pan American will host Scott Ritter, former weapons inspector for the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq, on Thursday, April 5 as the last speaker of this academic semester's Distinguished Speakers Series.

Ritter, whose presentation is titled "Target Iran," is the fourth speaker in this academic year's series that previously featured famed actor Louis Gossett Jr., Nobel Prize winner Rigoberta MenchĂș-Tum, and legendary news journalist Dan Rather.

Ritter will speak at the UTPA Student Union Theater at 7:30 p.m. The free event is open to the public but seating is limited. UTPA students, faculty and staff will be admitted with a valid University ID at 7 p.m. while the general public will be allowed to enter at 7:20 p.m.

- Scott Ritter
From 1991 to 1998, Ritter was the chief U.N. inspector in 14 of more than 30 inspection missions charged with locating and destroying weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq. He repeatedly reported no findings of WMDs prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq and was generally condemned at the time for this position. Since then he has become a notable critic of U.S. policy in the Mideast and been generally vindicated in his pre-war evaluation of the situation there.

A former major in the U.S. Marines, Ritter had a distinguished 12-year career in the U.S. armed services, serving pivotal roles of leadership in the former Soviet Union and the Middle East, including working under General Norman Schwarzkopf with Marine Central Command headquarters in Saudi Arabia. A ballistic missile technology expert in military intelligence, he was awarded two classified commendations by the CIA for his reports on Soviet disarmament and was the only analyst to correctly assess the capability of Scud missiles in Gulf War I.

Ritter is the best-selling author of Iraq Confidential: The Untold Story of the Intelligence Conspiracy to Undermine the UN and Overthrow Saddam Hussein, and Frontier Justice: Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Bushwhacking of America. In his upcoming book, Target Iran, Ritter focuses his intelligence expertise and on-target analysis on Iran and the implications of a conflict with the fourth largest producer of oil in the world would have.

Speakers are chosen by a Distinguished Speakers Series Committee made up of students, faculty and staff. The committee is charged with hosting events in which outstanding individuals representing a variety of worldviews and backgrounds are selected to come to UTPA to speak and exchange ideas. The series not only offers presentations at the campus that will educate and inspire students but also offers the UTPA community and public an opportunity to hear from and engage with speakers of the highest caliber as well.

The series is underwritten by student fees as recommended by the Student Affairs Advisory Committee. The committee also receives support from the UTPA Student Union and the Office of the President.

For more information on the Distinguished Speakers Series, call 956/316-7989.