Scott Ritter Is a Fraud

“The only thing Ritter’s abrupt flip-flop tells us is that from Monday to Tuesday his feelings underwent a radical shift, because the war itself certainly did not”

Related: Scott Ritter Catches Up to Anti-Empire


Ritter justifies his abrupt, overnight shift from triumphalism to deep pessimism for Russia in Ukraine by explaining that until now he thought that Russia was successfully intercepting US supplies before they reached the front:

And this is why I have radically changed my overall assessment, because I had been operating on the assumption that Russia would be able to interdict the vast majority of this equipment, but Russia has shown itself unable or unwilling to do this and– as a result– the Ukrainians are having meaningful impact on the battlefield.

But *why* was Ritter operating on the assumption that Russia would be interdicting most of these supplies?? What justification was there for this assumption?

I had been watching the Russian strategic war on Ukrainian rail since its April start and was able to conclude and chronicle that it wasn’t having an overwhelming impact. The Russian approach of striking electric substations would disrupt the rail for a few days at a time but then things would go back to normal.

If I was able to see the present Russian effort was insufficient why didn’t Ritter? Why could an ex-machinist see what an ex-“intelligence officer” couldn’t?

And if he couldn’t see that for himself why didn’t he read Anti-Empire and learn it here? Sounds like it would have saved him a ton of embarrassment.

In fact Ritter did a lot more than just assume that Russia would destroy nearly all of this American equipment in transit. He was actively telling his listeners that was indeed already happening. Something he now admits had been false the whole time.

I never paid attention to him, but a friend who did reports that Ritter was selling an elaborate fantasy where Russia had such amazing intel on NATO shipments that leaving the Dnieper bridges intact was clever 5D play to allow NATO supplies to come closer where they could be destroyed even more easily. (LOL)

Reality is that by now 15 planeloads are unloaded in eastern Poland every day. Russia has had success in destroying some of it on railway yards and in warehouses in Ukraine, but there is no indication it is destroying anything close to 15 planeloads a day. Far from it.  Russia doesn’t have the surveillance capability to monitor every rail line, every train, and every warehouse, and the majority survives. If the Ukrainians are able to ship food, ammo and new units to the eastern theater  — and we know that they are — then they are also able to transport NATO ammo and NATO gear to the same destinations. Indeed since civilian trains are still making routine and on-schedule trips as far as Lozova in the Donetsk region, how could they not?

It doesn’t make sense that Ukrainians could run civilian trains to Donbass, and keep over 20 brigades they have there more or less supplied (except at the very front, in Russian artillery range), but would be magically incapable of transporting foreign-provided gear alone.

Polish T-72s on the Kharkov front

***

Changing your mind on something is very rare in people and can be a sign of unusual and remarkable intellectual honesty. So in theory Ritter’s U-turn could be reason to praise him and take him more seriously than ever. Problem is his flip-flop happened overnight and without any warning whatsoever which in a commentator is the exact opposite of seriousness.

It’s one thing to gradually chronicle a development that eventually forces you to switch to a different overall position. But it’s an entirely different thing to keep saying there are no valid reasons to hold a position Y whatsoever, then one morning suddenly proclaiming yourself to now hold Y as correct because reasons.

That sort of thing means you’re not an analyst but a roulette wheel. What hot, sensationalist, and attention-grabbing take are you going to have tomorrow?

One day the Russian effort in Ritter’s take was brilliant and invincible, the next day it was all of a suddenly checkmated. One day there was triumphalism that glossed over every problem and denied any danger whatsoever — the next day everything was proclaimed lost.

Except that it wasn’t. Not in one day. If the Russian effort is now truly sentenced to a forever war as Ritter now claims, then the potential danger and signs of that already existed for quite some time. Signs that Ritter never alerted his audience to, but in fact actively denied even existed.

That’s the problem. It’s perfectly okay to be wrong on where things are headed. In fact, it is to be expected. What isn’t okay is making facts fit your narrative because you’re wedded to it.

When you switch on a dime then sadly that is proof that your “analysis” doesn’t proceed from honest reasoning and information-gathering but from your emotional state. It means that for some time you have been lying to yourself and to your audience.

The only thing Ritter’s abrupt flip-flop tells us is that from Monday to Tuesday his feelings underwent a radical shift, because the war itself certainly did not. One day he was wedded to a narrative, the next he no longer was. What’s the guarantee his reasoning will be more sincere and reality-based from now on?

***

Ritter also fails to grapple with the question of what his newfound understanding that Kremlin expected only light resistance and to deliver a knockout blow inside a month means for his claim that the drive on Kiev was a mere “supporting attack”.

How precisely was a campaign whose main effort was (allegedly) against the SE periphery of the country ever going to deliver a knockout blow that Ritter now asserts was the expectation?

If anything was going to deliver a knockout blow inside a month against limited organized resistance it wasn’t going to be the effort in the southeast (which was the real pinning effort) but only a stroll into the political capital.

…massive Russian intelligence failure over prewar assessments that organized resistance by Ukraine would be limited and easily overcome. Instead, the Russians were met by an organized, capable and determined Ukrainian military that has shown great resilience in defending against Russian attack.

Instead of a quick campaign of less than a month, Russia found itself in a drawn-out fight that required its military to alter its approach — pulling back from supporting attacks against Kyiv and Odessa in favor of a more singular focus on eastern Ukraine.

The failure of the invasion to deliver a knockout blow to the Ukrainian government has altered the political-military landscape in ways that neither Russia nor Nato predicted.

***

For the record I don’t think that Western aid has the kind of outcome-altering significance that Ritter assigns it. Not yet. As I said that would require the West taking on the burden of retooling and capacity expansion and so far there isn’t a sign of that. (As well as taking on greater financial obligations.)

Suddenly citing the significance of Western aid that was always a given sounds more like an excuse. A way to justify the abrupt shift that was really caused by loss of confidence in the prior triumphalist take for a whole host of complicated reasons and which had been marinating for some time.

Comments (22)
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    • Nom de Plume

      Thanks for reminding us that the truthteller/bullshat dispeller is EVERYBODY’S target these days. There’s SO many fanboy sites out there to dally over, the wonder of it is what pulls you over here; dump your frustrations over a ‘victory’ that runs in front of the track hound fo’ever?

    • Oscar Peterson

      Interesting piece and gives a pretty systematic account of why Russia is unable to interdict the western support network to the GoU.

      The lack of highly capable attack drones seems pretty crucial.

      As to the proposal for a 100,000 man offensive force in western Belarus to action against the Ukraine-NATO border zone, I guess the question, as always, is where will it come from?

    • Field Empty

      Where is the “100,000 strike force” going to come from? They don’t even have enough for what they’re doing now.

  • YakovKedmi

    Scott Ritter was a professional charlatan in February 23, on February 24, on February 25.
    Today Ritter is the same professional charlatan as he was a few days ago when he changed his product-line for sale.

    What changed is the attitutde of other peddlers towards Ritter. Suddenly subhuman Gonzalo Lira discovers that Ritter is a shady character. Why ? Ritter is no more of a liar today than he was yesterday. But yesterday he was selling dogshit to Putin-groupies, today he is trying to get money from I-have-no-idea-who. As long as Ritter was selling Putin-idolizing dog-shit, like subhuman Lira did/does, Lira had no problem with this untrustworthy piece of garbage peddler and his professional lies.

    Scott Ritter, David Icke, Alex Jones, Jeff Rense, Henry Makow, James Fetzer, Ed Griffin and 200 others —as long as they are “our” liars we have no objection to their lies and low moral character.

    • Oscar Peterson

      “Today Ritter is the same professional charlatan as he was a few days ago when he changed his product-line for sale.”

      Nonsense. Why do you pretend that Ritter is somehow profiting from what he has been saying about Ukraine?

      No one has been “buying” anything from Scott Ritter. He has been totally marginalized for years and merely discusses his thoughts with other marginalized people on the web who are looking for something other than the MSM schlock that is served up on Ukraine almost everywhere in our media.

      He is neither a “fraud” per Marko nor a “charlatan,” as you claim.

      Both those terms indicate someone deliberately trying to deceive, which Ritter has most certainly not been doing.

  • Chester

    Scott says he served his country in the military for many years. I want to say that NO-ONE in the US military served their country in the last hundred years. The truth is that all have been bankers wars and corporate wars since 1913. Even the two world wars were staged.

    The destruction of dozens of countries, murder of millions of people, and establishment of hundreds of US military bases all over the world threatening world peace are what Ritter and other US servicemen helped accomplish. They served the Empire, not their nation or the people.

    They were mercenaries for corporations and banks. Smedley Butler had the intelligence and honesty to admit it. Ritter and others are too dense to realize this or too fragile to admit it. They fall into the category described by Henry Kissinger “Military men are just dumb stupid animals, to be used as pawns in foreign policy.”

  • Pat

    Scott Ritter was clearly wrong and should have known it from the first moment the “intervention” stalled. But hes sincere in his own way and hes not anti Russia which makes him one of the very few commentators out there who are worth listening to. Hes NOT the enemy.

    What we can see here is that so called professionals and experts with many years experience are often not too bright or in touch with reality. Most people at the end of the day believe what they want to believe and there not going to allow reality to get in the way of that.

    • Oscar Peterson

      I agree.

      • Pink Unicorne

        The problem is NOT that people look away from MSM for info. It is that they are NOT really looking for INFO but confirmation of their own preexisting beliefs. And these people might angrily bark at you, “but the MSM is untrustworthy.”

        Why, yes, sport, the MSM is untrustworthy just like all statesmen and all politicians are. Nobody runs an empire by their principles, however loudly touted.

        However, pivoting to the belief that Putin’s a 5D chess master that duped the West is like believing the FBI is coming after you because that ONETIME you called that 19yo Honduran who worked at Taco Bell a wetback: you clearly have an issue of…understanding, to put it mildly, as to what FBI actually stands for and what you’ve got to do to have it ACTUALLY COMING after you.

        • Oscar Peterson

          “The problem is NOT that people look away from MSM for info. It is that they are NOT really looking for INFO but confirmation of their own preexisting beliefs.”

          I don’t think it is correct to suggest that the search for alternatives to the MSM is merely an exercise in confirmation bias.

  • Oscar Peterson

    Marko,

    Scott Ritter is not a “fraud.”

    That claim is just ridiculous malice. He, B (Moon of Alabama) and others have come to dislike and distrust “the Empire” after whom this site is named–so much so that they lost objectivity in analyzing developments in Ukraine and Russia. And I think they also didn’t pay much attention to Russian critiques of the military operation that you have highlighted here.

    Still, it makes no sense for someone who titles his site “Anti-Empire”–an ideological term by any definition–to claim that “analysis by ideologues” is the problem, as though only those with no ideological framework can analyze the world dispassionately. You yourself disprove that idea. The problem was that Ritter allowed his “Anti-Empire” inclinations to influence his understanding of what was going on. He wanted Russia to win so badly that his assessment of what was actually going on became distorted. That’s a very common dimension of human psychology.

    It’s amazing to me how vituperative you are about those with whom you disagree. Frankly, that tendency made this site almost unreadable during the two years of COVID.

    Ritter, as far as I am concerned, is fundamentally on the right side of things regardless of his analytical errors. He’s on YOUR side of things. So a little more indulgence, and little less malicious contempt, would be appropriate, as you consider the mistakes of Ritter and others.

    Yes, this question you raised is an interesting one: “If I was able to see the present Russian effort was insufficient why didn’t Ritter? Why could an ex-machinist see what an ex-“intelligence officer” couldn’t?

    But in the end, who saw–or foresaw–what at what point will be inconsequential. The events on the ground are unfolding, and reality will assert itself. And obsessing over who’s the smartest boy in class is nothing more than narcissism.

    • Pink Unicorne

      Most intels are actually nothing than summarized, corroborated and sanitized (i.e. de-propagandized) info that’s freely available on the internet. What CIA/NSA/etc. actually does is doing what Marko is doing, i.e. pretend you are say a Martian assessing two Earth factions warring and making predictions on the general outcome of said war. What Scott Ritter is doing while having the exact same inputs, is to say “Russia is good! Therefore Russia’s going to win”, and then cherrypick evidence that makes him feel happy while pretending he’s an aforementioned Martian. When he couldn’t find any, he simply invents it: “That one time I witnessed a Russian wargame, they got like 120 tanks converging onto my position! Gee, Russia Army No 1! They’re gonna to beat those pesky Ukkies! They’re gonna fire at Vladivostok and land their shots at Lviv! Russia’s gonna win!”

      Now, please answer me, where does “everyone’s ideological” fit into the analysis of the Ukraine war? Yes, I’m ideological as in being an Empire booster, does that make me believe F16s will be JDAMing the Kremlin by Labor Day? Or even better, succumb to the fantasy that middle-aged middle-class Moscovites will rise up and overthrow Putin before next Thanksgiving and line the street welcoming their beloved Western Partners waving that cute little indigo compass flag (with sparkles in their eyes!) while singing Marsch Marsch Dombrowski?

      • Darek

        Why are you quoting the Polish anthem? Do you remember 1612? You betray who you are 🙂

  • Pink Unicorne

    As I said before, Scott Ritter, Douglas Mcgregor, & Anatol Lieven are but 3 samples of a loud-mouthed minority.

    They, for mostly ideological reasons, deeply resent the current West (all of which have absolutely NOTHING to do with Russia) and are now using Russia, which supposedly stands against the West, as a blank slate to project their inner desired narratives.

    (a) For Scott Ritter & Ray McGovern, this is simply his radicalizing into a 50yo/70yo(!) boy scout crusader against big bad US imperialism. Visit antiwar.com, and you will find babyboomer dudes reliving their Vietnam days.
    (b) For Douglas Mcgregor & Tucker Carlson, who are simply Scott Ritter with better people skills and had gotten further in life, this is the distraught of the US no longer resembling the 50s.
    (c) For Anatol Lieven & Co (including Chas Freeman), this is the much-delayed realization that 1991 was a mirage, and a concomitant juvenile demand that “if the US behave once again like 1991, then maybe 1991 will be back.”

    They are ALL ideologues. When they chose to amplify a fact, it’s entirely because this fact fits within their preferred narrative, NOT because they accessed that fact in a bigger picture in a well-balanced way.

    When they flipped, it is simply because of the CUMULATIVE effect of exposure to anti-narrative evidence eventually wearing out their preferred narrative, and them finally PSYCHOLOGICALLY crumbling, NOT because the latest news is somehow extraordinary.

    They are essentially having a loyal-Soviet-citizen’s-first-trip-to-a-Helsinki-supermarket-heck-maybe-capitalism-is-working (you needed a VOUCH LETTER for that back in the days) moment.

    • Oscar Peterson

      “Scott Ritter, Douglas Mcgregor, & Anatol Lieven are but 3 samples of a loud-mouthed minority.”

      “Loud-mouthed” in what sense? They say what they think. So do plenty of others and with much bigger audiences. And Ritter et al are barely audible in the din of the MSM megaphone.

      “They, for mostly ideological reasons, deeply resent the current West (all of which have absolutely NOTHING to do with Russia) and are now using Russia, which supposedly stands against the West, as a blank slate to project their inner desired narratives.”

      The enemy of my enemy is my friend. So what else is new? And why do you use the word “resent” instead of, say, “oppose.” Seems like you are very busy trying to pathologize anyone who is oppose to the US Empire. Sure it’s ideological–just as is every other conception of how the world should be.

      ” For Scott Ritter & Ray McGovern, this is simply his radicalizing into a 50yo/70yo(!) boy scout crusader against big bad US imperialism. Visit antiwar.com, and you will find babyboomer dudes reliving their Vietnam days.”

      Again, you attempt to pathologize the viewpoints of Ritter and others which, the debate over the Russian performance in the Ukraine war aside, is basically the viewpoint of this site and its host. The age of those you list is immaterial–obviously. So what are you actually trying to say?

      Just to be clear, are you here as an advocate of the Empire? You come off as quite the ideologue yourself with your repeated (and rather uncompelling) attempts to belittle those who are opposed to US empire. Where do you stand on “the Empire” that is the reference point of this website?

      And of course, that group that is opposed to “big, bad US imperialism” includes the host of this website, Marko. Do you include him in your rogues gallery?

      • Pink Unicorne

        What I find most irritating, is this kind of “you disillusioned me, so I’m gonna be a booster to your enemy”-style 16yo tantrum. Finding a mostly moralistic stance so convincing as to enlist it is frequently seen in teenagers. College students, surely. I mean it’s 2022, look ALL around you. To see this in some ex-“deep state” dude like Scott Ritter/Ray McGovern is…unnerving to say the least.

        I have absolutely no problem for Marko, if not because I’m also deeply irritated by Scott Ritters of the world who should’ve known better, so kindred spirits, kind of. Marko is what hard-nosed intel should be like. F=ma regardless of which SIDE you are on. Arguing F=ma for everyone else but =1/2ma for Russia is Scott Ritter.

        Enemy of my enemy is a friend is a kind of logic that can be… let’s just say OPERATIONALIZED better by Game of Thrones characters than by Scott Ritters of the world who interpret that as spewing BS all over the internet. Again I’m absolutely all in for it if Scott Ritter was actually ANALYZING the goddam Ukraine war rather than assuaging his deep-seated grievance while pretending to do so.

        I’m gonna pass judgment on standing with what Russia (and China to a much greater extent) actually entails. Let’s just say Putin is that one Russian ultranationalist that knows how to wear a suit and not get drunk during the daytime. A similar sentiment is also brewing in China, only everyone cares about the average Chinese even less.

  • Dillan

    Most are wrong about this war. This is obvious not a real war like most think it is. It is a lazy war that needs people to distract from the real things that are in the air and also to get the West on his knies trough energy and food problems, so that they can role out even more digital control. That is the point of this war people and that needs to be researched. I have a lot of facts for this but will probably not get trough here bc most believe that wars are what they tell you that they are but they are not. ALL wars are bankers wars they say and only the top benefiting from this and there are always more angles for them to achieve with a war. Just get the blindfolds of and begin to see bc we all get duped with their power BS control new world order.

    He is a good one to follow https://alt-market.us/

    And this is a good listen https://youtu.be/2uPpbPsrUwU
    Good luck

  • Kyle Deangelis

    nt on standing with what Russia (and China to a much greater extent) actually entails. Let’s just say Putin is that one Russian ultranationalist that knows how to wear a suit and not get drunk during the daytime. A similar sentiment is also brewing in China, only everyone cares about the average Chinese even less.

  • Wubble Gubble

    Russo/Ukrane war is merely another NWO psyop to divide and monopolize the attention of the masses.

    The globohomos ae perfecy OK with fighting until the last soldier to keep the huge theft of wealth.

  • peterinanz

    Good article.

    Even better comments. Pink Unicorne’s in particular.

  • paul bryce

    All the military equipment dissappears into the vast network of Ukraines Foreign arm sales. Did before the war and does now.
    The elites have the greatest criminal enterprise going. Fleecing western countries of their arms and profitting from them.
    Ukraine uses its own citizens and foreign idiots who volunteer as cannon fodder. We have had multiple foreign fighters returning saying it is unbelievably chaotic and not professional.
    Sad to see Ukraine used like this by the western corporate/banking elite interests.