The Peace & Justice Center is touring former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter at three Vermont colleges. Ritter has been a searing critic of the occupation of Iraq and the dangerous march to war with Iran. The Vermont Tour is one of many educational activities that the Peace & Justice Center is hosting around the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq. The Vermont tour comes at a time when the so-called troop surge is reported in the media to be working by reducing violence and rooting out terrorist cells in Iraq. The centers goal was announced to bring different voices to the table to discuss the local, national and international costs of war. Ritters tour is intended to promote public dialogue on Iraq and Iran in the context of his recent trip to the region, U.S. elections, and the centers claim that there is a lack of media scrutiny around the war. Ritter is the author of Iraq Confidential, Target Iran and Waging Peace. Ritters experience, including a tour as chief U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq throughout the 1990s, has emboldened him to expose purported distortions and lies that led the U.S. and some its allies into war. The only policy direction worthy of consideration here in the United States concerning Iraq is the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of American forcesthe fact that this option is given short shrift by all capable of making or influencing such a decision guarantees that this bloody war will go on, inconclusively and incomprehensibly, for many years, Ritter said. Ritter claims that at the heart of his critique is the understanding that policy-makers and the media have consistently failed to understand the complexities of the region and that the national security policy underlying all of our government's actions there is fundamentally flawed and a danger to the peace and security it purports to protect. Ritters tour schedule is available from the Peace & Justice Center in Burlington.