"I'm so glad President Bush mentioned Scott in his UN speech about Iraq. He said an American pilot 'is' among the personnel held by Saddam. He didn't say 'if' or 'was' – Bush knows Scott is alive. He's a priority in Bush's planning.
Scott took off from an aircraft carrier on the first night of the Gulf War in January 1991 with nine other F-18 Hornets on a mission to destroy Iraqi radar and air defences.
Two minutes from his target, a missile fired from behind exploded close to his aircraft. He ejected.
No pilot flying that night was combat-seasoned enough to have seen a proximity detonation before. They thought it and the flash of Scott's ejector seat was his aircraft fatally exploding.
Hours after his loss, Secretary of Defence Dick Cheney and Colin Powell declared him dead on TV. No rescue mission had been launched. It was as if they were saying: 'We're pretty sure he's dead and we're not going to look for him.'
In 1995, they found pieces of his parachute and other survival gear from his ejector seat in the desert near the Hornet's wreckage. An Iraqi defector has also emerged who says he drove Scott to Baghdad.
Scott's gone from being MIA (missing in action) to KIA (killed in action) and last year back to MIA – he's the first person to have his classification moved back towards the living and there are moves to call him a PoW (prisoner of war). My investigation has helped in this.
Saddam's got a trophy in Scott, a very valuable trophy. He won't kill him and he'll only parade him around if there's a big invasion – he's saving him for a tremendous thunder storm, not just a rainy day.
Having studied Iraq, I'm sure it is producing weapons of mass destruction. Saddam's army isn't back to strength following the Gulf War, so it makes sense for him make these weapons.
Bush is correct to say inspectors need to go back in, but Saddam won't allow them to work unhindered. We have perfect justification to go in militarily and we'll have to eventually – but Saddam's own people need to be the ones to depose him and bring their country out of the darkness.
Resistance networks should be cultivated and we should appeal to them to help us do something for Scott before all hell breaks loose. I believe we will get him. I just want to shake his hand on safe ground."
Photograph by Sangjib Min
Some of your comments so far:
I very much hope that Scott is freed soon, but I would have thought that events of the last year or so would have shown us all that "cultivating resistance networks" can have unexpected and undesireable results. Why not make return of all PoWs part of the UN resolution on the return of weapons inspectors?
It is worrying that nothing has been seen of Scott for over a decade. I hope that President Bush is not cynically using this tragedy as another pretext to attack Iraq, causing countless civilian casualties.
Antony, UK, England
It is important that the US administatration does not forget about Scott.
I hope if he is still alive, he should be remembered in the negotiations.
Ackson Mwenda, Zambia
I expect that Lt. Comm. Speicher can come back alive and in good condition to USA with a war or without a war.
Jaime Vallecilla, Colombia