Saturday, April 14, 2007

Neocon deathwatch: part 2

Part 2 on the individuals of a dead school of political thought - the neocons.

Richard "The Prince of Darkness" Perle. This guy really screwed the pooch. He was a major cheerleader for war, and now points his finger directly back at BushCo after they turned Iraq into a steaming mess. In 2002, Perle infamously predicted only 40,000 troops would be needed to overthrow Saddam.

Perle's hubris hit a high water mark right before the invasion, when he wrote:

Saddam Hussein's reign of terror is about to end. He will go quickly, but not alone: in a parting irony, he will take the UN down with him.

Perle served in the administration on the Defense Policy Board, when he tendered his resignation in 2004.

"We are now approaching a long presidential election campaign, in the course of which issues on which I have strong views will be widely discussed and debated," Perle wrote. "I would not wish those views to be attributed to you or the president at any time, and especially not during a presidential campaign."

Perle didn't return a telephone call seeking comment on his resignation, and a Pentagon spokesman would confirm only that he had resigned.

By 2006, Perle was ripping BushCo on the job in Iraq in a famous Vanity Fair article.

Perle and I [writer David Rose] [met] at his home outside Washington, D.C. ... Perle is unrecognizable as the confident hawk who, as chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, had invited the exiled Iraqi dissident Ahmad Chalabi to its first meeting after 9/11. "The levels of brutality that we've seen are truly horrifying, and I have to say, I underestimated the depravity[.]" ...

According to Perle, who left the Defense Policy Board in 2004, this unfolding catastrophe has a central cause: devastating dysfunction within the administration of President George W. Bush. Perle says, "The decisions did not get made that should have been. They didn't get made in a timely fashion, and the differences were argued out endlessly.… At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible.… I don't think he realized the extent of the opposition within his own administration, and the disloyalty."

Perle followed up on that with a NewsMax interview in February of this year. I've highlighted a few items - the interview is longish - but telling about the dark soul of this man.

[P]erhaps folks would better appreciate Richard Perle ... discussing how we got where we are in Iraq with the best and brightest leading the way.

Perle: We just don't have the best and the brightest. I think Colin Powell was a disaster. He never liked the president's policies. He did almost nothing to get them implemented. Condi [former head of the National Security Council and now Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice] was in way over her head from the beginning, and the president gave much too much weight to her views. The administration was full of people even in the White House at the National Security Council who were hostile to the president's policies.

NewsMax: On the subject of your "America at a Crossroads" segment for PBS: In one of your filmed confrontations with protestors on the National Mall, you tell a woman, "I'm sorry for your loss, but I'm not the president." You're saying to her that you are not the architect of the war and you didn't make the decisions. But you were a powerhouse on the Defense Policy Board.

Perle: As a matter of fact, I was not at all happy with the conduct of the board. Now people can differ about what approach would have been more effective. I think we got ourselves, unfortunately, into an occupation [of Iraq] that we could have avoided. We could have avoided it by turning things over to the Iraqis more or less immediately, which is what I was arguing for.

NewsMax: How do you see it playing out on Capitol Hill?

Perle: The House and the Democratic leadership have decided to make Iraq a partisan political issue. They are using it to rally Democrats, and it seems to me that they have lost all sight of the national interest.

NewsMax: Now that Al Franken has declared for the U.S. Senate...

Perle: ...Franken was hung up on the fact that we didn't find stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and that whole thing gets a little tedious after a while.

The president didn't create [the intelligence organizations]. He made the mistake of keeping [former CIA chief George] Tenet in place, but that is another matter.

So, in the end, Perle is one of the key architects of the war, yets minimizes his own role - certainly after Iraq turns into one hell of a FUBAR wrapped in an enigma. And not only is he saddled with the burden of his gross mistakes, he turns around and blames BushCo for the problems.

I suppose that Perle really believes that the Iraq war - if run competently - could have turned out far better than it has. What a terrible misreading of the situation. But these kinds of misreadings are why the NeoCons are consigned to the kitty litter box of history.
Perle Status: Richard Perle is dead to George Dubya Bush.


TomCat said...

How like neocons to blame everyone else for their failures. said...

A group of irrelevant men schemed to combine their irrelevance in hopes of somehow getting ambassadorships. (part of a piece I'm working on - I think that sentence describes neoconservatism perfectly)