, notorious neoconservative ideologue, was interviewed on npr
one morning this weekend as I was driving with my oldesst son Douglas across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from a College he may attend to a lacrosse tournament. As I listened I nearly drove into the bay as Perle proved himself to be blind to reality and zealous in his willingness to defend our disaster in Iraq. Here is the exchange:
"ANDREA SEABROOK: Now the American public has just watched the years pass — three years and plus of this war — has watched the intelligence that said there were WMD in Iraq be discredited, has watched Saddam’s ties to terrorists be discredited, can you blame them for voting against this policy by voting out Republicans in large part?
RICHARD PERLE: Well, the intelligence about Saddam’s stockpiles appears certainly to have been wrong. I don’t believe it’s correct to say that his ties to terrorists have been discredited. There were numerous links between Iraqi intelligence and various terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda. Those have been documented. And I frequently hear people say that there’s no evidence. It’s simply wrong. I’ve seen the evidence.
SEABROOK: But much of that evidence — that I’ve heard other analysts say, on both sides of the aisle and from several different policy points of view — has in fact been discredited. Most people, it seems now, are saying that Saddam didn’t have any serious connection with terrorists.
PERLE: Well, I simply think that’s wrong. I’ve looked at the evidence and have come to a different conclusion."
Nothing like the "secret evidence" ploy to stop reasonable discussion of any matter. But what secret evidence has Perle seen? He must be privy to some very, very
sensitive material, so sensitive indeed that his cronies over at BushCo declined to share it with legislative investigating committees despite the clear incentive they had to do so (in order to justify their own roles in creating the Iraq fiasco). Here, for instance, is a relevant pasage from the Senate Intelligence Committee Report
(8 September 2006) on just this matter:
"Postwar findings indicate that Saddam Hussein was distrustful of al-Qa’ida and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime, refusing all requests from al Qa’ida to provide material or operational support. Debriefings of key leaders of the former Iraqi regime indicate that Saddam distrusted Islamic radicals in general, and al Qa’ida in particular… Debriefings also indicate that Saddam issued a general order that Iraq should not deal with al Qa’ida. No postwar information suggests that the Iraqi regime attempted to facilitate a relationship with bin Ladin. (p. 105)"
In this matter of pressing national security Dick Perle clearly should make a quick trip over to the Capitol and reveal his secret information to the relevant House and Senate Committees as well as his to pals at BushCo. Otherwise the disconnecct between his assertions and the Senate Report make him appear to be a true idiot.
Iraq before the invasion was a dictatoship. Saddam Hussein was a reprehensible tyrant. But Iraq did not pose a threat to "homeland security" in the US, so the invasion and ensuing quagmire is (at best) a distraction from that concern. Sorry Dick.
PS: (Added later that same morning.) A number of questions arise here.
The first is why Seabrook didn't challenge Perle more vigorously regarding this incredible claim. She is new to the host job on weekend edition but she knew
he was dissembling and should have simply stated that or asked him "What evidence are you talking about?"
The second is why places like the American Enterprise Insititute, which purportedly gesture toward intellectual integrity, allow hacks like Perle in the door. They afford him an air of legitimacy that diminishes their own credibility.
The third is why npr continually allows known prevaricators like Perle on the air. Journalistic objectivity does not require giving air time to every crackpot that claims expertise no matter how incredible their views.
The fourth presumes (implausibly) that Perle might be telling the truth and that there is evidence to support his claim. We should then be asking why the adaministration (or whomever supplied it to Perle) withheld such evidence from the Intelligence Committee.
The last is whether, given performances like this, any future Republican administration will rely on Perle either officially or for informal advice. He is the sort of ideologue even Republicans are better off without.