He is one of the signatories of the 1998 PNAC (Project for a New American Century) letter to President Clinton regarding policies in Iraq.
Given the magnitude of the threat, the current policy, which depends for its success upon the steadfastness of our coalition partners and upon the cooperation of Saddam Hussein, is dangerously inadequate. The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.Don't let anyone tell you that the 2003 war/occupation in Iraq wasn't predetermined. Neoconservatives like Richard L. Armitage, William J. Bennett, John Bolton, William Kristol, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz also signed the letter.
Richard Perle & I had a close encounter in DC back in May 2006, so I speak of his evil and dark aura on good authority. The man has no soul and he certainly has no compassion. But when someone comes around and admits they are wrong, I'll give them their due- but not much more.
In the November online issue of Vanity Fair, in an article titled Neo Culpa, David Rose interviews several of the war's neoconservative cheerleaders who have turned against the Bush administration using one word- incompetence. He spoke with Perle:
As he looks into my eyes, speaking slowly and with obvious deliberation, 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," Perle says now, adding that total defeat an American withdrawal that leaves Iraq as an anarchic "failed state is not yet inevitable but is becoming more likely. "And then," says Perle, "you'll get all the mayhem that the world is capable of creating."
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 goes so far as to say that, if he had his time over, he would not have advocated an invasion of Iraq: "I think if I had been delphic, and had seen where we are today, and people had said, 'Should we go into Iraq?,' I think now I probably would have said, 'No, let's consider other strategies for dealing with the thing that concerns us most, which is Saddam supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.' I don't say that because I no longer believe that Saddam had the capability to produce weapons of mass destruction, or that he was not in contact with terrorists. I believe those two premises were both correct. Could we have managed that threat by means other than a direct military intervention? Well, maybe we could have."
I'm not big on "I told you so's", but I am perplexed at how these supposedly intelligent people with decades of experience could have been so wrong? I'm not going to go there, I hope they still have some influence in this administration to make the necessary changes to the failed policies in Iraq. That doesn't look likely either.
In David Rose's article he also quoted Michael Ledeen, American Enterprise Institute freedom scholar: "Ask yourself who the most powerful people in the White House are. They are women who are in love with the president: Laura [Bush], Condi, Harriet Miers, and Karen Hughes."
ewwwww I don't know whether to cry or throw up. But mostly it's too bad this political hindsight doesn't help the 2829 dead American soldiers and their families who really could have used some champions before the war got started.
(Photo Courtesy of Jim Choi- I didn't remember the hand gestures Perle used when he was speaking at me. Also look at the onlookers expressions. He was responding to my question of why my son, Lt Ken Ballard came home in a flag covered box because of his policies. Perle was not kind to this Gold Star Mom that day)