This ‘Perle’ was not found in an oyster!
criticism of Richard Perle's agenda
Arab News 24 January 2003
This 'Perle' was not found in an oyster!
By Hussein Shobokshi, Special to Arab News
JEDDAH, 23 January 2003 — Richard Perle, the chairman of the Defense Policy Board, the Pentagon's advisory panel, is an enigma with an agenda. Although his job is not only important but also very relevant, it should be anonymous, Perle instead has used the position to establish himself as the official mouthpiece for new conservative (neocon) toughness. Like some other neocons, Perle sometimes reminds reporters that he is a registered Democrat — even though he has been associated with Republican administrations and candidates for two decades. But some background investigation into the man who served as an assistant defense secretary during the Reagan administration and was known as the "Prince of Darkness," reveals some puzzling and disturbing facts. Serving as a staffer for Senator Henry Jackson he helped the senator manage détente talks with the Soviets by tying trade benefits to the rights of Soviet Jews to immigrate to Israel. That was the first step on a path that Perle made for himself in order to establish his parallel agenda. After he resigned as assistant secretary of defense in 1987, he wrote a novel, 'Hard Line'.
In the novel, Perle explained the methods he used to acquire so much clout. "Knowledge was power. The more you knew, the more you could use what you knew to expand your empire or advance your political agenda — or both," he wrote. It was a "surrogate war" "Since turf wars and ideological battles between the principals on such a high level attracted unwanted publicity, assistant secretaries did the fighting. Urbane guerillas in dark suits, they fought not with AK-47's but with memos, position papers, talking points, and new leaks."
Fifteen years later, after leaving office to cash in on a number of private sector positions, Perle is playing his old game, articulating another surrogate war by voicing what such fellow hawks as Paul Wolfowitz cannot because of political limitations. "Basically, Perle is serving as the ventriloquist's dummy and is making the administration's case publicly but in a deniable fashion," says John Pike, a defense policy specialist and a known adversary of Perle. "Donald Rumsfeld adamantly refuses to talk about blowing up Iraq. Richard Perle talks about very little else." Republican Party insiders believe that their party is now split in two, one side led by Brent Scowcroft and the other by Perle. Former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft argued in a Wall Street Journal editorial that the US war on terrorism should remain just that — a counter-terrorism initiative. A strike on Iraq "would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counter-terrorist campaign we have undertaken," Scowcroft stated. A Bush Sr. administration member, Lawrence Eagleburger, added that Perle and Wolfowitz were "devious' because of their efforts to convince the president to go to war against Iraq.
It is an odd battle — Scowcroft, a national security adviser twice, fighting a serious battle against a man who has never held a premium Washington Post. But never go against a man with a devious agenda, even one who has just come out of retirement. Perle gets high marks for consistency and for prescience; in a 1985 memo to Weinberger, he warned, "There is a body of evidence indicating that Iraq continues to actively pursue an interest in nuclear weapons." Since September 11, Perle's message has not changed: Sept. 11 has "nothing to do" with the reasons why the United States should strike Saddam. So the minor links provided by the administration to establish Saddam's connections with Al-Qaeda are immaterial. "What is relevant here is that he hates the United States," Perle told the American Spectator last autumn. "He has weapons of mass destruction. He has used them against his own people and would not hesitate to use them against us."
A man who is serving on various boards with Netanyahu, the disgraced Israeli Foreign Minister and who served as a board member of the Jerusalem Post, the famous Israeli newspaper, will never admit to the dangers of Israel's possessing weapons of mass destruction, will never admit to the murder and ethnic cleansing, which is regularly committed by the butcher Sharon and the bloodthirsty criminal gangsters in his Cabinet. Israel, a country led by a criminal, supported by a militia, possesses the most dangerous — and the largest number of — weapons of mass destruction in the region. That is a fact that needs to be addressed. But Perle and his gang have been selling a sugar-coated fantasy that if Saddam goes, chocolate will rain from the heavens and the oceans will turn to candy and the whole world will join hands, eat lox and buy coke and a smile. Oy vey!! That kind of silly childish image belongs to amusement parks and comic books — never to be used to justify a deadly pre-emptive war. "Trust me," Perle said when The Nation's David Corn asked for evidence of Saddam immediate threat to the United States. As an old cold warrior, Perle should know better.
Trust, but verify. That is the problem Mr. Perle. You are not trustworthy. In reality the great America must not allow its conscience to be hijacked by zealots with hidden agendas. The land of the free, the land of the belief that all men are created equal by constitutional decree should provide that same right to the entire globe: Freedom.
Sharon is no different from Saddam! Let justice be applied equally equally to both of them and do not differentiate; only then will America acquire the global support it seeks for its war effort.
(Hussein Shobokshi is a Saudi businessman based in Jeddah.)
Copyright © 2003, Arab news
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