Bush war advisors: unfound Iraqi weapons matter little
Fri Jan 9, 4:20 PM ET
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Two of President George W. Bush's military advisors said that the US inability to find illegal weapons in Iraq means little.
"I don't think that you can draw any conclusion from the fact that the stockpiles were not found," Pentagon advisor Richard Perle said at the American Enterprise Institute.
Perle said he did not fear that the United States would lose credibility after Bush used Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction as his principal justification for going to war.
"If others are going to take the view that, because these weapons weren't found, nothing that the United States says can be trusted -- there's not much we can do about that," he said. "It would be a foolish conclusion to draw."
On Thursday, another Washington think-tank, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said in a report that the US "administration officials systematically misrepresented the threat from Iraq's WMD and ballistic missile programs."
However, Perle said the war was justified: "I think that what was done was right and prudent."
Perle appeared with Robert Frum, the former Bush speech writer who coined "Axis of Evil." They were two of the hardline members of the administration who argued the need to topple Saddam Hussein.
Perle and Frum's book, "An End to Evil," promotes the so-called neo-conservative use of military force to pacify the world.
They take aim at Saudi Arabia, US politicians, journalists and France -- all of whom they said stand in the way of Bush's "War on Terror."
"What troubles us is a pretty persistent French policy of trying to weaken and marginalize the United States within Europe," Perle said.
"All we ask from France is that, in the construction of Europe, Europe think of itself as a partner with the United States in the protection of Western civilization. That's not a lot to ask."
"I think France runs the very great risk of becoming isolated."
Frum, who left the White House in 2003, was as unswerving as Bush himself.
"Sometimes the right answer, when a person has a grievance against you, is to say: 'You're completely mistaken; that grievance comes out of a completely wrong way of looking at the world and you're just going to have to get over it'," Frum said.
"We're not going to change."