Sunday, June 25, 2006

Same Old Perle Before the Same Old Swine

PerlerichardMen of like mind to Richard N. Perle have made many wreckages in the history of America and gone on to comfortable retirement, while lesser criminals spend their lives in prison.


It is the legacy of Perle’s particular and confrontational brand of political world-view, that we are left with the unproductive isolation of Cuba, our disastrous meddling in Vietnam and a preposterous taking of credit (in Ronald Reagan’s name) for the wheels coming off of communism in 1989.


Perle himself was deeply involved at Rumsfeld's elbow in the quite proper Afghan punishment for harboring al Qaeda, proving that even a philosophically blinded neocon can find an occasional acorn. Then he reverted to form, lost focus on Afghanistan at exactly the wrong moment and encouraged Secretary Rumsfeld to widen the military scope into the disaster that has become Iraq.


Never one to bother with hindsight, Perle wades through the smashed glass of his Iraq policy with nary a glance back or trembly lip. Now he’s at it again, having been given the bully pulpit of editorial space at the Washington Post, to what purpose one can only wonder.


In an outrageous claim of clairvoyance, he kicks right off with the statement that

“President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran knows what he wants: nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them; suppression of freedom at home and the spread of terrorism abroad; and the "shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems."

I guess ‘liberal democratic systems’ is in the eye of the beholder, when it strikes an ultra-conservative old hawk like Perle to use the phrase fronting a marching-banner to ideological war. In his own country, Perle has at least been consistent in his outright opposition to anything even remotely ‘liberal’ or distantly ‘democratic.’


Now Perle, several times discredited as impartial because of his


  • financial dealings with Saudi arms dealer, Adnan Khashoggi,

  • partnership in a company (Trireme) that invests in homeland security and defense-related industries and

  • representation of Global Crossings, the bankrupt communications giant and defense contractor

turns his sights on the current Secretary of State.

“Condoleezza Rice has moved from the White House to Foggy Bottom, a mere mile or so away. What matters is not that she is further removed from the Oval Office; Rice's influence on the president is undiminished. It is, rather, that she is now in the midst of -- and increasingly represents -- a diplomatic establishment that is driven to accommodate its allies even when (or, it seems, especially when) such allies counsel the appeasement of our adversaries.”

Richard’s adversaries are many and their appeasments beyond count. Like monsters under Calvin’s bed, they take on heroic proportion in his vivid imagination.


PerlehollingerAs Co-Chairman of Hollinger International, a chain of some 400 newspapers, Perle admitted ‘he never understood the underlying transactions before signing off on them.’  By that bold admission, he affirms once again that he’s a big-picture man and (operationally) all hat and no cattle. In the things that go bump in the night department, his Co-Chairmanship of Morgan Crucible, which ‘designs, develops and supplies a broad range of products made from carbon, ceramic and magnetic materials,’ is inspired. Morgan harbors an ambition to all things defense-related and you can bet Dick Perle wasn’t made Co-Chairman because of his expertise in ceramics. In the introductions arena, Perle runs many, many cattle.


But away for the moment from the heady topic of the selling of Richard Perle and back to his rant (italics my own):

“The president knows that the Iranians are undermining us in Iraq. He knows that the mullahs are working to sink any prospect of peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, backing Hamas and its goal of wiping Israel off the map. He knows that for years Iran has concealed and lied about its nuclear weapons program. He knows that Iran leads the world in support for terrorism. And he knows that freedom and liberty in Iran are brutally suppressed.”

That’s a lot of knowing for a president who didn’t know enough to keep a low profile with Hungarians over their failed (and U.S. ignored) 1956 uprising. But in those times Bush was a mere lad of ten, Perle a slightly older fifteen, but not yet walking the hallowed halls of Princeton. Great days were ahead of each of them and history, its mistakes or its lessons, were not then and still are not on either agenda.


Eisenhower was there though, three years into his presidency with five yet to go before warning the nation of the ‘military-industrial complex’ and the Richard Perles to come.


Toward the end of his diatribe, Perle writes thus;

In his second inaugural address, Bush said, "All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: The United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for liberty, we will stand with you."


I know it is not too late for us, not too late to give substance to Bush's words, not too late to redeem our honor.

PerlerumsfeldApparently the time has finally come when we ‘will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors,’ like we did in 1956 in Hungary or twelve years later in Czechoslovakia. ‘When you stand for liberty, we will stand with you,’ unless we don't, as demonstrated when we abandoned Iraq’s Kurds to slaughter in 1991. Somehow I don't think Richard meant to redeem a full fifty years of wayward honor.


Richard Perle is a self-seeking, war-mongering profiteering, power and money-hungry man with not even the faintest glimmer of historic reference. He has been aptly named the ‘Prince of Darkness.’


It’s a huge tribute to both freedoms, speech and press, that he is allowed the wobbly platform of Op-Ed space at the Washington Post.
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More at my personal web site about what interests me in International Affairs.