You would think Richard Perle would have learned
by now. Even after having been implicated twice for insider strong-arming
and profiteering over security contracts – and after having been
caught with his fingers
deep in the Hollinger honey pot of self-awarded, multimillion dollar bonuses
– he still cannot seem to keep his mouth shut, instead lashing out blindly in
every direction and thundering against
the entire world in his over-the-top
new book. Still, while it's admittedly getting increasingly hard to separate
the man from the parody, there
is nothing funny at all about the sordid story of Richard Perle.
Has Perle Gone Too Far in Antagonizing the CIA?
If Perle's slick dealings aren't enough to end
him, the fallout of his small war with the CIA and State Department just might
do the trick.
Everyone knows that Perle and the neocons, including Vice President Cheney's
office, have long detested the "weak" CIA and State Department. They have philosophical
differences-literally – with the
agency's "unimaginative" methodology, and they have made Colin Powell's tenure
as Secretary of State a thwarted,
humiliating tragedy. Still, Perle cannot seem to go one peroration without
attacking either or both bodies. As he recently told
the Christian Science Monitor about the CIA:
"…heads should roll, not in a punitive or vindictive way. But when you
discover you have an organization that doesn't get it right time after time, you
change the organization, including the people.... I would
start with the head. George Tenet has been at the CIA long enough to assume
responsibility for its performance."
Perle and his gang loved it when the much-maligned CIA director heroically took the
fall for President Bush last July over faulty Iraq intelligence. Tenet and
his agency – already on the ropes over the intelligence
failures that allowed the 9/11 terrorist attacks to happen – were clearly on
But the neocons couldn't let well enough alone. After all, to do so would
have meant the repudiation of all the bellicose ideals they hold so close to
their nasty little hearts. And so after their "Office of Special
Plans" sham was revealed, and former ambassador Joseph Wilson
debunked their Niger uranium fairy tale, someone in the war party decided to
seek revenge. Yet this revenge (the "outing" of Wilson's wife and CIA employee
Plame to the press) was downright stupid; it amounted, essentially, to an act of treason. A
fine result, considering the pre-existing doubts about the neocons' patriotism,
in light of their obsessive
allegiance to Israel and Perle's French/British
schizophrenia. The resulting furor
has engulfed the Bush
Administration, with an FBI investigation now centering on Vice President Cheney's
office – a key
backer of the OSP, and key ally of Perle's.
When the Christian Science Monitor casually
asked Perle if the FBI had interrogated him in regard to the Plame investigation,
he indignantly snapped:
"…I have not been questioned about it, and I wish whoever is putting this out
would cease and desist and [reporters] not be such willing consumers of that
kind of information."
Really, the nerve of them to ask such a question! Perle's angry
dismissal of "that kind of information" is telling indeed. Indeed, why
would federal investigators have any interest in talking to Citizen
Perle? It's not as if his case for war – and reputation – depended largely on
"evidence": evidence that Wilson and many others had rubbished, evidence
manufactured by the neocons' OSP, evidence that the CIA and DIA
would not buy. An innocent, uninformed bystander? Richard Perle is more like
Col. Mustard in the study with the lead pipe.
Yet Perle's hubris will most likely prove his demise. And his greatest
foreign ally – Ahmad Chalabi – is clearly not helping matters.
"…We Are Heroes in Error"
In the same exchange with the CSM on Tuesday,
Perle defended Chalabi thus:
"… his detractors, by and large… are the people who know him least, and his
defenders are the people who know him best.... The CIA has
been engaged in a character assassination of Ahmad Chalabi for years now, and it
is a disgrace."
Once again, Perle has shown exquisitely poor timing with his statements.
Barely two days after reassuring us about the integrity of his ally and Iraqi
National Congress godfather, Chalabi
himself gleefully admitted pushing false intelligence to start a war:
"…We are heroes in error… as far as we're concerned we've been entirely
successful. That tyrant Saddam is gone and the Americans are in Baghdad. What
was said before is not important."
Not important for him, that is. As a foreign lobbyist and international
shyster, Chalabi was just doing what he does best. For him, the ends clearly
justified the means. And he could care less if the ends are ever justified.
That's a problem for his American friends, not him.
With characteristic British understatement, the Telegraph stated that
these comments are "likely to inflame the debate" over the "quality of pre-war
intelligence and the spin put on it by President George W. Bush and Tony Blair
as they argued for military action."
That's putting it mildly. As the controversies mount, and the full scale of
the deception is revealed, it's becoming increasingly clear that this may be the
end of the line for Perle and the neocons.
Going Down in a Blaze of Glory
Nevertheless, Perle apparently wants to go down
in a blaze of glory, rhetorical guns blazing like some B-rate cowboy in a hackneyed
Spaghetti Western. The fact that he still refuses to admit he lied comes
as a patronizing affront to both the American public and reality. Having boxed
himself into a massive corner, Perle's only strategy is to turn up the volume
– and boorishly drown out any remotely threatening questions.
At least Fox
News' Bill O'Reilly – a dyed-in-the-wool war supporter if ever there were
one – could summon up a little humility and contrition, and apologize to viewers
for accepting the neocon justifications for war. Yet by being so relentlessly
overbearing and duplicitous, Perle has eliminated any way out. He's fighting so
hard now because he has no other choice. Indeed, as Antiwar.com's Justin
Raimondo pointed out yesterday, the new congressional investigations mean
"…there is a four-pronged assault on the neoconservative redoubt in this
administration. The chutzpah strategy is a desperate attempt to deflect this
all-sided attack, by launching a preemptive – some would say suicidal – strike
against the enemy."
As If One Chalabi Weren't Enough – Perle's New Partners for
the Iran Takeover
New York Times op-ed, penned by one Ali Safavi, cites another vintage
Perle peroration. It dates from an appearance Perle made before "a gathering
of some 5,000 Iranian-Americans last month," and the fact that a conscious effort
is being made to remind the people of it shows that Perle has indeed lost all
contact with reality, and his own best interests.
On 24 January Perle
spoke at an innocuous enough fund-raiser at the Washington Convention
Center, apparently dedicated to helping victims of the Bam earthquake. Perle
denied any activist purpose of the event: "all of the proceeds will go to the
Red Cross," he promised.
Actually, the Red
Cross didn't accept any money, knowing (as Perle must have) that the event was
organized by diaspora groups linked to the Mujahedin-e-Khalq
blacklisted terrorist organization that killed Americans in the 1970's and
fought for Saddam Hussein thereafter.
The MEK's goal is to overthrow the Iranian government. Incidentally enough,
Perle just happened to have such a speech in his back pocket. Funny that.
In his commentary, Safavi grumpily refers to the terrorist designation: "…the
[State] department has even classified the Iranian National Council of
Resistance, an exile group of which I am a former official, as a 'terrorist
The Council, headed by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi and her husband Massoud,
is the MEK's political wing. A long-time Washington lobbyist, it is also known
as the People's Mojehedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). Safavi, in
a 1992 overture to the Clinton Administration, deemed the Council "the antipode
to the current Iranian government." Simultaneously, future INCR foreign affairs
committee Chair Mohammed Mohaddessin is recorded as having "ambushed" Vice President
Gore with his revolutionary requests. Mohaddessin's 2001 book, Islamic
Fundamentalism: The New Global Threat harmonizes perfectly with Perle's
recent masterpiece. And Perle
is on the board of the Washington
Institute for Near East Policy, which is apparently (the Times is
a bit vague) Safavi's gig, too.
The Council has regularly patronized the American mass media, for example in
full-page ad backed by friendly congressmen in the Times a year ago.
Mrs. Rajavi indeed has plenty of backers in the Iranian Diaspora and US congress.
And several websites set
up in the past few months indicate
the neocons intend to step up the battle for invading Iran – at the behest of
an opportunistic terrorist organization that makes Chalabi look like a kitten
All's Well That Ends
Perle, however, must think it will work. Having
the relatively appealing Mrs. Rajavi as a figurehead is certainly an improvement
over Chalabi's leering, contented mug. Plus, the Rajavi cause gives him yet
another reason to hate France,
Mrs. Rajavi in 2003, and where he owns a chateau in lovely Gordes.
Yet as he continues
to foment revolution in Iran with fulsome appeals to democracy and human
rights, Perle proceeds at his own risk. All things considered – the Hollinger
mess, faulty intelligence furor, Plame-Gate, Chalabi's mischievous admission,
and now Iranian terrorist ties – we may, with any luck, soon be rid of
Perle's insufferably odious political presence once and for