neocons, we are told by the Telegraph, are "unfazed
despite war in Iraq," as the headline put it. The occasion
for this reassuring news was an interview with the combative
Prince of the neoconservatives, Richard Perle, who complained
about all the nasty name-calling on the part of his enemies:
Warmongerer. Imperialist. With the smallest of sighs, Richard
Perle, aka Prince of Darkness, ticked off a checklist of the
insults he has received in recent months."
Perle starts a war on the playground and then goes weeping
and wailing to the teacher when the other kids call him names.
The poor thing! Oh, but that's the very least of it:
saved the most emotive until last: neo-conservative. After
all, what greater insult is there in right-thinking circles
these days than neo-con that buzzword for all that is 'scary'
and single-minded about Bush's America?"
is supposed to be just another "buzzword" – but it's interesting
that the word is now considered an insult. The reason isn't
touched on in the Telegraph piece, however, which is
meant to give Perle a platform to show off his defiance –
haven't noticed that we are keeping our heads down,' he commented
and crow about the President's inability to separate himself
from the neocons' foreign policy prescriptions. "There may
be no war next year in the countdown to the presidential election,"
the Telegraph confides, "but if Mr Bush is re-elected
or even if a Democrat takes office battle could be rejoined."
Especially if Perle and his fellow neo-Jacobins have anything
to say about it, which they did, and do.
Perle quite accurately points out:
September 11 2001, the president said we will not distinguish
between those who committed the acts of terrorism and the
countries that harbored them and supported them. And that
is now the first principle of American policy. "
neocons' hold on the White House is assured, according to Perle,
principle of preemption is now "fundamental." This new fundamentalism,
he openly admits, will likely end in war:
does this entail a risk we will find ourselves in conflict
. . . with other governments? Sure, it does."
assessment is indisputable, but surely he meant hope,
not risk. Perle has long advocated an American jihad
against virtually all Middle Eastern countries but for Turkey,
and, perhaps, King Hussein's Jordan. It was Perle, you remember,
who brought in the ex-LaRouchie Laurent Murawiec to brief the Defense
Policy Board on a
strategy to "liberate" Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
the War Party's traveling ambassador of bad news, a Bizarro World version of
a U.S. diplomat, whose objective is to spread ill will instead
of good will. One day he's proclaiming that Russia must be expelled
from the G-8, the next day he's scolding
and threatening war with Syria.
His latest stunt: a trip to London in tandem with the Bush
visit during which he said that, yes, the invasion
of Iraq was illegal – but so what?
an AEI fellow
and free-lance pundit, and
a government official with the Pentagon's Policy Advisory
Board, his position is curiously ambiguous. Neither official
nor strictly unofficial, Perle seems to be conducting his
own foreign policy, openly contemptuous of the State Department
and heedless of even the White House:
Bush famously said he looked into Mr Putin's soul and found
a man he could trust. 'It means he should look again,' said
has often been an embarrassment to the White House, as when
his financial interests seemed to be so intimately tied in with
his role as a government advisor that he was accused of having
a conflict of interest.
While several newspapers – including those of the Hollinger
group, of which Perle is a director – headlined the story
Clears Richard Perle of Wrongdoing," the Washington
Post cited the inspector general's report as
Perle arguably represented Global Crossing and Loral in a
particular matter which is pending in the department or agency
of the government in which such employee is serving,' the
report says. But since Perle did not serve in his capacity
as head of the advisory board for more than 60 days during
the year, he did not run afoul of the ethics laws in question."
other words, he got off on a technicality. And no sooner had
he made this narrow escape, but he faced another, potentially
far bigger threat.
investigation into Hollinger International Inc. once
the third-largest English language newspaper empire in terms
of circulation, including the British Telegraph, the
Jerusalem Post, and the Chicago Sun-Times
only Perle, but several of his cronies.
over by Lord Conrad Black,
the Canadian media mogul who gave up his citizenship
to become a British aristocrat, the Hollinger combine
is a particularly muscular tentacle of the neocon
media octopus, and its demise would mark a great setback
for the War Party.
he still remains the single biggest shareholder, Black was
forced to step down as CEO, along with two other confederates,
after a company investigation
found that he took $7.2
million in unauthorized pay. This is not counting millions
in payments to Black's front companies, for "management services,"
while the company's stock fell in the face of rising media
stock prices. Minority stockholders are up
in arms. The Securities and Exchange Commission is also
investigating, widening its probe to include an examination
of the financial shenanigans indulged in by members of Hollinger's
board, who rubberstamped the abuse and misuse of investors'
money. Steven Pearlstein, writing in the Washington Post,
has a particularly
clear-eyed take on the matter:
amazing the coincidences you find digging into Hollinger International,
the publishing empire that includes Chicago's Sun-Times
and London's Daily Telegraph and is quickly slipping
from Conrad Black's control.
start with the board of directors, which includes Barbara
Amiel, Conrad's wife, whose right-wing rants have managed
to find an outlet in Hollinger publications. And there's Washington
superhawk Richard Perle, who heads Hollinger Digital, the
company's venture capital arm. Seems that Hollinger Digital
put $2.5 million in a company called Trireme
Partners, which aims to cash in on the big military and
homeland security buildup. As luck would have it, Trireme's
managing partner is none other than... Richard Perle.
There's Gerald Hillman, managing partner of Hillman Capital,
which also got a $14 million investment from Hollinger, according
to the Financial Times. Hillman is also a partner at
Perle and Hillman are members of the Defense Policy Board,
the nerve center of neoconservative influence in this administration,
where policy, ideology, and the pursuit of profits combine
to motivate a constant stream of war propaganda. They lied us into war, and
now we're finding out that they're thieves as well as liars.
The character issue is constantly raised by conservatives
as being paramount: we'll see how they deal with Hollinger-gate,
with so many of their own caught with their hands in the till.
If it is now an insult to be called a neocon, as poor persecuted
Richard Perle whines, then the reason why ought to be clear
funny is that Lord Black, author of the recently published Franklin
Delano Roosevelt, Champion of Freedom, recently took
libertarian Jim Powell to task for questioning
the Roosevelt myth. Black retails the liberal-Marxoid misconception
that FDR was somehow the "savior of capitalism." The irony
is that Black's hero seemed to be describing his future hagiographer
when he said, in his
first inaugural address:
money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple
of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the
more succinct summary of the decline and fall of Conrad Black
would be hard to imagine.
disgrace, and that of his cohorts, reveals the corruption
at the heart of the War Party, and fairly defines the crony
capitalism that will overshadow, destroy, and replace the
free market if and when the empire-builders triumph.
IN THE MARGIN
sources at National Review – oh yes, we have our spies!
– tell me that David
Frum, chief enforcer of neocon orthodoxy, is on his way
out as an editor of the magazine. Commissar
Frum's overwrought excoriation
of antiwar conservatives and libertarians including Robert
Novak, Pat Buchanan, Chronicles editor Tom Fleming,
and Lew Rockwell, as well as myself – did
not go over well with many on
the Right, even among those who supported the war. If
he, in turn, is being purged – due, no doubt, to some intra-neocon
dispute – one can only note, with a certain amount of unconcealed
satisfaction, that he who lives by the purge shall perish
by the purge.
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