According to a brief item in today’s local paper, Richard N. Perle, “the intellectual godfather of the Iraq war” will say in the January issue of Vanity Fair that he now thinks he shouldn’t have backed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and blames Bush for “failing to make timely decisions to stem the rising violence.” He also now opines that there may have been other ways to deal with Saddam’s WMD programs than direct military intervention.
Ain’t hindsight grand?
And isn’t it dandy for Bush that the folks who lured him into the quagmire are now bailing out?
(You’re on your own for cybersourcing on this. All I could find was a brief mention in a larger item on AP’s website.)
We’ve already seen many erstwhile war supporters change their minds. They’ve admitted that the war was a mistake, that pre-war planning was inadequate, that Bush lacks the mentle mettle to win, that Rumsfield is an arrogant jerk, that the administration misled the public about Saddam’s WMDs and ties to al Queda, that the war has inflamed anti-American opinion worldwide, that it’s drawn resources away from places where they’re needed, and more. The only thing they won’t admit is that they should have listened to those of us who opposed the war from the start.
That set of comments, (which have yet to be confirmed by the publication of the full interview), seem more than just a bit self-serving, to me.
Gee, I made a mistake, but that was because my info was bad.
The President is responisble, of course, but he was “betrayed” by bad info and decisions from his staff.
All the evidence I have seen indicates that Bush did not tolerate dissension, so that argument does not fly with me, but more to the point is that Perle was challenged in numerous arenas for his overly optimistic views of how the Middle East (and Iraq) would respond to a U.S. invasion and he, himself, chose to silence such objections by appealing to his own “authority” as an “expert” on the MENA region. (My boast is my cite.)
Now, while admitting he may have made some errors, he is basically claiming that it was not his advice that was bad, but the failed execution by other people.
Might as well just take this one to the Pit. Fuck Perle and fuck his 20/20 hindsight. He needs to man up and take personal responsibility for the role he played in getting us into this completely unnecessary war. I say throw the guy to the lions and let them chew him to pieces.
What you’re not getting with this (and you probably do but you drew the short straw, John. Sorry) is that the neo-cons are mostly NOT repenting of the neo-conservative agenda. They still believe in what (I at least believe) is a flawed philosophy.
Therefore, if their thinking is right but results contraindicate then it must somehow be the fault of those executing the plan.
Christ, these people remind me of the die hard communists who insist that it’s still a great thing but no one has REALLY tried to implement the glorious revolution yet.
I dont know that they really still believe. it would be politically disastrous to admit a mistake of that magnitude. They have to stick with it and hope something happens to allow an escape or all the iraqis commit suicide.
Pfft… I haven’t read the article but I doubt there’s a snowball’s chance in hell he’s actually “repenting.” Last I heard Perle six months ago and he was busy distancing himself from the war. I remember him protesting when an interviewer implied it, that *no no * he wasn’t really involved in the planning, but he was flattered that the interviewer would think that.
A better example of a neocon repenting is Francis Fukuyama who actually has openly repented of neoconservativism as an ideology. On the other hand he too disavows responsibility for the Iraq War, claiming that at least in March 2003 when it started he no longer supported it. If so his protestations were pretty hard to hear.
I’ve noticed this as well. The entire Bush administration seems to have this extremely firm viewpoint of the way things SHOULD be (as do most politically active people on the left AND the right), but they go the extra step (as the Soviets did for decades) of believing so strongly in their ideology that they sincerely believe that reality will conform to it, simply because it is. The Soviets, in their heyday, had famines, starvation, shortages, and economic collapse and yet continued to blame the populace and outside enemies for it, because in no way was it possible that Communism could be wrong.
I do wonder if this is a holdover from the Leftist origins of neo-conservatism…
Wow, is that one astonishing amount of blame-shifting and backpeddling. All in one conventient article.
I find it interesting that they seem to be blaming the administration when I see the largest flaw being inside the neo-con movement in general.
My premise: The neoconservative movement is fatally flawed in its understanding of the American political climate, the American cultural climate, and the American electoral climate.
By advocating controversial positions such as preventative war or the pursuit of third-party democracy through military means they strikes chord that tends to ring hollow with the American public. American’s are rarely motivated to support war and even more rarely a LONG war. Even the two most popular wars (such as it can be) since the revolution: WWII and the Civil War were over largely within three to four years and even then after less time than that it was clear that it was over except for the mopping up.
The American public will not accept for any real length of time a war that appears optional. And the nature of the American political system (that democracy thing, guys) is such that when the policy becomes unpopular those promulgating the policy find themselves marginalized and out of power.
In short, any war of choice must be fought and won quickly and decisively (say within two years) or those who began it will find their policies and objectives demolished at the ballot box.
THAT’s what these foreign policy experts (and some of them know one hell of a lot about foreign policy) got wrong. For all their knowledge electorally they seem to be either babes in the woods or hopeless optimists. The President can only rule unilaterally for so long then the piper needs to be paid and he’s out and so is his policies.
Richard Perle is not repenting at all. He’s quite pleased with himself. The reason there was not much thought put into the aftermath of the invasion by the neo-cons, is that the fate and putative democracy of Iraq did not matter. All window dressing to sell the objective of using the US military to remove a danger to Israel.
Having done that, it’s mission accomplished. US troops and Iraqis can keep killing each other on the US budget until kingdom come. Perle, Frum, Feith and Wolfowitz are sitting pretty.
Ralph Peters recanted in USA Today just three days ago (if you like Tom Clancy books but hate that Tom Clancy writes them, try some of Peters’s stuff; like Clancy, but from a guy who writes real characters.) But again, it was “This would have worked if only Bush and the stupid Arabs hadn’t screwed it all up.”
I’ve yet to see a war supporter actually come out and say “It would appear we were simply wrong,” despite the fact that they obviously were.
The News Hour with Jim Lehrer had Perle on quite often when he was a deputy Secretary of Defense. He always impressed me as so self assured in his rectitude and I thought of him as the King of Smig. If you expect Richard Perle to say anthing other than, “I was right but they screwed it up.” you’re hoping for what will never be. The old joke, “When you get to know me better you’ll discover I’m never wrong.” isn’t a joke with Perle.