Jesus. I have to start reading that mag NOW. Look what they did to the whores who merged PNAC with the Republican party:
I remember sitting with Richard Perle in his suite at London’s Grosvenor House hotel and receiving a private lecture on the importance of securing victory in Iraq. “Iraq is a very good candidate for democratic reform,” he said. “It won’t be Westminster overnight, but the great democracies of the world didn’t achieve the full, rich structure of democratic governance overnight. The Iraqis have a decent chance of succeeding.” Perle seemed to exude the scent of liberation, as well as a whiff of gunpowder. It was February 2003, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, the culmination of his long campaign on behalf of regime change in Iraq, was less than a month away.
Three years later, Perle and I meet again at his home outside Washington, D.C. It is October, the worst month for U.S. casualties in Iraq in almost two years, and Republicans are bracing for losses in the upcoming midterm elections. As he looks into my eyes, speaking slowly and with obvious deliberation, Perle is unrecognizable as the confident hawk who, as chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, had invited the exiled Iraqi dissident Ahmad Chalabi to its first meeting after 9/11. “The levels of brutality that we’ve seen are truly horrifying, and I have to say, I underestimated the depravity,” Perle says now, adding that total defeat—an American withdrawal that leaves Iraq as an anarchic “failed state”—is not yet inevitable but is becoming more likely. “And then,” says Perle, “you’ll get all the mayhem that the world is capable of creating.”
According to Perle, who left the Defense Policy Board in 2004, this unfolding catastrophe has a central cause: devastating dysfunction within the administration of President George W. Bush. Perle says, “The decisions did not get made that should have been. They didn’t get made in a timely fashion, and the differences were argued out endlessly.… At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible.… I don’t think he realized the extent of the opposition within his own administration, and the disloyalty.”
Perle goes so far as to say that, if he had his time over, he would not have advocated an invasion of Iraq: “I think if I had been delphic, and had seen where we are today, and people had said, ‘Should we go into Iraq?,’ I think now I probably would have said, ‘No, let’s consider other strategies for dealing with the thing that concerns us most, which is Saddam supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.’ … I don’t say that because I no longer believe that Saddam had the capability to produce weapons of mass destruction, or that he was not in contact with terrorists. I believe those two premises were both correct. Could we have managed that threat by means other than a direct military intervention? Well, maybe we could have.”
Gee, what have we here? Looks like an unholy blend of arrogance, blame-gaming and unaccountability. I’ve underlined the most glaring bits, in case you hadn’t noticed them yourself.
But Perle is not alone in his wallowing in the morass:
Having spoken with Perle, I wonder: What do the rest of the pro-war neoconservatives think? If the much caricatured “Prince of Darkness” is now plagued with doubt, how do his comrades-in-arms feel? I am particularly interested in finding out because I interviewed many neocons before the invasion and, like many people, found much to admire in their vision of spreading democracy in the Middle East.
I expect to encounter disappointment. What I find instead is despair, and fury at the incompetence of the Bush administration the neoconservatives once saw as their brightest hope.
To David Frum, the former White House speechwriter who co-wrote Bush’s 2002 State of the Union address that accused Iraq of being part of an “axis of evil,” it now looks as if defeat may be inescapable, because “the insurgency has proven it can kill anyone who cooperates, and the United States and its friends have failed to prove that it can protect them.” This situation, he says, must ultimately be blamed on “failure at the center”—starting with President Bush.
Kenneth Adelman, a lifelong neocon activist and Pentagon insider who served on the Defense Policy Board until 2005, wrote a famous op-ed article in The Washington Post in February 2002, arguing: “I believe demolishing Hussein’s military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk.” Now he says, “I just presumed that what I considered to be the most competent national-security team since Truman was indeed going to be competent. They turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the post-war era. Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional.”
Fearing that worse is still to come, Adelman believes that neoconservatism itself—what he defines as “the idea of a tough foreign policy on behalf of morality, the idea of using our power for moral good in the world”—is dead, at least for a generation. After Iraq, he says, “it’s not going to sell.” And if he, too, had his time over, Adelman says, “I would write an article that would be skeptical over whether there would be a performance that would be good enough to implement our policy. The policy can be absolutely right, and noble, beneficial, but if you can’t execute it, it’s useless, just useless. I guess that’s what I would have said: that Bush’s arguments are absolutely right, but you know what, you just have to put them in the drawer marked can’t do. And that’s very different from let’s go.”
I spend the better part of two weeks in conversations with some of the most respected voices among the neoconservative elite. What I discover is that none of them is optimistic. All of them have regrets, not only about what has happened but also, in many cases, about the roles they played. Their dismay extends beyond the tactical issues of whether America did right or wrong, to the underlying question of whether exporting democracy is something America knows how to do.
The Web piece goes on to list several snippets from well-known neo-cons who are eager to blame the failure of their policy strictly on the incompetence of BushCo. (Read the rest after this, please–you’ll get an eyeful.)
Now, here’s why no one should buy their arguments. Make a note of their names and the things they say about BushCo, then check them against the signatories of this letter. Interesting, no? Before they blamed Bush for failure on Iraq, they blamed…yes, Bill Clinton, and his penis too. (A lot of them still want us to believe the Clenis was to blame. Too bad they can’t get it straight exactly which baddie we’re supposed to blame the Clenis for–Osama? Saddam? The atheist who killed the Tooth Fairy? They would like us to believe that they are all somehow linked, but the evidence all points otherwhere.)
Perle is a noteworthy liar, and it’s fitting that the piece starts out with him. Remember, he’s the one who claimed–FALSELY–that Saddam had met with Mohammed Atta before September 11. This line was picked up by every fucking wingnutter and his dog, like a bone, and dutifully slung in the faces of progressives like Yours Most Sincerely. (I wasn’t buying it then, either.)
But don’t take my word for it; just google the terms Osama, Saddam and neo-cons; you’ll soon see just how many of them were all squawking that Bush must, MUST invade Iraq, that it was gonna be a cakewalk, that it could be done on the cheap (and result in lower gas prices too!), that oil revenues alone would pay for everything, etc., etc. ad nauseam. You’ll see that the neo-cons were BushCo’s policy consultants, in it right up to the eyeballs. In fact, many of them occupy key positions in the Bush administration, so they have
built a seamless bridge between neo-condom and BushCo. There’s plenty of blame to go around, and the neo-cons might want to sit down at the big table with the very people they’re now trying to disown, and eat a healthy serving of crow. BushCo couldn’t have fucked up so bad without what Dubya called “good advice from great advisers”.
My only complaint is that it’s taken this long for a major publication like Vanity Fair to catch this ball and run with it. The independent, progressive alternative media has been on the case for ages already.
Still, better late than never. And what impeccable timing, too–right before a midterm election that’s shaping up to be the make-or-break moment of the Bush Diktatur. Amid a welter of scandals–everything from soup to nuts, sex to money–the Repugs are on the ropes. That’s the big bright light in these dark times.
Oh, and don’t forget to pick up your copy of Vanity Fair at the newsstand, if you’re not subscribed. The whole story promises to be a hum-dinger.