Richard Norman Perle

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Richard Perle envisaged a quick American military victory in Iraq.

Richard Norman Perle (born September 16, 1941) is an American neoconservative political advisor who served the Reagan administration as an assistant Secretary of Defense and served on the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee from 1987 to 2004. He was Chairman of the Board from 2001 to 2003 under the Bush administration.

Perle, was a strong advocate of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and predicted that Saddam Hussein's forces could be defeated in no more than "months".

Contents

Education and early career

Perle earned a Bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California in 1964 and an Master's degree in political science from Princeton University in 1967.

From 1969 to 1980, he worked as a staffer for Democratic Senator Henry M. Jackson of Washington. He lost one of his positions after the FBI revealed that he had passed on classified information to Israel. From 1981 to 1987, Perle was Assistant Secretary of Defense for international security policy in the Ronald Reagan's administration. He received criticism for accepting a major payment from an Israeli arms manufacturer, but was not prosecuted.

Robert Burns of AP writes, "Perle was so strongly opposed to nuclear arms control agreements with the former Soviet Union during his days in the Reagan administration that he became known as 'the Prince of Darkness.'" [1]Perle contends that his views and opposition to arms control under the Carter administration had to do with his view that the US was giving up too much at the negotiation table and not receiving nearly enough concessions with the Soviets. Perle called the arms talks under negotiation in the late 1970's "the rawest deal of the century".

Current activities

Perle is currently a resident fellow at the conservative think-tank American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. His cited research interests include defense, national security and the Middle East.

In addition, Perle has many business interests. Among other engagements, he is Chairman and chief executive officer of Hollinger Digital, Inc., a partner of Trireme and a director of the Jerusalem Post.

In July 2001 George W. Bush appointed Perle chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, which advises the Department of Defense. On March 9 2003, Seymour Hersh published an article in The New Yorker titled Lunch with the Chairman, accusing Perle of a conflict of interest, claiming Perle stood to profit financially by influencing government policy. Hersh's article alleged that Perle had business dealings with Saudi investors and linked him to the intelligence-related computer firm Trireme Partners LLP, which stood to profit from the war in Iraq.

The same day the New Yorker article was published, Perle, in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer responded that "Hersh is the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist, frankly." [2]. Perle later threatened to bring a libel suit against Hersh for the allegations raised in his article but failed to do so. On March 27, 2003, Richard Perle resigned as chairman of the Defense Policy Board, though he still remained a member of the board.

On March 28, 2003, Judicial Watch filed a complaint to the Office of Government Ethics, the Office of the Defense Department Inspector General, the Office of the Homeland Security Inspector General, United States Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III in the matter of Former Defense Policy Board Chairman Richard N. Perle, Former President William Jefferson Clinton, Former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, Current Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and Global Crossing.

War with Iraq

Perle is said to be the person behind the US policy on Iraq (see also: U.S. plan to invade Iraq). He believed that Saddam Hussein's control of the government was weak, and that an invasion of Iraq would remove Saddam from power within weeks.

In an interview for "Saddam's Ultimate Solution", the July 11, 2002 episode of the PBS series Wide Angle, he said:

Saddam is much weaker than we think he is. He's weaker militarily. We know he's got about a third of what he had in 1991. But it's a house of cards. He rules by fear because he knows there is no underlying support. Support for Saddam, including within his military organization, will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder. Now, it isn't going to be over in 24 hours, but it isn't going to be months either.

Perle advocated invading Iraq with only 40,000 troops, and complained about the calls by then Gen. Eric Shinseki to use 250,000 troops. [3]

When discussing his new book "Battle Ready" co-authored with retired general Anthony Zinni, author Tom Clancy stated that he almost came to blows with Perle. According to Clancy:

"He was saying how (Secretary of State) Colin Powell was being a wuss because he was overly concerned with the lives of the troops," Clancy said. "And I said, 'Look ..., he's supposed to think that way!' And Perle didn't agree with me on that. People like that worry me." [4]

After the war, Perle admitted that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was illegal. Speaking in London, Perle stated "I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing." [5]

Other countries

Perle advocates first-strike bombing of North Korean nuclear facilities. [6] He has also advocated preemptive attacks on Syria, Iran, Libya, and a number of other countries.

Other

Perle is co-founder of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a spin-off from the American Enterprise Institute. He is known to have a negative opinion of the United Nations and multi-lateralism when against the interests of the US, and pushing for world-wide superiority of the USA.

Perle is author of many articles and three books:

In 1992 he produced the PBS feature The Gulf Crisis: The Road to War.

Affiliations

Quotes

  • "A year from now I'll be very surprised if there is not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush. There is no doubt that, with the exception of a very small number of people close to a vicious regime, the people of Iraq have been liberated and they understand that they've been liberated. And it is getting easier every day for Iraqis to express that sense of liberation."
    • Richard Perle, AEI Keynote speech, September 22, 2003 (MP3)

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