Perle: Bush Failed by his Own People

Dave Eberhart,

In a wide-ranging interview, the former assistant Secretary of Defense under President Reagan and chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee from 2001 to 2003 under President Bush calls former Secretary of State Colin Powell a “disaster” and says current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “was in way over her head from the beginning.”

Others fall within his sights: Al Franken, Nancy Pelosi, John Murtha, and George Tenet, among others.

Surprising words from the man critics of the White House have dubbed “the Prince of Darkness” – a leading neo-conservative who was one of the key proponents of the 2002 invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

Speaking from his home in Chevy Chase, Md., Perle – the man who was credited with orchestrating the Reagan policies that led to the fall of the Soviet Union – is busy explaining his role in a less savory subject, the current situation in Iraq.

While Perle does see a silver lining and believes that our actions may have prevented greater evil, he worries that the situation is looking more and more like Vietnam, especially as that war was lost on the home front.

It is one segment of a series called “America at a Crossroads.” PBS says the series will explore the challenges confronting the world post-9/11, including the war on terrorism, the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the experience of American troops, the struggle for balance within the Muslim world, and perspectives on America’s role globally.

The “Crossroads” series will launch on Sunday, April 15, and will run on PBS through Friday, April 20, 9-11 p.m. (ET). Perle’s “The Case for War” segment will air on April 17.

Despite the airtime devoted to Perle, PBS never seems to offer him the opportunity to look at the camera and clearly explain how some of the best and the brightest in the Bush administration got it wrong.

Still, there are some surprising turns. In a particularly poignant segment of “The Case for War,” Perle talks about the looming threat of Iran, giving this surprising take – from someone reputedly one of the nation’s foremost saber-rattlers:

“I don’t think we need to send in the Marines, and it’s not being contemplated.”

According to PBS, its “America at a Crossroads” initiative includes an extensive public outreach program designed to create a national dialogue. The outreach program encompasses screenings and discussions in more than 20 cities with U.S. military personnel, leading policy experts and Islamic leaders; an in-depth online presence; and educational initiatives.

NewsMax: What do you find most frustrating about this slow agony of progress in Iraq?

Perle: I have watched the president from the beginning and my sense is that his instincts have been pretty good and his policy decisions – the ones that he himself has acted on – are pretty good. But he has an administration that not only does not implement his policies, they are often hostile to his policies. He has failed to gain control of his own administration.

NewsMax: Rather than a documentary defending the decision to go to war in Iraq, perhaps folks would better appreciate Richard Perle doing something along the lines of David Halberstam’s Vietnam-era tome “The Best and The Brightest” – similarly discussing how we got where we are in Iraq with the best and brightest leading the way.

Perle: We just don’t have the best and the brightest. I think Colin Powell was a disaster. He never liked the president’s policies. He did almost nothing to get them implemented. Condi [former head of the National Security Council and now Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice] was in way over her head from the beginning, and the president gave much too much weight to her views. The administration was full of people even in the White House at the National Security Council who were hostile to the president’s policies. CONTINUE

February 26, 2007 | 2 Comments »

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

2 Comments / 2 Comments

  1. Perle: I think that the Democrats have injected a note of such bitter partisanship that it is going to backfire.

    The GOP has been just as guilty of partisanship over this war and the war on terrorism in general. Just one example was in January of ’02 in a speech to Republicans, Karl Rove said point blank that the party was going to use 9/11 during the midterm election campaign. But back then, playing politics with national security was to the GOP’s advantage, so it was ok to do.

  2. Wasn’t this the guy who said Iraq would be a “cakewalk”? It’s rather convenient for him to forget having said that while he’s throwing darts at other members of the Bush administration and people in Congress.

Comments are closed.