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Thursday, February 27, 2003

"You're Next. Very Efficient Diplomacy"

Rittenhouse Review calls the following passage in an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer "Comic Book Diplomacy."

Hawkish administration officials argue that ousting Hussein and his regime could remake the Middle East and help safeguard the world from the specter of international terrorists armed with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

In their best-case scenario, regime change in Baghdad would trigger the spread of democracy and freedom throughout the Mideast. Awed by America's power, Muslim support for terrorism would evaporate; Palestinians and Israelis would make peace; and global anti-American sentiment would evolve into gratitude and goodwill.

This is not news, though. Richard Perle said the following on PBS in October 2001

Is there any point about Iraq one must understand so that an educated view can be made?

It's important to recognize that Iraq is a country with an enormously talented people, and that is well understood by the rest of the Arab world. So there is real concern when the rest of the Arab world observes suffering in Iraq, which is now widely attributed, I think wrongly, to the embargo that's been in effect for many years. That is very different from believing that the Arab world supports Saddam Hussein, or that it would not welcome the elimination of Saddam Hussein's regime. I think there would be dancing in the streets if Saddam were removed from power, and that reaction of the Iraqi people would be reflected in the attitude of the Arab world, generally. So the notion that if we go after Iraq we are somehow going to advance in the direction of a war against Islam that will turn out to be far worse for us, I think is really quite mistaken. ...

The common belief is that our soldiers are not welcomed very easily in any Arab nation today, even when there is no battle going on. It's hard for an American public to believe that the Arab allies will indeed welcome us with open arms in any endeavor against any other Arab nation. Is that a mistaken a view?

Yes, I think it's a mistaken view. This idea of Arab solidarity is complete nonsense. It's been nonsense for as long as I can remember. They're at each other's throats all the time. Saddam invades Kuwait. You have a war between Iraq and Iran. Although Iran is not an Arab nation, it's a Muslim nation. You have Jordan fighting Syria in the 1970s. It's just nonsense to suggest that there's solidarity. There is no solidarity there. ...

If we go into Iraq and we take down Hussein?

Then I think it's over for the terrorists.

Why so optimistic?

Because having destroyed the Taliban, having destroyed Saddam's regime, the message to the others is, "You're next." Two words. Very efficient diplomacy. " You're next, and if you don't shut down the terrorist networks on your territory, we'll take you down, too. Is it worth it?" Of course it isn't worth it. It isn't worth it for any of them.

Read the whole interview, keeping in mind that he gave it in October 2001, just a few weeks after 9/11. The only significant change in plan has been that we have pretty much told the Iraqi National Congress to take a hike. And when you read it, you will see that Mr. Perle is completely unhinged.

These guys are radical, violent idealists and they always have been.

From the outset, the chief architects of the push to get Saddam Hussein have been Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, who, as chairman of the Defense Policy Board, is not technically a member of the Bush administration. As prize students of arch-hawk, Albert Wohlstetter in the 1960s, the two men have been comrades-in-arms in a series of crusades against d├ętente, arms control, and any multilateral effort that might constrain Washington's freedom of action to do what it wants, where and when it pleases, dating back to the early 1970s.

These are the "grown-ups" folks. Fasten your seatbelts.