Friday, April 11, 2003
This is so damned nuts that I'm just going to let it speak for itself. Is America really ready for this?
A strong warning to Syria
Barry James/IHT International Herald Tribune
Saturday, April 12, 2003
Perle, a Pentagon adviser, sees more preemption in future
PARIS Richard Perle, one of the chief U.S. ideologists behind the war to oust Saddam Hussein, warned Friday that the United States would be compelled to act if it discovered that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction have been concealed in Syria.
Perle said that if the Bush administration were to learn that Syria had taken possession of such Iraqi weapons, "I'm quite sure that we would have to respond to that."
"It would be an act of such foolishness on Syria's part," he continued, "that it would raise the question of whether Syria could be reasoned with. But I suppose our first approach would be to demand that the Syrians terminate that threat by turning over anything they have come to possess, and failing that I don't think anyone would rule out the use of any of our full range of capabilities."
In an interview with editors of the International Herald Tribune, Perle said that the threat posed by terrorists he described as "feverishly" looking for weapons to kill as many Americans as possible obliged the United States to follow a strategy of preemptive war in its own defense.
Asked if this meant it would go after other countries after Iraq, he replied: "If next means who will next experience the 3d Army Division or the 82d Airborne, that's the wrong question. If the question is who poses a threat that the United States deal with, then that list is well known. It's Iran. It's North Korea. It's Syria. It's Libya, and I could go on."
Perle, a Pentagon adviser as a member of the Defense Policy Board, said the point about Afghanistan and now Iraq was that the United States had been put in a position of having to use force to deal with a threat that could not be managed in any other way.
The message to other countries on the list is "give us another way to manage the threat," he said, adding, "Obviously, our strong preference is always going to be to manage threats by peaceful means, and every one of the countries on the 'who's next?' list is in a position to end the threat by peaceful means."
"So the message to Syria, to Iran, to North Korea, to Libya should be clear. if we have no alternative, we are prepared to do what is necessary to defend Americans and others. But that doesn't mean that we are readying the troops for a next military engagement. We are not."
The former official in Republican administrations said the United States also has "a serious problem" with Saudi Arabia, where he said both private individuals and the government had poured money into extremist organizations.
"This poses such an obvious threat to the United States that it is intolerable that they continue to do this," he warned.
He said he had no doubt that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
"We will not find them unless we stumble across them," he said, "until we are able to interview those Iraqis who know where they are. The prospect of inspections may have had the effect of causing the relocation of the weapons and their hiding in a manner that would minimize their discovery, which I believe will turn out to mean burying things underground in inaccessible places."
He added that the speed of the coalition advance, "may have precluded retrieving and using those weapons in a timely fashion."
Asked if the United States was doomed to follow a policy of preemption alone, Perle replied that it is necessary to restructure the United Nations to take account of security threats that arise within borders rather than are directed across borders.
"There is no doubt that if some of the organizations that are determined to destroy this country could lay their hands on a nuclear weapon they would detonate it, and they would detonate in the most densely populated cities in this country, with a view to killing as many Americans as possible, " he said. Yet there was nothing in the UN charter authorizing collective preemption to avoid such threats.
"I think the charter could say that the terrorist threat is a threat to all mankind," Perle said.
Perle said resentment over France's opposition to the war ran so deep in the United States that he doubted there could ever be a basis for constructive relations between the two governments.
"When you have both the government and the opposition agreed on one thing, which is that they are not sure whether they want Saddam Hussein to win, that is a shocking development and Americans have been shocked. The freedom fries and all the rest is a pretty deeply held sentiment. I am afraid this is not something that is easily patched and cannot be dealt with simply in the normal diplomatic way. because the feeling runs too deep. it's gone way beyond the diplomats."
Perle said he had no doubt the world is safer than it was a month ago. "The idea that liberating Iraq would spawn terrorists all over the Muslim world I think will be proven to be wrong, and it will be proven to be wrong by the Iraqis themselves . We are about to learn what life has been like under Saddam Hussein. Even in the tough world we are living in, people are going to be shocked about the depravity and sadism of the Saddam regime."
Perle said there were good reasons to support the Middle East peace process, but not in a way that suggests the United States has caused damage by the war in Iraq. "The sense that we somehow owe this to the Arab world only diminishes the essential truth about what we've done in Iraq," he said. "We have not damaged Arab interests. We have advanced them by freeing 25 million people from this brutal dictatorship."
Now I don't know if this guy is a certifiable psychopath, but he is obviously completely fucking demented. This kind of talk scares the hell out of me now that it's quite clear that this freak really does speak for the administration.
digby 4/11/2003 08:31:00 PM