Did Richard Perle tell colleagues as early as October 2002 -- some six months before the beginning of Operation Iraq Freedom -- that he didn't believe we'd ever find Weapons of Mass <$NoAd$>Destruction in Iraq?
That's what Steve Clemons says in The Washington Note today.
Here's the key passage from the post ...
Armitage has been fighting for balance within the interagency process for some time -- and for that is probably considered disloyal to the President. When I met Richard Perle in France for a debate in October 2002, Perle recounted to Edward Luttwak and me that he couldn't stand Powell any longer.
He said that the French Ambassador to the U.S. Jean-David Levitte had had a dinner welcoming new French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin at his home -- which Perle attended, as did Colin Powell. Perle reported that Powell gave an interminably long and unbelievably obsequious and sycophantic toast in honor of Villepin.
Perle continued by saying that Powell had served his President poorly by getting the President to take what Perle then saw as a disastrous course through the United Nations to get at Saddam Hussein. Perle told us that he believed we would find no weapons of mass destruction. When I asked what he meant -- he said that Hussein had hidden the weapons so well or killed or scared those who knew to such an extent that we would never find the WMDs.
Did Perle ever say something like that publicly? The logic of the statement also indicates that he didn't believe Saddam would use chemical or biological weapons against US or coalition troops since having them used against us would certainly count as 'finding' them.
The idea that US troops or CIA weapons detection teams would never be able to find illicit weapons even after the regime had been overthrown has never made much sense to me. So why was Perle making these excuses in advance? What did he know? And who did he tell?