Useful Idiot? Isnât that the phrase we use for well-meaning enthusiasts who get duped into supporting front-groups for bad-acting causes?
As youâve probably seen already, The Washington Post
today has a piece
about how Richard Perle gave a speech last weekend to a group that US law enforcement and intelligence suspects is actually a front for a terrorist group, Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). According to the Post
, US law enforcement had debated whether they had the authority to shut the fundraiser down. And on Monday the Treasury Department froze the assets of the event's main sponsor, Iranian-American Community of Northern Virginia.
Perle told the Post
that he wasnât aware of the MEKâs involvement in the event, believing instead that it was intended to help the victims of the Bam earthquake. He also said his speaking fee was going to the Red Cross. When the Post
reporter told him that the Red Cross had already ruled out receiving any monies from the event, he said he didnât know that either.
Perle says he didnât know about any of this. But, as this fella
points out, the capitol hill newspaper The Hill reported
last Wednesday (âTerrorists plan D.C. fundraiser,â Jan.21st) that House Administration Chairman Robert Ney (R-Ohio) asked John Ashcroft to investigate the fundraiser for its ties to terrorists.
Now, as it happens, Iâm not sure that Perle was just another in that long line of wide-eyed do-gooders whose humanitarian impulses are darkly preyed upon by the dregs of the world's dustbin-bound ideologies.
The MEK is a terrorist organization (recognized as such by the US government since 1997) fighting the Iranian government. For years itâs worked out of an enclave in Iraq with most of its support coming from Saddam Hussein. Other than these facts the group is best known for violence and its mÃ©lange of bizarre beliefs.
Since the war thereâs been an-going battle within the administration over whether to root out the MEK or, if not quite sponsor them, then at least tolerate their continued battle against the mullahs of Iran.
Perle and his faction, not surprisingly, have been on the side pushing for sorta-kinda sponsorship.