And so after
a long intermission we return to the case of Richard Perle, meddler.
As TPM noted,
almost a year ago to the day, Perle is a long-time heavyweight in neo-conservative
foreign policy circles. He is also the Chairman of something called the
Pentagon's Defense Policy Board. The DPB used to be a rather out-of-the-way
affair, but Perle's transformed it into an important advisory council within
today's Pentagon. By any real measure, he's a member of this administration.
Yet around this time last year he was going on virtually every chat show
there is and attacking Colin Powell for disloyalty to the president. And
he was getting unwary chat show producers to identify him merely as an 'assistant
secretary of defense' from the Reagan administration.
Point being, Perle was trying to have it both ways, being an administration
player one day and an outside critic the next. And the administration was
letting him get away with it.
Numerous embarrassments followed.
It was Perle who invited the off-kilter, former Lyndon LaRouche follower
Laurent Murawiec to give a presentation at the Pentagon advising the US essentially
to declare war against Saudi Arabia. As we noted at the time, the real crime
of Murawiec' presentation -- which was later published by Jack Shafer in Slate
-- wasn't so much the controversy it created as the fact that it had all
the appearances of being written by a precocious nine-year-old. But, alas,
I digress ...
Now Perle is at it again. According to the Iranian news agency IRNA, Perle just gave an interview to the German daily Handelsblatt
in which he said Gerhard Schroeder, the recently re-elected German Chancellor,
should resign because of the allegedly anti-American campaign he recently
ran. A Pentagon official saying something like that is a big deal.
It's actually rather similar to the article he wrote about exactly one year ago in Britain's Daily Telegraph derisively attacking the British Foreign Secretary.
This is foreign policy freelancing -- irresponsible and often shameless
behavior. Beside the behind-the-scenes mischief Perle cooks up, these comments
of his are routinely reported in the foreign countries in question as comments
of a 'senior Pentagon advisor' or some similar formulation and -- as Perle
clearly intends -- the comments carry the impression that he is speaking
in some capacity for the administration. It's shabby behavior and low intrigue. An administration of pros wouldn't tolerate it.