In previous posts on this tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, I failed to mention the Prince of Darkness, Richard Perle. He called early, often and urgently for us to send our young people to die in Iraq. By the time Bush got into office, Perle was on the official Iraq War Marketing Team. On The Dish, Andrew Sullivan reminded us and quotes Pearle in an interview ten years on:
Montagne: Ten years later, nearly 5,000 American troops dead, thousands more with wounds, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead or wounded. When you think about this, was it worth it?
Perle: I’ve got to say I think that is not a reasonable question. What we did at the time was done with the belief that it was necessary to protect this nation. You can’t a decade later go back and say we shouldn’t have done that.
Perle was an early member of PNAC calling for a ‘new American Century” and the removal of Saddam.
From David Corn in Mother Jones:
Perle began calling for war in Iraq nanoseconds after September 11. He told CNN, “Even if we cannot prove to the standard that we enjoy in our own civil society they are involved, we do know, for example, that Saddam Hussein has ties to Osama bin Laden. That can be documented.” In 2002, he suggested a war against Iraq would be a cakewalk: “It isn’t going to be over in 24 hours, but it isn’t going to be months either.” He asserted Saddam was “working feverishly to acquire nuclear weapons.” He claimed the post-invasion reconstruction in Iraq would be self-financing. He got everything wrong.
And still he said: “You can’t a decade later go back and say we shouldn’t have done that.”
Maybe he can’t. We can.
By the way, Sullivan himself was an early and ardent supporter of the Iraq invasion. He’s been tripping all over himself in the last recent years saying he was wrong and apologizing for that. But my oh my how he did once love that war. He proved it by damning – over and over again in strong language - those who would dare oppose the war likening such opposition to anti-Semitism and calls for American defeat. He wasn’t just wrong – as he admits – he nearly called the left traitors.
And like many at the time – and right up to today – he claimed that opposing the war was equivalent to morally condoning Saddam’s record of human right abuses.
This lazy form of moral equivalence is not rare among the radical left in this country. But it is based on a profound moral abdication: the refusal to see that a Stalinist dictatorship that murders its own civilians, that sends its troops into battle with a gun pointed at their heads, that executes POWs, that stores and harbors chemical weapons, that defies 12 years of U.N. disarmament demands, that has twice declared war against its neighbors, and that provides a safe haven for terrorists of all stripes, is not the moral equivalent of the United States under President George W. Bush. There is, in fact, no comparison whatever. That is not jingoism or blind patriotism or propaganda. It is the simple undeniable truth. And once the left starts equating legitimate acts of war to defang and depose a deadly dictator with unprovoked terrorist attacks on civilians, it has lost its mind, not to speak of its soul.
Really? Sullivan never apologized for that part. Here’s his March 2003 archive; lots of nasty stuff.
As I said below about Wolfowitz, the ones who got it wrong still occupy positions of influence. They may be scorned on this tenth anniversary, but mostly they’re in the background making money and calling always for more war, war, war. It’s what they do.