The Rip Post

No Perle of wisdom
by Rip Rense
         Feb. 12, 2003

         Buried in the Feb. 9 L.A. Times coverage of the Iraq crisis was this stunning comment by Pentagon advisor Richard Perle:
        "If, on Sept. 11, it had been the Tour d'Eiffel and some other buildings in Paris, Europeans might be feeling differently."
        This cynical harrumph was a reaction to the Germany-France plan to avert a unilateral U.S. invasion and conquest of Iraq. It is, Perle fumed, "a plan to do nothing."
        Let's examine this outburst.
        Had the Eiffel Tower been sheered in half by suicide bombers in 747s, Perle says, Europeans would be willing to endorse invasion and conquest of Iraq.
        In other words, he implies, Europeans have experienced nothing as heinous as 9/11. Ahem. The foreign policy expert seems to have forgotten that Europe has been a frequent site of terrorism, from the Munich Olympics in '72 to the downing of Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland---and  that, yes, Europe was greatly impacted by the loss of many of its own citizens in the World Trade Center disaster, as well as attendant financial and social chaos. What's more, the Eiffel Tower was reportedly a rejected terrorist target.
        No matter, huffs Perle.
        But here is what disturbs most about the remarks:
        With his "Tour d'Eiffel" remark, Perle, who was assistant secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan, appears to suggest that the Iraq invasion is simple vengence. Retaliation for 9/11. That we are invading Iraq because of the destruction of the World Trade Center.
          This is a revelation. A crack in the hull of the U.S.S. Armtwister. Remember:
        *Iraq had nothing to do with organizing or executing the hideous assaults of 9/11.
        *President Bush has never once mentioned anything about this being retribution for 9/11.
        *President Bush has variously given as reasons for invading Iraq: the liberation of the Iraqi people; a need to remove a vile dictator; preventing Saddam Hussein from obtaining or building weapons of mass destruction; protecting the United States from Saddam Hussein.
        He never said this was payback. No one in his government has even hinted at this. In fact, they have been careful to avoid it.
        What makes Perle's outburst especially important is that he is one of the architects of "Global Pax Americana," the foreign policy blueprint for the Bush Administration drawn up before the 2000 election by the Project for a New American Century---which also included Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, and other key Bush administration figures.
        "Global Pax Americana" calls for invasion and permanent occupation of the Middle East, just for starters. It was drawn up by Perle and company long before 9/11, and is widely considered to be a plan for military and economic domination of the world by the United States. Or, if you prefer, by Corporate America.
        Perle is upset not because he is being thwarted in his mission to protect the United States from Saddam Hussein. That's the ruse. He is upset because Europe, now with backing from Russia, has thrown up a stumbling block to step one of "Global Pax Americana"---invading Iraq, and controlling its oil.
        Let's move on to the second of Perle's comments, that the European plan is a plan for "nothing."
        It is a plan for preventing war. Perhaps, to Perle and the architects of "Global Pax Americana," war is "nothing." To most of the world, it is definitely. . .something.
         A breakdown:
        *The Iraq invasion would be a colossal assault consisting of a daily rain of up to 500 missiles, certainly guaranteeing that far more innocents will perish than at the World Trade Center, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania combined. This "Shock and Awe" tactic, as The Pentagon terms it,  is aimed at cowing the Iraqi government and army into immediate surrender.
        *Many young Americans would die, or come home maimed and diseased. (Soldiers are right now being given pyridostigmine bromide, a possible cause of Gulf War Syndrome usually used to treat myasthenia gravis, to buffer against poison gas attack.)
        *It would cost an estimated $200 billion, while the president presents a budget that contains a trillion-dollar deficit over the next five years.
        *It would play right into Osama bin-Laden's hands (remember him?), as he wants nothing better than for Bush to invade a Muslim nation---thus fulfilling his ideal of turning the entire Muslim populace against the west, provoking a confrontation between the worlds of Islam and Christianity (and destroying Saddam, whom bin-Laden reviles as a false Muslim.)
         *It would outrage and destabilize the rest of the civilized world, and serve as the greatest inspiration for terrorist action and recruitment imaginable. (Curious that the administration never seems to address this.)
        *It would prompt Saddam Hussein to use whatever weapons of mass destruction he owns. Joseph C. Wilson, a man whose Middle East credentials measure up against Perle's, put it this way: "There is now no incentive for Hussein to comply with the inspectors or to refrain from using weapons of mass destruction to defend himself if the United States comes after him. And he will use them; we should be under no illusion about that." Wilson, who made the comment in a Feb. 2 L.A. Times commentary, was chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad from 1988 to 1991, and acting ambassador during Operation Desert Shield. He has met and negotiated with Saddam, whom he describes as a "murderous sociopath." In other words, he knows of what he speaks.
        So France and Germany---lately derided as "Old Europe" by old Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld---have come up with a plan that would avert all of the above described horrors. A plan that gives Saddam incentive to not use WMD, and to cease efforts to create more. The incentive: avoid being destroyed by the U. S..
        What's more, Iraq has agreed to the plan, which calls for lining its borders with U.N. troops, submitting to constant U.N. weapons inspections, and---most amazing---allowing for flyover surveillance by U-2 aircraft of the entire nation.
        Yet Perle crankily and arrogantly dismisses this as "nothing," And he is not the only Bush aide getting surly. Flaws are showing in the steely demeanor of Rumsfeld, who last week wildly savaged Germany by lumping it in with Libya and Cuba, and more recently likened the U.N. to the limp and ineffectual post-WWI League of Nations. Secretary of State Colin Powell joined in with usual "good cop" diplomacy, blandly branding the plan a "distraction, not a solution."
        Well, if the U.N. turns out to be ineffectual in the Iraq crisis, it will be because the U.S. dismissed this plan as "nothing."
        The sneering comments of Perle and the Bush administration bring to mind exasperated lawyers who have run out of arguments, and are panicked they might not get a cut of that big settlement. And the arguments have not been persuasive. For all the saber rattling and case-building and U.N. presentation, European polls overwhelmingly oppose a solo U.S. war on Iraq. The latest L.A. Times survey found 62 percent of the American public in favor of moving only with U.N. cooperation and approval.
        Yet Bush's massive troop build-up continues.
        Global Pax Americana? Try Global War Americana.