Richard Perle’s Outrageous Lies

I’ve just finished listening to an enlightening 2-hour radio interview with hosts Mark Glenn and James Morris and guest Kevin MacDonald, and including an interesting call-in appearance from Stephen Sniegoski. The general topic was Jewish power, but one point in particular stood out: Recently, a premier architect and promoter of the neocon war against Iraq, “Prince of Darkness” Richard Perle, has been escalating his campaign to deny the neocon role in American politics. Let me explain.

Back in 1996, a group of Americans writing for an Israeli think tank published a paper for Israeli Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu called “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” In addition to calling for Saddam Hussein’s replacement, it also advised an overthrow or destabilization of the governments of Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Iran, thus leading to something akin to a “Greater US-Israel Co-Prosperity Sphere.”

One year later came the formation of The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a neocon think tank based in Washington. William Kristol and Robert Kagan co-founded it as a non-profit educational organization, but many have accused it of playing a primary role in the Bush Administration’s decision to go to war with Iraq in 2003. Later, the Pentagon hosted a unit called the Office of Special Plans (OSP), where Paul Wolfowitz joined Douglas Feith in propagating what many have claimed were false allegations about Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction.

In the American media there were legions of neocon writers who repeated the party line about the need for a preemptive war against Hussein. Anyone following the efforts and words of the neocons likely recognized a sense of schizophrenia about describing who, exactly, these neocons were. Last year I wrote about this phenomenon of naming neocons (see also here), noting how such comfortable homes to neoconservatism as The Public Interest, The National Interest, and Commentary (published by The American Jewish Committee) began to ignore any connection between Jews and neoconservatism. For example, the Winter 2004 issue of The Public Interest had an essay titled “Conservatives and Neoconservatives.” Yet author Adam Wolfson offered not even an oblique reference to Jews. Never mind that journal co-founder Irving Kristol is considered by many to be the father of neoconservatism, or that the other three editors over the forty-year life of the magazine have also been Jews.

Over at its more foreign-policy oriented sister publication, The National Interest, Francis Fukuyama, in “The Neoconservative Moment” (Summer 2004) also failed to mention this connection. And in the October 2005 issue of Commentary, Joshua Muravchik did likewise in his article “Iraq and the Conservatives.” (Notice that Muravchik doesn’t even call them neoconservatives.)

The schizophrenic aspect of naming or not naming neocons as Jews was obvious at the New York Times beginning at the end of 2008. In mid-December, America’s “paper of record” featured a review of a book about neocon hawk Richard Perle written by Alan Weisman, “a world-traveled journalist and the son of Ukrainian Jews.” In the review were found familiar neocon names such as Elliott Abrams, Douglas Feith, Michael Ledeen, and David Frum. The reader, however, heard not a word about their Jewish identity.  

One month later, however, the very same Times Book Review addressed Jacob Heilbrunn’s They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons—yet another book on neocons written by a Jewish author. But this time the reviewer, Timothy Noah, could not have been more blunt about the Jewish nature of the movement: “There’s no point denying it: neocons tend to be Jewish.” Heilbrunn confirmed this in an interview, when he bequeathed to us this verbal gift: “It is anything but an anti-Semitic canard to label neoconservatism a largely Jewish phenomenon.” In an article in The American Conservative, Philip Weiss delivered the same verdict: “Heilbrunn achieves one important chore: a forthright social narrative of the neocons as a Jewish movement.”

All of this brings us full circle back to 2004, when Kevin MacDonald wrote that “neoconservatism is indeed a Jewish intellectual and political movement.” “The current situation in the United States is really an awesome display of Jewish power and influence.”  MacDonald goes over the entire history of the movement back to the 1960s and shows that the principal players were Jews with a strong Jewish identity and a strong sense of pursuing Jewish interests — first and foremost the interests of Israel, but also advocating the use of US foreign policy to combat anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. He shows that neocons hold traditional Jewish liberal attitudes on every other issue, including immigration policy, but that they managed to elbow out traditional conservatives in the Republican Party to the point that paleocons like Pat Buchanan have been relegated to the sidelines.

Of course anyone following the antics of the neocons always knew about a certain Jewish character to the movement. After all, didn’t Pat Buchanan famously write in his seminal cover story in The American Conservative in early 2003 that a “neoconservative clique” was responsible for a pre-planned attack on Iraq following 9/11? Continuing, he thundered, “We charge that a cabal of polemicists and public officials seek to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America’s interests. We charge them with colluding with Israel to ignite those wars.”

And who might benefit from the Iraq War? Buchanan spelled it out:

Cui Bono? For whose benefit these endless wars in a region that holds nothing vital to America save oil, which the Arabs must sell us to survive? Who would benefit from a war of civilizations between the West and Islam? Answer: one nation, one leader, one party. Israel, Sharon, Likud.

One might argue that the Jewish nature of the neocon movement and its efforts on behalf of the State of Israel are two of the most heavily documented and discussed topics of the last decade. Here is just a short list of the most well-known considerations of Jewish power in this respect:

Perhaps the crowning achievement in this category is Stephen Sniegoski’s The Transparent Cabal, a comprehensive solo effort that definitively documents the neocon-Zionist hand in America’s disastrous decision to invade and occupy Iraq, as well as in American Middle East policy more generally. His lucid comments on the radio show mentioned above make this topic even easier to understand.

Finally, I arrive at the point of this column: Despite the massive proof of neocon involvement in America’s decision to go to war with Iraq and despite the overwhelming evidence that neoconservatism qualifies as a Jewish movement, central neocon figure Richard Perle has, with a straight face, stated that neocons do not exist. And it follows that if they don’t exist, they certainly are not a Jewish cabal.

In a story last week in the Washington Post, journalist Dana Milbank expressed skepticism about Perle’s odd claims. “Listening to neoconservative mastermind Richard Perle at the Nixon Center yesterday,” he wrote, “there was a sense of falling down the rabbit hole. In real life, Perle was the ideological architect of the Iraq war and of the Bush doctrine of preemptive attack. But at yesterday’s forum of foreign policy intellectuals, he created a fantastic world in which:

1. Perle is not a neoconservative.

2. Neoconservatives do not exist.

3. Even if neoconservatives did exist, they certainly couldn’t be blamed for the disasters of the past eight years.”

Against any form of reality that most of us would recognize, Perle averred that “There is no such thing as a neoconservative foreign policy.” This nonsense was spoken at a gathering hosted by The National Interest.

As evidence of the coordinated nature of this disinformation campaign, one can point to the essay Perle recently penned for The National Interest. Titled Ambushed on the Potomac, the essay has Perle spouting such howlers as, “I know of no statement, public or private, by any neoconservative in or near government, advocating the invasion of Iraq primarily for the purpose of promoting democracy or advancing some grand neoconservative vision.” And this: “And as for Israeli interests, well, the Israelis, who believed that Iran posed the greater threat, were strongly and often vociferously against the United States going into Iraq.”

He also alleges that his fellow Jew Jacob Heilbrunn’s They Knew They Were Right exhibits “an obsession with neoconservative influence” but fails “utterly to describe or document that influence.” Further, he adds, “This neoconservative conspiracy is nonsense, of course, and no serious observer of the Bush administration would argue such a thing, not least because there is not, and cannot be, any evidence to substantiate it.”

The National Interest is entirely complicit in this campaign. Witness, for example, the six large pictures interspersed throughout the article: Bush, Cheney, Powell, Tenet, Rice, Rumsfeld — none of them a Jew. Perle (with the help of The National Interest) wants to frame them for “the hijacking of foreign policy.” And he concludes that “what is unusual is the extent to which President Bush was undermined by his own administration.”

What might be missed here is a two-year-old piece in Vanity Fair which reveals even more chutzpah on who is to blame for Iraq. In conversations just prior to the 2006 elections, a host of neocon operatives were interviewed and sought to distance themselves from the Iraq fiasco by blaming others—but only non-Jews.

Kenneth Adelman, for instance, though professing deep respect for personal friend Donald Rumsfeld, still blamed him for many of the problems in carrying out the plans of the neocons. “I’m crushed by his performance.” Adelman also blamed three other top non-Jews: Paul Bremer, George Tenet and General Tommy Franks. “Those three are each directly responsible for the disaster of Iraq.”

Michael Ledeen, top scholar from the American Enterprise Institute, a leading neocon think tank,  felt that Condoleezza Rice, in her capacity as national-security adviser, had sought compromise rather than correct decisions. Eliot Cohen saw “a very different quality of leadership” as responsible for missed chances in 2003 and 2004. Michael Rubin, also from the A.E.I., faulted the Commander-in-Chief this way: “Where I most blame George Bush is that, through his rhetoric, people trusted him, people believed him. Reformists came out of the woodwork and exposed themselves.”

Perle offered that “this unfolding catastrophe has a central cause: devastating dysfunction within the Bush administration. . . . At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible.” Incredibly, Perle claimed, “Huge mistakes were made, and I want to be very clear on this: they were not made by neoconservatives, who had almost no voice in what happened . . .”

The most outlandish opinion, however, came from Ledeen, who argued that the best way to understand the dysfunction of the Bush administration was to ask, “Who are the most powerful people in the White House?” His answer: “They are women who are in love with the president: Laura [Bush], Condi, Harriet Miers, and Karen Hughes.” Quite frankly, I’m speechless.

James Petras, who has penned three recent books on the “Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC),” also noted the blame-the-goyim approach. “Whatever inside dope [journalist Seymour] Hersh cited that had not been public was based on anonymous sources which could never be double checked or verified, whose analysis incidentally coincided with Hersh’s peculiar penchant for blaming the Gentiles (WASPs) and exonerating the brethren.”

Petras is a man worth reading. In two previous books, The Power of Israel in the United States (2006) and Rulers and Ruled in the US Empire: Bankers, Zionists and Militants (2007), he lucidly outlined the power structure that controls Washington. (See my review of both books for The Occidental Quarterly here). Last year he come out with a new book, Zionism, Militarism, and the Decline of U.S. Power that continued his exposition. (For a short summary of such ideas about the ZPC, see here.)

Petras minces no words in this new book:

The lesson is clear: the rise of Judeo-fascism represents a clear and present danger to our democratic freedoms in the United States. They do not come with black shirts and stiff-arm salutes. The public face is a clean-shaven, neck-tied attorney, real estate philanthropist or Ivy League professor. But there is rising anger and hostility in American against the ZPC, against its arrogant authoritarian communal attacks on our democratic values, to say nothing of our national interests. Sooner or later there will be a major backlash—and it will reflect badly on those who, through vocation or conviction, engage in the firings, censoring and intimidation campaigns against the American majority. The American people will not remember their cries of ‘anti-Semitism’; they will recall their role in sending thousands of American soldiers to their death in the Middle East in the interests of Israel, and how that war has diminished the United States’ image in the world, to say nothing of its economic well-being and democratic freedoms at home.

Time will tell whether the American people will react as Petras suggests. But more to the point, will the American people swallow the current lies of Perle and his fellow neocons? There are two reasons they might. First, Jews have a long history of deception of non-Jews. MacDonald was being polite when he titled a chapter on the history of Jewish deception “Rationalization and Apologia.” Less charitable people might call it something else. In any case, we might suspect that Perle is simply engaging in a tried and true tactic of his tribe.

The second reason Perle et al. might succeed in deceiving the masses is that the bulk of American media is in the hands of Jews, most of whom, as Petras and others have shown, are highly sympathetic to the Zionist cause. Israel Shamir provides a reason why the transgressions of Perle and his fellow neocons may well go unpunished: “The rich Jews buy media so it will cover up their (and their brethren’s) misdeeds.”

And for people who are not deceived by all this, there is little doubt that organizations like the ADL will step in to label as anti-Semites anyone who publicly states that neoconservatism is a Jewish cabal. Indeed,  the ADL has already done so. As usual, such charges will keep public discussion of these issues to a minimum, and respectable politicians will be loathe to discuss the topic.

How the American people react to these brazen attempts by the Jewish neocons to whitewash their role in steering America on such a disastrous course will show their maturity and determination to get to the truth of the matter, or it will show their lack thereof. The proper response, of course, is to forcefully reject these outrageous lies.