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The Responsibility Era

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I see that Richard Perle--like a number of neocons--is promoting the notion that he got off the Iraq train way back in the early days of the war. He tells Pajamas Media's Richard Miniter:

PERLE: I think the most serious, the seminal mistake, was getting into an occupation. The day Baghdad fell, we should have handed political authority to the Iraqis. . . . Instead, we sent in 8,000 Americans to administer Iraq like you'd administer Montgomery County. . . .
MINITER: Bremer was a mistake?
PERLE: A disaster.

And yet, here's a snippet from a May 2, 2003, Washington Post article on Bremer's appointment as civil administrator of Iraq:

Both State Department and Pentagon officials said they supported the appointment, a rare moment of unity for the battling factions of the administration. Richard N. Perle, a close adviser to the Pentagon's civilian leadership, said Bremer's reputation for toughness should help him in a job that has little precedent.
Then Perle needled the man from Foggy Bottom. "He's aggressive by foreign-service standards," Perle said. "I've seen hummingbirds that are aggressive by foreign-service standards."

Doesn't seem like Perle thought Bremer--or his job with little precedent--was such a disaster then. Even four months later, when the CPA's failings had become fairly apparent, Perle didn't seem overly concerned. Here he is in September '03 being interviewed by PBS's Ray Suarez about Bremer's plan for $87 billion in emergency funding:

SUAREZ: Richard Perle, did Paul Bremer's plan sound right to you both in its focus and spending priorities?
PERLE: Yes, it did. . . . What we are attempting to do in Iraq is precisely restore essential services, as Ambassador Bremer, indicated provide security, and open the way to a decent Iraqi government and a private Iraqi economy.

But hey, as the sycophantic Miniter points out (if you have a strong stomach, you really should watch this video), Perle makes an "excellent espresso"! I just hope that espresso isn't too strong. I wouldn't want anything to keep Perle awake at night.

--Jason Zengerle

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