As Bush's Defense Policy Board chief, Perle loudly proclaimed that there was a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks, worked feverishly to justify the invasion, called "traitorous" anyone in Congress who dared question him, and "incompetent" the military commanders who said there weren't enough troops to do the job right.
But what makes Perle particularly loathsome is that he has no regrets about his role in the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history. Zero. Zip. Nada.
And the impression lingers that if he could do it all over again, he wouldn't change a thing.
This overarching hubris was on full display last night as Perle did his star turn in a travelogue cum autobiopic called "The Case for War: In Defense of Freedom," an installment in PBS’s 11-part "America at a Crossroads" series.
Perle was given creative control and it showed. This was an apparent balm from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, which "has long been under pressure by the White House to include more conservative voices," according to New York Times television critic Alessandra Stanley.
But as Stanley notes in a review of the show, "Perle exposes himself by omission and indirection."
This includes conveniently failing to mention that the Taliban is again ascendant in Afghanistan in a stopover at a girls’ school and street market in Kabul, and using a trip down memory lane to his alma mater, Hollywood High School, to rant against "Hollywood leftists" whom he claims worshiped Stalin back in the day.
Perle had flirted with contrition in a widely read Vanity Fair interview in November, but it was others whom he said should have regrets about the Iraq war -- the unnamed individuals responsible for what he told VF was "the devastating dysfunction within the administration of George W. Bush."
This dysfunction, of course, occurred after Perle sniffed his last Rose Garden rose.
A comparison between Perle and Pontius Pilate seems appropriate, and so I composed this letter:
While Pontius PIlate washed his hands after Jesus was crucified, no amount of washing is going to get the blood of all those dead Americans and Iraqis off of your hands.
May your nightmares be many and filled with the souls who were beheaded, disemboweled, raped and blown to smithereens
because of your arrogance and intellectual dishonesty.
When you depart this mortal coil, may you rot in the special Hell created for people like yourself who led us into the Mess in
Mesopotamiaand then slunk off with their tails between their legs when the going got tough.
And when you get there, be sure to say howdy to Saddam for us.
Love and Peace, Shaun