|This article appears in the April 4, 2003 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
`Prince of Darkness' Richard Perle
by William Jones
Demands `Regime Change' of UN Charter
"Prince of Darkness" Richard Perle, in the week before scandals forced him to quit as chairman of the Defense Policy Board (DPB) on March 27, delivered arrogant speeches laying out the demands for imperial "perpetual war" across the globe, which is the actual policy of the chicken-hawks behind the Iraq invasion. Perle also called for a new and revised United Nations Charter which would make U.S./British-dictated "regime changes" into UN policy.
Perle's resignation, accepted by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, is a major blow to the neo-conservative chicken-hawk faction, but he remains a member of the DPB. Congressman John Conyers (D-Mich.) said that the resignation did not change his insistence that the Pentagon investigate Perle's numerous conflicts of interest (see EIR, March 21 and March 28); Sen. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) and several watch-dog groups continue to insist that Perle leave the DPB advisory body and the government altogether. Lyndon LaRouche first made this demand as early as 2001; repeated after the scandalous Saudi-bashing Pentagon briefing, set up by Perle and delivered by one Laurent Murawiec on July 10; and renewed in the March 28 EIR, as a flank to stop the war itself.
On March, 21, Perle called for revamping defense policy in accordance with what he and his cohorts see as the new "imperial" role of the United States in global policy. The traditional doctrine of containment "makes no sense if what is at issue is taking place within national boundaries. The UN structure doesn't allow us to deal with the new threats," he told a meeting of the Defense Forum Foundation (DFF), an organization that promotes defense issues on Capitol Hill. "We need to rethink the structures of security for this new world that we now face. Perhaps we can amend the UN Charter to take account of the threats I talked about, or perhaps we can dispense with the UN altogether for these purposes and find some new set of security arrangements." Perle said.
Having launched a colonial-like "force deployment" utilizing only a "coalition of the willing," the cabal around Perle and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz was now intent on making such arrangements a permanent feature of the international scene. While officially not a member of the government, Perle has had direction of the DPB and an office next to Rumsfeld's. In addition, an entire gaggle of Perle acolytes and co-thinkers has been inserted into key Pentagon posts, and are intent on transforming the United States military into the legions of a "New Roman Empire." "What is to say that a war that might be legitimate, may not be legitimate if it can't get the approval of the United Nations?" Perle asked, at the Defense Forum. "A war that can't get France to sign on is somehow illegitimate, or a war that cannot assemble a majority of the Security Council, even though many of themor maybe even a majority of themwill turn out at any given moment to be dictatorships. We need to rethink that. And I think this war is going to enable us to rethink that."
'Today Baghdad, Tomorrow Tehran'
Perle also made it clear, that in making an invasion of Iraq the test-case for the "New Empire" paradigm, the much-touted weapons of mass destruction were only a pretext. "For many months our senior Administration officials were persuaded that we had to talk narrowly of 'weapons of mass destruction.' because 'regime change' was not authorized under the United Nations Charter," Perle told the DFF. "It's not in the mainstream of diplomatic practice to contemplate, much less undertake, the changing of regimes. Regime change was something of a taboo. In adopting that rather narrow view in talking to people the way diplomats talk to people, I think we failed to communicate to ordinary citizens throughout the world, whose values are very much like our own, and who understand what it means to be tyrannized as the people of Iraq have been tyrannized. And there would have been lawyers who will say that 'regime change' has not been contemplated under the United Nations Charter. And the answer to that is that we need to revise the United Nations Charter."
Perle arrived at the DFF event fresh from a Nazi Nuremberg rally over at his home base, the American Enterprise Institute. The ghouls of that neo-conservative house of ill repute had come out, a tad prematurely, to celebrate what they had assumed would be a swift victory for the "Empire." March 21 was the Friday preceding the ill-starred weekend in which the "cakewalk" to Baghdad (Perle's characterization of how the war would look) suddenly was transformed into a rather blood-soaked death march. Perle's partner-in-arms and self-professed "universal fascist," Michael Ledeen, got so carried away at AEI, that he called for an immediate move against Tehran, after Baghdad. "Iraq is not the war. And the war is a regional war; and we cannot be successful in Iraq if we only do Iraq alone," Ledeen ranted. "And I think that the terror countries bordering Iraqnamely, Iran and Syriaknow that. I think that Saddam's plan was to disappear into Syria, as Osama bin Laden disappeared into Iran ... in the middle of the Afghan war. I think that the Iranians and the Syrians fully intend to do everything in their power to destabilize our efforts in Iraq once the war is over and once we're in stable positions on the ground."
Scandals Dog Perle
And yet, while the well-laid schemes of the Perle "strategic policy" were being bogged down by greater-than-expected military resistance from the Iraqi forces, the exposés of his personal massive conflicts of interest, were exploding. On March 17, New Yorker magazine had carried an article by Seymour Hersh exposing Perle's role in Trireme Partners LP, which invests in companies involved in defense and homeland security contracts, and in the windfall-profits area of the "reconstruction" of Iraq after the bombing campaign and invasion.
Then on March 20, Stephen Labaton of the New York Times published an article showing that Perle was also an advisor to Global Crossing, the bankrupt international fiber-optics communications giant, which was intent on selling its assets to Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. For Perle, the deal would have been extremely lucrative: He would have received $750,000, of which $600,000 was contingent on his winning Pentagon approval for the sale. In legal papers filed by Global Crossing, it was clearly stated that Perle was uniquely qualified to advise the company on the matter, because of his job as head of the Defense Policy Board. Perle had told the Washington Post that the reference to his position on the Defense Policy Board was put in the affidavit by mistake. Global Crossing had to pull back its request for the government to clear the sale, in the face of opposition from the Defense Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Syndicated columnist Maureen Dowd then attacked, twice in the same week, in op-eds in the New York Times"Perle's Plunder Blunder," on March 23, and "Richard Perle's Conflict" on March 24. "To remove the conflict, Mr. Perle will have to choose between the gain and the office," Dowd wrote. Perle finally had to withdraw from his Global Crossing advisory position on March 27, the same day he resigned as DPB chairman.
For weeks the White House had avoided questions about the controversial Defense Policy Board chairman, on the pretext that Perle was not part of the Bush Administration. But when EIR asked again on March 25 about the growing scandal, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer had to address the issue, using pretty much the same formulation that Perle had earlier used to respond to EIR's questions. "On your question about Mr. Perle, the President is confident that all laws will be followed by all people who are on all commissions," Fleischer said. "And there are literally thousands, or tens of thousands of people ... who serve the government in a variety of different capacities on advisory commissions. They're all obligated to follow the law, and the President is confident the law will be followed."
But by that time, the smell of scandal had already reached the U.S. Congress. Representative Conyers on March 24 had asked the Pentagon's Inspector General to probe Perle's work as a paid advisor to Global Crossing Ltd. "I am aware of several potential conflicts that warrant your immediate review," Conyers wrote to Inspector General Joseph Schmitz, pointing in particular to Global Crossing, Trireme, and a third entity, called Autonomy.
Indeed, the week when Perle perhaps thought that he could declare victory for his ill-starred policy, may have been transformed, by Friday, into the beginning of the end for his miserable career. He can always retire to his farmhouse in the countryside of Provence, France, fattening the geese for his future foie gras. But the extreme danger of a world war spreading from the Iraq conflagration requires that Perle's exit from government be made final and complete, quickly, and that other chicken-hawks' heads roll after his.