Richard Perle is denying his role in the the war in Iraq, according to Dana Milbank at the Washington Post. Maybe that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Taking responsibility for the war in Iraq would way heavily on Perle’s conscience. I would be in denial, too. But Perle goes several steps further. According to Milbank, Perle is denying the very existence of a neoconservative foreign policy.
Yesterday, however, Perle said Bush’s foreign policy had “no philosophical underpinnings and certainly nothing like the demonic influence of neoconservatives that is alleged.” He also took issue with the common view that neocons favored using American might to spread democratic values. “There’s no documentation!” he argued. “I can’t find a single example of a neoconservative supposed to have influence over the Bush administration arguing that we should impose democracy by force.”
Richard Burt, who clashed with Perle in the Reagan administration, took issue with “this argument that neoconservatism maybe actually doesn’t exist.” He reminded Perle of the longtime rift between foreign policy realists and neoconservative interventionists. “You’ve got to kind of acknowledge there is a neoconservative school of thought,” Burt challenged.
“I don’t accept the approach, not at all,” the Prince of Darkness replied.
Perle acquired the nickname when he worked in the Department of Defense under Ronald Reagan. Anyway, I don’t really think it matters what Perle says about neoconservatism. I do look forward to seeing what historians say.
Have a good weekend.