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Richard Perle

Richard Norman Perle (born September 16, 1941) is a neoconservative who served the Reagan administration as an assistant secretary of defense and serves on the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee. Perle, a strong advocate of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, correctly predicted that Saddam Hussein's forces could be defeated in no more than "months".

Table of contents
1 Education and early career
2 Current activities
3 War with Iraq
4 Other
5 External links

Education and early career

Perle earned a B.A from the University of Southern California in 1964 and an M.A in political science from Princeton University in 1967.

From 1969 to 1980, he worked as a staffer for Democratic Senator Henry M. Jackson of Washington. He lost one of his positions after the FBI revealed that he had passed on classified information to Israel. From 1981 to 1987, Perle was Assistant Secretary of Defense for international security policy in the Reagan administration. He received criticism for accepting a major payment from an Israeli arms manufacturer, but was not prosecuted.

Robert Burns of AP writes, "Perle was so strongly opposed to nuclear arms control agreements with the former Soviet Union during his days in the Reagan administration that he became known as 'the Prince of Darkness.' [1]

Current activities

Perle is currently a resident fellow at the conservative think-tank American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. His cited research interests include defense, national security and the Middle East.

In addition, Perle also has many business interests. Among other engagements, he is Chairman and chief executive officer of Hollinger Digital, Inc, a partner of Trireme and a director of the Jerusalem Post.

In July 2001 George W. Bush appointed Perle chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, which advises the Department of Defense. On March 9 2003, Seymour Hersh published an article in The New Yorker titled Lunch with the Chairman, accusing Perle of a conflict of interest, claiming Perle stood to profit financially by influencing government policy. Hersh's article alleged that Perle had business dealings with Saudi investors and linked him to a intelligence-related computer firm Trireme Partners, Ltd, which stood to profit from the war in Iraq.

In a widely quoted passage, Hersh wrote:

"There is no question that [Richard] Perle believes that removing Saddam from power is the right thing to do. At the same time, he has set up a company that may gain from a war." [1]

The same day the New Yorker article was published, Perle, in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer responded that "Hersh is the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist, frankly." [1]. Perle later threatened to bring a libel suit against Hersh for the allegations raised in his article. On March 27, 2003, Richard Perle resigned as chairman of the Defense Policy Board, though he still remained a member of the board.

On March 28, 2003, Judicial Watch filed a complaint to the Office of Government Ethics, the Office of the Defense Department Inspector General, the Office of the Homeland Security Inspector General, United States Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller in the matter of Former Defense Policy Board Chairman Richard N. Perle, Former President William Jefferson Clinton, Former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, Current Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and Global Crossing.

War with Iraq

Perle is said to be the person behind the US policy on Iraq (see also: U.S. plan to invade Iraq). He believed that Saddam Hussein's control of the government was weak, and that an invasion of Iraq would remove Saddam from power within weeks.

In an interview for "Saddam's Ultimate Solution", the July 11, 2002 episode of the PBS series Wide Angle, he said:

Saddam is much weaker than we think he is. He's weaker militarily. We know he's got about a third of what he had in 1991. But it's a house of cards. He rules by fear because he knows there is no underlying support. Support for Saddam, including within his military organization, will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder. Now, it isn't going to be over in 24 hours, but it isn't going to be months either.

On November 19, 2003, Perle spoke at an event organized by the Institute of Contemporary Arts, saying as a criticism of the United Nations that the invasion of Iraq contravened international law:
I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing....
International law ... would have required us to leave Saddam Hussein alone....
[Because of French intransigence there was] "no practical mechanism consistent with the rules of the UN for dealing with Saddam."
His opinion was promptly disavowed by British and American officials.


Perle is co-founder of the right-wing Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a spin-off from the American Enterprise Institute. He is known for a negative view on the United Nations and multi-lateralism, pushing for world-wide superiority of the USA.

Perle is author of many articles and three books:

In 1992 he produced the PBS feature The Gulf Crisis: The Road to War.

External links