Richard Perle's Puppet Show
Jude Wanniski
July 31, 2002


Memo To: Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Stringing President Bush Along

I'm still expecting that you will be true to your word, Trent, and dissent from any plans to make war on Iraq unless you have a "smoking gun" that persuades you Saddam Hussein is a real threat to our national security. Please note Senator Biden announced BEFORE his Foreign Relations hearings this week that Saddam must be removed from power in Baghdad. It is of some comfort that the top brass at the Pentagon is telling the defense reporter of the Washington Post that Saddam is no threat and can be contained, as he has been since the Gulf War. But I am afraid President Bush still does not understand that he has become a marionette in Richard Perle's continuing puppet show in the Middle East. It really is up to you to do everything you can to break those strings as I do not see anyone else around who can do it. It had been my hope that Colin Powell as Secretary of State could outmaneuver Perle, who chairs the Defense Policy Board, and his gunslingers Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condi Rice and their minions at the Pentagon and the National Security Council. Not so far.

You know I'd hoped Vice President Cheney would support Powell when the "bombers" went too far, but now that Cheney has been cut to pieces over past financial dealings at Haliburton, he seems immobilized. His chief of staff, Lewis Libby one of Perle's puppets has maintained the hard line on Cheney's behalf. As for Colin Powell, he has been so humiliated by Perle's ability to control the agenda through his hold on Rumsfeld and Condi Rice that I would not doubt he has considered resigning. A Secretary of State who seems so weakened does not have much clout in dealing with the world's foreign ministers, who figure he is a loser. I hope you noticed on FoxNewsSunday, Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard just announced that nobody would miss Powell, as Bush would immediately name Condi Rice to the job. Kristol is of course first among Perle's many henchmen in the press corps, which includes Bill Safire of the NYTimes, George Will of ABC, and the Wall Street Journal editorial page. I'd also hoped that Karl Rove would be an independent agent, able to sort out the issues for his boss, the President, but either he has become a Perle puppet himself, or has been immobilized by demands from Rumsfeld and Rice that he keep his hands off the Middle East.

Here are a couple of things to chew on, Trent. First, an item from the Financial Times:

Rolf Ekeus, head of United Nations weapons inspections in Iraq from 1991-97, has accused the US and other Security Council members of manipulating the United Nations inspections teams for their own political ends....Mr Ekeus said the US tried to find information about the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein, Iraq's president. He said he was able to rebuff such moves but that the pressure mounted after he left in 1997. Most damning, he said that the US and other members of the Security Council pressed the teams to inspect sensitive areas, such as Iraq's ministry of defence when it was politically favourable for them to create a crisis situation. "They, [Security Council members] pressed the inspection leadership to carry out inspections which were controversial from the Iraqis' view, and thereby created a blockage that could be used as a justification for a direct military action," he said.

In a separate interview with Svenska Dagbladet, the Swedish newspaper, Mr Ekeus said that he had learnt after he left his position that the US had placed two of its own agents in the group of inspectors.

Trent, I hope this sounds familiar, as I had told you years ago that the UNSCOM inspection team under Richard Butler, a political hack who succeeded Ekeus, knew they would not find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They were there to spot conventional munitions they could bomb in an attack and to get a bead on Saddam's whereabouts, with assassination in mind. Do you remember being briefed on this? If not, you were no doubt being briefed by one of Richard's marionettes.

Second Trent, I'd like you to read the lead editorial in the Jewish weekly Forward this week. It is about Unacceptable Losses and opens this way:

Israel's largest-circulation daily newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, reported Wednesday that the leadership of the Tanzim terrorist organization had met in Jenin Monday night and voted to declare a unilateral cease-fire in its terrorist war against Israel. The Tanzim vote, Yediot reported, came just an hour-and-a-half before the deadly Israeli air attack against a Gaza Hamas leader, Salah Shehadeh. The attack killed 14 innocent civilians. It also killed the cease-fire initiative.

This is not Wanniski talking, Trent. This is the most prestigious Jewish newspaper in America, and it is saying that the bombing was intended to kill the peace process. Ariel Sharon does not want the terrorists to stop terrorizing Israel or he might have to sit down with the Palestinians and negotiate a Palestinian state. We already know his right-wing Likudniks voted a few months back at a party rally almost unanimously against a Palestinian state. Sharon pretends to be seeking peace, but when the Palestinians vote a unilateral cease-fire, he drops a one-ton bomb on them.

Now to add one and one to make two: In their hearts, Richard Perle and his bombers do not work for the American taxpayers, Trent. They work for the Likud Party, which has always pretended to want peace, but has been even more interested in having all of the Promised Land for Israeli Jews, none for the Palestinians who were displaced by the 1948 UN mandate. Why would Perle and Wolfowitz be so eager to get rid of Saddam Hussein? They need a puppet government in Baghdad, don't you see. They intend to get rid of the Palestinians, at the least pushing them into Jordan. And they cannot risk having Saddam in Baghdad become the recipient of the Islamic bomb now in the possession of his friends in Pakistan. Once Saddam has nukes to counter Israel's nukes, it's all over. The Likudniks would have to accept a Palestinian state or be overwhelmed by Islamic radicals. Do you think the President knows that this is what it is all about? Think about it, old friend, and then do what you can to cut those strings.