Thursday, April 22, 2004

Richard Perle Makes Appearance On Same Panel As Juan Cole

Some things are just not right. The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has been having hearings this week with 'experts' to figure out what the heck is going on in Iraq and how to rectify the situation. After a last-minute scratch, Richard Perle, a.k.a. The Prince of Darkness, was asked to testify. I object to this on several grounds, but I think Juan Cole points them out better than I could.

Cole's remarks were tough, which was good. Inject some reality into this whole Iraq debate. His own post about the Perle experience is here, and his pre-written testimony is here.

Anyways, I called and left a message for the Committee's Majority Leader, Dick Lugar, and dropped an email to the Committee's Minority Leader, Joe Biden. Lugar doesn't seem to have an email address.

[Note: I assume that's Dick Lugar is the Majority Leader of this committee since Frist (GOP) is Senate Majority Leader. I thought the Senate was split 50/50, so how does the GOP get the majority? We'll figure that out another day.]

The email to Biden is below:

   Sender: Peter Smith
  Subject: Richard Perle testifies in front of Foreign Relations Comm.?

Mr. Biden,

Providing the 'Honorable' Richard Perle a platform to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week was a mistake. These meetings are too important to introduce to this important fact-finding process someone who is so bitterly partisan.

Mr. Perle has pushed for war against Iraq for more than ten years. Mr. Perle has no discernable expertise in the Middle East. He's never lived in an Arab country, nor does he speak any Arabic. And let's face it, there's only so much perspective one can pick up inside the echo chamber of the American Enterprise Institute. Further, Mr. Perle was forced to resign his post, under a veil of corruption, as head of the Defense Policy Board. On moral grounds alone, someone so closely tied to a corruption scandal involving the War on Iraq should not be testifying before a Committee whose mission it is to bring about bipartisan support to save the disastrous situation in Iraq. And as someone so closely tied to the Pentagon, neither can Mr. Perle be relied upon for non-partisan information. Last minute write-in or not, it was wholly inappropriate to have Mr. Perle testify before your committee. I hope that the results of your hearings will not be automatically impugned merely by the mention of Mr. Perle's appearance.

Also, these meetings - based on the transcripts of prepared notes alone - seem to be providing extremely valuable information (I am able to disregard Perle's ideological diatribes and factless prescriptions). I've no idea if they hearings, or their 'inquiry time' are closed, but if they can be opened to CSPAN and thus the general public, they should be. All Americans would welcome a chance to listen to true experts for a change. We want answers for Iraq and we want them now.

Thank you for the efforts.