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and the memory hole



If there's one thing the neocons have it's chutzpah, and arch-neocon Richard Perle has it to the max. In "Chutzpah, Thy Name Is Perle" at TomPaine.com, Jim Lobe gives us the meaning:

Chutzpah — a Yiddish word that the dictionary defines as "unmitigated effrontery or impertinence, gall" — is best illustrated by a much-cited anecdote.

"Chutzpah is when a man kills his mother and his father and then throws himself on the mercy of the court on the grounds that he is an orphan."

And the neocons especially show their chutzpah in the current discussion of the missing weapons of mass destruction. Perle is now condemning the "intelligence failure" that allegedly caused the U.S. government to believe that Saddam had WMDs that threatened America. However, in the build-up to war, Perle and his neocon brethren took the lead in promoting that very view of Saddam's WMDs and castigating anyone who dared to question it.

Lobe writes:

Their single-minded message, repeated endlessly in op- ed columns, television interviews and Congressional testimony, was that the intelligence community was consistently underestimating the Iraqi threat in a deliberate effort to undermine the drive to war.

Their campaign now — and there is an orchestrated campaign underway, make no mistake — [of blaming] the CIA for exaggerating the Iraqi threat must rank right up there with parenticidal orphans.

The neocons, in fact, were in the forefront in fabricating and promoting the WMD lies. The neocons set up the all-important Office of Special Plans in the Defense Department "whose job it was," Lobe writes, "to mine raw intelligence to find and disseminate the most threatening possible evidence of Iraq's WMD programs and alleged ties to Al Qaeda that the neoconservatives thought the CIA or even the Pentagon's own Defense Intelligence Agency had not given adequate credence."

Perle used his position as head of the Defense Policy Board

to ensure that "defectors" handled by his good friend Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC) — such as Khidir Hamza, a former nuclear scientist who stoked totally unfounded fears that Hussein was reconstituting his nuclear-weapons program — were given the widest possible exposure to policy- makers. Senior intelligence officials have since identified the INC's defectors as the source of a great deal of the mis-, if not dis-information, that skewed its assessments.

In short, it was Perle and the neocons who promoted the most extreme claims regarding the bogus Iraqi WMD threat. Can they completely revise the past on this issue without taking any blame? In a marginally rational world this new effort would lead to nothing but ridicule. But then again, the fact that most of the neocons' lies have been ridiculous has not precluded their success so far.

February 8, 2004

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