Exploring the question “Iraq: What if we win?” in the latest issue of The American Interest, neoconservative Iraq war architect Richard Perle offers a series of false, incoherent, contradictory and misleading statements in an effort to not only, again, distance himself from the disastrous Iraq war policy he helped create but also to tout the war’s successes.
In his article, which is headlined “We Won Years Ago,” Perle claims that the Iraq war — which he argues was “imposed on us” — is “far from over.” But later, he claims that “we have already won in Iraq” because “Saddam will not be sharing WMD with anyone.” Missing from this line of thinking, of course, is that Saddam never had any WMD to share:
[D]espite the widely, if grudgingly, acknowledged progress of the surge, the war is far from over. […]
Without military action we could not have decisively managed the threat from Iraq. It is now managed: Saddam will not be sharing WMD with anyone. Judged against that measure, we have already won in Iraq.
Perle takes a number of confusing positions on the issue of Saddam’s WMD. First he correctly noted that the pre-war intelligence on Iraq’s weapons “proved to be wrong” but only in “some” respects. Unfortunately, Perle does not expound upon which intelligence was correct on Iraq’s weapons.
Next, Perle asserts that if Saddam had only said Iraq didn’t have WMD, the U.S. wouldn’t have invaded:
If Saddam had provided solid, confirmable evidence of the destruction of the stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction he was believed to possess, we would not have invaded.
But Saddam did tell the U.S. he didn’t have any weapons. In late 2002, Hussein’s government allowed UN weapons inspectors inside Iraq who subsequently did not find any “smoking guns” after visiting some 125 Iraqi sites. Moreover, in December, 2002, Iraq sent 12,000 pages of documents to the UN explaining how its WMD stockpiles had been eliminated.
Despite his earlier claim that “we have already won” the war, Perle also argues the U.S. should stay anyway because withdrawal would be “foolish” and “irresponsible.” But even though the U.S. needs to stay in Iraq, Perle claimed that “we have…created” a Pax Americana in the Middle East. Perle of course does not offer evidence of any such “Pax.”