David Corn draws attention to an NPR interview with Richard Perle, who looks — and acts — like a neo-con sith lord and was one of the architects of the invasion of Iraq. And despite the fact that he was wrong about absolutely everything, he refuses to even entertain the obvious question:
Montagne: Ten years later, nearly 5,000 American troops dead, thousands more with wounds, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead or wounded. When you think about this, was it worth it?
Perle: I’ve got to say I think that is not a reasonable question. What we did at the time was done with the belief that it was necessary to protect this nation. You can’t a decade later go back and say we shouldn’t have done that.
Not a reasonable question? We’ve spent trillions of dollars, displaced three million people, killed tens of thousands more, thousands of Americans, and it’s not even a reasonable question to ask whether it was worth it? Well look, he doesn’t actually mean that. But what else can he say? This is how we get rid of cognitive dissonance, by constructing elaborate rationalizations that make it go away. And as Corn notes, every single thing Perle said leading up to the war turned out to be false:
He told CNN, “Even if we cannot prove to the standard that we enjoy in our own civil society they are involved, we do know, for example, that Saddam Hussein has ties to Osama bin Laden. That can be documented.” In 2002, he suggested a war against Iraq would be a cakewalk: “It isn’t going to be over in 24 hours, but it isn’t going to be months either.” He asserted Saddam was “working feverishly to acquire nuclear weapons.” He claimed the post-invasion reconstruction in Iraq would be self-financing. He got everything wrong…
Perle then offhandedly observed, “It’s easy a decade later to say, well, it turned out this fact or that presumption was wrong.”
No, but when every factual claim and every presumption was wrong, and when CIA analysts have repeatedly said that the assessments they gave the White House said the exact opposite of what the White House was putting out on television, it becomes clear that what was going on here was not sincere mistakes, it was a war based on a pack of lies.