Heads should definitely roll, alright
WASHINGTON—Richard Perle, a chief proponent of last year's U.S. invasion of Iraq, yesterday called for the chiefs of the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency to step down because of their faulty conclusions that Saddam Hussein possessed mass-killing weapons.
Perle, a close adviser to U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, said top officials made no attempt to skew the intelligence about Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction. Instead, he implied, top policymakers relied in good faith on the conclusions of the intelligence agencies.
"George Tenet has been at the CIA long enough to assume responsibility for its performance," Perle told reporters, referring to the director of the agency. "There's a record of failure and it should be addressed in some serious way."
"The CIA has an almost perfect record of getting it wrong in relation to the (Persian) Gulf going back to the Shah of Iran," Perle said. He called for "a shakeup" in the U.S. intelligence establishment.
"I think, of course, heads should roll," he said. "When you discover that you have an organization that doesn't get it right time after time, you change the organization, including the people.
"I'd start with the head head," Perle said when asked which heads should roll at the CIA. Perle said the DIA " is in at least as bad shape as CIA (and) needs new management."
I have to agree-- in principle. When you have an organization that doesn't get it right time after time, you change the people. Bush chose to listen to Cheney, Cheney chose to listen to Perle and Chalabi. Let's clean house!
Before the war, Perle had no doubt:
We know, Mr. Chairman, that Saddam lies about his program to acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. We know that he has used the years during which no inspectors were in Iraq to move everything of interest, with the result that the database we once possessed, inadequate though it was, has been destroyed. We know all of this yet I sometimes think there are those at the United Nations who treatthe issue not as a matter of life and death, but rather more like a game of pin the tail on the donkey or an Easter egg hunt on a sunny Sunday.
The bottom line is this: Saddam is better at hiding than we are at finding. And this is not a game. If he eludes us and continues to refine, perfect and expand his arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, the danger to us, already great, will only grow. If he achieves his holy grail and acquires one or more nuclear weapons there is no way of knowing what predatory policies he will pursue.
Let us suppose that in the end a robust inspection arrangement is put in place and after a year or two it has found nothing. Could we conclude from the failure to unearth illegal activity that none existed? Of course not. All we would know is that we had failed to find what we were looking for, not that it was not there to be found. And where would that leave us? Would we be safer—or even more gravely imperiled? There would be a predictable clamor to end the inspection regime and, if they were still in place, to lift the sanctions. Saddam would claim not only that he was in compliance with the U.N. resolutions concerning inspections, but that he had been truthful all along. There are those who would believe him.
Given what we now know about Saddam’s weaponry, his lies, his concealment, we would be fools to accept inspections, even an inspection regime far more ambition than anything the U.N. contemplates, as a substitute for disarmament.
That is why, Mr. Chairman, the President is right to demand that the United Nations promptly resolve that Saddam comply with the full range of United Nations resolutions concerning Iraq or face an American led enforcement action.
I have returned last night from Europe where the issues before you are being widely discussed. Perhaps the most frequently asked question put to me by various Europeans is, “why now?” What is it about the current situation that has made action to deal with Saddam urgent? My answer is that we are already perilously late. We should have acted long ago—and we should certainly have acted when Saddam expelled the inspectors in 1998. Our myopic forbearance has given him four years to expand his arsenal without interference, four years to hide things and make them mobile, four years to render the international community feckless and its principal institution, the United Nations, irrelevant.
We can, of course, choose to defer action, to wait—and hope for the best. That is what Tony Blair’s predecessors did in the 1930’s. That is what we did with respect to Osama Bin Laden. We waited. We watched. We knew about the training camps, the fanatical incitement, and the history of acts of terror. We knew about the Cole and the embassies in Africa. We waited too long and 3,000 innocent civilians were murdered. If we wait, if we play hide-and-seek with Saddam Hussein, there is every reason to expect that he will expand his arsenal further, that he will cross the nucleardivide and become a nuclear power.
I urge this committee, Mr. Chairman, to support the President’s determination to act before it is too late.
I urge the American people, to send these sorry bastards packing before it is too late.