Vanity Fair has come out with its usual election eve hit job. This time it selectively quotes leading neocons on their views respecting the war, editing their lengthy remarks to suggest dissatisfaction with the Administration and the war. Michael Rubin has already responded, ss has David Frum.
I read Richard Perle's comments as an attack on the perfidy of some in the Administration, a topic I have written about more than once.
Richard Perle was traveling, and I was only just able to reach him to clarify his views, as I was certain the article was a total misrepresentation of them, and he has promptly responded. Here is what he told me.
Vanity Fair has rushed to publish a few sound bites from a lengthy discussion with David Rose. Concerned that anything I might say could be used to influence the public debate on Iraq just prior to Tuesday's election, I had been promised that my remarks would not be published before the election.
I should have known better than to trust the editors at Vanity Fair who lied to me and to others who spoke with Mr. Rose. Moreover, in condensing and characterizing my views for their own partisan political purposes, they have distorted my opinion about the situation in Iraq and what I believe to be in the best interest of our country.
I believe it would be a catastrophic mistake to leave Iraq, as some are demanding, before the Iraqis are able to defend their elected government. As I told Mr. Rose, the terrorist threat to our country, which is real, would be made much worse if we were to make an ignominious withdrawal from Iraq.
I told Mr. Rose that as a nation we had waited too long before dealing with Osama bin Laden. We could have destroyed his operation in Afghanistan before 9/11.
I believed we should not repeat that mistake with Saddam Hussein, that we could not responsibly ignore the threat that he might make weapons of mass destruction available to terrorists who would use them to kill Americans. I favored removing his regime. And despite the current difficulties, I believed, and told Mr. Rose, that 'if we had left Saddam in place, and he had shared nerve gas with Al Qaeda, or some other terrorist organization, how would we compare what we're experiencing now with that?"
I believe the President is now doing what he can to help the Iraqis get to the point where we can honorably leave. We are on the right path.
Clarice Feldman 11 4 06