Monday, March 03, 2008

Perles Of Omitted Wisdom

By Cernig

Richard N. Perle, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and Reagan's SDI honcho (and incidentally, the guy who brought in Ahmed Chalibi to meet the Bush administration) has an op-ed for the Washington Post today. He argues that talk of a new arms race with Russia is nonsense and the U.S. can safely ignore Russian rhetoric - putting him very much at odds with Bob Gates, who has consistently proven himself the only adult in the room when it comes to this administration and national security and who has clearly said the U.S. must beware of poking the bear too much.

But I wanted to specifically address the following gem of misdirection in Perle's piece:
As for Lavrov's "hundreds of thousands" of missile interceptors, dividing by a thousand would be a reassuring start. U.S. plans call for a modest number of interceptors, dozens at first, a hundred or so later, maybe 200 or 300 after that. The program is limited because the threat is measured in tens of missiles, not hundreds and certainly not thousands. With North Korea and Iran building ballistic missiles with significant and increasing range, a modest defense is a prudent first step toward countering a known threat.
How is it possible for Perle to write this and yet omit the relevant news that various neocon think tanks orbiting around the AEI mothership are actively campaigning for a resurrection of the "Brilliant Pebbles" interceptors in space program?

It changes the entire debate from one of a difference in degree to a difference in kind - and a change that really is likely to trigger a new arms race since it undermines not just Russia's deterrent but also important arms-control treaties. To leave out this tidbit is lying by misdirection, yet Perle will get away with it because the mainstream's stenographers simply don't pay attention.

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