One of the key proponents of the Iraq war is calling for regime change in Iran.
WASHINGTON — Richard Perle, a key neoconservative proponent of the Iraq war, offered a strategy Thursday for dealing with Iran that sounded eerily similar to the neocons’ Iraq plans — use military action to remove the oppressive government, then let freedom reign.
“Preemptive war has always struck me as a common sense position,” Perle said. “Of course, you could get it wrong.”
Facing a hostile crowd at a conference hosted by the National Interest, Perle’s positions sounded like a neocon greatest hits album.
One of the conference’s attendees, Richard Burt, the U.S.’ chief negotiator in the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks with the Soviet Union, questioned Perle’s approach. “Is regime change really a realistic option?” Burt asked. “The Iranians have a strong national identity, millions of them fought to the death against Iraq.”
While Perle didn’t go so far as to suggest a military invasion, he advocated covert operations on Iranian soil, working with internal opposition groups within Iran and increasing economic pressure on the Islamic regime, all in the hopes of forcing a regime change. He also dismissed the possibility of defusing Iran’s nuclear intentions through diplomatic means.
“I don’t think we can persuade the Iranians,” Perle said. “They will not be talked out of their nuclear program.”
Perle further cautioned that President Obama’s expressed commitment to diplomacy could be dangerous, saying, “The danger is that Obama’s much more agreeable approach will be misconstrued as weakness.”
In an article in this month’s National Interest, Perle defended a similar argument — the one he made for the Iraq war. According to Perle, Saddam had to be removed because of the threat posed by an Iraq armed with WMD. The U.S. only got itself into trouble when it decided to occupy the country.
“The seminal error was, in my view, the failure to turn Iraq over to the Iraqis immediately after Saddam’s regime collapsed,” Perle wrote. “Had Iraq been enabled to stand up an interim government pending free elections to be held in, say, eighteen months, we might well have escaped the invidious role of occupier.”
Similarly, Perle indicated that if we could remove the Mullahs from power and give control to the Iranian people, a “secular” government would likely fill the void. However, Perle explained that he has never advocated American military action in Iran. Indeed, such an attack would likely come from Israel, he said.
More Related Stories
- Limbaugh: No one willing to impeach the first black president
- Top White House aides knew about IRS probe but didn't tell Obama
- Gohmert: IRS would've "probably shot the Boston Tea Party participants"
- Oregon senator proposes appeal to Monsanto Protection Act
- Supreme Court to rule on prayer at government meetings
- Beltway scandal machine breaks, knows nothing about America
- Top GOP official: "Sometimes our party does not value" women "as much"
- Colorado Dems fight back against GOP's Voter ID measures
- Watchdogs: ABC "in danger of losing a lot of credibility" on Benghazi saga
- Father of gay high school student arrested for dating classmate speaks out
- IRS meltdown was long overdue
- Can a liberal wonk save the Senate?
- Arkansas treasurer charged with extortion
- Corporate greed is poisoning America -- literally
- The new geography of poverty
- Barack Obama: Incidental black man?
- Obama to all-male university graduates: Be the best husband to "your boyfriend or partner"
- Big Soda SNAP-ing up billions off government programs
- The truth in Kanye's anti-prison rap
- Tea Party Patriots push nationwide anti-IRS rallies
- GOP attorney general candidate tried to force women to report miscarriages to police
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11