View Full Version : The Perle Method.. Wat zegt Richard over 'oplossingen'.

18 maart 2004, 15:40
An End to Evil How to Win the War on Terror by David Frum and Richard Perle

This book assembles in one place the bulk of the arguments for, and some of the evidence behind, the new American policies for nation-rebuilding in the Middle East. I’m surprised that such a book is necessary, but . . .

The book’s points are simple. We are at war, and have been at war for some years, with an enemy whose goal is world domination. Several of our front-line institutions have proven themselves incompetent. The authors assert that the FBI is the worst of the offenders, with the CIA close behind. They point out that the State Department is institutionally ill-designed for the task at hand--and in fact often serves to promote foreign interests to the US rather than the reverse. It is common knowledge that the Saudis are very generous to friendly diplomats when said diplomats retire, and so our Saudi specialists are generally bought and paid for by a foreign power.

The authors argue that terrorists can be partly disabled by suppressing their flow of money and weapons from supportive governments. I think the jury is still out on this one: it is indisputable that terrorists are currently supported by governments now, but it is also true that terrorists establish lucrative organized crime connections (such as in Columbia, or the IRA in Northern Ireland).

They propose that we

* be serious about the fact that we’re at war. Be willing to keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
* recognize that aliens are not US citizens, and take a little more care with immigration. At the moment many universities (and even cities!) refuse to cooperate with Federal programs for monitoring whether legal aliens actually go to school or work as they claimed they would.
* institute a national ID system.
* keep our eye on the ball in North Korea, rejecting any appeasement while redeploying armed forces to reduce vulnerability and preparing for a preemptive strike.
* support Iranian dissidents
* squeeze Syria until they quit supporting/enabling terrorist groups, pull out of Lebanon, and start opening their economy and political system. I dunno about Lebanon--they say "If the Lebanese need help patrolling and policing their territory, we can arrange to get it from a less domineering source." Who? The Syrians came in quashing a nasty civil war (which they had a hand in, of course). Are those factions reconciled to each other now? Want to bet an American peace-making force on it?
* keep up the pressure on Libya. Fortunately this is becoming moot
* come up with varied plans with varied allies to deal with the many small evil places where terrorists lurk or rule. Contrary to their assertion, we did not step in to keep order in Liberia when civilization collapsed.
* include all terrorist groups in the bulls-eye, including the fashionable ones like Hezbollah and Hamas.
* keep our eye on the ball with our deepest enemies: the Saudis.
o Tell the truth about them. (US News started on this)
o Punish those Saudi individuals and groups who finance terror
o Demand that the Saudis stop Wahhabi missionary efforts here and abroad. They won’t. They can’t. I don’t think the authors have a good understanding of the religious dynamics involved here. Nevertheless, we need to strangle Saudi funding of people and literature for all Islamic centers in the US. It is imperative to keep Wahhabi clerics out of our prisons.
o Warn the Saudis that failure to cooperate can have serious consequences. I think they already got that message. They face a rather dangerous choice: cooperate with the Iranian Shiites in stirring up mischief among the Iraqi Shiites, and risk having rising regional Shiite power stir an echoing Shiite rebellion in Saudi Arabia, or supporting the Sunni mischief-makers in Iraq, and risk having an annoyed Shiite power on their border. I doubt that cooperating with us is on their radar screen.
* recognize that violent Islamism is on the rise around the world, and try to encourage democratic ideals. How?
* go all out to make sure that Iraq can even partially succeed in creating a free country. The power of that example in the Middle East can be huge.
* encourage as much foreign trade as we can, thus giving larger numbers of Pakistanis or Jordanians a stake in peace. A small effect, but helpful
* focus on women’s rights, by encouraging women’s education.
* avoid getting involved in creating/enforcing the peace in a Palestinian state. "The Arab-Israeli quarrel is not a cause of Islamic extremism; the unwillingness of Arabs to end the quarrel is a manifestation of the underlying cultural malaise from which Islamic extremism emerges."
* split counter-terrorism from crime fighting in the FBI--and let people talk to each other. "Non citizen terrors suspects are not members of the American national community, and they have no proper claim on the rights Americans accord one another."
* relax rules about recruiting sources with criminal backgrounds
* change the culture of the CIA: take more care recruiting foreign agents, use less ideology in interpreting results, recruit/train more hard-language experts, be very careful using information supplied by foreign intelligence services
* put a "brilliant visionary" in charge of the CIA, to get a top-down cultural change.
* split off the "attack" operations from intelligence gathering, and merge this with Defense Special Forces.
* keep domestic and foreign intelligence gathering separate for safety’s sake, and keep the DIA and NSA separate for the sake of having a good second opinion.
* reform the Pentagon, looking for more ways to use capital equipment instead of soldiers. I am deeply nervous about this focus on machines rather than eyes. The book uses an illustration from Afghanistan of a high-tech attack, but the news today has a counter-illustration of US failure due to a lack of people on the ground talking to the natives.
* eliminate the regional bureaus in the State Department, thereby streamlining it and cutting back on the tendency of regional staff to start thinking of the affairs of their area as more important than the affairs of the US. I’ll take the authors’ word that this is a serious problem. I’d think that losing regional bureaus might cut down on the number of knowledgeable people in the long term--we might have to re-instate these after a few years.
* increase the number of political appointees in the State Department, to make it more responsive to the needs of the country and less to its own bureaucratic imperatives. Pendulum time. The bureaucrats are too entrenched and disruptive, based on my own observations as an outsider, and the authors confirm this from insider knowledge. So you have to shake it up. Several years from now there’ll be too many amateurs, and you’ll have to reduce the number of political appointees. Such is life.
* reform the spirit. Recognize that the world is hard, laws are only useful when enforceable, and have the confidence to recognize that we can fight and win and keep our souls. My phrasing, not theirs.
* recognize that allies in one battle may not be allies in another, and that we cannot count on any country or organization (and certainly not the UN) to keep with us through all battles.
* recognize that the EU is being shaped into an opponent, and engage the various parties involved in shaping the EU. Try to enlarge the EU and NATO to dilute French influence.
* help keep Britain militarily independent of the EU. They’ve been a friendly ally, and if they lose control of their military we lose their support.
* be direct with China. Establish a defense partnership with Japan, Australia, and other countries.
* offer a credible military guarantee to Taiwan.
* Make South Korea responsible for its own defense
* exercise non-military power in the India-Pakistan area
o drop the nuclear weapons sanctions we imposed as useless
o broaden military-military relationships with all the countries, with special emphasis on humane counter-terrorism and controls to keep nuclear weapons out of the wrong hands
o increase US aid to the subcontinent, focusing on a "providing a more appealing education than the local Islamic colleges offer." Really tough! School districts like control over the curriculum. "Trusting the holy Saudi imam to teach the Koran uninspected is one thing, but what are these infidels going to do?" The news this week included a girl’s school burnt in Pakistan . . .
o promote subcontinental economic integration by offering "a comprehensive free trade agreement with the United States--provided they sign the same agreement with one another. I like it. I wonder if it would fly.
* tell the truth about Russia and its atrocities in Chechnya
* recognize that Russia is neither an ally nor a partner, except on a transaction by transaction basis.
* use symbolic punishment on Russia for its deals with Iran--disinviting them to the summits of the seven industrial powers, for example. I’m not sure this is sensible. The authors claim our sanctions against India and Pakistan were useless, and this seems cut off the same cloth.
* require that the UN Article 51 be amended or interpreted to include supporting terrorists fighting a country as an act of aggression. This is also tricky. We’ve persistently turned a blind eye to IRA fund raising in the US, and I suspect a lot of LURD’s support came from the US as well.

The books ends with a reminder that sometimes democracy needs support from outside.

The authors have to make some important points, and so they neglect some others. The BBC, Al Jazeera, CNN et al will gleefully magnify our faults and failings, so Frum and Perle don’t need to. I wish they showed a tad more humility, though. The title itself: An End to Evil, is excessively grandiose. Even if every Islamist dropped dead tomorrow, there’d still be more than enough evil in the world to guarantee constant wars.

I appreciate the insider’s view of how the FBI/CIA/State work. I’m glad to see all this info in one place. I recommend the book: but I don’t think the authors show a clear understanding of the religious dimensions of this war.

18 maart 2004, 15:45

19 maart 2004, 13:26
Perle is een gevaarlijke maniak die vanuit Washington spelletjes speelt met de wereld. :evil: