Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hubris and Self-Deception

I have a hard time understanding people who can fail again and again and still be convinced of their invincibility, infallibility, still feel that honey flows from their lips as they dispense wisdom and instruction upon their inferiors. I have a hard time understanding someone like Richard Perle.

Can we discuss this man? Has there ever been a person who more clearly illustrates the principle of failing upwards better than him? From his trashing of arms control treaties to his fevered insistence on ignoring international treaties and laws to his knee-jerk resort to military solutions to pretty much any problem that might arise, from Soviet expansionism to Korean missiles to Iranian nukes to Middle Eastern dictators, Perle has never met a situation that couldn't be resolved by shit talking and threats. He fancies himself a foreign policy intellectual, but he's really just an internationalist thug. I'm not one to scream accusations of imperialism willy-nilly like the staff of KPFA on an organic masala chai binge, but Richard Perle is a driven imperialist who just coincidentally happens to be a war profiteer.

So what's my point, besides the fact that I think Richard Perle is a reprehensible and loathsome human being? Well, given all that we know about Perle and especially the outcome of his preferred solution to the "Iraq Question," I find it particularly galling that he can still summon the audacity to accuse Condi Rice of incompetence and a lack of understanding of the Middle East.

Now, frankly, I wouldn't argue in favor of Rice's competence. But I argue against her competence primarily because she allied herself with Perle and his minions in the run-up to the war in Iraq. That is, I believe that she is incompetent mainly because she took advice in the first place from the guy who's now accusing her of being incompetent.

The fact that the architect of the biggest failure of foreign policy in American history—and let's not be shy, it's a failure in every regard—still feels free to open his arrogant yap and spout this idiocy demonstrates that the concept of shame in this country is dead. It also illustrates that the ability to deceive yourself into believing what you want to believe is uncurtailed by the repeated failure of reality to match those beliefs. Lastly, it's apparent that the staggering personal, societal, and national costs of Richard Perle's incompetence has failed to even dent his thick-headed solipsistic perceptions of the world.

In the end, I can accept that Richard Perle lives in a world of his own making and imagining. What I really don't understand is why anyone outside of that world bothers to listen to anything he says any more.

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