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August 29, 2003 - Image 29

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-08-29

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Paul Wolfowitz

Richard Perle

tion to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
Perle — nicknamed the "Prince of
Darkness" for the staunch anti-Soviet
views he articulated as assistant secre-
tary of defense during the Reagan
administration — is currently a fellow
at the American Enterprise Institute
— a bastion of neoconservatives — as
well as the Defense Policy Board.
Last March, he was forced to step
down as chairman of the civilian advi-
sory panel — other members of the
group include former Secretary of
State Henry Kissinger and former
House speakers Tom Foley and Newt
Gingrich — amid allegations that his
financial ties to companies doing busi-
ness with the Pentagon constituted a
conflict of interest.

Planting Neocon Roots

Perle's neoconservative roots were first
planted in the 1960s in the California
back yard of Albert Wolhstetter, a
leading nuclear and national security
Perle, who attended Hollywood High
with Wohlstetter's daughter Joan, gravi-
tated to the older man, he recalled dur-
ing an interview with PBS. And when
Wohlstetter asked Perle to read one of
his foreign policy papers exploring the
strategic relationship between the
United States and the Soviet Union, an
intellectual kinship was born.
Other proteges also were drawn to
Wohlstetter, among them Wolfowitz,
who did his doctoral thesis at the
University of Chicago under him.
In 1969, at Wohlstetter's prompting,
Perle and Wolfowitz, then graduate
students, teamed up in Washington to
prepare a report on the ballistic missile
defense issue for Sen. Henry "Scoop"
Jackson, D-Wash., who later became
their boss and mentor.
Perle spent the next 11 years work-
ing in Jackson's Capitol Hill office,
where he eventually drafted the law-
maker's signature piece of human
rights legislation — the Jackson-Vanik

Douglas Feith

bill. The legislation made most-
favored nation status for the Soviet
Union contingent upon the Soviets
allowing their citizens — many of
them Jews — to emigrate.
Perle's anti-communist views, along
with an examination of the GOP's
evolution in the area of foreign policy,
are the keys to shooting down neocon
conspiracy arguments, according to
those who run in the same social and
intellectual circles,
"Richard Perle didn't come to the
Reagan administration to promote
Israel," explained one neocon insider
— he came to promote a strong ballis-
tic defense, but was confronted by a
major shift in political geography.
Democrats, who had championed
Israel as long as it was the underdog,
had trouble defending the country

Kenneth Adelman

Bill Kristol

after 1967, the argument goes. And by
the early 1980s, "country club
Republicans" were cheering on Israel
because it fit into their pro-democracy,
anti-communist view of the world.
The, Reagan administration neocons
— some Jewish and some not — were
along for a fabulous ride.

Debunking A Myth

"I think the strongest piece to lay to
rest [the cabal myth] is to list the
[neocons] who are not Jews," said
Nathan Diament, director of the
Washington, D.C.-based Institute for
Public Affairs of the Union of
Orthodox Jewish Congregations of
America, the nation's largest Orthodox
umbrella organization.
Cheney, for instance, is a neocon

Elliott Abrams

and a Methodist.
Rumsfeld and National Security
Director Condeleeza Rice — neither of
whom are Jewish — all hold dear to a
strong neoconservative agenda when act-
ing on the world stage. But when talk of
neocon plots is thrown about, they are
often excluded or simply described as
pawns of their subordinates.
The late New York Democratic Sen.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan — vehement-
ly pro-Israel while serving -as Richard
Nixon's ambassador to the United
Nations in the 1970s — flirted with
neoconservative ideology during his
political career, but was seldom accused
of having treasonous intentions.
Neocon Frank Gaffney Jr., president
of the Washington, D.C.-based Center


Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitzisits the mass grave site of Mahawih about 28 miles south of Baghdad in July. The mass
graves are believed to contain the bodies of up to 15,000 victims of now-deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's persecution.





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