The editors of Slate have a great piece today
on their website which lists the most prolific war pundits on the street -- in order from hawk to dove. A lot of these talking heads look alike and sound alike, so this is a great scorecard for putting their remarks in context. Here's a few excerpts: 1. Richard Perle
Aka: The Hawk's Hawk
Authorized bio: Chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board. American Enterprise Institute fellow.
Unauthorized bio: Easily mistaken for an actual administration official. Suing Sy Hersh, who criticized him in The New Yorker
for establishing a company that would allegedly profit from war.
His take on war: Liberate Iraq, allied and U.N. objections be damned. The Iraqi people will rejoice at Saddam's downfall.
Like a broken record: "The Iraqis will welcome the liberators with open arms."
Connections: Godfather of the oust-Saddam movement. James Woolsey and Henry Kissinger serve on his Defense Policy Board. Like Frank Gaffney, a hawkish former Reaganite and aide to former Democratic Sen. "Scoop" Jackson. In the neocon clique with Kagan and Kristol.
Don't tell Jacques Chirac: Vacations at a French summer house.10. Gen. Wayne Downing
Aka: The Go-to General
Authorized bio: Retired Gulf War general and special-ops expert. Former adviser to the Iraqi National Congress. Appointed by Bush to head the White House Office for Combating Terrorism in October 2001; resigned 10 months later.
Unauthorized bio: TV general who explains why current U.S. military plans make sense.
His take on war: War is a given. U.N. support would be nice, but we have the military might to carry it off alone, although we might suffer more casualties than in '91. All that Pentagon griping that Rumsfeld is a meddling micromanager? Hogwash. Military planning always requires back-and-forth.
Like a broken record: "We all have this conception that we're going to stick the videotape into the VCR, and we're going to see Desert Storm as it was in 1991 play out. This is different. ... This is about regime change."
Connections: Fought under Schwarzkopf in Desert Storm.
Mystery resignation: Why did he quit the Office for Combating Terrorism so suddenly? No one is talking. 15. Thomas Friedman
Aka: The Earnest Reformer
Authorized bio: New York Times Pulitzer-Prize-winning foreign affairs columnist.
Unauthorized bio: Along with Pollack, the guy who can make the (reluctant) liberal case for war. Now a charter member of the balking hawks club.
His take on war: Bush has been too unilateral about preparing for the war and too casual about preparing for the aftermath. Still, regime change is the right thing to do, not because Saddam is an imminent threat, but because it might reform the Middle East. But we must do what it takes to get our allies involved.
Like a broken record: "Iraq is a war of choice—a legitimate choice ..."
Best attempt to distance his vision of a reformed Middle East from the neocons: "Some things are also true even if Richard Perle believes them."