Monday, March 31, 2003

Out Of Darkness, Perle Has His Say...

...and says it quite well. It's too bad the whole "threatening libel" thing happened, but it's water under the bridge now. He did the right thing, and resigned. I for one am sick of people blatantly questioning this man's integrity and patriotism. Disagree with his views and tactics, as I do in many ways, but cut the personal attacks! It's unseemly. Personally, I think he explains well the "milieu" he operates in, and to pretend that he invented this state of affairs or is somehow responsible for them is dubious.

"Since most people with experience and knowledge relevant to defense and national security policy are likely to earn their livelihood in defense-related enterprises, the possibility of conflict of interest is always present and must be contained by adherence to the two rules, disclosure and recusal. Without those rules, and the protection they afford, few individuals with knowledge or experience would agree to serve on advisory boards, and the benefits of those boards would be lost to policy officials."

Well said. Now obviously I'm not a defense expert, as I've said many times, being primarily concerned with freedom, transparency, informed consent and greater political participation, so here's my take. Perle makes a good case for himself (though not so much so in regard to Hersh, who he doesn't touch on too much), as a way of explanation, of explaining his activities. What I find troubling about his milieu though, and what feeds the fire of suspicion and conspiracy, is the secrecy and lack of transparency in these meetings. Not only do we need disclosure and recusal, which are very much of value, but we also need transparency.

A window. We can look through. Sunshine. All of our conspiracies go away. Who wants to be the fool to believe that these guys are superhuman geniuses with top-secret means of discussing issues, that if released to the enemy would jeopardize all of us? Such thinking is absurd, and beneath civilized free society. More likely than not, they may be helped by some analysis of their perfomance in this area. To put it simply, open it up, there is not a defensible, good reason to preserve secrecy and its resulting "fog", not for national security or any other reason.

Why? There is no national security if people don't trust their government, and no fool would put forward this trust without adequate assurance and accountability. The record of corruption in authority and of the privileged throughout history, not to mention in the short history of our great nation, goes a long way to ensuring this restraint, for justifying this skepticism. It's time for us to put aside these foolish days of the past, and embrace the brave and bright century of freedom ahead.

Let's start by putting the conspiracies, suspicion and darkness to bed, and free the sun, clear cool reason, and the warmth of compassion to energize and inspire America.

Reflect on this.