As the day draws closer for the US to withdraw its troops from Iraq, many question how Iraq will fare on its own. RT spoke to one of the chief architects of this campaign, who shared his views on the justifications and failings behind the invasion.
A former assistant to the US Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan and a chairman of the Defense Policy Board under George W. Bush, Richard Perle is considered one of the most controversial figures in US politics.
“I think the decision [to invade Iraq] was based on what we knew at the time, and based on what we knew at the time, it was the right decision,” he told RT.
“The idea that Saddam [Hussein] had weapons of mass destruction was wrong. He didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, and we believed he did,” Perle explained. “But the argument for removing Saddam did not depend on the specifics of whether he had weapons of mass destruction or not. It was an element, but it wasn’t the whole story by any means, because he’d had weapons of mass destruction in the past, and there was no reason to believe he couldn’t get them again in the future. He just didn’t have them at the moment that the CIA believed he did.”
At the same time, Perle continued, the tragedy is that the US campaign in Iraq was not carried out effectively enough.
“Instead of turning things to the Iraqis more or less immediately, we got involved in an occupation, and occupations are never popular,” he said. “And the fact that we were an occupying power, recognized as such by the United Nations by the way, was very important in the development of the insurgency against the occupation.”
With specters of yet another similar war, in Iran, looming on the horizon, many draw inevitable parallels with America’s campaign in Iraq, which eventually proved to be a disaster sparked by groundless accusations.
“I’m willing to accuse Iran of building nuclear weapons, I don’t think there’s any question about it,” Richard Perle concluded.