This is what he and other top Bush Administration officials are saying in public. One can just imagine what they are saying, and doing, in private!
US Will Attack Iraq 'Without UN Backing'
By Toby Harnden
Daily Telegraph UK
Friday 10 January 2003
America will not delay a war with Iraq until the autumn and is prepared to launch military action against Saddam Hussein without further United Nations authorisation, a senior Bush administration adviser said yesterday.
Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon's Defence Policy Board and a hawk whose views carry considerable weight, rejected suggestions from British ministers and senior Foreign Office officials that plans for an early war should be put on hold.
Mr Perle, who is close to Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, said he did not expect the UN Security Council to reach agreement on the use of force but had little doubt that George W Bush, the US president, would press ahead regardless and lead a coalition to victory.
"I'm assuming that we will not get a consensus on the Security Council but it may be possible to get it," he said. "It would be a great mistake to become dependent on it and take the view that we can't act separately.
"That would be an abrogation of the president's responsibility."
Mr Perle stressed that as an outside adviser he could not speak for the Bush administration. But with Mr Rumsfeld and his ally Vice-President Dick Cheney, now the driving force behind US foreign policy, his pronouncements have taken on increasing importance.
Mr Perle said inspectors would not find actual weapons in the face of Iraqi concealment. "If that's the test, we're never going to find a smoking gun," said Mr Perle.
He criticised Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector, for his handling of the inspections. He said inspectors had mainly visited previously known sites.
"They are the last place you would expect Saddam to put something," Mr Perle said. "You would have to be a complete idiot to do that. The inspectors returning to known sites makes Blix look foolish."
The Swede "has a history from when he was head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and Saddam built a nuclear capability right under his nose", he added.
Mr Perle suggested that American patience with the UN inspections process was limited and closely linked to the military timetable that makes it very difficult to fight a war after March because of the searing heat.
He said: "If there's no change in Saddam's attitude I think there'll be a reluctance to continue this without a clear indication that our patience will be rewarded by a UN Security Council consensus.
"A consensus would be a useful thing and I think we'd be willing to wait a little longer to get it but not a long time."
Mr Perle said America had been right to go to the UN to seek Resolution 1441, passed unanimously in November, because it "produced a consensus in support of significant demands" but the UN had only a limited role in dealing with Saddam.
"The question now of course is whether the UN having done that [passed 1441] will insist that its demands be met or revert to its previous posture which was to pass resolutions but not take the actions necessary to ensure compliance with them."
He expressed doubt that Tony Blair had asked or would ask Mr Bush to delay war until the autumn and accused those who sought such a delay of being opposed to ousting Saddam in any event.
Although Mr Perle did not mention them, a number of US State Department diplomats are implacably opposed to war.
They were encouraged by the views of the ministers and the Foreign Office, reported in The Telegraph yesterday, as well as recent comments by Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, that the chances of war were "60:40 against".
Mr Perle said: "There are nations on the UN Security Council against taking military action so they will try to slow any movement towards military action."
America and its allies, he insisted, already had the legal and moral justification for war. "We might be acting without a resolution from the UN authorising it but I think the administration can make a strong case that Saddam's defiance of a variety of resolutions passed previously could be understood to justify military action."