The Corner

Richard Perle

There are some interesting comments from Richard Perle quoted in today’s Washington Post (yes, yes, I know):

Eyebrows popped up last week when none other than Richard Perle, former Reagan assistant secretary of defense, former Bush brain-truster on the Defense Policy Board, and a key promoter of the war to find Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, blistered the administration as “dysfunctional” when it comes to stopping someone from bringing “a nuclear weapon or even nuclear material into the United States.” “Knowing that there are people who wish to do that,” Perle said, “knowing they are seeking weapons of mass destruction, you would think that we would have put in place a system or at least be working assiduously in the development of a system that would allow us to detect nuclear material entering the New York Harbor or Boston Harbor or what have you. “But we haven’t done that,” he said at a Center for Strategic and International Studies gathering. “And the reason we haven’t done that is hopeless bureaucratic obstruction. Somebody needs to shake that loose.” Perle added that while some have tried to overcome the bureaucracy, no one has succeeded. “I think we have an administration today that is dysfunctional,” Perle said. “And if it can’t get itself together to organize a serious program for finding nuclear material on its way to the United States, then it ought to be replaced by an administration that can.

I just hope that Perle is wrong about what’s being done (or, rather, not done). If he is correct, it’s a disgrace. It’s a statement that ought to be obvious, but of all the dangers that threaten the US, nuclear terrorism is potentially the worse. There should be no greater priority than doing absolutely everything that can possibly be done to stop it.