October 27, 2003 | Broadcast

Lou Dobbs Tonight

Good to have you here.

We heard today — tonight — from Bernard Kerik, saying that, really, more U.S. troops aren’t necessary. They’re not even perhaps helpful in any way, nor are foreign troops, more police to be required in Baghdad and Iraq. Do you agree with that assessment?


The sooner we can recruit and train the necessary Iraqi security and police forces, the better. They will do a better job of coping with the violence than we can do. They know the neighborhoods. They know the people. So, we need to accelerate the process of turning those responsibilities over to Iraqis.

DOBBS: Yet, today, Chalabi for the first time acknowledged that there were foreign terrorists coming into Iraq and Baghdad, a clear role for the U.S. military, the coalition military, to interdict and to stop the terrorists.

You have before said there are other terrorist nations that should be dealt with. Do you believe they should be dealt with now?

PERLE: Well, I certainly think we should make it clear to the Iranians, who are facilitating the flow of terrorists and sponsoring them, and the Syrians, who are doing the same, that this is intolerable. That unless they stop this, they’re going to have to deal with us directly.

We’re giving them an open gate. And terrorists, under their sponsorship, and with their support are pouring in. It’s not acceptable.

DOBBS: What is the answer?

PERLE: Well, I think in part the answer is to say to the leadership in Iran and in Syria, if this doesn’t stop, you’re going to have to deal with us directly. And they that see we are there. They see we’re there in force. They see what we did in Iraq, what we did before that in Afghanistan, and I think they’ll take us seriously if we deliver a firm and clear message.

DOBBS: Richard, obviously you, Paul Wolfowitz, other so-called neo- conservatives, among the architects of what was to become the war against Saddam Hussein, a highly successful military operation, but a terribly, I think the kindest word I could probably use is a confused post Saddam plan for reconstruction and establishing order.

What is your best assessment of the post-Iraq policy and where we, that is the United States, and the Iraqi people, go from here?

PERLE: I think we’re making real progress. I know it doesn’t look that way on a day when bombs are exploding at the Red Cross.

DOBBS: It certainly does not.

PERLE: And elsewhere. But it is not difficult to pack a car with explosives and pay someone to organize to have someone drive it into an area where it can do great damage.

What is going on in most of the country is that schools are open hospitals are open, local communities are electing local councils. Progress is being made toward the drafting of a constitution. Real estate prices are going up. That’s an indication of what people think about the future.

It’s going to take a little while. It’s only six months. And we had 35 years of the most brutal regime so a little patience is called for.

DOBBS: Bernard Kerik suggests 18 months.

PERLE: I think 18 months is about right. In fact, I believed the day that — that Baghdad fell that within 18 months there would be no debate about whether this had been a success on behalf of the people of Iraq and our own security.

DOBBS: When you and I talked at one point during the war, in mid-March of this year, you said you believed that the French and the Germans and other critics of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy would fall in line as soon as the war were ended, as soon as it became clear that Saddam was a nonentity. That has not been the case.

What is your assessment of the French and the German policy post-Saddam Hussein?

PERLE: Well, I think it’s appalling, having professed concern about the people of Iraq, when the time came to make a contribution to their reconstruction, they couldn’t find the euro to put in the till. And that tells you more than all their words about how much they care about the people of Iraq. It’s an appalling failure of responsibility on their part.

DOBBS: Richard Perle, thank you for being here.

PERLE: My pleasure.