Richard Norman Perle (born September 16, 1941) is a neoconservative who served the Reagan administration as an assistant secretary of defense and serves on the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee. Perle, a strong advocate of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, correctly predicted that Saddam Hussein's forces could be defeated in no more than "months".
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2 Current activities
3 War with Iraq
5 External links
Education and early careerPerle earned a B.A from the University of Southern California in 1964 and an M.A in political science from Princeton University in 1967.
From 1969 to 1980, he worked as a staffer for Democratic Senator Henry M. Jackson of Washington. He lost one of his positions after the FBI revealed that he had passed on classified information to Israel. From 1981 to 1987, Perle was Assistant Secretary of Defense for international security policy in the Reagan administration. He received criticism for accepting a major payment from an Israeli arms manufacturer, but was not prosecuted.
Robert Burns of AP writes, "Perle was so strongly opposed to nuclear arms control agreements with the former Soviet Union during his days in the Reagan administration that he became known as 'the Prince of Darkness.'" 
Current activitiesPerle is currently a resident fellow at the conservative think-tank American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. His cited research interests include defense, national security and the Middle East.
In addition, Perle has many business interests. Among other engagements, he is Chairman and chief executive officer of Hollinger Digital, Inc, a partner of Trireme and a director of the Jerusalem Post.
In July 2001 George W. Bush appointed Perle chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, which advises the Department of Defense. On March 9 2003, Seymour Hersh published an article in The New Yorker titled Lunch with the Chairman, accusing Perle of a conflict of interest, claiming Perle stood to profit financially by influencing government policy. Hersh's article alleged that Perle had business dealings with Saudi investors and linked him to the intelligence-related computer firm Trireme Partners, Ltd, which stood to profit from the war in Iraq.
In a widely quoted passage, Hersh wrote:
- "There is no question that [Richard] Perle believes that removing Saddam from power is the right thing to do. At the same time, he has set up a company that may gain from a war." 
On March 28, 2003, Judicial Watch filed a complaint to the Office of Government Ethics, the Office of the Defense Department Inspector General, the Office of the Homeland Security Inspector General, United States Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller in the matter of Former Defense Policy Board Chairman Richard N. Perle, Former President William Jefferson Clinton, Former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, Current Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and Global Crossing.
War with IraqPerle is said to be the person behind the US policy on Iraq (see also: U.S. plan to invade Iraq). He believed that Saddam Hussein's control of the government was weak, and that an invasion of Iraq would remove Saddam from power within weeks.
- Saddam is much weaker than we think he is. He's weaker militarily. We know he's got about a third of what he had in 1991. But it's a house of cards. He rules by fear because he knows there is no underlying support. Support for Saddam, including within his military organization, will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder. Now, it isn't going to be over in 24 hours, but it isn't going to be months either.
- I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing....
- International law ... would have required us to leave Saddam Hussein alone....
- [Because of French intransigence there was] "no practical mechanism consistent with the rules of the UN for dealing with Saddam."
OtherPerle is co-founder of the right-wing Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a spin-off from the American Enterprise Institute. He is known to have a negative opinion of the United Nations and multi-lateralism, pushing for world-wide superiority of the USA.
Perle is author of many articles and three books:
- Hard Line (1992) (ISBN 0394565525)
- Reshaping Western Security (ed.) (1991).
- An End to Evil: how to win the war on terror (w/David Frum, 2003) ISBN 1400061946
- Website about Richard Perle at the AEI
- Richard Perle's Conflict, Editorial/Op-Ed, The New York Times, March 24, 2003
- Thank God for the death of the UN, Comment by Richard Perle, The Guardian, March 21, 2003
- Lunch with the Chairman, an article by Seymour Hersh for the New Yorker, Mar. 17 2003
- Saddam's Ultimate Solution: Host Transcript, Wide Angle, July 11, 2002 - interview with Richard Perle