The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Perle vs. Perle: Perle loses

April 18, 2007

I am currently watching an hour-long PBS documentary called “The Case for War: In Defense of Freedom”.

I assume this is the “balance” episode of the eleven-part series “America at a Crossroads”, since Richard Perle narrates, debates people, then explains in the voice over why he’s right.

Perle’s arguments range from the sensible to the cynically dishonest. But the amazing thing is that Perle’s losing to his interlocutors in his own documentary.

Perle gets served on jus ad bellum and jus in bello issues by a t-shirt clad anti-war protester. He lamely attempts to caricature his opponent’s arguments–usually with the phrase “so what you’re saying is….” He trots out Abu Nidal as proof of Hussein’s threat to the United States. Kind of pathetic, actually.

He might score some points later. But I have to stop watching. The wife wants to play Okami. Much more attractive… and educational.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.