Thanks for a look at John Pike's article (Editorial Pages, March 13) on retiring Pentagon official Richard Perle. I found it most revealing, though likely to give ammunition to right-wing paranoia; it is as clumsy an example of selective memory, bias, and indeed character assassination as I have ever seen. One doesn't have to be a Reaganaut to recognize this--just follow the article's own argument.
Perle's career (Pike says) has been based on "hostility to the Soviet Union," rather than genuine concern about Soviet intentions and policy. Indeed, Perle "has little interest in encouraging changes in Soviet society," merely a "determination to renew the Cold War." OK, then obviously Perle must oppose all arms control, as indeed the article argues. Right?
Oops. Perle not only joined five years ago with those proposing, but still approves, our striking a bargain on intermediate-range missiles in Europe.
But aside from the whole question of Perle himself: Am I the only one getting awfully tired of the notion that only right-wing nuts have anything but blissful trust toward the Soviet Union? Pike forgets (to put it charitably) that those trusting the Soviets (including myself, back in the 1970s) have been consistently snookered; for instance, the greatest arms buildup in Soviet history took place during the "detente" period. Under those circumstances--and remembering that, as of this week, it is still possible to be sentenced to jail in the Eastern Bloc for running an unauthorized jazz musicians' group, for crying out loud--is a cautious skepticism so hard to understand?