It’s Called A ‘Roman A Clef’
Richard Perle, the loathsome advisor at the Defense Policy Board, wrote a novel (titled, predictably enough, Hard Line) which is now out of print. The Boston Globe‘s Mark Schone dug it up for review.
The glowering, caterpillar-browed Perle, a former assistant secretary of defense under Reagan, has long been known as the Prince of Darkness for his ber-hawkish views. He is also a gourmet chef. These days, when he isn’t devouring coq au vin at his vacation home in Provence, he’s serving on the Defense Policy Board, an influential civilian advisory panel to the Pentagon. Harvard professor Michael Waterman, the menschy hero of “Hard Line,” is also a right-wing, Frenchified foodie with a No. 2 position at Defense, a house in Chevy Chase and a wife whose name begins with L. In early 2001, the New Yorker’s Nicholas Lemann visited Perle at home and realized that the gurgling French stewpots in the lavishly appointed kitchen were straight out of the book.
What Lemann did not know at the time was just how realistic “Hard Line” would prove to be. The novel was meant as a roman clef of the Cold War. But it prefigures, in detail, the Bush administration’s rationale for the invasion of Iraq.
I’d love to get my hands on this book, actually, and find out what’s in store for the next few years of neo-con policy. For more a recent article on Richard Perle himself, you could start with this one by Seymour Hersch.