Richard Perle: Farewell, Dark Prince

Friends and critics call Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle by many names -- Prince of Darkness, Darth Vader, evil genius -- and the witty Perle loves them all. By title, Richard (as he is invariably referred to in Washington) is merely one of eleven Assistant Secretaries, a third-echelon Pentagon aide. In practice, Perle is widely acknowledged to be a major architect of U.S. arms-control policy, though to his opponents he is a bureaucratic Machiavelli who deviously torpedoed all reasonable prospects for agreement.

When Perle, 45, submitted his long-anticipated resignation last week, he cited with pride his having blocked "any arms-control...

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