HAVE I COMMITTED LIBEL against the new Democratic Party presidential frontrunner General Wesley Clark? Dave Maley of Ithaca, New York, makes that serious accusation in a September 19 email and demands that FrontPage Magazine take steps to prevent Lowell Ponte from continuing with such reporting.
He bases this charge and demand on what he calls the provably false information in 25 words out of one paragraph in two long investigative columns that together add up to 3,927 words.
Maleys entire indictment, in other words, rests on a single factual dispute that makes up 6/1,000ths of my investigation.
Let the record show that Mr. Maley, despite his best efforts to kill this messenger, apparently could find no factual or analytic error in 99.4 percent of my meticulously documented case showing General Clark to be unfit to become Commander-in-Chief of the United States.
Maley thus implicitly acknowledges that my investigation of General Clark has roughly the same 99.44 percent purity long claimed by Ivory Soap. He finds nothing to correct in roughly 3,900 of my 3,927 words.
At FrontPageMagazine.com my investigations go the extra mile to achieve accuracy by empowering readers. My probe into the background of General Clark, for example, included more than 30 hotlinks/hyperlinks so that readers could explore and evaluate many of my key sources. Even more leading to documents about Clark appear in this column.
Compare this to Leftist media such as the Los Angeles Times, notorious for launching ideological attacks through news stories based on unidentified, unnamed, untraceable sources. It is easy to see why concealed sources are used. This makes it easy to lie by fabricating statements from fictitious deep throat sources. This also makes it almost impossible for any critic to dispute the sources of what is reported.
My investigation into General Clark included hotlinks even though I know full well that this gives ideological enemies more targets to attack in their attempt to discredit whatever I write. Because my goal is truth and accuracy, I am delighted to correct any factual imperfection in what I report. (After working for a third of a century as a professional journalist, I have yet to meet any colleague whose reporting is always 100 percent accurate, however hard they strive to make it so.)
Mr. Maley believes he has discovered one single such factual imperfection. My investigation, echoing a hotlinked CounterPunch.com report by industrious Leftist journalists Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, took great care to say that two high military officers who met with Janet Reno prior to the lethal assault on a church in Waco had not been identified. I then went on to write, in harmony with the CounterPunch report, that Some evidence and analysis suggests that Wesley Clark was one of these two who devised what happened at Waco.
Mr. Maley had one big advantage that I did not. On September 18, after both parts of my Clark investigation had already been published but one day before Maley sent his email, Cockburn and St. Clair re-published a version of their June 1, 1999, follow-up at CounterPunch.org.
In this re-published 1999 text they wrote that the two military officers who met with Clinton Attorney General Janet Reno were Colonel Gerald Boykin, and his superior, Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the head of Special Forces at Fort Bragg.
Two days of earnest hunting with various search engines had not brought this particular follow-up article to my attention. Had I seen it, I would have eagerly cited it as yet more compelling evidence against both the Left and General Clark, for reasons you are about to learn.
So Lowell Ponte is demonstrably incorrect, writes Dave Maley, when he states that the two officers have never been identified
. Note that I am not incorrect about Clark, who I never definitively said was at the pre-Waco meeting with Janet Reno. I am incorrect, he writes, because I failed to report that the names of the two officers at this meeting had been published back in 1999 by Cockburn and St. Clair.
Maley could see for himself, however, the powerful evidence and analysis Cockburn and St. Clair provide that pointed to Clarks tactical fingerprints in what happened at Waco and hence to their original inference of his likely involvement in the Reno meeting.
(As you shall see, their original inference and mine may be correct. Clark apparently WAS involved [if not in body] at this meeting.)
Certainly the Waco onslaught, wrote Cockburn and St. Clair, bears characteristics typical of Gen. Wesley Clark: the eagerness to take out the leader (viz., the Clark-ordered bombing of Milosevichs private residence); the utter disregard for the lives of innocent men, women and children; the arrogant miscalculations about the effects of force; disregard for law, whether of the Posse Comitatus Act governing military actions within the United States or, abroad, the purview of the Nuremberg laws on war crimes and attacks on civilians
.The role of the US Army [at Waco] throws into harsh relief the way prohibitions against the use of the US military for civilian law enforcement can be swiftly by-passed.
Lets stipulate for sake of argument that Cockburn and St. Clair correctly named, if not identified, the two officers at the meeting with Janet Reno and award half a point to Mr. Maley.
Trouble is, Cockburn and St. Clair themselves made a huge factual error in identifying General Schoomaker as head of Special Forces at Fort Bragg. Schoomaker served as Commander of the Combat Applications Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, until July 1992, but he would not return to this base with another higher command until July 1994.
(Schoomaker therefore was not the commanding officer over Col. Gerald Boykin at Fort Bragg in 1993, which means that Cockburn and St. Clair were incorrect in the identifications they attached to BOTH officers they reported having met with Reno.)
At the time of the April 19, 1993, deadly government assault at Waco and the earlier military officers meeting with Attorney General Janet Reno that resulted in her decision to use flammable CS tear gas and military armor against the Branch Davidian church, Schoomaker was stationed elsewhere.
From July 1992 until July 1993 Schoomaker, according to his 1996 Special Operations Resume, was the Assistant Division Commander, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
Care to guess the name of the Commander that Assistant Division Commander Schoomaker served under? Thats right, General Wesley K. Clark, whose official NATO biography describes him as Commander 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas (August 1992-April 1994).
So when newly-minted one-star General Peter J. Schoomaker was meeting with Attorney General Reno, he was doing so as the stand-in for his immediate superior General Wesley Clark.
It would be naïve not to recognize that anything Schoomaker proposed or planned with Janet Reno would have been coordinated with and approved by the superior officer he was serving.
This was inevitable, if only because Clark would have to evaluate the capabilities and authorize the specific weapons at Fort Hood that would make any particular operation or tactics possible.
The very purpose of a military #2 like Schoomaker in such situations is to act as the representative of his #1 in this case General Clark.
In a famous scene early in the movie Patton George C. Scott is upset to learn that his German counterpart Field Marshall Erwin Rommel was absent during a tank battle General Patton had just won. I didnt beat Rommel, he says dejectedly. Pattons aide then cheers him by saying: If you beat Rommels plan [for this battle], you beat Rommel.
Likewise, if Janet Reno takes a meeting to consider battle tactics with Rommels #2, she is taking a meeting with Rommel, whether or not Rommel is present in the flesh.
General Clark, for all intents and purposes, WAS a participant in the meeting with Attorney General Reno because his #2 General Schoomaker was there effectively acting as Clarks eyes, ears, mouth, representative and go-between. (This assumes that we can believe Cockburn and St. Clair after their huge factual blunder in misidentifying Schoomaker. My reporting, by contrast, you can verify through my hotlinked sources.) Score more than half a point for Ponte.
If you look at General Schoomakers official biography today, you will see that his service as General Clarks Number Two at Fort Hood commenced in July 1992 but that the end date is carefully omitted. It is demonstrable, however, that at the time of Waco he was serving at Fort Hood, not Fort Bragg. Evidence that Schoomaker served at Fort Hood until July 1993, following Waco, can be seen in his still-extant 1996 Special Operations Resume and another report.
Maley also snidely attacked Pontes effort to tie Clark to the debacle at Waco. But even Maley did not dispute any of my OTHER documentary evidence that this tie exists.
The fact that Clark IS tied to Waco is undisputed by any serious journalist or investigator.
What remains and needs to be investigated is the full extent of Clarks involvement. This has been obscured by Clinton smoke and mirrors, and by the Clinton-ordered rapid bulldozing of the still-warm incinerated ruins of the church in Waco, a bulldozing that destroyed evidence of precisely what weapons and munitions the military and other government forces used.
The armored equipment used in the destruction of the church and its inhabitants at Waco came from General Clarks command at Fort Hood. This is beyond argument or doubt. Its release for use in this operation required Clarks approval.
And military tradition would hold that in any nearby operation the Commander whose equipment and personnel are used would, unless otherwise occupied, almost always continues to be involved in decision-making in that operation, if only to advise on his equipments condition and his troops experience.
The Waco operation probably violated the Posse Comitatus Act, despite Clinton disclaimers. But General Clark ignored this possibility when he dispatched armor and personnel and authorized Fort Hoods use for training Federal agents in the horrifying tactics that would be used against women, children and babies at Waco.
Thanks to Maley and the new information threads opened by General Schoomakers name, we now know that Clarks #2, Schoomaker, was apparently deeply involved in devising, selecting and coordinating with Janet Reno the tactics and weapons to be used at Waco.
This explains why Clarks brutal tactical fingerprints, outlined by Cockburn and St. Clair, seem to be all over the nightmarish events at Waco. Clark might not have been in the meeting with Reno to plan the assault, but his strong right arm Schoomaker was there as a surrogate carrying Clarks ideas and input.
Schoomakers involvement implicates Clark in the planning meeting far more than the uncertain inferences about Clarks presence in my prior investigation. That his #2 was there with Reno is a clear link tying Clark to what happened. Thank you, Mr. Maley, for helping to expand the evidence against General Clark, evidence clearly showing that my careful inferences were not in any way a libel against Clark.
Both Schoomaker and Clark would (perhaps as reward for their loyalty to Commander-in-Chief Bill Clinton, if not necessarily to the laws of the United States) shortly after Waco be given promotions to juicy plum jobs in the Pentagon only minutes away from the Clinton White House. Clark would go on to become Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. Schoomaker would eventually become Chief of Staff of the United States Army, a position he currently holds. But unlike General Clark, General Schoomaker has shown no aspiration whatsoever to become President of the United States or to seek any other political office.
Please note that Mr. Maley avoided any mention of my documentation and analysis of the surprising transformation in General Clarks steady-but-not-stellar military career before Waco into a skyrocket ride of promotions to the choicest jobs in the military after Waco. And now, with continued massive Clinton help, Clark has leaped from not even being a registered Democrat two months ago to the highest rung of Democratic presidential politics.
Days ago Clark surprisingly told reporters he cannot remember for whom he voted in the past two Presidential elections. This might be a sign of early senility, or that hes caught the same malady that makes Hillary Clinton unable to remember anything whenever she is under oath. Such mental incapacity all by itself would make him unfit to be President.
Or perhaps Clark is simply dishonest. Lying, as my previous investigation documented, got him in trouble during his command of forces in the Balkans.
Or perhaps he dares not tell Democrats a shocking truth
that they were not his first true love or preference. Clarks first, unrequited love was the Republican Party.
Following the terrorist attacks on America of September 11, 2001, Clark expected that the Bush administration would invite him to join its team, reports Howard Fineman in Newsweek. When GOP friends told him that Karl Rove, the presidents political mastermind, had blocked the idea, reports Fineman, Clark was furious.
I would have been a Republican, Clark told two prominent Colorado Republicans last January, if Karl Rove had returned my phone calls. (Meticulous White House telephone logs, reports the Weekly Standard, show no calls ever made by Clark to Rove.)
Clark did not deny making this bizarre statement when Newsweek contacted him. He merely dismissed it as a humorous tweak. But Colorado Governor Bill Owens and Marc Holtzman, now President of the University of Denver, say Clark sounded serious to them. He went into detail about his grievances, said Holtzman. Clark wasnt joking. We were really shocked.
Clark had reached out to the GOP before. As little as two years ago Clark reportedly was grooming himself to seek office as a Republican. In 2001 Clark was a Lincoln Day and fundraiser speaker for the Republican Party in Arkansas, and he strongly praised Ronald Reagan and both Presidents George and George W. Bush in several speeches.
And what does it say about Clark, writes the Weekly Standards Matthew Continetti, that he would have declared himself a Republican if only he had a chance to chat with Karl Rove?
And what does it say about Clarks principles, ethics, steadfastness and ambition that, having been rebuffed by his first choice of political parties, the Republican Party, he would turncoat and embrace the opposite politics of its ideological opponent?
(Knowing this makes it chilling to contemplate why General Clark went out of his way to learn to speak fluent Russian. Is he now secretly learning to speak Chinese?)
Apparently willing to climb into the saddle of presidential power from either the Right or far Left side, can Wesley Clark be trusted by any sincere Democrat?
After using the backs of Democratic Party loyalists as his stepstool and ladder to power, President Clark might metamorphose again into a Republican or revert to being the militarist who, as my investigation documented, by his hot-headed recklessness almost started World War III.
In light of his party turn-coating and recent flip-flops over the Iraq War Resolution and other issues, the only things constant about General Clark seem to be his inconsistency, untrustworthiness, vanity and megalomania.
To paraphrase the old saying, behind every great title there is a great crime. The Barons and Viscounts of Europe typically hold hereditary family titles given as a reward to some ancestor who slaughtered tens of thousands in battle for the king or performed some other bloody deed at the kings request or both.
If Wesley Clark performed no special service for the Clinton regime at Waco, then why in Wacos wake did his career streak upward into the stratosphere? What did General Clark do that switched his career from flat to fabulous, that won these rich rewards (including his fourth star) via Clinton political patronage?
Two possible answers are these, phrased as questions for you to ponder, that reveal the two horns of the dilemma Clark faces with the Waco issue:
Was Wesley Clark just a good German who was only following orders and who merely compliantly turned over the keys to his armored vehicles to Clinton political operatives or to his #2? Did he avoid taking any responsibility for how his Commands weapons and soldiers would be used? Did he just wash his hands and look the other way while, in potential violation of Federal and international law, military weapons and warriors from his Command were used at Waco to kill 82 civilian Americans?
Or were Clark and his #2 Schoomaker active players involved in planning and/or executing and/or covering up the use of Fort Hood weapons, soldiers and tactics against women, children and babies at Waco in what looks like a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act and Geneva Convention, among other laws and treaties? Has Clark by his silence or other means helped the Clintons evade the consequences of what they did at Waco and been rewarded for this service?
Either of these possibilities that he was a compliant good German, or was an active Clinton accomplice before, during or after the fact in the killing of 82 Americans could explain why the Clintons today love General Wesley Clark.
But if Clark at Waco took either the course of hands-off irresponsibility or bloody-handed involvement, either course makes him morally and ethically unfit ever to be President and Commander-in-Chief of the United States.
It is self-evident that Clark went down at least one, and perhaps in varying degrees both, of these two crooked paths.
This may be why both General Clark and Dave Maley seem to want to stifle public scrutiny concerning Clarks role in Waco and to prevent the rest of the media from following FrontPageMagazine.coms lead in this investigation.
(Much of the media recently did follow this columnists groundbreaking three-part investigative lead into California Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamantes connections to the racist group MEChA and Hispanic extremists.)
Does Mr. Maley have no curiosity about Clarks role in the Waco holocaust, one of the biggest mass killings of American dissenters by the American government in our history? (If he is the Dave Maley who is public information director for well-regarded Ith