Skip to comments.Gen. Shelton shocks Celebrity Forum, says he won't support Clark for president
Posted on 09/24/2003 3:32:06 AM PDT by jaykay
Retired General H. Hugh Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 9/11, shared his recollection of that day and his views of the war against terrorism with the Foothill College Celebrity Forum audience at Flint Center, Sept. 11 and 12.
His review of that historic event and his 38 years in the military kept the audience's rapt attention throughout. But it was his answer to a question from the audience at the end that shocked his listeners.
"What do you think of General Wesley Clark and would you support him as a presidential candidate," was the question put to him by moderator Dick Henning, assuming that all military men stood in support of each other. General Shelton took a drink of water and Henning said, "I noticed you took a drink on that one!"
"That question makes me wish it were vodka," said Shelton. "I've known Wes for a long time. I will tell you the reason he came out of Europe early had to do with integrity and character issues, things that are very near and dear to my heart. I'm not going to say whether I'm a Republican or a Democrat. I'll just say Wes won't get my vote."
Shelton was on a 757 en route to Budapest for a conference when he learned that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. Knowing that New York had perfect weather and there were no computer problems, he determined that it was a terrorist attack and immediately turned the plane around.
Shelton's 38 years in the military included two years in Vietnam and service in the 173rd Airborne Brigade and Green Berets. In addition to having been an adviser to the president and a member of the National Security Council, he has been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the Purple Heart and six Distinguished Service Medals. He has been decorated by 15 foreign governments and knighted by Queen Elizabeth.
His 6-foot-6-inch military bearing and commanding presence at the Celebrity Forum belied his recent personal battle. Only months after his retirement, following 400 parachute jumps from 30,000 feet, the former special ops soldier fell from a ladder outside his home, landed with his head caught in a chain-link fence and was partially paralyzed from the neck down.
The doctor told Shelton he would never walk or use his hands again. Shelton said he checked the doctor's name tag for "God"; he didn't see it. Eighty-four days later he walked out on his own, and he is now close to 100 percent recovered. The unfortunate experience taught him an invaluable lesson -- "the importance of faith, family and friends when the chips are down."
Three days after Shelton took office as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, his commitment to the integrity of the military was tested. When U.S. planes in the Iraq no-fly zone were attacked, a member of Congress suggested that perhaps "we" could fly a U-2 spy plane so low over Iraq that it could easily get hit. Then we'd have a reason "to kick Saddam out of Iraq." After Shelton responded that he would order that "just as soon as you are qualified to fly (it)," he was not asked again to compromise his office.
"Sometimes people in a position of power lose perspective on right and wrong," Shelton said.
The events of 9/11 were not a surprise to Shelton. He had been concerned because the United States offers a vulnerable target-rich environment. Two areas continue to worry him. First, a cyber-attack on air control, water, 911, financial or other nationwide systems could "bring us to our knees." Second, the use of weapons of mass destruction, even small amounts of sarin gas, anthrax germs, bio-attacks, continues to be a dangerous threat. Their deployment had been planned for the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, but al-Qaeda ordered the attack before they were in place.
In order to deal with the ongoing danger, the United States must "continue to go after terrorists," he said. "Bush has maintained the pressure and earned kudos in spite of the criticism."
Integrity and Character issues! That explains why he's the favorite of the Clintons.
Shelton was a Ranger. Something about Wes jumping up the chain of command due to string pulling by the White House must have pissed him off.
The Pristina Airport incident must have told him something. Shelton has some dirt on Clark. I think you'll see him supporting Bush.
Be Seeing You,
Clark graduated at the top of his class at West Point. Hmmmmmm.... coincidence?
In the back of my mind, I'm saying to myself "West Point has an honor code for a reason. The honor code is supposed to identify early those who cheat, lie, or steal, as well as those who tolerate the same. One of the qualities necessary for a successful leader in the military is integrity. You have to be able to trust the guy on the ground saying "drop bombs 100 yards north of yellow smoke"
or the guy who says, "Lt. PokeyJoe moved south in error and cut off the flank, allowing the enemy to engage and kill 25 soldiers before we could bring reserves into the scrap. It's his fault"
Or the guy who orders a British General to parachute onto an airfield controlled by Russians - and he wonders why his order is disobeyed.
Integrity and Character issues.
Clinton and Clark.
Both related in some way to the other. No wonder Clinton wants Clark as her running mate. She has "goods" on him and she thinks that she can control him.
The press has become irrelevant since Drudge and other internet news service.
"I've known Wes for a long time. I will tell you the reason he came out of Europe early had to do with integrity and character issues, things that are very near and dear to my heart. I'm not going to say whether I'm a Republican or a Democrat. I'll just say Wes won't get my vote."
Funk was CO of III Corps and Ft. Hood from 1993 to 1995. I think he was talking about Waco. Looks like those who know Weasely Clark best like him least.
I am forced to agree with you concerning his conduct at the Academy, for exactly the same reason... he would have been crushed.
I still get the impression that there's a really nasty skeleton in his Balkan closet... too many military guys I know, senior and otherwise, have a serious disdain for Clark. It's way more than politics... there's an odor of dishonor associated with him, and I just can't figure out why that is.
One thing is for sure. He is neither beloved nor respected.
"I find him to be a guy who's very clever at determining which way the wind's blowing," said Gen. Paul Funk, who was General Clark's boss in the early 1990's. "Who knows, maybe in the political world that's a good thing."
He didn't/wouldn't give any specifics, just made a face like he smelled something bad.
I wish my father in law was still alive. He was a retired bird colonel, was at the Pentagon for years, and he knew EVERYBODY. . . . he was a WWII "mustang" - promoted from the ranks - and VERY outspoken. Something more here than just politics.
I hope they do, too. For an apolitical animal like Shelton to come out against Clark, must mean something....
Relationships are only all we have. Sad for Wes.
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