Skip to comments.Clark Has Lots of Ammo for War With Bush
Posted on 09/24/2003 10:43:43 AM PDT by fight_truth_decay
As a military analyst on television, Wesley Clark argued early that President Bush failed to make the case for the Iraq war. He predicted incisively that America would win quickly but face deadly trouble in the aftermath.
Where some Democratic presidential candidates have criticized Bush's foreign policy and postwar leadership with the benefit of hindsight, Clark can claim to have raised similar questions with foresight. So far, so good, for his new presidential campaign.
Less conveniently for his political aspirations, however, Clark at times heaped praise on Bush and his team for skillfully handling the Iraqi operation - even so far as to say the president should be proud for forging ahead despite the naysaying.
On Bush's broader war on terror, Clark expressed confidence, well into the Afghan conflict, that the United States was moving deliberately to win the global campaign. Now, as a candidate, he characterizes the Bush administration's actions from the start as "obfuscation and slow investigations and memos and shenanigans and creating departments."
It doesn't suit Democratic contenders for the presidency to say anything nice about Bush, and Clark is hardly alone in playing up criticism that would have seemed unpatriotic when America was at war.
But the former NATO supreme commander comes to the campaign with a unique body of work - a huge volume of opinions, insight, guesswork and play-by-play commentary on the chaos of the day, delivered as a military analyst for CNN and frequent contributor to newspapers during the Iraq and Afghan wars.
Some portions of that portfolio are more helpful to his campaign than others.
In this politically charged climate, America's record in Iraq is fair game for Democrats, and Clark is attacking Bush full bore on it. "What is the intent, what is the plan, Mr. President?" Clark demanded in a warm-up to announcing his candidacy last week. "Because the commander in chief better have a plan, and we haven't heard it yet."
Months earlier, Clark was full of admiration for the way the Bush team was conducting the military operation. He spoke of a "very strong leadership team in this government" and marveled at how "everybody there is galvanized by the mission."
That's not to say Clark agreed with the decision to attack.
"The administration has never been able to make the case effectively," he argued in February, shortly before the war began. "The American public doesn't understand the urgency of this, and there's not broad support."
He asked Americans then not to blame the soldiers because they were only following orders into battle. "And my concern is that this is a political issue; the president and his party put this forward," he said bitingly.
Clark also was cautious about plunging into battle after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when many Americans were out for vengeance.
Three days after the attacks, he counseled this response: "It's fundamentally a police effort against individuals. It's not a military effort directed against factories and airfields. You may still need to use military force, but you have to use it in a very precise way."
It became a huge military effort to uproot the government of Afghanistan and the terrorist network it harbored. Clark seemed to swing behind the strategy once it was set, and he voiced confidence in the outcome.
On Iraq, before any shots were fired, Clark sketched out the dangers that would follow the fall of Saddam Hussein.
"I think there will be a lot of tensions inside Iraq, and I think that we will be welcomed very warmly at the outset but afterward, as these tensions begin to assert themselves, it'll be convenient for many different groups to look on us as the source of their problems rather than the solution," he said in February. "And I think our troops will be at some risk there."
Once the war started, Clark praised many aspects of the battle plan and provided a steadying voice when things were not going well.
He was particularly impressed with cooperation among the branches of the armed forces and their coordination with the CIA and credited the Bush administration with that result.
"In the first place, this is a trained and experienced team of top leaders," he said.
Clark occasionally sounded as if he'd supported the war all along.
"President Bush and Tony Blair should be proud of their resolve in the face of so much doubt," he wrote in The Times of London in the first flush of the takeover of Baghdad.
And in June, he spoke as if his only change of heart had been over whether it was vital to capture Saddam, deposed Iraqi president.
"I was one of those before the war who said, `Don't focus on Saddam Hussein. Go in there, take over the government, and you'll take care of things.'" Afterward, he came to the view that Iraq could not be secure with Saddam still at large.
Clark's stance on the validity of the war is still an open question. Last week, he said he probably would have voted for the Iraq war resolution in Congress but asserted the next day: "I would never have voted for this war. Never."
"I don't know if I would have or not," the Times quotes. "I've said it both ways, because when you get into this, what happens is you have to put yourself in a position. On balance, I probably would have voted for it."
As the interview on the plane proceeded, he called on his press secretary, who was in the front of the plane. "Mary, help!"
Mary to the rescue: "You said you would have voted for the resolution as leverage for a U.N.-based solution."
No, he IGNORED the case for war with Iraq, just as all the Democrats (other than Lieberman), and the mainstream media did.
The great divide in the Presidential race is this: those who GET IT, and those who DON'T, vis-a-vis the War on Terror. Let's forget left vs. right, as if we actually have the luxury of playing an ideological parlor game. The philosophical debates about the nature and limits of government, the nature of man, issues of liberty versus tyranny, are age-old, and important debates. Such debates will always be with us. But, for example, after Pearl Harbor, the principal issue wasnt the creeping socialism of the New Deal, but whether Western Civilization could defeat German fascism and Japanese militarism. After World War II, the ideological debates were rejoined. Were in a similar situation today.
It would be nice if George W. Bush were the second coming of Russell Kirk. He clearly isnt. But this little fact is largely irrelevant. The War on Terror is still the biggest issue, and George W. Bush is really the only candidate in the Presidential race who GETS IT. The UN doesn't get it; the European Union doesn't get it; the media doesn't get it; the Democrats (with perhaps Lieberman as the sole exception) don't get it either, and especially Wesley Clark -- for a military man, to not GET the War on Terror and the importance of dethroning Saddam, is a major blindspot.
That's the great divide in America right now. I have faith that the American people still get it. And what they will get is that when its time to pull the lever, touch the screen, or punch the chad in November 2004, they will conclude that the world is too dangerous a place to allow the Democrats back in power. This isnt a left-vs.-right consideration. This is a consideration much lower on the Maslow hierarchy of political need. Its civilization versus the savages. And most people get it. Wesley Clark doesn't, and that's why his candidacy is doomed.
WESLEY CLARK EXCHANGES HATS WITH CONVICTED BOSNIAN WAR CRIMINAL
On August 27, 1994, Clark, then director of strategy, plans and policy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, went to Banja Luka - and met with Ratko Mladic, the bloodstained military leader of the Bosnian Serbs. (My note: everybody apparently forgets that before Serbia's the aggression in Bosnia the same Ratko Mladic was military commander of the Serbian army ("Yugoslav Peoples Army") in Croatia and conducted large scale massacres of Croatian civillians there, especially in the ethnically "cleansed of Croatian population "Krajina", another Serb-proclaimed "republic"). The State Departement had advised against the meeting, on account of Mladic's well-documented war crimes in Gorazde, Srebrenica and Sarajevo. Still, Clark and Mladic had a jolly time. Mladic gave Clark some plum brandy and a pistol with a Cyrillic inscription, and the two merrily swapped military hats.
Here's a clue :) Next time you get a chance, try googling the words Wesley Clark, Iraq, quagmire. Last time I checked, I got 3500 hits.
Well to be fair, you have to admit it's a bit hard to know exactly what the case is/was as it has changed several times since May and none of the original arguments have yet to be completely proven (WMDs, ties to 9/11, Al Qaeda). Or have been outright refuted by the same administration that used them to whip up their supporters for war
Jack Kelly of the Washington Times: He is opportunistic and lacks integrity"... "After a Serb surrender had been negotiated with the help of the Russians, Gen. Clark ordered British Lt. Gen. Michael Jackson to parachute troops onto the airport at the Kosovar capital of Pristina, so NATO would hold it before Russian peacekeepers arrived. Gen. Jackson refused. 'I'm not going to start the Third World War for you,' he told Gen. Clark, according to accounts in British newspapers". Rumor has it that this incident weighed heavily in Bill Cohen's decision to fire Clark.
A picture of Wes Clark's "ammo". All duds.
Coming to a "gun show" bumper sticker near you...
Why doesn't Wesley run for the Baath party, they love him. As an American General, he is pitifully weak in the history department, or his political advisors are. Wars are won and then the REAL work begins; changing a regime doesn't happen over night, it doesn't happen in months. But eventually, the good done will over shadow the murderous past and this is the part that the Iraqi people must adopt and they are, slowly and steadily with the help of the coalition military. Those soldiers are the paste that is holding the wound together until it can heal by itself. The democrats and the French want instant change only because they don't want the Bush administration to have any success. What about the people of Iraq, don't they have a say so? Listening to the Socialist Democrats you would think that we could just walk away from helping further - well they are wrong.
What most of this bad press boils down to is propaganda, spin and political rhetoric. Some reporters are beginning to report the truth - if you can 'hear' it over the Clinton, Clark, and the other 7 dwarfs shouting and wailing; they would have lost Iraq for Iraqis at the get go - they are simply not cut out to go the distance, it takes up too much of their time from other pursuits like raising taxes and very much how they treat the American people - just as soon as they are elected, they leave those who supported them and it's back to business as usual, politics and Washington,D.C.
America, Our Guys got Uday and Qusaylets not forget that monumental success! The left would rather you forget such enormous success the Iraqi people surely have not!
If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately and unconditionally forswear, disclose, and remove or destroy all weapons of mass destruction, long-range missiles, and all related material. (Remember, all parties -- the UN, other nations -- all concluded that Iraq had an active WMD program. The lack of weapons is a curiosity of the first order, but this objective was not disputed by anyone a year ago.)
If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately end all support for terrorism and act to suppress it, as all states are required to do by U.N. Security Council resolutions. (Iraq was funding Palestinian terrorism against Israel; in fact, one of the guys blown to bits in Baghdad on the decapitation strike aimed at Saddam the first night of the Iraq war was a top Palestinian terror master. The links to terrorism are pretty well known. Read Michael Ledeen's book WAR AGAINST THE TERROR MASTERS as one example; Yosef Bodansky's THE HIGH COST OF PEACE as another.)
If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will cease persecution of its civilian population, including Shi'a, Sunnis, Kurds, Turkomans, and others, again as required by Security Council resolutions.
If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will release or account for all Gulf War personnel whose fate is still unknown. It will return the remains of any who are deceased, return stolen property, accept liability for losses resulting from the invasion of Kuwait, and fully cooperate with international efforts to resolve these issues, as required by Security Council resolutions.
If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately end all illicit trade outside the oil-for-food program. It will accept U.N. administration of funds from that program, to ensure that the money is used fairly and promptly for the benefit of the Iraqi people.
...These reasons for war against Saddam were clear. The Democrats hate the idea of a Republican prosecuting a successful war, so they and their surrogates in the media, conveniently ignore them.
Clark did nothing of the sort. All of his predictions of doom and gloom were wrong, dead wrong. Furthermore, we are not involved in a "deadly aftermath".
The Democrats all pretty much have one thing in common -- They think that America and the world would be better off if the United States, both in our foreign and domestic policies, were more like Europe, and we surrender our sovereignty to the UN. This is Clark's perspective. Remember, for all the attempts to compare Clark to Ike, all Clark did was save the European Union from Serbia. What the Democrats forget is, OUR ANCESTORS (most of us) CHOSE TO LEAVE EUROPE! We don't WANT to be more like Europe.
And it takes so much courage to predict bad things for a Republican policy, since the Republicans control all the media! </sarcasm>
Lord knows the Iraqis supported the 9/11 terrorists more ardently than our 'ally' Saudi Arabia < /sarcasm>
Why not ask Hans Bliz. The tons of WMD material in Iraq was the UN's figure. Bury your head in the sand if you choose, but if you're unwilling to support the fight, get out of the way.
He was 100% wrong at every turn.
It is now blatantly obvious he was playing politics in the midst of the war.
Shame on you Wes.
By the way, did you hear the interview Britt Hume had with Cong. Jim Marshall last night? He served in Vietnam, and knows a little something about guerrilla war. He said that he, and many other members of Congress, were concerned by the conflicting reports out of Iraq. The mainstream media, on the one hand, keeps reporting that things are not going well. The Defense Department, on the other hand, keeps reporting steady improvement in the situation. Rep. Marshall and others (a bipartisan group) went to Iraq to see for themselves, and they've just returned.
His conclusion is that while there is a guerrilla war going on, it is not like Vietnam. In Vietnam, the VC and the No. Vietnamese were backed up by the Soviets and China. In Iraq, the guerrillas are riff-raff, certainly coming in through leaky borders with Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Marshall's assessment is that things are going well, but that we will overcome the sporatic guerrilla attacks IF, and only if, we win over the Iraqi people. The Iraqis have, and will continue, to rat-out the troublemakers in their own towns. The worse thing we can do, he said, is to send a message that our commitment to stablizing Iraq is hesitant. Of course, that message of doubt and hesitancy is exactly the message being planted in the minds of Americans by the seditious news media, and by the Democrat Party. If we lose the peace after winning the war in Iraq, it will be because our will was undermined by the news media and their Democrat patrons.
President Bush told the whole nation to expect this. The media (and WUSSY CLARK ) have forgotten this little detail.
Like using armor to deliver chemical agents on religious nutjobs barricaded in their compound?
That's the kind of fighting Clark knows how to do.
1. I have single-handedly violated Posse Comitatus Act and contributed to the death of 80 Americans in Waco, TX.
2. I have provided air support to an Al Qaeda ally in Bosnia in 1995
3. I have provided air supoport to an Al Qaeda ally in Kosovo in 1999
4. I have guts - I have almost started WWIII. That stupid British general blew it.
5. Unlike Bush, I tell a tall stories. 93 destroyed Serb tanks, for example.
6. I am part of Soros' International Crisis Group. You know Uncle Soros, he contributed $10M to topple Bush.
However, your title "WESLEY CLARK EXCHANGES HATS WITH CONVICTED BOSNIAN WAR CRIMINAL" is factually wrong.
At the time pic was taken in 1994 Gen. Mladic was not convicted, not even indicted by the Kangaroo Kourt in The Hague. That happened in November 1995 and pic is dated 1994.
Spreading falsities only provides support to Weasley Clark and I believe it was not your intent.
Regarding Bosnia, methinks you need a refresher course. FR is one of the best places to get the right information. Perhaps this article by LTC Sray is good start.
Followed by this one. Check what other Freepers think.
Jossef Bodansky and others were giving the warning prior to 9-11, but no one listened. As a result, there is yet another Clinton legacy.
Always remember and never forget that without Clinton's and Clark's support to Jihadists in Bosnia 9-11 would not happen.
First he'll check with his press secretary to determine what he believes, and then he'll mumble something about "mass graves."
This is the kind of B.S. you've posted before, like saying Bush said Iraq was an imminent threat to us when in fact he didn't. No claim the Bush admin. made has been refuted by them (or anyone else). The Bush administration never gave 9/11, or at least the claim that Iraq was involved in it, as a reason. The ties to terrorism and WMD's were both reasons given. The Al Qaeda tie is irrefutable. Also, the assertion was always one of connections with terrorism, of which Al Qaeda was just one element. About the only thing that can be said is that they are no longer talking much about WMD's, but they have not said that was not a reason.
it has been known for years that Saddam armed and financed Ansar al Islam, a force of some six to seven hundred extremists that operated a terror camp in northern Iraqs no-fly zone, controlling a string of villages along the Iranian border of the Kurdish self-rule area. It has long been known that senior Ansar members trained at a camp in Afghanistan that specialized in the manufacture of chemical and biological weapons, such as ricin. And it is hardly a secret that a very senior al Qaeda leader named Abu Mussab al Zarqawi fled Afghanistan after the Taliban was defeated, and had his injured leg treated in a Baghdad hospital surely with the knowledge of the Iraqi dictator and his secret police after which he was sent to create a poison laboratory in the Ansar terrorist cell. The Ansar camp, incidentally, was targeted and annihilated by American warplanes a few weeks ago.
Critics of the Bush policy similarly elected to ignore his October 2002 assertion that Iraqs terror connection was evidenced by Saddams longstanding protection of Abu Abbas, the leader of a terrorist group that in 1985 hijacked the Achille Lauro cruise ship and murdered an elderly, wheelchair-bound American passenger named Leon Klinghoffer. This was the same Abu Abbas who in recent years, according to FBI counter-terrorism analyst Mathew Levitt, "was the conduit for Saddam Husseins financing of the [Palestinian] suicide bombers"; the same Abu Abbas whom three captured Palestinian terrorists recently admitted they had met in December 2000, at which time they were in Iraq for training in the use of weapons and explosives. Earlier this month, US commandoes tracked down and arrested Abbas in Iraq, where he had indeed been living for most of the past seventeen years just as President Bush told us.
And now, within the past few days, the London Telegraph has reported the monumentally important discovery of top-secret documents in the bombed-out Baghdad headquarters of Iraqs intelligence service, documents that provide "evidence of a direct link between Osama bin Ladens al Qaeda terrorist network and Saddam Husseins regime." The newly unearthed papers show that in March 1998, "an al Qaeda envoy was invited clandestinely to Baghdad . . . to establish a relationship between Baghdad and al Qaeda based on their mutual hatred of America and Saudi Arabia." According to the Telegraph report, "[t]he meeting apparently went so well that it was extended by a week and ended with arrangements being discussed for bin Laden to visit Baghdad." Notably, this envoys visit took place less than five months before bin Ladens group bombed two US embassies in Africa.