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."
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.
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