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View Diary: John McCain rewrites his epitaph (129 comments)

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  •  yes he's extremely intelligent, IMO. (6+ / 0-)

    I wrote a diary about his May 16, 2007 speech at John's Hopkins SAIS Foreign Policy school.
    Alas the links on this diary to the video and transcript seem to be no longer functional.
    The diary is here:

    The quotes from General Clark's speech that are copied to the diary along with a brief comment by me are:

    Our awesome military power is not the real source of our strength:


    We have nuclear weapons. Today, the widespread destruction of, of, of human populations is certainly a possibility, even without armies marching back and forth. But for the United States of America, if we aim to succeed in the world today, it won't be by wiping out populations. It'll be by changing people's minds and changing governments' policies. We've got to do a lot less threatening and a lot more listening and reasoning and rethinking.
    that source of our strength lies in our institutions and values


    Right now, we've lost a crucial underpinning of America's safety, security and ultimate well being. It's what, for a century, has enabled America's power to be perceived as benign. It's enabled America's purposes to be perceived as noble. It's enabled America's allies to rally to just causes. It's enabled America's adversaries to be shoved into the corner and condemned as erroneous and morally wrong. It's what enabled Americans to travel abroad and conduct business with personal safety and be received with respect. It's enabled America's Armed Forces to be welcomed in foreign lands. In America's conduct abroad, others saw a reflection of what we enshrined in our own Constitution and in our system of government as our values - fairness, tolerance, decency, justice, mutual respect, personal opportunity. It's brought hundreds of thousands of youngsters to our shores to study and millions to seek to live. And it's been the secret of America's power and influence.

        It is our legitimacy as a nation.

    Where we derive our legitimacy:


    How do we get this legitimacy? Where does it come from?

        I think it comes from the heart of American institutions themselves. I think it's because we formed our institutions with the consent of the governed. We are guided by an adherence to our Bill of Rights, and at least in the last century, we've viewed our conception of mankind and our rights as universal truths. We've had them embedded in documents starting with the UN Charter and Declaration of Human Rights around the world. We've advocated the enlargement of these rights to all of mankind. And in many ways, not without exception, but largely we've acted consistently with these principles, and in so doing, we earned the goodwill, the good opinion - legitimacy - in the eyes of mankind.

        Today, the evidence shows we've lost much of this. I don't have to site the poll after poll after poll over the last five years. You see them - the Pew polls, the BBC polls, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs polls. They show that, here's one in- published in March, "The United States is viewed more as negative than in positive in world Affairs" - 51 percent of the people. In 27- 28,000 people in 27 countries view the United States as a more negative than positive force in world affairs. We're ranked lower than North Korea. Ten out of fifteen countries in a Chicago Council of Global Affairs poll show that the most common view is the United States cannot be trusted to act responsibly in world affairs.

    The truth about "winning" the cold war:


    When the United States prevailed in the Cold War, we prevailed not just because of Ronald Reagan and Star Wars and a military buildup that broke the back of the Soviet economy. We prevailed not just because Gorbechev lost heart and gave up on the Communist Party. We prevailed because over five decades, the appeals of human dignity, justice, individual freedoms exemplified and proven effective in the West proved to be eventually stronger than any degree of governmental repression. And now by our own actions, we seem to be turning away in world affairs from the very principles that won us success in the Cold War.
    And an honest historical assessment of the times when we betrayed our own ideals even before George W Bush went off the rails:


    I know there's a realist critique of this position. I can hear them now. Many of them were my friends. They're defending our actions, 'Well, you know, international law, international opinion, I mean, what's really there?' And, 'We can't allow these sort of opinion polls to stand in the way of doing what we really need to do for America's security.' Or I hear it occasionally from questions from the audiences when I speak. They say, 'How are we going to get them to talk to us if we don't rough them up?' Or that famous statement that 'The Geneva Convention is an anachronism.'

        But I've traveled around the world. I've talked to governments in Latin America and Eastern Europe and the Middle East. I've talked to the people who lived through repressive regimes. None of these realist critiques are unique. They're not original. They're old, tired, hackneyed excuses that other governments have trotted out time and again to serve their own purposes.

        To be fair, the Bush administration wasn't the first to trim around the edges of U.S. compliance with the principles of international law and the requirements for legitimacy. you can look back over the Cold War and find our exceptions, but you can't take much pride in it. The coups that we fomented, the politicians we attempted to pay off, the efforts that we made in covert action, our occasional support of expediency over principles - most of them came to a bad end.

        They don't justify the realist critique. They help condemn it. And in the light of history, they stand not out- they stand out not just as aberrations, but as mistakes. They're just of a lesser magnitude than the kind of mistake we made with the invasion of Iraq.

        You can go back and trace these uneasy compromises we've made where we had to sacrifice our adherence to international law and international standards when it's suited our realist aims. You can trace it back. But by and large, in the court of public opinion, we got away with them in the Cold War. Our adversaries were much worse, and we were on the right side of the equation of history and human judgment in the most part.

        By and large, we escaped with our reputation mostly intact, but this time, this time, we've gone too far.

        The administration's approach is robbing every American of the legitimacy of aim and method which once made our nation the unquestionable leader of choice for mankind and which helped make every American safer and more secure.

    General Clark spells out in detail how we must work to restore legitimacy and please read his specifics.

    He then talks of the principles we must adhere to to gain legitimacy.


    But I want to underscore that I'm not calling for simply time and condition phased American pullout. I'm calling for a fundamental revision of the aims, methods and circumstances of the American effort in Iraq and within the region. And where we need to begin is with a dialog based on principles, principles that may, they may sound very familiar, but they're not reflective of current American leadership in the region. I'm talking about unconditional dialog, mutual respect for borders and national internal affairs of other states, peaceful resolution of disputes, noninterference in internal affairs, strict adherence to international law, the rights of people to chose their own leaders and their own form of government.
    He talks about Guantanamo:


    Elsewhere, if you look at Guantanamo, what we need in Guantanamo is to take America's direct leadership back a step. I believe we should ask NATO, an international organization, respected, capable of providing security to take over the, the detention facility. We need to end any programs of secret detention that remain around the world, and I continue to hear very disturbing rumors about rough interrogations and extra-judicial actions. We've got to bring the campaign against international terrorists firmly within the bounds of international
    and kangaroo courts and justice and the rule of law and accountability:


    At home, the 2005-2006 legislation associated with detainees and military commissions, we've simply got to modify that legislation. We've never accepted kangaroo court justice in the United States. The very idea that we'll bring people up in front of a commission and tell them they're charged, but they can't see the evidence. They don't know why they're charged. They can't prepare a defense without knowing the specifications against them. That's not in keeping with our American principles.

        This is not about whether or not to coddle terrorists. This is about how to restore legitimacy to America's aims and purposes in the world and how to succeed in the war against international terrorists. We have to understand that the object of the trial is not simply to come out with a verdict. It's to be transparent, to win support for the principles of Western and American jurisprudence. And our audience is not just our domestic public, it's millions and hundreds of millions of young people around the world who harbor that sense of humiliation and frustration and powerlessness and anger enough to consider joining Al Qaeda. They need to see the workings of real justice that really respects the dignity of human beings.

        And finally, we're not going to restore the legitimacy we seek without a full inquiry into how we as Americans could've gone so wrong. How could it have happened? Why did it happen? And who must he held accountable for abusing the good name and authority of the United States of America. This includes not only addressing the administrations misuse of intelligence in the run up to the war in Iraq, but also into who and how we misled our Armed Forces and our intelligence agencies into believing that our international obligations under the Geneva Convention and the 1996 Treatment on the Prevention of Torture- Treaty of the Prevention of Torture weren't somehow legally binding or applicable.

        Holding a few soldiers accountable in military trials is not enough. Their actions reflected a broadened tolerance for hither afore reprehensible acts of mistreatment all in violation of international law and the responsibility for which must be sought at the highest levels of the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the White House itself.

        I say this without partisanship and with a great deal of sadness. I love this country. generations of Americans have served and sacrificed in battle to preserve our freedoms, including our inviolable Bill of Rights. Torture, however you define it - and let's not quibble with the definitions - was never acceptable as a matter of policy. It was always something deeply abhorrent to our ideas of human dignity, and we sought and supported legal retribution against those who employed it elsewhere.

        How can we as Americans hold others to high standards of conduct unless we hold our own leaders to the same high standards?  

    Robert Guttman who introduced General Clark at Johns Hopkins SAIS was also moved by Clark's speech and wrote a piece about it in The Huffington Post:
    "General Wesley Clark Makes Sense: Should He Run For President?"

    Finally people have gotten sick and tired of being had and taken for idiots. Mikhail Gorbachev

    by eve on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:54:52 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

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