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Update [2005-4-4 18:47:53 by Armando]: General Clark will be testifying before the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, April 6, in the morning. Richard Perle will follow Clark.

This afternoon I had the privilege of participating in a conference call with some bloggers, including the great Prof. Juan Cole and the very good (Sorry Jonathan, can't hand out the greats for everybody) Jonathan Singer, that was offered by General Wesley K. Clark on Iraq (Note - Clark has posted a survey asking for views on Iraq.)

General Clark provided a preliminary statement in which he noted his opposition to the Iraq invasion, as evidenced by his testimony before the House Armed Services Committee and the necessary steps to be taken before even considering such an action, including the need for building a broad alliance, exhausting all diplomatic possibilities and thorough planning for a post-conflict Iraq with a definite and coherent exit strategy.

General Clark noted that the Bush Administration had failed on all counts. He then proceeded to describe the current situation and the issues he believes should be the focus of U.S. policy:

(1) The military role. Clark stressed that an effective strategy required both a diminishment of the capabilities of the insurgency coupled with a bona fide and achievable handoff of security responsibilities to Iraqi security forces. Clark noted that these goals needed to be achieved quickly as the U.S. military presence was proving a hindrance to other similarly important goals. To wit -

(2) Political Legitimacy of an Iraqi government. As Jon Singer noted, Clark said that "Paul Bremer was completely ineffective, and though Ambassador Negroponte got an election," he will be leaving soon," and much is left undone. Clark stressed the criticial importance of this issue as being strongly tied to the ability to achieve any rational military objectives.

(3) Diplomatic. Clark spoke of important diplomatic objectives as well. I believe he was referencing finding acceptable solutions to relations with Syria and Iran, again based on the premise that an acceptable security situation required ratcheting down Syrian and Iranian aid and comfort to Iraqi instability. Prof. Cole captured a great point:

I thought Clark put his finger on a key contradiction in the Bush administration "forward policy" in the Middle East, of targeting the governments of Syria and Iran for destruction even while the US needs their cooperation to avoid widening disaster in Iraq. This policy is not rational if it were intended solely for the benefit of the United States, and he thinks it derives from a concern to bolster regional allies even at the expense of US interests.

I also asked a few questions. I'll discuss them on the flip.

I thought my most important question dealt with a comment General Clark made regarding the difficulty of gauging the strength of the insurgency. In essence, Clark described the assessment as extremely difficult, due to the fact that it is difficult to know whether the U.S./Iraqi Gov't. operations were damaging the insurgents' fighting abilities or whether instead the insurgents were just laying low. Clark did stress that he believed that U.S. military superiority was such that the insurgents would be largely limited to hit and run operations, not really able to stand up to American power.

That answer brought this question to my mind - "General Clark, given the inherent difficulty in assessing the effectiveness of the campaign against the insurgency, what are the risks involved in pulling out U.S. troops early, and vice versa, given the difficulties that the U.S. presence places on the Iraqi government's ability to achieve political legitimacy, the risks of not leaving soon enough?"

Jonathan Singer described Clark's answer as follows:

Armando got the last question of the morning. He asked what are the risks of misreading whether we're winning or if the insurgents are merely laying low. Clark first stepped back and reminded us that he's not over there (so he is not seeing the latest data and reports). Nevertheless, he explained that there are three risks:

   1. Staying there and overstaying your welcome. America could become ineffective and eventually be thrown out by the government.

   2. Pulling out too soon. This could lead to a civil war, thus requiring America to step back in.

   3. The risk to the all-volunteer army. If the Armed Forces become discredited (as they were following Vietnam), much work will have to go into rebuilding the army. Part of the problem is that American involvement in Iraq had never solely been about Iraq. This makes the soldiers' job harder.

Truly an impossible situation in my opinion.

A few other issues were covered as well -

On the attack on Abu Ghraib, Clark seemed to criticize the level of defense given the prison in light of its symbolic importance, and ventured the view that Zarqawi's attack on the prison was intended to renew his group's legitimacy.

On the value of the January 30 election, Clark stated that he remained skeptical of its value, as he was prior to the vote, because of the very low participation of the Sunni population.

On runnng for President again, Clark deftly sidestepped the question, keeping his focus on the Iraq issue.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:06 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  On the way there... (4.00)
    I post as Clark Twain at CCN and WesPAC.

    Nice to see someone finally expand the dialog on this deployment after laying down the initial points most everyone can agree upon first.

    Where do we go now? (/axl)

    Someone is trying to give us a voice in this, thanks armando, thanks Wes!

  •  OK (none)
    If knowledgable people discussed this, and seemingly can't come up with a strategy, what is there to be done? I mean aside from not exacerbating things by going after Syria or Iran.

    Was there anything else discussed that we could be doing something productive, that we haven't attempted?

    "....a relative newbie (user ID in the 18,000 range).. "

    by Miss Devore on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:10:16 PM PDT

    •  I think (none)
      the broad strokes ar there.

      Focus on getting us out - helping the political legitimacy and diplomacy questions.

      The big tough issue I think is the one posed by my question described in extended.

      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

      by Armando on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:29:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm no general... (none)
      ...but it seems to me that the situation truly is impossible. Without reliable numbers on the insurgency, there could be a Tet-style offensive the day the last soldier leaves for all we know. Perhaps even before, if there is some strategic goal to be accomplished by the Sunni resistance before then.

      What I draw from reading Cole's blog, and from reading about this conversation with General Clark is that we really are up to our necks in quicksand. There is no good strategy here for the same reason you can't make plan for the ground after you've already jumped off a cliff.

      The Iraq policy has yet to make a huge "splat," but gravity always wins in the end. I have the same question as Miss Devore: What can we possibly plan for when we don't yet know the full outcome? We have our suspicions, but unless I missed something, no one really knows quite exactly what comes next here.

      If I sound hopelessly clueless, please clue me in.

      •  Clark knows this (4.00)
        He's a professional soldier.  More than that, a professional leader of professional soldiers.  Data matter.  When he says, he doesn't know the facts on the ground -- which none of us know --he is saying that as a potential commander he can't offer an opinion.  He is careful.  But the whole tenor of his remarks are: this is a disaster, an unmitigated disaster.  It is ruining the army, and the damage will take a decade and a half to repair.

        The reason countries maintain an armed force is so that they never have to fight.  It's the same logic as the nuclear stand-off.  Kill me, I kill you, too.  What the Neocons didn't understand is that if you use the force, you use it up.  Hitler didn't understand that either, which is why the German army expired on the Eurasian steppe.

        It is difficult to identify a foreign policy blunder as total as the one the present Administration has committed.  It is unforgiveable, and (god forbid) possibly irreparable.

        •  On C-Span last Wednesday (none)
          a Center for American Progress panel discussion about the possibility of the draft.  Lawrence Kolb said:

          ...if in fact you wanted to say how can you destroy the all-volunteer  Army...the Bush administration provides a textbook case. If you said, okay, you want to undermine the whole thing and undo 30 years' work, they've done it.
    •  Broader Agenda is Key -> Iraq ->Iran/Syria (none)
      I hope Wes Clark has the courage to bring up before the committe the subject matter he went over with Armando, Juan Cole, et al today, espeically the fact that the Iraq war was always part of a much broader agenda.  If the American people knew what people like Richard Perle really intended for us to do, they never would have bought into the Iraq war, which is why the neocons have to sell it to us piece by piece.

      I was a Howard Dean supporter duing the primaries, and as a lifelong loyal Dem has some uneasiness about a guy who had voted for Reagan, but if Clark has the guts to take Perle on publicly like this, he's probably won a convert.

      •  I still think Howard is the better leader... (none)
        But Clark was always my second choice, and my favorite pick for a Dean VP, had he won the primaries. Too bad he won't run against Hillary in '08.
      •  So he voted for Reagan! (none)
        So did a lot of other democrats, if you recall. The ones we need to get back if we are going to retake the White House. We can't do it with the party base alone, unfortunately.

        I so well remember when Kerry criticized Clark, "while you were voting for Nixon, I was fighting his policies," (words to that effect) Yes, Kerry did fight Nixon--nobly--and he fougt Reagan. And then he went and voted for the War Resolution. And couldn't find a way to explain said vote to the American voters.

    •  Lots To Be Done (none)
      I think there is a lot we could do to turn this boat anchor into a sail. But I'm pessimistic in that I don't see Bush leaving office very soon.

      Nevertheless, if we had a President who was interested in building things up instead of tearing them down here are two things he or she might do:

      • Apologize to the world for going into Iraq without their real support and on a pretext.
      • Make a solid offer to Iran to settle our differences and get on with it.

      I think the first is the prerequisite for getting the rest of the world to (A) care and (B) participate.

      As for the second, I don't think we could knock out Iran, even if that were the right thing to do. I think they are a fait accompli. We are going to have to accept them as a force in this region and learn to live with that force.

      How long are we going to have to pay for backing the Shah? Most U.S. citizens weren't alive when we  made that mistake and virtually everyone responsible is retired if not dead.

      When are we going to get with it and treat these people realistically? I can't understand, in fact, why Bush doesn't get along with them better. He's a fundamentalist. They're fundamentalists. Hey, dudes! Talk!

      It ain't going to happen. Not in this administration. The Iranians and Bush have a serious difference of opinion on an important matter. Bush likes big corporations and the Iranians have too much integrity to sell out that way.

      But there's always hope for 2008.

      Liberal Thinking

      Think, liberally.

      by Liberal Thinking on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 11:27:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds like a great call! (4.00)
    But honestly, the admin hasn't failed in Iraq.  They wanted to create chaos and fear, and they have succeeded, and resoundingly at that.

    The only problem is that they didn't tell us "hey, we want to go in a wreck the place and cause a lot of resentment and a leadership vacuum and make it our mortal enemy for generations to come."

    A slight error of omission... that's all.

    Of course he's written in the Lamb's Book of Life. He's the Antagonist.

    by ultrageek on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:10:34 PM PDT

    •  oil prices (none)
      If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would say that instability in the region brings up oil prices and makes certain people richer.


    •  Oh, I think you're right (none)
      In the sense that invading Iraq was mostly about winning the Nov '04 election by making Bush look "tough on terror" when he'd really let Osama get away.

      Clark's own "low hanging fruit" analogy.

      •  I disagree: the Bushies were going (none)
        into Iraq pre-9/11 come hell or high water: this has been documented. The invasion was planned long bfore 9/11. And we know now that the WMD intelligence was fabricated (it was not an intelligence failure, the only failure was that they forgot to plant some WMD afterwards and then have Judith Miller "find" it)...kinda makes you wonder why Rummy called 9/11 "a blessing in disguise," does it not? So the low-hanging fruit implies only improvised opportunism. The invasion was not improvised, and there is a distinct possibility more than just opportunism is involved...kinda makes you wonder why Cheney and Wolfie were both so adamant about Atta meeting w/Iraqis in Prague (despite no evidence), does it not?  
        •  I probably said that poorly (none)
          Trying to keep it short.

          I certainly agree that BushCo always intended to take on Iraq, followed by Syria, Iran etc.  The whole laundry list Clark cites in his secong book.

          But BushCo's priorities were different before 9/11.  The failure at Tora Bora drove the time table for Iraq up, forcing him to shift resources from Afghanistan.  After all, it was gonna be a "cake walk," remember?

          I think wanting to hold the IWR vote before the 2002 congressional elections was a timing factor as well.

      •  That was a sublime reference CLark made... (none)
        ...Bush saw "low hanging fruit" when Jeff Gannon stayed with in Crawford... and he grabbed at it!
    •  Right you are. (none)
      the admin wants to have the Iraq's dependant on us so we will have to stay.
      We will be there as long as there is fighting and as long as there is fighting we will be there.

      Republicans are for a culture of life as long as you can afford it.

      by rrob1 on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:53:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Two things: did anyone ask about (3.80)
    1. recent reports in Mother Jones and elsewhere (see my dkos diary on this subject) that from the nature of the dozen or so large military bases already built or being built in Iraq it appears that these bases are PERMANENT installations? Nothing about these bases seems temporary: they have all the hallmarks of long-term bases.

    2. recent reports here and elsewhere that Iran's nuclear progam is under renewed "scrutiny" from the Bush administration? The war of words between the Bushies and the Iranians about this does not appear to have diminished, and may in fact escalate. Many of us are naturally wondering what the end-game here is.  
    •  Most excellent (4.00)
      Question #1.

      "....a relative newbie (user ID in the 18,000 range).. "

      by Miss Devore on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:15:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cynical answers (4.00)
        There are two cynical answers to Question #1:

        1. We have no intention of leaving.
        2. The bases are being constructed "all out" because some of Bush/Cheney's cronies have the construction contracts (Halliburton perhaps, or Bechtel? it would be worth checking out).

        What I fear is that both are correct.

        In loving memory: Sophie, June 1, 1993-January 17, 2005. My huckleberry friend.

        by Paul in Berkeley on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:19:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  bases (none)
          Some bases in the U.S. may be closed soon, so the soldiers have to go somewhere......
        •  well of course (none)
          I knew the cynical answers...but there's a total news blackout about the bases.

          Oh and I suppose the truth needs to be kept from us for "security" reasons.

          "....a relative newbie (user ID in the 18,000 range).. "

          by Miss Devore on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:26:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  BGO (none)
            I know, I know. I'm just trying to score some cheap mojo with a Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious!

            In loving memory: Sophie, June 1, 1993-January 17, 2005. My huckleberry friend.

            by Paul in Berkeley on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:31:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Of Course You Know The Reasons. (none)
            ...From a logistics standpoint, using bases in Iraq makes staging, refueling, and rearming aircraft to strike Iran much simpler.  

            Use of our air bases in the Gulf States or Saudi Arabia present some 'political issues' for those 'host' countries -- plus, they then have the freebie of claiming they've denied the U.S. use of these bases for offensive operations.

            While we're absorbed in other events, legimate news or spin -- DeLay's mewling and puking; the passing of the Pope, the Drama Of Terri Schiavo; the slow stalling of the economy and the rise in interest rates; the latest season of Survivor -- it's been reported that The Chimp will saddle up to YAH-Hoo by June or July, and provide the little crippled bantam rooster to strut his pride-swollen, stuffed, mission-accomplished manhood again.  

            Expect news blackouts on America's Iraqi bases to continue, as the rethoric about Iran's nuclear program heats up.

            Have you forgotten yet?
            Look up -- and swear by the green of the Spring
            That you'll never forget.
            -- Siegfried Sassoon

            by WM Nelson on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:54:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Since (none)
      Clark stated that US exit is necessary for achieiving Iraqi political legitimacy, it seems clear to me that the idea of bases is anathema to Clark.

      But I must admit, I should have asked the question, but didn't.

      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

      by Armando on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:31:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  EXIT STRATEGY (none)
        What else would you have to say? It's not really an exit if you keep giant bases with lots of troops there, is it?

        Or maybe Halliburton and Bechtel are just building these bases to give to the new Iraqi security forces, who will then lose them to the next strong man we help put in place?

        My question is how Presidential did Clark sound? And if he is running, will he be the plain talking Western strategy the Dems need? Will he say flat-out that the situation is impossible if we stay? Will he encourage an exit strategy coupled with carrots for Syria and Iran? Will he be the face of moderation for America?

        "We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking."--Jacques-Yves Cousteau

        by supak on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:48:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Withdrawal benefit... (none)
        ...we can force traingulation between solvent Arab states surrounding Iraq with this. They will have to moderate and stave off the breeding pen for fundamentalists that oligarch models help embolden.
      •  Bases in Iraq an anathema to Clark? (none)
        I followed Clark pretty carefully during the primaries.  It was fascinating how he could talk sincerely (and persuasively) about jobs, low wages, health care, etc. and then a question would come up and his answer would forcibly remind me (because, you know, his sweater made me forget...) that this man had spent most of his life in the military and was a four star general.

        My point being, there is still "military-think" in Wesley Clark.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  But for anyone of his background to deny the strategic benefits of having bases in Iraq would be surprising, to say the least.

        He's more likely to have problems with the circumstances under which the bases are being built--the U.S. as an illegal, occupying force, the terrible cost to American forces, and the inescapable knowledge that, one day, an established Iraqi government could demand that all Americans leave the country.

        Forget General Clark, even if the next American president is Howard Dean, and announces on January 21st, 2009 that he is pulling out of Iraq immediately, I can't imagine that he would close all of the U.S. bases there.  As long as there's not too much noise from the Iraqis (how many of us are aware of how much South Koreans despise the presence of American bases in their country?), a quiet military presence to keep Syria and Iran in line, to bolster Israel's defence, and to remind Turkey that the U.S. has other options, thank you very would be a questionable decision to close the bases, built at the expense of American lives and money better spent at home, just because he was against the war.

        •  I think Clark's opinion would be (none)
          what any halfway decent president's opinion would be: what best serves American interests? Yes, bases might be helpful, but what about the cost? Not just in lives, mind you, but the fostering of anti-Americanism, etc., etc. South Koreans might hate us being in their country, but do they commit acts of terrorism against us? Are we breeding South Korean terrorists just by being there?
          •  so bases in places (none)
            where there is resentment but no threat of suicide bombers is ok? This seems like an incredibly low standard for what qualifies as tolerable military occupation and imperialism. You seem to be saying it's ok if the world loathes the U.S., just as long as no one goes all terrorist on us. What kind of diplomatic trust and good-will does such an attitude foster? The South Koreans put up with us b/c they have N. Korea breathing down their neck. Other places, like Australia, allow us to have military bases precisely b/c it's never really talked about. The US has over 700 full-time global military bases, not including secret bases. Ancient Rome also over expanded. The reason we went to Iraq was ostensibly to address a threat, but we now know the real reason was to claim the oil and have a military presence in a hostile region. That region, the middle east, risks becoming more inflamed by our presence, not less. If one of the terrorists decides to take his work to our shores, instead of Baghdad, whose fault is that? Surely Bush will be in some way responsible for creating a power vaccuum in which jihadis are attempting to destabilize our efforts. I'm not sure I want to risk the lives of civilians at home for failed policy abroad. Bush is being purposely vague about our timetable in Iraq, b/c he is determined to get the oil taps flowing and b/c he wants us to maintain a presence there. Do most Americans understand that full-time Iraqi occupation is a reality, and the risks it entails? As usual we are not being presented with the options and the consequences.    


            •  Not sure if you are still around (none)
              but I said that he should--as should any president-- act in the best interests of the United States, and I meant exactly that. Resentment, anti-Americanism, etc. etc. are factors a leader should weigh, of course, because they may affect our best interests. Obviously, it is not in our best interest if the world hates us, or won't work with us, or doesn't trust us.  

              You won't find anyone here who was more against this war than I was--and continue to be. But now we are in it. What should we do? I frankly have no idea. I have no experience, no superior knowledge, I'm not there and it wouldn't do me much good if I were there. I just don't know.

              But I think Clark knows. Or he could figure it out. God knows, I hope somebody can. One thing I do know: it sure as hell won't be Bush and his bastard brigade.

          •  Bases are not the same (none)
            as an occupying force.  Iraqi terrorists are not being bred by the self-contained American camps that are minimizing their contact with the Iraqi people.  They are being bred by the Americans who are actively engaged (with or without new Iraqi forces) in bombing Iraqi cities, arresting and torturing Iraqi civilians, shooting at Iraqi cars, stamping through Iraqi mosques, etc...

            It would be very possible for the U.S. to announce that they are withdrawing troops from Iraq and leave only a small number in 5 or 6 bases located in low traffic, low population areas of the country. Make a show of closing some of the bases, and hint that some American presence is a requirement for rebuilding funds.

            It might be harder for the U.S. to shrink the super embassy and Green Zone prime real estate in Baghdad, but that's what would give Iraqis the important visual impression that Americans are pulling out.

            Holding on to a few critical bases, away from the major Iraqi population centers would be difficult but not impossible.  As General Clark said, "...the guerrillas in Iraq are so over-matched that they can never hope to engage in more than hit-and-run operations."

            As far as the cost, at least in terms of anti-Americanism, by the time a Democrat is making decisions regarding Iraq, the worst of the damage will have been done, and the highest price will have already been paid.  (It could be argued that the worst damage has already been done--anything after these past 2 years of total ineptitude will be small potatoes.)  The seeds for producing anti-American Iraqi terrorists (a pretty much unimaginable phrase three years ago) have been planted.  

            Iraqi rejection of U.S. bases will not carry the same outrage across the Arab world as the bases in Saudia Arabia did for bin Laden, i.e. the bases alone won't be the reason for anti-American sentiment. (Unless, of course, they are used to attack another Arab country.) The biggest source of injustice in the Middle East for the poor, uneducated Muslim youth is Palestine and the hypocrisy of American support for corrupt Muslim leaders. Regarding the South Koreans hating U.S. bases, but not committing acts of terrorism, remember that the U.S. is still a protective force for them and a deterrent to North Korea's ambitions.  Who are the Americans protecting Iraqis from, that their presence is seen as the lesser of two evils?

            This is all conjecture at this point--if the religious Shia are able to politik their way to power, appease the Kurds just enough to keep things moving, throw out the American installed constitution, force an election where the Sunnis see it's in their best interest to work with them for a smaller slice of the pie (especially if it's at the expense of the Kurds), then the U.S. will need a new game plan.

            Not that it matters, but I'm not in favor of keeping any U.S. bases in Iraq.  I was only arguing that Wesley Clark, if he was ever in a position of power, might choose to keep a small American footprint in Iraq. Writing this all out now, though, it's looking pretty stupid that I commented on a theoretical future scenario that may or may not happen.  Funny, today it just doesn't seem important.

    •  I'll say it now, (none)
      and I'll say it again as I have before:

      We are never leaving Iraq.

      From here till the day our country bankrupts itself on starbucks and mini-mansions, we will have a presence in Iraq.

      Think about our bases in Germany. They have been there for how long?

      The GOP and the Elephant are both Introduced Species

      by roboton on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 05:20:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here here (none)

        Iraq= We will be there as long as there is fighting and there will be fighting as long as we are there.

        by rrob1 on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 05:27:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  yea but (none)
        was there a german insurgency capable of prolonging instability/preventing reconstruction?

        can't say I recall any of that. unless you count the division of germany as a case of that.

        "....a relative newbie (user ID in the 18,000 range).. "

        by Miss Devore on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 05:36:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We are never leaving Iraq (none)
        I would qualify that sentence to, "We are never willingly leaving Iraq."

        There is a possibility that a future Iraqi government will ask us to leave and that such a request will be enthusiastically endorsed by the majority of Iraqi citizens.

      •  Germany Duty (none)
        Three deaths in the 1948-49 Berlin Airlift are the closest comparison to the 1500+ deaths that have occurred in Iraq to date. Garrison duty in Western Germany will be comparable to Iraq the day the Army advertizes "Join the Army of One in Mosul".  Ain't never going to happen.

        The Wes Clark post discusses the inherent contradiction in the neo-con GOP strategic position in Iraq. For a satisfactory outcome in Iraq, a stable non-aggressive government pumping lots of oil, the USA needs the assistance of Syria and Iran. But, the stated objective of the Bush Administration is the overthrow of these governments. Therefore, there will never be a stable Iraq to withdraw from. For all of the foreseeable future soldiers will be killed off one or two a day.  

        •  Correction (none)
          Berlin Airlift Casualties:

          USA: 31 (28 U.S. Air Force, 1 US Navy, 1 US Army, 1 Army civilian)
          UK: 39 (17 Royal Air Force, 1 British Army, 21 civilians)
          Germany: Disputed. Most sources say 9 civilians; some list 12 civilians.

  •  Support the Insurgents now! (4.00)
    I think the US will turn around and support the insurgents after the Bush admiinistration leaves as that is the natural position of the US.and it's interests.  Already there are reports the US is doing just that by purchasing arms from Pakistan and giving them to Sunni  Baathists in the South to use against the Pro Iranian Shiites.

    I am convinced in a new administration the US will switch sides and support the Baathists against the extreme fundamentalists who are naturally opposeed to the US. Bush is a fundamentalist and he seems to support Islamic Fundamentalism. This is what the result of his actions are and therefore we can say it is his intent. His policy is nonsensical. But that is what he is doing. It's observable. We don't need to ponder why he doing it. It's totally destructive to the US and Iraq and serves the interests of no one. It's simply delusional.

    •  Not to bloody likely (none)
      That might have once been possible.  Fallujah and Abu Ghraib sealed the deal.  The insurgents are defined by their resistance to the United States.  It's not on the table.  Allawi is the only ex-fascist who is prepared to deal with the U.S.  He's dog food.
      •  They will switch. (none)
        They supported the Taliban, then they fought them.

        They are supporting the Baathists in the South by gunrunning according to reports, sorry I don't thave the urll. They are fighting their natural allies and helping thier natural enemies. When somebody more sensible gets in control, they will switch.

        I've been everywhere but the electric chair and seen everything but the wind.

        by chortelson Fiff on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:00:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "Survey" (none)
    Heh.  Great commentary from Clark, but what a bogus survey... he's obviously just fishing for e-mail addresses.
  •  I still wonder (2.66)
    what might have been if Kerry had picked Clark instead of a human howdy doody doll.
    •  You're blaming Edwards?? (none)
    •  I don't think that's fair. (none)
      When the RNC/Rove saw Clark as threatening they immediately started in on him. Peter Jennings helped by trying to force him to disavow Michael Moore's remark that Bush was a deserter (which he was, technically). I heard one of the "liberal" anchors on the 12 pm show in Boston on NPR (forget its name) go after Clark because Michael Moore was at one of his rally's in New Hampshire.
      They had started going after Clark for the fact that he was replaced by Clinton in Bosnia. They were going to savage him like anyone else Kerry would have picked.
      I would really have preferred it if Kerry had said right out that Bush and Cheney were liars and crooks (instead of into his microphone) but make no mistake, the MSM wanted Bush to win and they do not give ANY DEMOCRATS any ground.
  •  Great stuff (none)
    Thanks for post.  

    Never have so few taken so much from so many for so long.

    by mapKY on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:20:52 PM PDT

  •  A brilliantly simple framing of the Iraq issue (4.00)
    Kerry spent far too much effort harping on his "stronger at home, safer abroad" message last year when the Democrats needed someone like Clark to stand up and point out to the average American just how and how badly the Bush administration has prosecuted its war on Iraq. Clark sounds like a professional to Joe Q. Public because he is one-- question this guy's adequacy in the field of national security and he might tear your head off and play kickball with it.

    The more I hear from the sweatervest candidate, the more I think that he could have defeated Bush in '04 if his campaign had gotten off the ground.

    With Dean occupied for 2008, I think the Dems might find a new darling in this truly liberal four-star general if he gets himself some good mentions in the media and some staffers for his campaign who aren't utterly incompetent. I can already anticipate Bush III and Frist wetting their pants at the mere concept of a Clinton/Clark ticket.

    I'm glad the right wing understands that we liberals are indeed elite.

    by Renleve on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:23:38 PM PDT

    •  missed slogan (none)
      "Wrong at home, a chafer abroad"

      "....a relative newbie (user ID in the 18,000 range).. "

      by Miss Devore on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:47:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Easy catch, good witticism (none)
        It appears that I have inadvertently proved my point about Kerry--the center of his entire campaign was a slogan so insipid that even a loyal Democrat might forget it before the dust kicked up on the campaign trail has even settled.

        I'm glad the right wing understands that we liberals are indeed elite.

        by Renleve on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 04:00:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Karl Rove must have jumped for (none)
      joy when Kerry was nominated.  Kerry's absurd 'have it both ways' stance on the war made him an easy target.  Iraq should have been Bush's biggest weakness, but Kerry couldn't get any traction due to his initial support.  F***ing coward.
    •  Short run versus long run (4.00)
      One of the problems that we have (easily identifiable ex post, like all problems), is that it looked to those who like me believed, that the Dems were going to win.  Close perhaps, but a win.  Just as in 2000.  If you think you are close, you push on the margins, but take no big risks.  It's all focus-group tested and makes sense.  

      Result: the Clark analysis doesn't go public.  I doubt if Clark had run, that it would have come out.  The consultants would come in with the polls and explain how a percentage here in state X and a half percent there in state Y would switch and that's the end of the election.

      We would be better off being farther behind, so we could say what we think, and look one election ahead, instead of two elections behind.  The Dems didn't put the whole story on the table.

      •  I think you're better off (none)
        If you do what you believe, and SAY what you believe, regardless of what the polls and focus groups tell you. Then you have consistency, and it's  much more sincere.

        Isn't that what people supposedly like about Bush? Of course, he doesn't really understand anything he says, but he doesn't know that. Makes it easier to lie if you don't understand what you're saying.

  •  Why did he call for a CC today>? (none)
    Was it just to get a sort of peer review before his testimony?
  •  Map - Slightly Old Gives Creedence to Iraq Moves (none)
    Hi -

    Just thought I's share this link to a map of the region showing pre-invasion US Troop deployment.  Just add in the 146,000 troops and you'll see that we are encircling Iran and have been for sometime.

    Someone pointed this out to me a while ago and it is a little disconcerting.

  •  Thanks Armando... (none)
    I appreciate even being called "very good."
  •  Cole brings up an interesting point (none)
    over on his blog right at the top:

    He began by pointing out that the US military made an assessment in September of 2002 that it could hold Iraq with 70,000 troops.

    [I had not heard this before, and if it is true, and if the assessment came from the officer corps, it means that the typical opposition set up between Gen. Shinseki and others who wanted more troops, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who wanted a small force--might actually reflect a dispute within the officer corps itself, with Rumsfeld siding with the minimalist faction in the brass.]

    It would be very instructive to find out exactly where and with whom the fault lines of the post-invasion security force levels, and what the specificity of that 70,000 troop levels were for what particular post-invasion scenario.

    For instance, Perle has been hand-washing for quite some time now saying that we should have turned Iraq over immediately, so is that immediate turn over to the largely intact Ba'athist infrastructure that would (allegedly) be there to take an immediate hand-over once our forces arrived in the center of Bagdad, the scenario in which a 70,000 troop level was based on?

    If so, I can see how that number might have made sense (internally) but seems wildly optimistic and would have still been an untenable scenario, given that the bulk of the Ba'athist C&C melted into the population and began the insurgency, and even Saddam was not captured for the better part of a year. So even Perle's claims that we should have simply turned it over immediately is a hollow plan which if even undertaken would have failed.

    This also begs the question, was this in fact what they tired but simply had nobody to hand anything over to?

    This might explain the PR stunts like "Mission Accomplished".. thinking that they would indeed be able to simply hand over the country to any party after there staged statue toppling occurred.

    Though this still seems at odds with the faction in the DoD who thought they crowd install Chalabi (alal Diem) and be spared the bloody occupation. Never mind the utter fantasy that neo-con pipe-ream was.

    ALl in all, the incompetence in this administration and even within factions of the DoD (which Cole via Clark are hinting at) is astounding.


    Mitch Gore

    Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

    by Lestatdelc on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:30:54 PM PDT

  •  No Win (4.00)
    We are there making more enemies day by day.  

    We are fighting the people who we wanted to liberate from a tyrant.

    We have dismantled their infrastructure.

    We have allowed their historical treasures to be looted

    We have tortured men, women and children indescrimately.

    We have targeted innocent people for no reason.

    We have killed dozens of journalists.

    We have secured their oil for our use... or we are trying and rebuilding their oil export infrastructure.

    We have destroyed Felujah because three american contractors were killed there.

    We are leaving an all around good impression of these people and their neighbors.

    We are giving birth to anti americanism

    We are giving birth to hatred.

    We have killed upwards of 100,000 or more Iraqis.

    If we leave we leave a worse mess than we found.

    We are screwed, thank you Bushco... you arrogant asshole.

  •  Regional allies? (none)
    Which allies does Prof. Cole have in mind?

    "he thinks [our Iraq policy] derives from a concern to bolster regional allies even at the expense of US interests."

    •  Not Professor Cole (none)
      Cole is commenting on what Clark said, and it is Clark who thinks the policy derives from a concern to bolster regional allies.  

      The obvious answer is Israel, our only friend in the Middle East.  The whole neo-con, PNAC thing focuses on the enemies of Israel, not on any logical priority of which countries should be gifted with democracy.

  •  My post on Clark minutes earlier (4.00)
    was much more personal, as I don't have the inside track he does, but I did take the angle on Iran that we are seriously not helping the moderates.

    Here's my post on Clark's survey.

    Professor Cole's point about how we need Syria and Iran to help us is SO important. And this fake cowboy swagger is not helping us one bit. Every time we rattle our sabres, the extremist Muslims only have to say they told you so to the moderates.

    For a geo-political answer to the permanent base question, you don't even need to know there's oil there. Just look at a map and read the famous PNAC report... What's right between Afghanistan and Iraq?

    Some neo-con idiot (was it our new World Bank President?) said "Anyone can go to Baghdad. Real men go to Tehran."

    "We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking."--Jacques-Yves Cousteau

    by supak on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:41:18 PM PDT

  •  Why is this man not our President? (none)
    Is it because he wore a sweater?


    •  Aren't We Supposed to Hate Southerners? (none)

      Wes Clark is, you know, a Southerner.  Aren't we supposed to hate Southerners, at least white ones, here at dKos?

      But seriously, though, the guy is brilliant, patriotic, courageous, and liberal.  I think he's probably read the Constitution, also.

      I like lots of other Dems, but none better than this one among the "nationally prominent" Dems spoken of as potential 2008 candidates.

      Don't forget voting reform, friends, without which all will be decided by Karl Rove with a laptop and a modem there in the Roosevelt Room.

      "If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him." (Harvey Wasserman)

      by proudtinfoilhat on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:48:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Framing... (none)
        Uh, let's call him a southWESTERNER. He grew up in Arkansas. He was born, I believe, in Illinois.

        "We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking."--Jacques-Yves Cousteau

        by supak on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 04:05:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Won't Work (none)

          Arkansas was a member of the Southern Confederacy.

          Wes is a Southerner.  Deal with it.

          "If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him." (Harvey Wasserman)

          by proudtinfoilhat on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 04:10:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Clark's Accent Speaks All (none)
            Wes Clark may have been raised in the Ole Confederacy, but his accent doesn't label him as a "no nothing" Southerner.  That alone makes him much more palatable to northern Democrats, who can't abide those Foghorn Leghorn politicians who mumble and swallow all of their syllables.  It really is sad when politicians who can actually speak get branded as liberal elitists as the Reptiles have done.  It speaks volumes for the audience they are targeting.
            •  ER, it's "Know Nothing." (none)

              And not everyone whose speech is quickly identifiable as Southern is a moron.

              My Dad comes to mind as one such person.  Jimmy Carter and Robert Byrd, there's two more.  If I spent the day at it, I could probably come up with a dozen Southern-sounding guys who aren't stupid.

              "If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him." (Harvey Wasserman)

              by proudtinfoilhat on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 04:31:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              • after a few beers (none)
                ...if I'm hangin' around anuther 'un. It's sooooo easy to slip into. Even after 20 years out here with "you guys" in LA.

                I almost spewed my suds all over the screen when I read your Wasserman quote. Damn, that's funny.

                "We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking."--Jacques-Yves Cousteau

                by supak on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 06:31:06 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  It's the military influence (none)
              Live in a bunch of places, at a relatively young age, model yourself after your superior officers (who are often Academy grads).

              Your accent moderates a lot. You never totally lose it, but it WILL change dramatically.

        •  Southwest! (none)
          His son married a Columbian and Clark did a stump speech entirely in Spanish at a New Mexico appearance that  nearly brought the roof down and drew standing ovation.

          Wes Jr. also posts on Dem Underground  on occasion and is well stated.

          Gert helped coordinate base efforts  in Europe with local Governments, she has diplomatic liason abilities.

          The entire Clark family soerved our country to great extent during his time in the Army. The more  you see of them the  more you will realize they embody the best  America has to offer in its people.

          •  Heard about that (none)
            Makes W's Spanish seem downright grammer schoolish.

            "We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking."--Jacques-Yves Cousteau

            by supak on Tue Apr 12, 2005 at 09:45:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I don't hate Southerners... (none)
        since I was born in Louisiana.

        I just distrust Southerners who became Repubs because they wanted to get back at those uppity Negroes who aligned themselves with Dems over civil rights.

        Trust has to be earned.  Wes Clark has earned my trust to listen to him and maybe one of these days, to vote for him.

        One-fifth of the people are against everything all the time.--Bobby Kennedy

        by blksista on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 04:33:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm an old Yankee (none)
          Memories of Andersonville are hard to erase.
          •  Old, indeed (none)

            If you were at Andersonville.  Sorry about that.  'Way cool that someone 160 years old is with us at dKos!

            (PS the Yankees were worse in their treatment of prisoners; I had cousins who were at Elmira, not exactly Club Med, y'know).

            "If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him." (Harvey Wasserman)

            by proudtinfoilhat on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 07:41:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  No Use for Republicans, Either (none)

          Now there are still a few Republicans of the Eisenhower, small town businessman sort in New England and about as far west as Pittsburgh.  I suspect not a few of them vote Democratic in secret, or at least I hope so.

          So while they are not always terrible people, by and large I have no use for Republicans.  My Dad, from the Florida panhandle and about as Southern as anyone, told me when I was little the Bible says to "Beware of 'publicans and sinners," which seems pretty sound advice to me.

          I agree:  a Democrat who turned Republican because he or she hates black people is not a person to be trusted, or admired.

          "If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him." (Harvey Wasserman)

          by proudtinfoilhat on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 07:48:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I dunno--'hate' is a powerful word (none)
            I said, 'distrust.'

            There's enough virulence from the past and the present on both sides.  I can readily admit the lunatic fringe on our side, but on yall side?  I'm not half as afraid of the known as the unknown dimbulbs who want to take us back to worship of the Lost Cause, like Lott and DeLay's under cover friends.

            The whites who sold themselves to Nixon's Southern Strategy were scared and tremulous over loss of whatever privileges--color, class, gender--they had and they were willing to do anything not to give in.  I can well understand that as a stopgap measure.  

            But long term?  As far as I am concerned, they've long ago entered what I call The Stupid Zone because their deal with the devil has left them not only with less economically, but with their brain cells scattered to the winds because of Faux, Dumbya's crazyass economics, and unfortunately, 9/11 and fear.

            One-fifth of the people are against everything all the time.--Bobby Kennedy

            by blksista on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 08:30:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Well, the Corporate Media (none)
      did almost turn inside out when he wore that sweater....WTF?  Add to Clark's accomplishments/characteristics genuine intellectual curiosity and a scholarly bent.  Actually, aside from the immense harm bushco will be doing in their "four more years" (and that is not small), I think the progressive cause and Dem candidates will ultimately do better because the Rethugs will be left holding the bag for their own rotten policies--all that to say, for Clark to get some practice in 2004 will only make him stronger in 2008.

      ...the White House will be adorned by a downright moron...H.L. Mencken

      by bibble on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 04:14:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I thought (none)
        it was because of his "for the war/against the war" answer to the media (asking his press secretary, "Mary, help!").

        That followed him through the campaign and was never resolved to the satisfaction of his detractors.

    •  because (4.00)
      He hadn't run for office before and didn't know how to speak as a candidate without riling the hoopleheads.
    •  Seriously (none)
      he looked damned good in that sweater.
  •  What Credibility . . . (4.00)

    . . . can ANY future Iraqi government have with its own people while fourteen (14) U.S. military bases, an embassy big enough to house more Covert Operations than you can shake a stick at, and thousands of U.S. soldiers remain on Iraqi soil?

    So when Rummy and all of the Bushite lying asshole scumbag thieving pricks talk about Staying Only So Long as Necessary and Not a Day Longer, I feel like I'm in the freakin' Twilight Zone.

    They plan to stay, and to maintain a huge military presence, at least until the Rapture.

    "If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him." (Harvey Wasserman)

    by proudtinfoilhat on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:45:03 PM PDT

    •  Well we know with peak oil that the... (none)
      ...not a day longer is an accurate, albeit dishonest answer. Because you and I would assume it means as soon as humanly possible, where as to them it means when the last drop of "our" oil is sucked out from under "their" land.


      Mitch Gore

      Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

      by Lestatdelc on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:50:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I thought the plan was... (none)
    ...get enough people with those ribbon magnets on their cars, and the power of prayer would propel us to victory.  Perhaps everyone who has one should write "Pray Harder" on the blank part of the ribbon.  Then we would win.  Easily.  </snark>

    Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. -Albert Einstein

    by Primordial Ooze on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:49:29 PM PDT

  •  In Iraq (none)
    We will be there as long as there is fighting and as long as there is fighting we will be there.

    Republicans are for a culture of life as long as you can afford it.

    by rrob1 on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 03:59:25 PM PDT

  •  IMHO Clark would..... (4.00)
    have beaten the Dork.

    "...always be capable of feeling deeply any injustice committed against anyone, anywhere in the world..." - Che Guevara

    by John Masotti on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 04:07:50 PM PDT

  •  Fill 'er up with Premium, will ya? (none)

    The Merkan "Freedom Equation":

    10 miles to the gallon = 3 soldiers a day!

    "If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him." (Harvey Wasserman)

    by proudtinfoilhat on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 04:08:18 PM PDT

  •  By the way-- (none)
    thank you for a post that does not refer to something religious....Gaakk, I am so sick and tired of people yammering on about religion.  My apologies to all, just had to get that out of my system....

    ...the White House will be adorned by a downright moron...H.L. Mencken

    by bibble on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 04:18:45 PM PDT

  •  Kudos to Clark (3.50)
    I was an early skeptic of him, and was pretty firmly against him as the 2004 nominee.  But the guy has shown himself to be a smart intellectual consistant man.

    I think my problem with the man was always that he wanted to walk before he could crawl.  He had this conversion to our side, and thought he could immediately jump in as leader.  He, like Edwards, should have been more patient, and waited until 2008.

    I hope Obama doesn't fall prey to this impatience that befalls our best "young" talent once the impatient wing of our party falls to their feet and demands they run for the highest office before their time.

    •  I strongly disagree! (4.00)
      Why should he have waited? Because he didn't have enough political experience? Yeah, because being a U.S. Senator is such a help.

      If anything, he should have gotten started sooner. And if he'd been in Iowa, he'd have been our candidate, and we'd have a President Clark, the president, we Clarkies like to say, "we'd been promised as children."

      A lot of people wanted Clark because they thought he could win. That was an added bonus to me; I wanted him because I thought he could "fix" Iraq and deal with the National Security Issue. He'd find good advisors for the rest of it. Plus, he learns quickly.

      As for his "conversion", that man was always a Democrat and just didn't know it. He was the BEST thing that has happened to the Democrats in a long, long time and too many of were too stupid and too blinded to see it.

      The man was a brilliant GIFT! And we should have waited to open it?  

  •  We went to war (none)
    on the words of a drunk ex pat who had a bone to pick.  yeah right.

    What sort of evidence can come from this man's mouth that will launch a shock and awe?

    This is what the 40 billion dollar intelligence organizations calls "evidence"???????  No photos, no plans... no maps... just some guys speaking broken English pumped full of jesus juice.

    yeah right...

    And what was the analysis of those fat heads at langley based on this jerks drunken rants?

    Is all this evidence still "classified" top secret?


  •  This is what I wanted to ask John Kerry (3.75)
    and so now I will ask my question here. In General Clark's appraisal of the situation in Iraq, he doesn't mention one thing that I think is very important: I believe that a major goal of the invasion of Iraq was the privatization of the Iraqi economy in order to control its resources, especially its oil.

    This is very important, because it goes to the composition of and the reasons for the "insurgency." I just don't think that the U.S. government's motives are trusted by Iraqis, no matter how much good work individual members of the military might have done or tried to do.

    •  Me thinks you've been reading Naomi Klein? (none)
      Me too. I also think the Milton Friedman wet dream is why Wolfowitz has been assigned the World Bank.

      Nevertheless, in answer to your post; Clark did address the economic issue although it is a blanket statement. The Iraqi people must believe in the credibility of their government, and they know all about what's happening to their economy.

      Sistani is no fool. Bremer's rules are gone if Iraq shakes off the bush junta. What government would condone 100% of the profits leaving their country? While Clark may not have covered this point specifically, he does hold that master's degree in economics from Oxford. I'll go out on a limb here and assume that he is aware of how this is feeding the insurgency.

      Anyway, Clark reads his blog at WesPAC, and you might consider writing about it over there.

      Note: Clark has recently mentioned "holistic economics" what the hell that means. (I should blog him a question!) Also, he has recommended a book called "Kimchi Matters" something I've been meaning to read.

      •  Yes Naomi Klein, whose articles are (none)
        excellent. But her articles basically provided evidence for a belief I already held. There are a couple of reasons for me believing that Bush's motives were for oil: I always think of economic motives as being primary; and I am not American by birth. So, like most of the rest of the world, I thought Bush went to Iraq for oil and was immediately suspicious of the case Bush was trying to build for invading Iraq.
        •  Oil? Only as in: the Great Game Redux (none)
          He who has the most oil wins the war.

          Clark mentioned this (again) the other day during a round table at the Library of Congress. He said something to the effect that the neocon thinking was 19th C.

          Oil equals power. The chess pieces are all in motion now. The economic piece is primary, but nothing that isn't slowly but surely happening in the states. These bastards really believe in this shit.

          Please-->Check out:

          Clip 5 of the Ogata/Clark event.

  •  a question (none)
    why the hell isn't Clark on tv as a democratic pundit?

    he is incredily well spoken forceful and as an ex General will have legitmacy in questioning bush iraq policy.

    •  you answered your own question n/t (none)

      "They don't count the votes for the Democrats if it means the Republicans won't win. Live free or Diebold, buddy!" - Kossack proudtinfoilhat

      by Jesus was a Liberal on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 05:34:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  He was on CNN but left to run for President. (none)
      It was my impression that CNN wanted to get rid of him because he was too critical of the war (something that certainly recommended him to me).
    •  Expanding the question: (4.00)
      If this is a functioning democracy (big if) and there is one among us that is this smart, then why in the fuck is bush in the White House?

      Why is the "A" team forced to watch from the sidelines while those who are not capable of washing the "A" team locker room toilets running the show?

      Something is seriously wrong.

  •  A big :::click::: is coming (none)
    As soon as the National Press Club learns lefty bloggers are getting to use the phone, hooooo boy, Armando, will you be toasto.

    "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

    by KateCrashes on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 04:40:54 PM PDT

  •  The conference call points to -- (3.87)
    -- the potential for a new kind of relationship between the actors on the political stage and journalists, and by journalists I mean the folks who participated in this conference call.

    Just look at the word again.    

    Many of the 'professionals' who call themselves journalists, even the ones not on the Bush payroll, function largely as middlemen -- mitigators, filters, mouthpieces, puppets, and often speedbumps -- between the public and the facts.  They've abandoned any pretense of either reporting or discussion. Straight from 24-hour coverage of the Schiavo-Schindler drama to 24-hour coverage of the Vatican drama, like one seamless freeway chase between soap opera sets.

    It's the very fact of their paychecks that make us vulnerable. The very fact of their professional status. They have careers (read 'salaries') to protect. And they protect their salaries like hungry Rottweilers. They demonstrated that ably as they hammered the candidate Clark with the same moronic questions over and over again.

    Clark is smart. The people reporting the news and leading the discussion are here.

  •  I respect and welcome (4.00)
    General Cark's implicit emphasis on the need of disengagement.

    I hate this propagand about peace and democracy which, if Afghanistan would be of any precedential value, will offer close to nothing. A war of choice, a war of invasion based on lies and propaganda, can never be clean and will ultimately fail the test of history, as my country saw in the 1940s.

  •  Just to Bust Balls (3.50)

    Sometimes I use "y'all" in the SINGULAR.  It makes a lot of Yankees SQUIRM.

    If you really want to hear shit-ugly talking, however, y'all come to New York, and hear what they can do with almost any variety of the vowel "a."  Someone from Long Island or Queens can make it sound like a tomcat getting fixed with a dull knife, and no anaesthesia!

    "If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him." (Harvey Wasserman)

    by proudtinfoilhat on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 07:45:02 PM PDT

  •  I took the survey on WesPac (none)
    and found the questions difficult to answer in a consistent manner.

    Here are the questions: How would you answer them?

    1. Are things in Iraq on the right track or wrong track?

    2. Should the U.S. continue to stay in Iraq, even if it costs us another 1500 U.S. dead?

    3. Should the U.S. take military action against Syria, if Syria continues to assist the insurgents in Iraq?

    4. Should the U.S. demand military access to Pakistan to pursue Osama bin Laden, even if Musharraf says it may wreck his government?

    5. Should the U.S. Congress demand a follow-on investigation to critique how policymakers used intelligence in the run-up to invading Iraq?

    6. Do you know anyone, personally, who has served or is serving in Iraq or Afghanistan?

    I answered NO to 2 to 4 and YES to 1, 5, and 6.

    Then it seemed to me that it is somewhat unlogic to say YES to 1, if I say NO to 2 and 3.

    If I say that things are on the wrong track in Iraq, withdrawing can't be the answer, nor NOT going militarily against Syria would make much sense, because most probably Syria would have a role in "things going towards the wrong track in Iraq". So I thought I have to say YES to 1 to make sense saying NO to 2 and 3.

    Am I confused or what? I answered 2 to 4 first, because I definitely am against the troops overstaying too long, attacking Syria and risking to lose the cooperation with Pakistan by the US overimposing themselves there as well.

    I then came to the conclusion that I HAD to say Iraq is on the right track to justify my answers to 2 and 3. I have the feeling I made a logical error, but am not sure. Did I?

    Do you think my answers made sense? Because so far I don't think the things are "on the right track", but I think there is a chance that they could go into that direction. Geesh, I feel so dumb. Can someone help me explaining to me where I failed to think straight?

    Human life should be governed by truth, freedom, justice and love.

    by mimi on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 07:59:52 PM PDT

    •  I couldn't answer everything (none)
      so I didn't. The truth is, I don't know what we should do in #2, 3, & 4. I don't have the experience, access to information nor the ability to process that information and make the best decision. And neither do these dumb, arrogant shits running the show.

      I believe that Clark could answer these questions because he has what I--and the aforementioned shits--lack. I've had the pleasure of hearing him speak live several times, and it amazes me how knowledgeable he is on a dizzying array of topics, speaking without notes, answering questions with clarity and conviction, and, in general, amazing the hell out of everybody.

      Does anybody remember the TPM interview with Clark in the early fall of 2003? The one conducted on the way to the airport? Simply outstanding. I remember reading that and finding tears in my eyes. Why can't we have an intelligent man like this for president?

      It's hard to say this, because I've been burnt too many times before, but...I trust him. He just exudes competence and integrity and makes me feel confident that he can and will do the right thing.

      As for the campaign...he just needed more time. This guy is a fast learner. And Kerry made a mistake in not giving him the VP nod.

      •  even if you don't KNOW what to do in 2,3 and 4 (none)
        don't you have a gut's feeling and opinion about it? That's all what you have to have to participate in the poll.

        I think I heard pretty much all of Clark at the time he was still at CNN and later when he gave speeches or had town-hall-style Q.& A sessions.

        So, I am very aware of him being quite a serious guy with a good character and an amazing intellect. (And I felt a lot of pain over his constant colds during the campaign and the fact that his voice is not one to fill a room on stump speeches even without a cold)

        I wouldn't have any  problem voting for him. And I agree with you for the VP nod, though I would have loved to see him on Rumsfeld's place in the DOD, if Kerry would have won. So, I was happy with Edwards as well. I think Edwards needs to show off his lawyerish skills much more than he does. This is OT though.

        Human life should be governed by truth, freedom, justice and love.

        by mimi on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 08:44:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I did particpate in the poll (none)
          I just didn't answer those particular questions. I think, as an early poster found, that they are, for many of us, unanswerable. As another poster remarked, perhaps that's the point.

          I would have loved to have seen Clark in Kerry's cabinet or his administration. I would have loved it if he had sent Clark out there to fix the whole mesopotamia. But first I wanted Kerry to win. Nothing against Edwards, and we all love Elizabeth, of course.

          But you are right that Clark does not have that deep and resounding Gregory Peck voice. (so few do) And he doesn't have the height. But, by God, he has the looks.

          •  my golly, good looks and Gregory Peck voice (none)
            what's that all about? A campaign advisor showing his deep psychological understanding (ie prejudices) for how women vote? Mama mia, save me that one, please.

            Human life should be governed by truth, freedom, justice and love.

            by mimi on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 05:11:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't ask me (4.00)
              I remember that we were supposed to go for Quayle in a big way--because of his looks? I didn't get that at all. But I don't want to have Bush over for dinner, either. I think he'd be quite boring, without a blessed interesting thing to say for himself, a hostess' nightmare. And I guess we'd have to hide the booze.

              Anyway, I guess the point is that the candidate needs to look presidential. Or he has to make us comfortable. Something like that. But what do I know? I voted for Dukakis! But I always said that if we were going to pick an actor--why not Gregory Peck? He was a far better one that Reagan AND he had that lovely voice.

              Clark didn't get a fair chance, and that's a shame. I remember in particular one NPR interview (before Iowa) when he dazzled in his usual way on his knowledge of foreign and military affairs, switched to his job program, a bit about patriotism--all very good. Then someone asked him about swimming and, of course, he knew all about that, too. And then a question about church--turns out he loves church singing. (He's quite a singer himself, I've heard, and plays the piano) And then a question about fishing. Jesus, this guy KNOWS fishing. An in-depth discussion on various baits for various situations. I mean, could you get any better? Wouldn't the American people just eat him up with a spoon if they got the chance?

              Truly a man for all seasons. And now we got some putz who's barely a man at all.  

  •  an "impossible" situation? (none)
    It is not an "impossible" situation and all the polite testimonies before castrated committees won't change an iota to the fact that we've lost and we're fucked.

    It is not up to us to reflect about impending civil wars, it's too late for that. Ask the Brits about India. We're a bunch of ignorant, arrogant fools if we think we can decide Iraq's fate.

    The only thing left to do is to cravenly leave, apologize and write a big check to pay for what we broke.

    I'm driven to reflect that this post once again illustrates the chasm between those who still think we can play the game by the old rules (committees, testimonies, critical analysis and reflection) and those, like myself, who believe that those rules are truly obsolete and a pretense is being kept to humor the folks who still believe in them.

    The sordid reality is that BushCo have sunk their claws in, what? 16 Fort Apache-like bases in Iraq and they'll never leave, ever, fuck the committees and testimonies, at least not until this country is truly and well defeated.

    Like a German in 1944, if you care to save lives, root for the utter humiliation and defeat of the U.S. In the long-term, that's the only thing that will bring about a true change. Anything else is just a delaying tactic.

    •  Yeah yeah (none)
      We've been over this ground.

      Your argument is not convincing to me. I've told you why.

      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

      by Armando on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:10:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Objective Ally of the Regime (none)
        My argument is not convincing to you. Period. Plenty of people here are convinced by it.

        But this is not a majority issue.

        In any event, if we look at precedents such as India and Algeria (I find both examples more compelling than Vietnam as far as the local situations are concerned), one arrives at the conclusion that the only realistic option we have left in Iraq is to relinquish all control over the region and get out a.s.a.p.

        That especially includes the 14 bases (it is 14, isn't it?) that we're building or planning to build.

        IMHO the present testimonies are basically a waste of time because they will not move BushCo an inch towards that goal.

        Please explain to me how that rigamarole is going to help us extricate outselves from our current predicament when the present regime is hellbent on pursuing its course and tightening its control?

        I'm afraid I see you as what Lenin (I think?) used to call an "objective ally" of the System, because by playing the Distinguished Opposition role within a framework that is blatantly ignored by the regime, you help obfuscate the reality of their actions and (arguably) legitimize their goals (in this case: continued control of the region).

        I know you're sincere and you mean well, but I think you're effectively helping the Bush regime.

        I would be more persuaded of the effectiveness of your strategy if it delivered results, but so far I haven't seen any.

  •  The better the candidate the (none)
    harder the media is on them.George Carlin says the american people don't have as many choices as they think. Mostly, whether to smoke or not.
  •  That means.... (none)
    On runnng for President again, Clark deftly sidestepped the question, keeping his focus on the Iraq issue.

    That means he's running.

  •  Amazing (none)
    A great Clark post and no anti-Clark trolls going on the rampage. Armando- you must have some sort of mystical power!

    The posting over at MyDD wasn't as lucky.

    And I second the "Why the hell isn't Clark a bigger spokesperson for the Dem Party?"

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