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It seems that each time a diary is posted about General Clark, the same old out-of-context criticisms of him surface, trying to "prove" that he isn't/wasn't really against the Iraq War.  For a ton of evidence that Wes was always against the Iraq War, see this diary.  The goal of this diary is to put the out-of-context criticisms back into their original context, which, strangely enough, has been left out of most of the Wes-Clark-was-really-for-the-war "proofs."

Let me first start by saying that Wes is not a sound-bite guy.   One reason why Wes can appeal to moderates is he develops a discussion, hitting upon the reasonable parts of opposing positions along the way, before concluding his argument.  His style brings people on the edges of agreement along with him and makes them feel confident that he understands their point of view even if they disagree with his conclusions.  Unfortunately, this style also makes cherry picking Wes’s statements very simple; all one has to do is quote some intermediate part of the discussion to make Wes sound like a waffler.   We could argue whether that’s a weakness in the current environment, or maybe we could just start holding American voters to a higher standard and start expecting them to analyze more than a sentence at a time.   But that discussion is for a different diary.  In this diary, I just want to place into context the two most often dredged up and taken out of context Clark quotes.

  • The most frequently misused Wes Clark article is an April 10, 2003, Times of London OpEd where Wes Clark wrote about the Iraq war. By cherry-picking sentences and eliminating critical information, some people have tried to make unsuspecting readers think that Wes "praised the war."

    The OpEd is no longer available on the Times of London webpage, but thanks to people who like to criticize Wes, the complete article is available online here.

    Time and time and time again, Clarkies have been forced to defend Wes against pieces cherry-picked from this article.  Often, the beginning of the first paragraph will be quoted without the last sentence (emphasis added):

    Can anything be more moving than the joyous throngs swarming the streets of Baghdad? Memories of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the defeat of Milosevic in Belgrade flood back. Statues and images of Saddam are smashed and defiled. Liberation is at hand. Liberation — the powerful balm that justifies painful sacrifice, erases lingering doubt and reinforces bold actions. Already the scent of victory is in the air. Yet a bit more work and some careful reckoning need to be done before we take our triumph.

    Please, read the whole thing, particularly the final paragraphs:

    As for the political leaders themselves, President Bush and Tony Blair should be proud of their resolve in the face of so much doubt. And especially Mr Blair, who skillfully managed tough internal politics, an incredibly powerful and sometimes almost irrationally resolute ally, and concerns within Europe. Their opponents, those who questioned the necessity or wisdom of the operation, are temporarily silent, but probably unconvinced. And more tough questions remain to be answered.

    Is this victory? Certainly the soldiers and generals can claim success. And surely, for the Iraqis there is a new-found sense of freedom. But remember, this was all about weapons of mass destruction. They haven’t yet been found. It was to continue the struggle against terror, bring democracy to Iraq, and create change, positive change, in the Middle East. And none of that is begun, much less completed.

    Let’s have those parades on the Mall and down Constitution Avenue — but don’t demobilize yet. There’s a lot yet to be done, and not only by the diplomats.

    I’ve noticed that the repeated attacks of Wes using this article as ammunition, stop quoting the piece after "As for the political leaders themselves, President Bush and Tony Blair should be proud of their resolve in the face of so much doubt."  Of course those attacks stop quoting there.  The rest of the article shows Wes’s true message.  The first 2/3 of the article is context, and the last 1/3 is a giant BUT.

    In context, the article is opposing the common feeling of the vast majority of Americans at the time, that we’d won the war.  On April 10, 2003, we’d just toppled the statue of Saddam Hussein.  We wanted to have parades.  One had to acknowledge that in order to make an impression on the reader--yeah, you’re happy now, but you have no idea what you’re in for.  And, guess what, Wes Clark was right!  The war itself was easy to win, but the peace has been hell.  As of the writing of this diary, it’s now February 2007, and Wes’s statement that the purpose of the war  "was to continue the struggle against terror, bring democracy to Iraq, and create change, positive change, in the Middle East. And none of that is begun, much less completed," is just as true today as it was nearly 4 years ago.

    In context, not only does this article not show that Wes was for the war as his detractors like to imply, but it also shows how Wes told us on April 10, 2003, exactly what we were in for.  

  • The second most frequently taken out of context conversation is the discussion General Clark had with reporters in the air on the first day of his 2004 campaign where he was quoted as saying he would have voted for the IWR.  People like to quote this.  They like to make it sound like Wes couldn’t decide on his position because he said many different things.  The truth is, he was trying to explain his position on the war in detail while the reporters were looking for and planning to use only a few sentences.  Wes talked about this particular interview in a June 2005 Salon interview, titled Get Moving.  Of course, the whole Salon interview is interesting, but on the second page of the discussion, he talks about that day:

    SALON:  Your presidential campaign stumbled right out of the box when you were asked about the Iraq war resolution. Looking back now, do you think that was the defining moment for your campaign, that you were doomed from that point on?

    WKC:  Well, what I said in testimony repeatedly was that I believed that Congress should empower the president to go forward with a resolution to the United Nations. But I warned against giving him a blank check. I would never have supported the resolution as it ultimately emerged.

    SALON:  But you wavered on that over the course of that particular day.

    WKC:  On that particular day, I explained -- well, I tried to explain -- what my views were on the war. It was a conversation that was less than complete -- let's put it that way.

    In context, Wes was trying to say he'd have supported the Levin amendment, which was not a blank check. But it didn't come out that way. So, yeah, Wes blew it that day talking to the press, but unless we want to lose respect for a person because he thought that he was having a complex conversation with the press about a knotty problem, the oft-quoted remark from that day is irrelevant.


General Clark graduated first in his class at West Point and was a Rhodes Scholar.  He doesn’t speak in sound-bites.  And I’m glad.  He explains his point of view by touching upon opposing arguments along the way.  That's the way he works through problems.  I think we need more of that in this country even though it may make us vulnerable to out-of-context attacks.

Originally posted to mariawells on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 04:46 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What is the link to the second one? For context. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YestoWes

    For some reason you left it out.  

    I mean, if we want to know the context of what he said, wouldn't it help if we were able to read it?

  •  Anytime someone says some BS about Clark (11+ / 0-)

    you don't even have to go through long-winded articles and analysis. Just show 'em these video clips.

    Tesimony of General Clark on Iraq War Resolution, U.S. Senate Armed Services Committe, September 2002.
    http://www.youtube.com/...
    http://www.youtube.com/...
    http://www.youtube.com/...

  •  General should attack GOP on taxes (6+ / 0-)

    Great diary, Maria.

    I'm a fan of The General, and have been since I watched his DVD, American Son, two long years ago.

    If you know anyone in his campaign, I have an idea I'd like you to shop around.

    As you may know, the Alternative Minimum Tax is negatively impacting more middle-class Americans every year.  Over the next ten years, it is scheduled to extract over US$ 1 trillion dollars from the backbone of America, our middle-class.

    Yet, Bush and the GOP have failed to address it.  In the five year budget Bush submitted to Congress two days ago, he applied a one-year fix.  That is according to his budget, he will increase the tax on the middle-class from years 2009 to 2012.

    Why isn't The General holding a press conference, informing Americans that Bush has proposed a middle-class tax hike, and that he (The General) will not tolerate it?

    Where is the outrage?

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

    by PatriciaVa on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 04:56:06 PM PST

    •  Join CCN (5+ / 0-)

      Join the Clark Community Network and post your idea there.  It'll spur some discussion and Wes will read it.  I told him something once that I'd posted on the CCN and he said, "I know.  I read the blog."  

      If you want to get your ideas to Wes, it's good to both post on CCN to generate discussion and to email to info@securingamerica.com.  

      •  Feedback? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mariawells, YestoWes

        Do you think it's a viable tack?

        I haven't heard ANY Dem nominee use it, but I think it's effective.

        Charlie Rangel has said that the AMT will tax the middle-class over US$ 1T over the next ten years.

        The GOP has refused to commit to a long-term fix.

        What are the Democrats waiting for?

        If they're not careful, the GOP will outflank us, calling for the elimination of all income taxes, in favor of a national sales tax.

        In fact, that's precisely what Larry Kudlow and his RightWing cohorts (including Greg Mankew, former Bush economic aide) were discussing today, on his program on CNBC.

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

        by PatriciaVa on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 05:08:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know how big of a splash (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          roseba, ms in la, Gabriele Droz, YestoWes

          it will make, but it certainly should be talked about.  Wes really doesn't like things that hurt the regular guy.  It might be interesting to send it up the flagpole by posting thoughts about it at CCN and see what people think.  Wes likes suggestions--I'm not sure he appreciates people telling him what to do--but he likes suggestions and feedback.

  •  Great blog! (4+ / 0-)

    We have needed this so long.

    Maybe now we can clear out that old meme!

    Thanks so much!

  •  Remember when 24 hour news channels (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mariawells, roseba, Lena, YestoWes

    were new, and people wondered what impact they might have on the public's understanding of issues?  It was suggested that the media, instead of just summarizing and using little sound bites, could probe in-depth, analyze, and provide context for the news.
    Guess what we'll get served tonight??  Won't be context.

    "The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children." Bonhoeffer

    by LAMaestra on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 05:02:07 PM PST

  •  So Clark really thinks we 'liberated' Iraq? (3+ / 7-)

    Interesting.

  •  Exactly (5+ / 0-)

    If the Right Wing was not concerned about his intellect, his talent as a leader, his stance as an 'anti-war' candidate', and his broad appeal to progressives and moderates alike, we would not be hearing any attacks on General Clark from them.  He would be ignored.  

    In truth, they are concerned about a Wes Clark candidacy vs any of the Bush supporting warmongers running on the Rethuglican ticket - as they should be.

    In a general election, he will clean their clocks.

  •  As you say, (14+ / 0-)

    that discussion is for a different diary

    I think it's worth noting in this diary, however, that Clark's style of discussion has much to do (I think) with his potential to be the President we need for the very difficult times ahead.

    I mean, it seems to me that the sectarian divisions in the Balkans must have been as trying as the situation in Iraq, yet Clark was able to talk with everybody, to good purpose.

    Also, his ability to solicit, listen to, and respect diverse opinions probably had more than a little to do with his success as NATO commander.

    Our next Pres will be well served by an ability to get different groups to work together for common purpose, internationally as well as domestically.

  •  great work Maria (8+ / 0-)

    appreciate the efforts you put in to advance reason over smear and spin

  •  Context, some folk don't need no context (8+ / 0-)

    LOL.

    Thanks maria. It does get tiresome having to discredit cherry picked snippets over and over and over again.

    I guess after 6 years of our "say it often enough, soundbite pResident, even some normally intelligent people have forgotten that context counts.

    "Whoever lives for the sake of combating an enemy has an interest in the enemy's staying alive." Friedrich Nietzsche

    by witchamakallit on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 05:47:58 PM PST

  •  more context (12+ / 0-)

    with respect to the conversation on the plane:

    Clark showed his inexperience with the political press and its propensity to pounce on any seeming contradiction when, on a plane on the second night of his campaign, he engaged in the type of unguarded, freewheeling policy discussion that he was accustomed to having with military reporters, and speculated that he might have voted for the war resolution. But Clark always was in favor of diplomacy and using the threat of war as a last resort. In a conversation with me, Michael Gordon, the New York Times military reporter, said that he talked to Clark in the months leading up to the war and that "he was consistently skeptical that Iraq presented an urgent threat." And when Clark was working as a nonpartisan CNN analyst, he made it clear privately that he thought the US attack was mistaken. He now calls the administration's deceptive promotion of the war an "outrage." In his recent book, Winning Modern Wars: Iraq, Terrorism, and the American Empire,[*] he strongly criticizes the administration's failure to plan for the postwar violence and disorder.

    link

    •  Fair enough, except . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YestoWes

      Drew wasn't on the plane herself, but even she says, "Clark can also be remarkably, almost unnervingly, candid, saying (off the record, of course) all sorts of things that a politician doesn't usually talk about outside his close circle of advisers. He is well aware of his own missteps since he announced his candidacy —particularly his apparent inconsistency about how he would have voted on the resolution authorizing Bush to go to war in Iraq—and he knows that neither the press nor many Democrats will be generous if he makes any further mistakes."

      •  "Apparent" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KayCeSF, YestoWes

        being the operative word.

        You still don't seem to get that Wes admits that the discussion on the plane did not come across the way he intended it to.  

        How many times do I have to explain that to you?  I mean, geez, it was the whole point of half of this diary.  And now you've been hanging out here for like 3 hours and you still don't get it.

      •  O Lordy! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AKTup, venatrix

        Save me from the Candid Candidate! Saying things that a "politician doesn't usually" say!!

        I wouldn't know what to do with that kind of a specimen...

      •  See, that's the thing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AKTup, roseba

        Everybody in the press corps knew how Clark stood on Iraq.  Even Nagourney.  Clark had made it SO plain for SO long, and in so many different media venues, I don't think it even occurred to him at that point that anyone would assume he could mean anything otherwise.

        That's why he was so unprepared for the reaction that followed Nagourney's NYT article.

        It also strikes me that where Clark blew the Nagourney interview was by assuming that the US meda, like their predominantly European counterparts he'd dealt with in Kosovo, at some fundamental level wanted to report the truth.  I don't think he was naive enough to think that Nagourney or any of the others wouldn't go for a hot headline, but it's quite possible, even likely, he didn't think Nagourney would purposely mislead his readers.

  •  Complexity and Charting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roseba, Feanor

    I think Clark is intelligent and very capable.  I genuinely like him, and think he would be fine as president or vice president.  And, I do not begrudge any Clark supporters for supporting him.

    But...on this particular historical question, alone...I think Clark's admirably complex opinions about the war, and warfare, essentially mean that, over the years, he has said things that might be interpreted as favoring the Iraq war, and he has said things that can be intepreted as being opposed to the Iraq war.  

    I have my own sense of exactly how all these pieces fit together, and I am sure others have theirs.  (It would probably take me ten pages to explain how I square all of Clark's statements about the war...from just before the war, through the "seeming" military victory, up until the present.)  

    You cite the two articles that are most frequently cited by those suggesting that...at times...Clark was NOT against the Iraq war.  (Personally, I do think there were times when Clark was not against the Iraq war.)

    There are two other articles that probably deserve some comment as well.  The first article from 2003 illuminates the difficulty in charting Clark's positions on the Iraq war.

    The second article was written by Clark himself, and was published in Time Magazine in October of 2002, about 5 months before the war started.  The last paragraph of this article contains a statement that looks like Clark was in favor of starting the Iraq war, within a matter of weeks, IF the planning and organization were done properly.

    As for the when, let's take the time to plan, organize and do the whole job the right way. This will only take a few more weeks, and it's important. It's not just about winning a war--it's also about winning the peace.  

    Again, I like Clark, but there is some real complexity here, and charting his views on the Iraq war, I think, is not a simple binary matter.

    •  interesting points (5+ / 0-)

      There's another subtle distinction that wasn't mentioned.  Clark has worn a couple of different hats over the past few years.  Notably, military analyst (retired general) and political candidate.  

      It's important to take note of which hat he's wearing when answering a particular question.  Often, when he's asked a question while wearing his 'general' hat, he answers the question that is asked - he might be asked whether the war is going to be won in 3 months.  As a political candidate, he'll account for all the political complexities of the situation, but as a 'general', he might say "yes, the troops are efficient and effective and the fight will be won in 3 months."  

      What he fails to mention while wearing the 'general' hat is that he's addressing the question literally, solely from a military perspective.  The military isn't supposed to be involved in the diplomacy and the political resolution of conflicts - these are the roles of the politicians.  He doesn't address whether the troops should even be there in the first place because that question wasn't asked and it's neither here nor there since the presumption in the question is that military action is underway.

      The political questions - the right vs. wrong of the situation, are the aspects he addresses when he puts on the candidate hat.  This is a distinction Clark has gotten better at making more apparent since the '04 contest.

    •  Clark is a complex thinker (8+ / 0-)

      and the articles you bring into the discussion are just one example of someone (in this case Clark) who is capable of looking at an issue from all directions and laying out the "good/bad/indifferent" actions that would be beneficial in achieving a desired outcome.

      In the second article you list Wes also said

      ...but so far, our national debate on Iraq has been upside down. The Administration announced its aim to change the regime in Baghdad before it made the case for action. To some, our government seemed to be seeking war as a preferred choice rather than as a last resort. We need a real debate to gain the full and informed support of the American people as we move ahead.

      Keep in mind that he had been informed, while visiting the Pentagon shortly after 9/11, that the administration was going to go into Iraq,  He was convinced of the truth of what he had heard because of the actions and rhetoric of Bush & his neocon crew, so he spoke from the perspective of, "if we're going to do it let's do it right".

      I would expect no less from him.

      "Whoever lives for the sake of combating an enemy has an interest in the enemy's staying alive." Friedrich Nietzsche

      by witchamakallit on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 06:48:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Part of the problem.. (10+ / 0-)

      Part of the problem that gives many difficulty with Clark's statements is the way he seamlessly switches gears between what he believes and what the reality of the situation is.   There is a similar problem when he switches gears between speaking about policy and speaking about military strategy.

      In that last quote from Clark, there seems a very obvious implied assumption there that this is what Bush is going to do. It's a done deal.  Once you reach that point, Clark rarely wastes time beating the dead horse of whether we're going to do this (we were) - he has already moved on to the next problem.  

      "Okay, if we are going in, then what's the best way to do it with the fewest bad consequences?"

      I don't see it so much as "I'm in favor of going in IF we do it right." I read that as "IF we are going in, then we'd better do it right."  Those are two entirely different statements.

      I found that I truly did have to read and listen to the whole of his statements on the war to have an understanding of the complexity of the way the man thinks.  He's always thinking on six levels and six potential moves ahead, like a chess player.  

      If you've already moved your knight, then he's not discussing the moves that might have been made had you NOT moved that knight - he's already adapted to the fact that you have, and is talking about what moves you have left.

      Democrats - We refuse to caucus in the missionary position.

      by SaneSoutherner on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 06:50:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Quote of the week (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YestoWes

        Worth repeating.

        If you've already moved your knight, then he's not discussing the moves that might have been made had you NOT moved that knight - he's already adapted to the fact that you have, and is talking about what moves you have left.

    •  Actually, it is... (8+ / 0-)

      But you have to do it in the context of the time.  We've covered many, many, many of Clark's comments on the diary I linked in the very first paragraph:  Wes Clark and Iraq.  Wes's position is perhaps subtle, but it's consistent throughout time.

      1. Wes thought it might eventually be necessary to go to war.  But Wes wanted to do everything possible to dot all the i's and cross all the t's first.  If we'd done that, dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's, the world would have realized we were jumping the gun.  

        The very act of forcing yourself to prove the necessity to the rest of the world forces you to prove it to yourself beyond a reasonable doubt--both that Iraq was an imminent threat and that the peace was winnable.  We never could have proven that Iraq was an imminent threat beyond a reasonable doubt, because it wasn't.  So, we never would have gone.  

        Some people might claim that Obama was against the war all along and Wes wasn't because Wes said it might eventually be necessary.  That distinction is like counting how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.  Wes's argument is that force is the last, last, last resort.  And we were no where near there with Iraq.  Unless Obama is a genuine pacifist there is no practical difference.  They are just two different ways of phrasing the same thing.

      2. Wes said all along that this was an elective war.  And if we were going to do it (which would be wrong) we should at least take the time to do it right.  When asked if we were going to go to war, Wes said yes.  When asked if it was right, Wes said no.  If we had taken the time to do it right, we'd likely have failed at getting anyone convinced of anything, and we'd have never gone to war or at least we'd have had the plan in place for the peace before we went in.

    •  It's misleading for you to point out (0+ / 0-)

      That the Time Magazine article was published 5 months before the war started.

      Fact is, it is dated exactly one day before the Senate vote on the IWR (and probably hit newsstands a couple days before).

      My personal opinion is that Clark knew by then that it was a lost cause, because he had been talking to every senator he could get to listen.  But he was making one last ditch effort to ask the Senate... the Democratic-controlled Senate, to postpone giving their approval just a little bit longer.  Not knowing the Repubs would gain control of the Senate in November, it was reasonable to hope that even a small delay might have made a world of difference at that point.

  •  This context seems clear (10+ / 0-)

    From "Winning Modern Wars"

    "In fact, the Bush Administration's focus on Iraq had thus far weakened our counterterrorist efforts, diverting attention, resources and leadership, alienating allied supporters, and serving as a rallying point for anyone wishing harm to the United States and Americans. The failure to find the Iraqi WMD programs not only undermined the credibility of U.S. intelligence but also undercut other U.S. efforts to prevent WMD proliferation. Osama bin Laden and his followers could have hoped for nothing more than another U.S. attack on an islamic state to rouse popular enthusiam and recruit the next wave of terrorists."

    Nice post Maria.

    •  Yes, nice Diary! Thanks! (11+ / 0-)

      Long before Wes Clark entered politics, at the time that this specific London Times article was written, as well as on the first day of his candidacy (on that airplane), I don't believe that Wes Clark quite realized that most politicians duties apart from voting is only to speak; which is why words are so very much scrutinized, since there is little else to go on. Had he been calculating and overly ambitious and had he long ago plan to run for elective office, I’m sure he would have made sure not to have his previous work prime for mining by the enemy camps.

      The way I see it--As the General he did on that plane the day that he announced his candidacy, he thinks out many facets prior to giving his take (probably a habit that comes from doing strategic planning) as he was head of Strategic Planning for the Chief of Staffs in the Clinton Administration. This is where one must look at all scenarios prior to developing plan A, B, C, D, etc.. and where soundbytes and slogans don’t quite do the job  (see current Bush Admin military planning as to why effective strategies and policy positions cannot be formed that way)  

      I'm also sure that the General used to believe in the good will of the American people, and certainly he could have been correct in presuming that if someone is going to bother picking up an article to read, one is going to read the whole thing; not three lines here, scan down 12 paragraph and start reading again and then feel that they can form an opinion on what the author was truly saying.  Well of course, most people DON'T read like that, but unfortunately political operatives do--Hence the problem Clark ended up having with some of his written work.  

      Had he been a lifelong politician, this wouldn't have been a problem, because he would have known to drone on and on, without really ever saying anything. Or had he been a trained attorney, he would have understood that his only job was to persuade and charm the reporters to make him look good no matter the substance or lack thereof coming out of his mouth.

      •  Great Post ZSG n/t (0+ / 0-)

        "It does not require many words to speak the truth." Chief Joseph - Nez Perce

        by Gabriele Droz on Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 09:02:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks! The conversation with the one character (6+ / 0-)

          on this diary also also reminds me of that video that showed Clark at a GOP fundraiser in 2001.  I'm sure most Clark supporters remember the less than 7 seconds clip that was played over and over again (shown first on Fox of course), which was not at all what it was made out to be, but of course, in its "trimmed" state was a tool used to indict Wes Clark as being part of the enemy camp by the enemy.  

          I remember how when I read the entire text of the speech, I quickly realized that it was simply a generic speech on foreign policy that included a few "polite" salutories.  The speech's theme was the importance of NATO; that as a recently retired SACEUR Wes Clark had given at many venues, and as well at a Democratic fundraiser for Blanche Lincoln a week later.  

          Why did people buy into a 7 second "clip"? Because they could watch it and they could believe the worse without feeling guilty.  By then, many had picked their candidate, and out of loyalty to them, they chose to accept the disinformation that they were fed without any questions.

          The full version of the tape was never released, nor did anyone ever asked for it, including the media. The context of Clark's speech was never explained, as it might have in a better society.

          That's why our current media is so dangerous; because it is negligent, cunning and simply evil. The media is like a war who doesn't care who it kills.  Whomever gets in the way will be mowed down pronto.

          The short version? People will believe what they want if it is convenient for them to believe it, and the media will make it that much more comfortable for them to rationalize it all.  People like to sleep at night; important details might make that more difficult.

      •  Excellent explanation of politicians (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        roseba, KayCeSF, YestoWes

        and what it takes to operate like one.  No, Wes Clark was not in the mindset of a typical politician when he entered the Dem nomination race in 2003.  And he probably still isn't today, because he prefers to tell the truth.  

        I imagine he's learned a thing or two about politics in the past few years, as many of us have.  It's a dirty, rotten scoundrel's business where there exists no room for the truth.  It's all about smoke & mirrors.  And America is the poorer for it because we've bought in to the hype for so long we can't recognize the truth when we see it anymore.

         

  •  The bigger picture (9+ / 0-)

    Just a reminder of the bigger picture, from a speech given in May, 2002 at Seton Hall University commencement:

    "You will determine whether rage or reason guides the United States in the struggle to come. You will choose whether we are known for revenge or compassion. You will choose whether we, too, will kill in the name of God, or whether in His Name, we can find a higher civilization and a better means of settling our differences." - General Wesley Clark

    This speech was not a political one, and not heard by the press.  But the entire speech is remarkable in it's compelling call for a more reasoned approach to solving the world's problems.

    This is the man that I'm supporting.  No reservations.

  •  What does he mean by "Liberation is at hand"? (0+ / 0-)

    Did Clark really think we were in the process of 'liberating' Iraq?

    This Op-Ed, What Must Be Done to Complete a Great Victory, isn't exactly talking about how it was a mistake to invade Iraq.  In fact, there in not a single word in the piece that says the war was wrong, nor any criticism of the decision to invade rather than allow the inspectors to continue their work.

    In fact,  when you read the whole thing, it completely contradicts the idea that General Clark was always an opponent of the Iraq war.

    •  Well, if that doesn't prove it! (0+ / 0-)

      I always knew you wrote comments without bothering to read the diaries.

      This is precisely the op/ed the diarist is talking about, and quotes from.  It's also one you've brought up time and time again, and never acknowledge a single counter-argument.  You fool no one who's been here any length of time into thinking you have an interest in debate or discussion.  You're just hoping to catch a newbie.

      But I'll answer your two bs questions anyway.

      The London Times article you link to was published after the fall of Saddam and the capture of Baghdad.  Most US and British citizens were celebrating the great victory.  Clark could have railed against the war, but to what purpose?  Instead, he reminds us that we had a long way to go before real victory could be declared.

      Oh, and in case you've forgotten, Saddam Hussein was a tyrant who murdered at least a million people, tortured many many more, started two wars with his neighbors, and sponsored terrorism against a third.

      The war to depose him may be found to be illegal, was certainly illegitimate, and was withoug doubt a strategic blunder in terms of US long-term interests.  It may even have left Iraqis worse off than they were before.  But it's a simple fact that it did liberate them from a very bad dictator, and it's a rather absurd rationalization to claim otherwise.

      •  Thanks for clearing that up. (0+ / 0-)

        We 'did liberate them from a very bad dictator' -- your words.

        Well, I guess if you call being conquered and occupied by a foreign army, liberation, then we liberated them.

        •  Yep, liberated (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          roseba

          And you know it.

          Every poll of the Iraqis has shown that most are extremely happy that Saddam is gone.  Almost every single Shi'ite and Kurd, and not a small percentage of the Sunnis.

          Like I said, it doesn't mean the war was a good idea, and it doesn't say anything about whether we should still be there now or for how long.

          I don't know where you're going with this.  There's not a single leading Democrat who would argue your point.  It's really not relevant to anything, but certainly not to the subject of this diary.

        •  WHAAAAAAA????!!! (0+ / 0-)

          Well, I guess if you call being conquered and occupied by a foreign army, liberation, then we liberated them.

          And they call ME crazy?  "Occupation" implies a LONG DURATION of the army's presence. AT THAT POINT IN TIME, HOW LONG HAD THEY BEEN THERE?

          Feanor, you deserve both fool and troll award of the millenium.

          Miracles always happen when they have to happen. --Paul Westerberg

          by a fan of Wes Clark on Sun Feb 11, 2007 at 10:12:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  You already said exactly this upthread (0+ / 0-)
  •  Clark: Bush should be proud of his resolve (0+ / 0-)

    Does Clark still think, as he did when he wrote the April 10, 2003 Op-Ed, that "President Bush and Tony Blair should be proud of their resolve in the face of so much doubt" ?  

    Or has he changed his mind about that since then?

    •  Same article, also in the diary (0+ / 0-)

      But I see you change the words at the link, so maybe people won't notice.  You need to do better than that.

      I seem to recall Clark has said resolve is a positive character trait, when backed up by sound judgment.

      There's no doubt at all that Clark thinks Bush's judgment is flawed.  At best.

      •  Yes, I'm talking about the same article (0+ / 0-)

        so, my question stands.

        Does Clark still believe that "Bush and Tony Blair should be proud of their resolve in the face of so much doubt", as he wrote at the time of the invasion?

        •  He's using a rhetorical device (0+ / 0-)

          You find something to compliment the other person about, so you don't look like a hard-line zealot and then you take apart their argument, piece by piece.  Which, essentially, Clark did.  At the time, the war was being celebrated as a great triumph.  Clark acknowledged it as a short-term success, but then went on to make his points about the long-term outcome.

          In hindsight, he has proven to be exactly right.

          Now, if were to do to you, it might look like, "I admire your persistence and willingess to take a stand for what you believe in," (which I do, BTW), "but I think your constantly attributing pro-war motives to Clark is a shallow and intellectually dishonest assessment of his position."  

  •  Reading the article (0+ / 0-)

    Will answer your question.

  •  The Clark apologists are working overtime (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Feanor

    on this thread.  That's okay, we need to get this stuff worked out before the primary gets serious.  The troll-rating of anyone who questions them seems a bit heavy-handed.  I have read Clark's article twice and, while he hedges his bets, it is hard to escape the conclusion that he is congratulating Bush and Blair on a job well done.  I don't know motives, of course, but if someone had wanted to write an article in April, 2003 that they could point back to as correct no matter which way the war went, it would look pretty much like this one.

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Fri Feb 09, 2007 at 11:31:20 AM PST

    •  THANK YOU! (0+ / 0-)

      Thank you for proving that this diary is correct.  You've just said that

      I don't know motives, of course, but if someone had wanted to write an article in April, 2003 that they could point back to as correct no matter which way the war went, it would look pretty much like this one.

      So, you've just said that the article doesn't show that Wes was for the war.  So, if taken as a whole, the article does not prove what Feanor routinely quotes it as saying all over Kos on just about every diary!!!

      THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

      Now you understand why Feanor is troll rated--because he/she consistently takes this article out of context and uses it to "prove" Wes was for the war, an article, which you, a Feanor-apologist, just admitted, does no such thing!!!

      THANK YOU!  My diary is a success.  

  •  Not a Clark apologist, but a Clark supporter (0+ / 0-)

    While I wasn't ever 100% happy with Gen. Clark not being as unequivocally anti-war as he could have been, he's been an important voice in opposing the war for a long time.

    I won't try and whitewash the fact that he could have said more, but he has done a great deal to speak out since then, and he's been a crucial supporter of Dems that were newly elected last November.  

    What's most important is how he and the other '08 Dem presidential hopefuls compare to the GOP field in terms of nat'l security cred.  Although I feel that just about any Dem has his/her head in the right place, Gen. Clark is arguably the most qualified.  

    And he'd be the best Democratic ammunition to have, at a time when many people still think being a mediocre Mayor of NYC on 9/11 qualifies you to be President.  Now that's garbage.  

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