HistoricalMullet: It’s Official – Wesley Clark Enters Presidential Race

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Not the hardest forecast I ever made. Note the Discussion below the main post which is about 10x more interesting. . (Ed. 10/3/2023)

Wesley Clark is going to announce it tomorrow. It is going to be interesting, he’s late in the campaign but still with a lot of time. He’s also got a very experienced campaign crew with a lot of faces familiar to folks from the Clinton years; Hilary is his co-campaign chairman. That will probably provoke some extra baggage attacks by conservatives but the truth is both Clintons was/are centrist candidates compared to more liberal democrats. Be interesting to watch.

Tim C.


But isn’t Hilary Clinton an ideological extremist instead of a centrist?

Quick question, answer honestly and you’ll see why I think she’s a centrist.

What is Hilary more interested in? Ideals or ambition.

If ideals then you’re right, her political philosophy will stay where you expect it too.

If ambition then watch for her to move, as Bill did, to whatever avenue she perceives to give her the greatest opportunity to fulfill her ambition. As a Senator and/or future hopefully President that means towards the center and away from left or right on either extreme.

I know everyone brings up universal healthcare (a case study in how to botch a new administration’s goodwill) as an example of Hilary being far left. But universal healthcare is not out of discussion now even under a conservative controlled administration and both houses, and elements of it: universal healthcare for senior citizens are now on Bush’s domestic agenda.

ps. I agree though, I’d prefer Clark not get tangled up with her overall as I think she’s a distraction more than an asset to his campaign.

Is Clinton just manipulating Clark to replace him and run her own candidacy? 

Hilary is patient (and not too old) and knows of the baggage she carries amongst conservatives. There’s a series of steps she needs to take to build up her reputation for a presidential run. I think by being co-campaign chairman with Wesley she’s either looking long-term for an eventual cabinet/VP slot in 2008 followed by her own Presidential run OR more immediate proximate popularity for herself.

I really disdain politicians who believe an official is ruining a constituency but are willing to let them stay there to have a better shot at some future campaign. Republicans with that attitude of Gray Davis repulse me just as Democrats who hold the same for Bush, if they really think he’s a problem they should work to replace them in the due process and not let a state/country suffer for another term.


Clark should be disqualified based on his actions in Kosovo at the airport and the television station risked escalating into a wider war? 

I actually remember those incidents, both the television station and the airport.

There was only one good airport in Kosovo and that was the one seized by the Russians without previous consultation in a land grab act to de facto prevent the ability of NATO to enter Kosovo effectively in force. Such an action might be construed as a hostile act given that the only troops on the ground at that time were lightly armed and without heavy equipment could be exposed to dangers without proper support in the fluid situation.

In a hypothetical what would the appropriate action of a US military general be after the 3rd Division invaded Iraq and France military vessels blockaded Umm Qusar preventing support troops from coming in and by doing so putting the 3rd ID in harm’s way? To secure the supply route while the civilian channels were consulted.

Did Clark make the right move tactically to protect his supply lines while his troops were in harm’s way? Yes. Should he have also immediately escalated to civilian channels for a diplomatic resolution? Yes. I don’t know the specifics of his actions/orders/communications so I can’t judge further than that.

The television station is a legitimate target when the television station itself is being used as a vehicle of government control. That’s war. Civilian casualties are a consequence of war. War kills people, often the ones who don’t deserve it. That’s why you need to exercise every opportunity before engaging in a military act. Does it weigh on Clark’s conscience and perhaps impact future decisions he might make as President? I hope so because that is one life lesson, being directly accountable for decisions that affect life and death, that our current President never had to be exposed to, the consequences of his decision.

Also though it is true Kosovo did not have UN backing it did have the support of NATO and Clinton was able to repair diplomatic relations with the UN afterward because of good relations before (a case study in how to go around the UN and maintain world opinion on or side in the long run).

I certainly hope Clark has the opportunity and integrity to honestly and frankly answer these questions in his own words, something I’d like to see Bush do on a few issues.

Something about a binary choice that one can either use force or engage in diplomacy and if I’m not criticizing Clark for his actions in Kosovo how can I criticize Bush for his actions in Iraq. 

Actually, for me Kosovo is a perfect example of diplomacy, and why NOT to get involved in a war. At the time we were all led to believe the Albanians were being ruthlessly oppressed, innocent men, women, and children attacked by that dastardly Serbian military. But in doing research after the conflict I learned the KLA had conducted years of paramilitary and terrorist attacks within Kosovo and Serbian’s military was moving in to effect “regime change” of the situation on the ground. I do not in retrospect think we should have intervened, there is convincing evidence the mass movement of refugees used to demonstrate ethnic cleansing were in fact fleeing the bombing/fighting. The KLA, after being thoroughly examined after the world with the harsh public light finally turned on them, turned out to be a bunch of ruthless murderous thugs no different than the IRA or the Baathists; in short, we opposed a sovereign state to the betterment of at best a quasi-terrorist group.

Now the diplomacy was handled well, and I categorically reject the notion that the world is binary. Because France and Germany are claimed to have interests exceeding the US (any purchases Iraq made were with US dollars because we benefited from their cheap oil for 11 years), diplomacy would “simply be impossible” and they would never agree to regime change.

Bush staged a fait accompli by moving 100,000 troops into Iraq before even going to the UN, then presented shoddy and inconsistent evidence with no clear smoking gun of the threat, and ignored his past history of pissing off ally countries on a host of issues (anti-ballistic treaty, Kyoto, world court blockage, land mine blockage). Indeed post-invasion the French position has been vindicated by the failure to produce WMD, and that’s what infuriates me all the more. Not only that the intelligence was shoddy, but we actually gave the French a boost of international credibility.

Diplomacy is never binary, it is never fixed, we could’ve got international support if Rumsfield had been put in his Pentagon box and Powell had been allowed to work uninterrupted, but in the Bush administration, it is the Pentagon that sets policy which is an improper alignment in my eyes.

Clark is a warmonger who ordered an attack on Russian troops, he doesn’t have the temperament to be commander in chief. 

I find no indication he ordered an “attack” on Russian forces. My recollection of the event is he ordered the British to occupy the airport in opposition of the Russians, admittedly a very dangerous maneuver because in the tense situation, one wrong shot leads to a problem.

It comes down to the question “To what extent should a general be able to take actions to protect American troops”, and I always tend to err on the side of the general in the field giving orders to soldiers far more so than I do the policymakers. Having had a desire, and still do, in the military one comfort to have is that regardless of what’s going in Washington is that the commanders on the ground are very serious and committed to protecting American troops and/or bringing you home should you be captured.

As I said though, I expect him to have to explain it, and I hope he does.

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