Wesley Clark, former NATO commander and current tenth dwarf in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, has been long critical of the Iraq war. A NewsMax column from last February quotes him as saying that the war is “inevitable” but “like elective surgery.” The Cleveland Star Tribune briefly notes that Clark “sharply criticized Bush’s handling of the Iraq war in recent months as a CNN analyst.”
Before considering Clark’s presumed expertise on military matters, one should ask this question: why was he removed as NATO Commander during the Kosovo War? Perhaps FrontPage Magazine’s Lowell Ponte has the answer:
While commanding NATO troops in defense of Muslim Kosovo and against Serbian Christians, for example, the hot-headed Clark commanded a subordinate British General to attack Russian troops that had landed without NATO permission at the airport in Kosovo’s capital. (Clark speaks fluent Russian but chose not even to talk with the Russian troops before attacking them.)
The British General Sir Mike Jackson reportedly refused Clark’s risky orders, saying: “I’m not going to start the Third World War for you!”
Others who interviewed Gen. Clark in Kosovo were shocked by his casual talk about how he would launch military strikes against Hungary if it tried to send fuel to the Christian Serbians, or against Russian ships if they entered the war zone.
Gen. Clark in the Balkans also pursued policies that increased civilian casualties, such as deliberate bombing from high altitude and his policy to cut off fuel, food and energy from the civilians of Belgrade in wintertime. Clark also cozied up to at least one man accused of war crimes and ethnic cleansing, Bosnian commander Ratko Mladic.
(Mladic was responsible for the massacre at Srebineca.)
Then there’s a previous chapter in his military record:
In 1993 Wesley Clark, after a solid-but-not-stellar military career, was commanding the 1st Cavalry Division at a sweaty 339-square-mile base in Texas called Fort Hood. On a late winter day his office got a call from Democratic Texas Governor Ann Richards (later defeated and replaced by George W. Bush).
The Governor had an urgent matter to discuss. Crazies about 40 miles north of Fort Hood in Waco, Texas, had killed Federal agents, she said. If newly sworn-in President Bill Clinton signed a waiver setting aside the Posse Commitatus Act, which generally prohibits our military from using its arms against American citizens inside our borders, could Fort Hood supply tanks, men, and equipment to deal with the wackos at Waco?
Wesley Clark’s command at Fort Hood “lent” 17 pieces of armor and 15 active service personnel under his command to the Waco Branch Davidian operation. Whether Clark himself helped direct the assault on the Davidian church using this military force at Waco has not been documented, but it certainly came from his command with his approval…
“Planning for this final assault involved a meeting between Clinton Attorney General Janet Reno and two military officers,” this column reported, “who developed the tactical plan used but who have never been identified. Some evidence and analysis suggests that Wesley Clark was one of these two who devised what happened at Waco.”