Wes Clark on the Iraq War

January 22, 2007

Just War Theory

Filed under: Legitimacy, Project for a New American Century (PNAC), speeches, Strategy — faithinwes @ 3:53 pm

Delivered at UCLA, Burkle Center for International Relations, January 22, 2007

Thank you very much for that- Thank you very much for that warm welcome, and thank you very much Dean Schill for your kind introduction and the opportunity to speak here. Now, someone asked me when I was coming up here today was I going to announce for the Presidency. (laughter) The answer’s no. I haven’t ruled out something like that, but I’m not here today in a political purpose. If you want to see the latest, go to my website http://www.securingamerica.com . You can see the speech I gave in Alabama last Monday, and it will- that, that’s the Political side. I’m not here to talk politics.

I’m really here in an academic setting, in a policy setting and a legal setting, because I think that war and law are two critically important regimes of study and practice in The United States of America, and it’s very difficult to find people who really do the crosswalk well. And yet, the failure to do the crosswalk can lead to enormous policy failures.

So, what I’d like to do today is talk about legitimacy, legality and public support in warfare, and I’d like to talk about it – if you’ll permit me to do so – as a scholar, as an academician, as a practitioner but not as a- someone who ran for office or someone who might run for office. So, I’d like to just set aside partisanship. There’s no partisanship in this. I just want to give you my best judgment from my various fields of experience, and it doesn’t matter to me whether you’re Republican, Democrat, Independent or- it, it just doesn’t matter. This is about our country and about our world, not about partisan politics.

I think we’re at an inflection point in American history. This is one of those moments where so much will depend on the outcome, the decisions, the choices made by our government in the weeks ahead. America’s Army is in a crisis. We’re bogged down in a failing war in Iraq. We’re- the President said we’re going to put 20,000 more troops in, but that’s a really hard stretch. No one wants to go to the draft, and yet recruiting’s been difficult in this environment. The Iraq Study Group called for a drawdown, but the Iraq Study Group was taken by many as an admission of failure. It’s driven our Sunni allies in the, allies in the region into despair, and it’s made Iran even more triumphalist than it had already been, and it’s recognition that Al Qaeda is more numerous, increasingly diffused, and still very much lethal. Congress is preparing to vote against and block the President’s policy of surging more troops into Iraq. If they succeed in doing that, then we’re into a different period.

It’s a moment of signal importance. It’s the first real check on the President’s foreign policy by Congress. For the region, it’s a shock as the U.S. is seriously considering a straight run of Neoconservative policies in the region, which saw the invasion of Iraq as the first step in knocking off regimes in the region – Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Libya, Somalia, Sudan – and a complete reordering of the Middle East, and that’s clearly not likely to happen on the current course of action.

And globally, we’re at a moment where U.S. prestige and power are hanging in the balance. What’s happened to this United States of America since the 11th of September of 2001 when 200,000 Germans demonstrated at the Brandenburger Gate, when people all over the world came out and supported us? What’s happened? (more…)

Advertisements

January 19, 2007

Watch the TV Ad – Stop Escalation

Filed under: Military Force, Troops & Vets — faithinwes @ 3:37 pm

Click here to rate the ad, add a comment or view full size.

For too many years, those of us who advocate a responsible use of our military, and thus have spoken against the President’s failed Iraq policy, have been falsely tagged as against the troops by the Bush Administration, neo-conservatives, and their cronies. Today, that all changes.

VoteVets.org, the leading political group of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, is launching a television advertisement that makes it crystal clear – opposing the President’s escalation of the war in Iraq means you are supporting the troops. VoteVets.org is joining organizations such as MoveOn.org, SEIU (Service Employees International Union), and Center for America Progress as founding members of Americans Against Escalation in Iraq. I am proud to say that I am an active Board of Advisors Member to VoteVets.org, and even prouder of how they are taking up the fight and leading the way in opposing the President’s folly.

Watch the ad | Keep the ad on the air

The President’s new so-called plan for Iraq amounts to nothing more than “Stay the Course,” a futile exercise akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

More than 20,000 troops are being sent into harm’s way for a mission that is not achievable by military power alone. Changing our approach in Iraq must go hand in hand with fixing a regional strategy that has been an abject failure. As I noted in my USA Today op-ed published in November, much of which was picked up by the non-partisan Iraq Study Group when it came out against an escalation of the war, what is needed now is more diplomacy that brings all the players to the table, including our enemies. Absent of this, the President is sending the troops needlessly into harm’s way. That’s not how you support the military and its members.

VoteVets.org is backing up the launch of their ad with a two-day, seven-city tour, to pressure those Senators who are on the fence regarding escalation to oppose the President’s plan and change the strategy in Iraq. These young veterans are not just content to buy air time – they are taking the fight to Senators’ home turf and making them answer the question, “Are you with the President, or are you with the troops?” (more…)

January 16, 2007

Why Did You Oppose The Iraq War Daddy?

Filed under: Iraq War Resolution (IWR), Strategy — faithinwes @ 12:35 am

Big Tent Democrat on TalkLeft has a conversation with Kevin Drum about preemptive war and vindication.

Kevin Drum asks:

Question: [Re:] the primary critique among the anti-war left, has the Iraq war vindicated them?

Well, my quick answer as to my primary critque of the Iraq Debacle is – for the same reasons Bush pere did not go to Baghdad at the end of Desert Storm. But my long answer relies on the Congressional testimony of General Wesley Clark in September 2002:

GEN. CLARK: I’ve been concerned that the attention on Iraq will distract us from what we’re doing with respect to al Qaeda. . . . I think, as a minimum, that when one opens up another campaign, there is a diversion of effort. The question is whether the diversion of effort is productive or counterproductive. I really — it’s — there are forces operating in both directions at this point. You can make the argument, as General Shalikashvili did, that you want to cut off all sources of supply. Problem with that argument is that Iran really has had closer linkages with the terrorists in the past and still does, apparently, today, than Iraq does. So that leads you to then ask, well, what will be the impact on Iran?

More.

. . . SEN. CLELAND: And if you took out Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party, the secularist party, don’t the . . . Shi’ite Muslims make up a majority of the population in Iraq, and wouldn’t that give Iran a strong hand there, and we ultimately end up creating a Muslim state, even under democratic institutions?GEN. CLARK: Yes, sir. I think that there is a substantial risk in the aftermath of the operation that we could end up with a problem which is more intractable than we have today.

One thing we’re pretty clear on is that Saddam has a very effective police state apparatus. He doesn’t allow challenges to his authority inside that state. When we go in there with a transitional government and a military occupation of some indefinite duration, it’s also very likely that if there is an effective al Qaeda left — and there certainly will be an effective organization of extremists — they will pour into that country because they must compete for the Iraqi people; the Wahabes with the Sunnis, the Shi’as from Iran working with the Shi’a population. So it’s not beyond consideration that we would have a radicalized state, even under a U.S. occupation in the aftermath.

Was General Clark vindicated?

TalkLeft, January 16, 2007 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.