Wes Clark on the Iraq War

June 23, 2007

Closing down Guantanamo

Filed under: Interviews, Investigations, Prisons, Terrorism — faithinwes @ 6:11 pm

MSNBC Joe Scarborough 6/22/07

Joe Scarborough: Hey, so, there’s news. I’m, I’m just so confused, and you know, I don’t usually get confused, but I’m so confused by all the news coming out of the White House. We, we hear an Associated Press report that there’s going to be an announcement that Gitmo is going to be closed down, and then we have a report that the White House is backing off of it. They were supposed be meeting today to discuss the closing down of Gitmo, and now we have a report that the Guantanamo meeting was cancelled after the report came out that the closure was near.

Thank God, THANK GOD, MSNBC got General Wesley Clark on their side. He’s going to tell us what’s really going on. General!

Thank you so much for being with us!

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Nice to be with you, Joe.

Joe Scarborough: What in the world’s going on? Are they going to shut this thing down or not?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, I think that- I, I never guess what’s going on in the White House. It’s unpredictable, but I do think it’s a, it’d be a very good thing to get the Guantanamo monkey off the back of the United States. I’d like to see it turned over to an international organization, someone who can process those people in accordance with international law and international standards, get the ones that aren’t terrorists home, the ones that are terrorists, get them prosecuted, lay the evidence out and take it off the backs of the United States and especially off the United States Armed Forces.

Joe Scarborough: So, who do we trust to do that?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, I think you can set up an organization. I think you could go to NATO to start with. I think you’d get a coalition of the willing. I think you’d get some Islamic countries in there so that they can’t duck the responsibility, so to speak, of, of the people that are there. I think it could all be put together, if there’s a will to do it.

Joe Scarborough: So, do we, do we take a lead role in it or, or do we just sit back and are we one among several countries that are all equals?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, I think we have to do our share, but our share shouldn’t be guarding. It shouldn’t be providing the facility. We should set some timelines to say there’s a goal to get it closed down and people transferred by a certain date. Our role’s more to provide evidence at this point, and of course we got to protect our classified information, but there’s a way to sanitize it and provide it out there so the other nations can make a judgment about their own citizens. (more…)

June 21, 2007

“The American people have a right to know, they have a need to know”

Filed under: Afghanistan, Interviews, Media, Military Commentator, Terrorism — faithinwes @ 3:25 pm

Countdown with Keith Olbermann 6/20/07

Keith Olbermann: On the other issue that has been made and raised, the argument that’s being made and criticizing news organizations for covering, at all, insurgent attacks, terrorist bombings in Iraq, in Afghanistan, that covering them only helps the insurgents. What…what’s your assessment of that charge?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well I think it’s an absurd charge. I think the truth is that the word on military successes and defeats is important in a democracy and that word’s going to get out whether a TV station covers it or not.

And the American people have a right to know, they have a need to know and the idea that you could sort of decide not to show this because it might be discouraging or whatever, that’s the kind of…that’s the kind of censorship that undercuts faith not only in news organizations, but in governments. We’ve always believed in the truth. I think if you lay out the truth, if your policies are sound, if your motivations are correct, if your policies are honorable and legal, then the truth is the best policy. If it isn’t, if those aren’t your policies, maybe you’ve got something to hide.

Keith Olbermann: Amen. Let me ask you…this is more of a philosophical question, an assessment question than a breaking news question, but given that we had to do that, that there was an attack looking for an al Qaeda high-level target on the loose in Afghanistan, not to mention bin Laden and it’s 5 ½ years after the attacks of 9/11, and the start of a war in Afghanistan, do you think we are devoting our resources as we should when it comes to fighting what the administration calls the war on terror?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Absolutely not. It’s…it’s been mistaken almost from the beginning. We went into Afghanistan as we should. We did not have a plan for success in Afghanistan to get al Qaeda. We didn’t want to put the American troops in because the administration was already planning on going after Iraq even though there was no connection established between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein. So, we short-changed the operation in Afghanistan repeatedly. It was an economy of force mission, now we’re really committed in Iraq, the Taliban is coming back because basically, in that part of the world, there are forces and people that don’t want to see the Americans there. When you go in there, you have to have a plan for success, you have to get your success and you have to get out again. You cannot occupy these countries, it’s…we wouldn’t want to be occupied in America, either. And, so why we think we can stay there year after year and build friends, it’s backwards. You’ve got to have a plan for success at the outset, you’ve got to have enough resources to bring that success together and then you’ve got to turn it over to local people. That’s…we haven’t done that. In the meantime, al Qaeda’s using all our efforts as a recruiting incentive and so they’re training against us, they’re recruiting people against us…it’s, it’s trouble.

Keith Olbermann: Retired General Wesley Clark. We’re proud to have you with us on MSNBC and particularly on Countdown. We look forward to talking with you again soon, sir.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Thank you, Keith.

June 18, 2007

“We have to find the right way to back out of this”

Filed under: Budget, Diplomacy, Interviews, Military Force, Occupation, Strategy, Withdrawal — faithinwes @ 3:26 pm

Ed Schultz radio show 6/18/07

Ed Schultz: General Wesley Clark here on the Ed Schultz Show. The website is securingamerica.com. General Clark, if things won’t improve by September, this means that the Congress is going to have to go back and fund, continually fund these operations. Is that correct?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, I think even if it does improve in September, the Congress is going to continue to have to fund the operations.

Ed Schultz: We’re going to have this vote all over again then. Aren’t we?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: We’re going to have this vote for the next few years unless something catastrophic happens that causes us to reconsider and pull the plug on the whole operation.

Ed Schultz: If we were to do that, pull the plug on the whole operation, what’s your prediction as to what would happen, General Clark?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: We’d, um, we, we’d have a hard time disengaging from the region, Ed. We’ve got security responsibilities to the Gulf States. We’ve got Security interests with Israel. We’ve got friends in Lebanon. We’ve got many different issues that are effected by the outcome in Iraq. So, If we pull the plug on the operation, you could probably physically remove the troops in six to eight months in good order.

If you saw a larger war go, would you want to be back in? How ’bout if you saw Al Qaeda taking over provinces? How ’bout if you saw the collapse in the West Bank and aid flowing in through Syria from Iran and a corridor being cut across Iran, across Iraq by the Iranians to facilitate that, and you saw widespread deployment of, let’s say, Iranian Revolutionary Guards inside Iraq, would you want to be back in at that point? And so, I, there’s so many unpredictables in this that I’m one of those who’s counseled against just getting frustrated and pulling the plug.

I wouldnt’ve gone in in the first place. It was a huge strategic mistake. We have to find the right way to back out of this.

Ed Schultz: And doing that is almost impossible in your opinion. So, we’re, we’re in it, and we got to make the best of it somehow. And the best thing we can have happen is for the Iraqis to a-accept what’s going on governmentally and get involved in the process and, and Americans are feeling like that’s a pipe dream at this point. How could we have gotten all of this so wrong? And I’m just hearing you, General, say that, you know, we’re so, we’re into this so thick it- there are just few options that we have at this point.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: And with each succeeding month, the options diminish. The people that we could talk to on the ground in Iraq are compromised. The leverage that we hold over Iran erodes. The strength of the Israeli position weakens. With each successive month, we’ve been getting weaker. Now, the Saudis put in a good strategic effort over the last eight months to try to salvage this. It hasn’t worked.

Ed Schultz: What about arming Sunni insurgents to fight Al Qaeda? Is that a good idea?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, that’s one of the issues, and certainly if we can strengthen localities inside Iraq, and if we can be sure they’re actually fighting Al Qaeda, that’s a good thing. But what if, in doing that, they’re bringing Al Qaeda in and not simply strengthening the resistance to Al Qaeda? That’s what we don’t know about. Apparently, some of the weapons that were-, I’m told that some of the weapons that ended up in the refugee camps in Lebanon, that the Lebanese Army’s been fighting against, because the weapons were being used by Al Qaeda in Lebanon, those weapons were paid for as part of the Saudi initiative to arm the Sunnis to fight against Iran.

Ed Schultz: What a mess. What an absolute mess.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: It is a mess. It’s a really difficult set of issues.

June 13, 2007

Clark slams Lieberman on Iran

Filed under: Diplomacy, Iran — faithinwes @ 3:36 pm

UPI | June 13, 2007

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., June 13 (UPI) — Retired Gen. Wesley Clark has slammed Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., for threatening military force against Iran.

Clark, the former Supreme Allied NATO Commander and chair of the Board of Advisers of VoteVets.org, Monday said in a statement that Lieberman, the former Democratic candidate for vice president in the 2000 presidential election, had been irresponsible in saying Sunday that such action against Iran might be necessary.

“Sen. Lieberman’s saber rattling does nothing to help dissuade Iran from aiding Shiite militias in Iraq, or trying to obtain nuclear capabilities. In fact, it’s highly irresponsible and counter-productive, and I would urge him to stop,” Clark said.

“This kind of rhetoric is irresponsible and only plays into the hands of (Iranian) President (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad and those who seek an excuse for military action,” the retired four-star general said.

“What we need now is full-fledged engagement with Iran,” he said. “All options are on the table, but we should be striving to bridge the gulf of almost 30 years of hostility before, and only when all else fails should there be any consideration of other options.”

“Only someone who never wore the uniform or thought seriously about national security would make threats at this point,” Clark said. “What our soldiers need is responsible strategy, not a further escalation of tensions in the region. Sen. Lieberman has to act much more responsibly and tone down his threat machine.”

In his comments, Lieberman said, “If (the Iranians) don’t play by the rules, we’ve got to use our force, and to me, that would include taking military action to stop them from doing what they’re doing.”

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