Wes Clark on the Iraq War

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.

May 30, 2007

“There’s no magic bullet solution”

Filed under: Budget, Strategy, Troops & Vets, Withdrawal — faithinwes @ 10:09 pm

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: But, you know… sometimes politics doesn’t work. Iraq is one of these issues where politics doesn’t quite work. Take the case of the original legislation that Congress sent to the President, you know the one he vetoed.

Alan Colmes: Yes.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: There were actually three big loopholes about the withdrawal. He didn’t have to withdraw troops that were fighting al Qaeda, he didn’t have to withdraw troops that were training the Iraqis and you didn’t have to withdraw troops who were protecting the troops fighting al Qaeda and training Iraqis. Those are huge loopholes. Nobody knows who’s doing what over there. You could have ended up with 150,000 troops left.

Alan Colmes: Even with that legislation, with the benchmarks, with the date certain?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Absolutely. All you had to do… none of that stuff applied to training or fighting al Qaeda.

Alan Colmes: And yet the administration kept saying “if you vote against the supplemental, you’ve voting against the troops.’

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Sure.

Alan Colmes: You got the impression that they weren’t going to have bullets in their guns.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Sure, but the truth was the Democrats didn’t say “there’s huge loopholes and even after we do this, these troops are going to be left there.’ Neither side did it. It got simplified in politics and this is the danger. The truth about Iraq is that we’re going to be there for a while, maybe not in the same strength we’re in now, I hope not. And hopefully, you know, we’ll get the fighting calmed down and I don’t think the military’s the solution – it’s just part of the solution, but…

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: … but, there’s no magic bullet solution and no matter who comes into office it’s going to be a huge problem because… here’s the problem, Alan – we’ve been talking about troops and tactics and we should have been talking as a nation about strategy and policies.

Alan Colmes: Yeah, yeah.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Not the troops and the tactics.

Alan Colmes: What would you have done if you were in the Senate, though? Would you have voted against or for the supplemental?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Oh, I’d have had to vote against it.

Alan Colmes: You would have voted against it?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Absolutely.

Alan Colmes: Then, of course you have the other side saying “see, you don’t care about the troops.”

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I know that.

Alan Colmes: You can’t say that to Wesley Clark.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: It’s not about the troops, it’s about the strategy. You’ve got to fix the strategy.

Alan Colmes: What do you think of Petraeus?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I like him. I think he’s great. Look, think of it this way with Petraeus. You’re… you’re a football player; and you’re on the bench and you played well on the junior varsity but now you’re ready… you’d like to be the quarterback but no one’s put you in. And suddenly the coach comes over, there’s 10 minutes left in the game, you’re behind by 20 points, it’s pouring down rain, the other side are like monsters, your offensive line is crumbling, the fans are leaving and the coach says to you, “kid, I want you to go in there and win this game” he says, “and don’t worry about how bad you run up the score, beat them 50 to nothing.” What are you going to say? “Coach, let’s do it.’ You’re going to go in, but you’re not going to say “uh, coach… I, uh… it’s hard to throw passes in this kind of weather and uh, you know, we really need some more emotional lift from the fans and, uh, I’m not sure we had the practice for me being quarterback this week and so I’m gonna do my best but I’ll be the first one to tell ya when it can’t be done.’ I mean, you don’t do that.

Alan Colmes: Uh huh. Yeah, yeah.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Petraeus’s mission is to succeed. And…

Alan Colmes: They haven’t defined what “succeed’ is. They haven’t told us what success really is, we don’t understand… at least I don’t, the American…

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, get off Petraeus for that.

Alan Colmes: No, I understand.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Get on the administration.

Alan Colmes: Exactly. The administration has to define for the American people what success is, other than have the President say “we’ve got to win… victory, victory, victory.’ Well, what is victory?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Petraeus would tell you victory is reducing the violence, bringing about a political solution and being able to cut down the numbers of troops that are there by some substantial number. That’s what he’ll be trying to do. The administration won’t quite articulate it that way because… this is what I’m saying, the politics don’t work. But they don’t work on either side, Alan.

Alan Colmes: Yeah.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I mean, people don’t want to hear the fact that we’re in a real mess in Iraq, no matter who’s president. It’s not a matter of sort of saying “okay, get me 10,000 trucks, I want that stuff loaded out by 06:00. Line the troops up, we’re leaving.’ I mean, that’s not going to happen.

Alan Colmes: What can you do then? What could a President do? What could General Clark do if you were in that position?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, I’d really be working the diplomacy with Iran and Syria. I’d be trying to change the vision of what people have in the region. And then I’d carry a trick bag into the Iranians and say “here’s my tricks – I can put more troops in, I can put “em right up on your border… I can, I can be worse to you or I can be better. We could even go so far as to recognize you. We can give you economic development assistance. We could even let Chevron Oil fix your whole energy sector so you’re not running out of energy.’ And, um… all that can happen. We just have to have a different understanding of what’s going to happen in the region. And I think if you change the nature of the dialogue, you won’t… you won’t succeed right away but I think it’s the only way you can begin to lay the conditions for success.

Alan Colmes: You hear some of the neocons talking almost as though frothing at the mouth, almost as if war with Iran is inevitable and that’s the only way we can keep them in line and protect Israel for example.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, there are some people who think that. I think that would be… right now, I haven’t taken the use of force off the table, but I think that we’re a long, long way from thinking about that, wanting to do it. It doesn’t look like the best solution to me and uh, you know you’ve got to talk to people.

Alan Colmes: Yeah. We’re talking to General Wesley Clark. A few more moments with the General. It’s 877-for-Alan, 877-467-2526. My opening question having to do with a run for president and you said you haven’t decided not to. So, is the door open still in ’08 for you to jump in?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, I just… I’d like to leave it just the way I said it, Alan.

Alan Colmes:

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I haven’t decided not to run.

Alan Colmes: Really? It’s my job to coax you a little further, though along those lines.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well you can try. I’m pretty good at maintaining this position.

Alan Colmes: I’m sure. Among the candidates now, is there any one you favor?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I like them all. I think there’s some great people in the race. I think there’s some tremendous talent out there and um, and you know I think that the American people are going to have some real opportunities to express their views. But…

Alan Colmes: You…

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: … but, but this election is going to be about international affairs and national security, whether we want it to be or not. That’s what it’s going to be about because this problem is not going to go away. No matter… I’ve seen… President Bush says “ah maybe there’s someone thinking about withdrawing troops.” Believe me, they can start withdrawing troops in September. A year from now… unless… I don’t know… unless something really amazing happens we’re still going to have this problem.

Alan Colmes: So you’re saying whatever happens, we’re still probably going to wind up with a sizable force in Iraq for how long?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: It really depends on the leadership of the administration. Could be a few months after 2009, could be years after 2009. It… it could come down substantially before 2009.

Alan Colmes: What would have to happen…

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I’d be surprised if it does with this administration.

Alan Colmes: What would have to happen to get the troops home?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I think you’ve got to really put some horsepower into working the Iraqi faction problem and look, there’s not a government. Let’s be clear about what’s there. There are some people who have been elected, they’ve collected signatures, they got votes, they’ve got parties, but it’s not a government. It doesn’t provide services for people. It’s basically their trying to divvy up authority and power among various factions.

Alan Colmes: What makes us think we can have any sway over what happens over there governmentally?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, it depends on how much resource we’re willing to put into it and, you know, how effective we are as interlocutors. Right now, we’ve basically tried to dodge the problem for four years. We have from the beginning said “oh, let’s have a formulaic solution, give them purple fingers, let them vote and in the meanwhile, you know, we’ll try and win it with the military.’ We never built the civilian side of this thing up the way we could have to do the job with the civilians.

Alan Colmes radio show, 5/30/07
http://securingamerica.com/node/2446

March 1, 2007

The Levin Amendment reprised

Filed under: Iraq War Resolution (IWR), Levin Amendment — faithinwes @ 8:22 pm

The Senate’s Forgotten Iraq Choice

By LINCOLN D. CHAFEE

Providence, R.I.

AS the presidential primary campaigns begin in earnest, the Iraq war is overshadowing all other issues, as it did during the midterm elections. Presidential candidates who were in the Senate in October 2002 are particularly under the microscope, as they are being called upon to justify their votes for going to war.

As someone who was in the Senate at the time, I have been struck by the contours of the debate. The situation facing the candidates who cast war votes has, to my surprise, often been presented as a binary one — they could either vote for the war, or not. There was no middle ground.

On the contrary. There was indeed a third way, which Senator James Jeffords, independent of Vermont, hailed at the time as “one of the most important votes we will cast in this process.” And it was opposed by every single senator at the time who now seeks higher office.

A mere 10 hours before the roll was called on the administration-backed Iraq war resolution, the Senate had an opportunity to prevent the current catastrophe in Iraq and to salvage the United States’ international standing. Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, offered a substitute to the war resolution, the Multilateral Use of Force Authorization Act of 2002.

-more

New York Times, 3/1/07

February 17, 2007

“We want people to take a stand”

Filed under: Congress, Interviews, Military Commentator — faithinwes @ 3:18 pm

Fox Big News Weekend 2/17/07

Julie Banderas:  Alright, let’s talk about today’s resolution. Yesterday the House votes then today the Senate votes.  Basically you know the Democrats are trying to express their discontent with the President’s war plan.  Many Republicans are even crossing the aisle with them, but nonetheless, it almost seems that yesterday and today made no difference because it seems we’re nowhere further than we were a week ago.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK:  Well I think that what you got is a sense of the Congress.  Both houses of Congress – the United States House of Representatives and the Senate voted against the concept of the President’s surge.  I think that’s very significant.  That reflects the results of the election.  That’s what the American people asked Congress to do.  The election was a referendum on the war and the American people were unhappy, didn’t feel it was going well; Congress is reflecting their opinions so I think it’s significant.

Julie Banderas:  Okay.  And…and uh, Hillary today, among many other politicians had to kind of stop her schedule and go to DC to make this vote.  Do you think it was all worth it, before I let you go?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK:  I think it’s important that our elected representatives get on record for what they stand for.  I think this question of Iraq is going to be with us for a long time, we’ve invested a lot of lives and treasure in this and we want to succeed but we want people to take a stand.

Securing America

February 2, 2007

“National Security policy is first and foremost the responsibility of the administration”

Filed under: Congress, Interviews, Military Commentator, Military Force, Strategy — faithinwes @ 3:26 pm

Fox News 2/2/07

WES CLARK: Some of the war’s staunchest supporters are admitting they were wrong. And others now call for poll-tested positions. I speak to you today as the only person who will take this podium before you to actually have done the things we need to succeed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and throughout the world.

Jamie Colby: General Wesley Clark addressing Democrats about political divisions on Iraq and the need for strong leadership. Addressing Democrats at their winter meeting. Foreign policy front and center in the campaign. Joining us now for more on today’s DNC meeting General Wesley Clark. Thanks for being with us General.

WES CLARK: Thank you. It’s good to be with you.

Jamie Colby: You talked about your experience and the fact that you understand how things work in Afghanistan and in Iraq. So would you have ideas you would want to put in place as President?

WES CLARK: Absolutely. Immediately. You see to win in these countries you have to build a whole foundation around the military forces that we’ve committed. It’s not enough to rely on great generals and great soldiers or marines. You’ve got to have the right diplomacy. You’ve got to be able to help governments meet the needs of their people. Sometimes you even have to mediate between quarreling governments in the region. And, actually what’s happened so much in this region over the last five years is that we have relied on our military but we haven’t done the rest of the government actions that need to be done. We haven’t had the strong diplomacy. We haven’t created the means to help the ministries work in these countries and bring government services to people. We haven’t really effected people’s lives in a positive sense and after a while the military impact of our soldiers just wears off.

-snip

Jamie Colby: Yes sir. Today you met with Democratic leaders in an exchange of ideas there. A number of people speaking including yourself. When you think of the Iraq Resolutions, I wanted to ask you why the Democrats have not necessarily gotten behind them. There is some division among the party, is there not?

WES CLARK: I think, many of the Republicans and all of the Democrats are looking for a way to continue to support the troops, but to force the president’s hand so that he gives us a strategy that will bring us success in this mission. Some people believe that a non-binding resolution is the right way to start. Other people believe that more has to be done to put the cards on the table with enough strength to get the president’s attention. But, there should be no mistake about it. National Security policy is first and foremost the responsibility of the administration to propose, and develop, and of course, to execute. In this case, the Congress is very involved in it because that’s the will of the American people. The elections in November were a rejection of the president’s leadership. And especially his leadership in Iraq. He’s come back to the Congress and said more of the same. So there’s a lot of anxiety to change that.

Securing America

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 

May 2, 2006

“I went to several Senators, including I think a couple who later ran for office”

Al Franken: And it’s, it’s one thing for somebody who voted for this war saying, you know, ‘You have to assume the President’s telling the truth. You can’t assume a President is lying.’ But then on the other hand, the American people want someone who’s a better BS detector than they are. And, and you know, I think I would have voted for the use of force, because I would’ve believed, I believed Colin Powell. I didn’t have any reason to think that I couldn’t believe Colin Powell. I didn’t have a reason to believe that the administration would be misleading us, and they did.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, I didn’t, I didn’t believe it because I went through the Pentagon a few days after 9/11, and the Generals in the Pentagon told me, “Hey sir,” they said, “ These guys have made the decision to invade Iraq.”

Al Franken: Right.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: This was like, the 20th of September. I said, “They have.” He said, “Oh, yes sir. They’ve already decided.” I went back a couple of months later, and said, “Are they still going to invade Iraq?” This is like, November. Said, “Oh, yes sir. In fact there’s even a plan to- After they finish with Iraq, they’re going to take on Syria and Lebanon. Eventually they’re going to end up in Iran.” This is a whole five-year campaign plan to go from country to country kicking out dictators and taking over and imposing Democracy.

Al Franken: Now I know you’re a Four-Star General, and, and so the guys at the Pentagon would say, “Sir, they’re planning (laughs) to invade Iraq. But how did, how did the Senators on the Intelligence Committee not hear that?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, a lot of them did, because I told a lot of them.

Al Franken: Uh huh. And, and, and did, did they believe you. I mean non-

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: They may have believed me, but you know, there’s a lot of different shades of truth in Washington. And it’s, I mean, I told people about the five-year plan, and people would say, ‘Well you know, yeah, there may be somebody who wrote that, but maybe they won’t do that.’

Al Franken: Right, right, right.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: ‘You know, we’ve got politics to worry about. Can we afford to be on the wrong side of President Bush on this.

Al Franken: Mm hm.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: He’s going to turn the American people against us. Look what happened in 1990.’

Al Franken: Okay, but that’s not, that’s. I understand why. Yeah, anybody who voted against the first Gulf War was, was, was not considered to be on the ticket.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Exactly.

Al Franken: For example.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Exactly.

Al Franken: And so that’s, that can- But that’s not leadership. Is it?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well you know, when you’re in politics, especially if you’re a lifelong politician, you have to make sure you’re also representing the people who follow you. So, there’s a combination of leading and following that’s involved in that. Even the President is, to some extent, a representative of the American people. He’s certainly not the king. He doesn’t dictate. I know he said he’s the decider, but-

Al Franken: (laughs) Yeah.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: But (laughs) in fact, he is supposed to be the Chief Executive Officer representing the American people.

Al Franken: Yeah, I, I, I know, I know, but I’m saying that these Senators- there is a certain point – and boy, at the point when you’re voting to go to war or not – and they didn’t- You know, in fairness I guess, they were told they were voting for peace. They, they were told they were voting so that, that we could go to the UN and, and make the convincing argument to the UN that we would be willing to go into Iraq unilaterally. Therefore, we would have the, the leverage to get the inspectors in.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK
: Well, you know, I went to several Senators, including I think a couple who later ran for office, and, for the Presidency. I said, “Don’t believe him.” (laughs) “He’s made up his mind to go to war. Don’t give him a blank check.”

Al Franken: Mm Hm.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: But they gave him a blank check. I said it on CNN, “You can’t give him a blank check.” And I said it in the testimony that you have to make sure that there’s a resolution. It’s got to be a broad resolution so we can go to the United Nations, but it doesn’t and shouldn’t be a blank check.

Al Franken Show/Air America 5/2/06

April 20, 2006

Ted Kennedy: Those who “served in combat were universally opposed to going”

Filed under: Congress, Iraq War Resolution (IWR) — faithinwes @ 3:56 pm

KING: Why did you vote against?

KENNEDY: Well, I’m on the Armed Services Committee and I was inclined to support the administration when we started the hearings in the Armed Services Committee. And, it was enormously interesting to me that those that had been — that were in the armed forces that had served in combat were universally opposed to going.

I mean we had Wes Clark testify in opposition to going to war at that time. You had General Zinni. You had General (INAUDIBLE). You had General Nash. You had the series of different military officials, a number of whom had been involved in the Gulf I War, others involved in Kosovo and had distinguished records in Vietnam, battle-hardened combat military figures. And, virtually all of them said no, this is not going to work and they virtually identified…

KING: And that’s what moved you?

KENNEDY: And that really was — influenced me to the greatest degree.

Larry King Live,  April 20, 2006

June 26, 2005

Clark and Iraq war resolution

Which Iraq war resolution in the Senate did Clark say he supported? There were five that were proposed: the one that passed 75-25, proposed by Lieberman; the Byrd amendment that would provide a termination date for the use of force authorization, which failed 31-66; the second Byrd amendment that would limit Bush’s authority to Iraq (the Lieberman version mentions a number of terrorist organizations that force was also authorized against), which failed 14-86; the Levin amendment that would limit the authority to destroying or removing WMDs and require a new UN Security Council resolution, which failed 24-75; and the Durbin amendment that would limit the authority to any imminent threat posed by Iraqi WMDs not a continuing threat, which failed 30-70 (see a discussion of these amendments (Google cache)).

Levin’s speech cited the testimony of Clark, along with Generals Shalikashvili and Hoar in favor of UNSC resolutions.

Here’s what Clark had to say about which resolution he supported:

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.

The only amendment or resolution that mentioned the UN was the Levin amendment. He also mentions it by name in this video.

More in general on Clark’s Iraq war stance here.

Clark Blog, June 26, 2005

January 22, 2004

Clark’s congressional testimony “helped crystallize our thinking”

At least some members of Congress say they were swayed by Clark’s nuanced critique before the war. Democratic Representatives Vic Snyder of Arkansas and John Spratt of South Carolina, in a statement provided to the Globe, said Clark’s congressional testimony “helped crystallize our thinking” on an alternative war resolution in the fall of 2002 that would have authorized military action but only with approval from the United Nations or Congress. The resolution failed.

Clark explained the discrepancy in an interview with the Globe this week. He said that when he spoke to Congress, appeared on CNN, and wrote for the Times of London, he held his true feelings back, hamstrung by constraints that ranged from the limitations on his TV contract to a reluctance to criticize Americans in a foreign paper to his efforts to influence Congress with measured speech. Clark also said the post-war absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq further hardened his views.

On the campaign trail, he said, “I’m not testifying in front of Congress. I’m in front of a crowd of people, and they’re pretty angry at the fact that their sons and daughters and their husbands and wives and their families have been sent abroad, disrupted, caused them terrible hardship, and they’re serving in Iraq in a war we didn’t have to fight.”

Clark’s drive for the presidency is in large part fueled by his extensive military resume. Many antiwar voters view him as uniquely qualifed to question Bush’s Iraq policy. And he has evolved into a fervently antiwar candidate, often shouting denunciations of Bush and hinting at conspiracies behind the war.

These days, Clark seems hard-pressed to find any rational explanation for invading Iraq. Asked why the administration would have wanted to, Clark shrugged and said Congress should investigate the White House to produce an answer. He said he had heard “speculation” that the Iraq war had “all been cooked up and passed through to make the president look strong and commanding in front of the American people.”

Boston Globe,  1/22/2004

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