Wes Clark on the Iraq War

June 9, 2006

“We had a full-court press on against Al Qaeda”

Filed under: 9.11, Intelligence, Interviews, Terrorism — faithinwes @ 9:29 pm

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: ‘This- Go back to our view.’ See, they, they, they didn’t want to learn. So, when they came to office- And here’s, here’s a point I want to leave you all with and, and focus on. Look, we knew Osama Bin Laden was a threat. I mean, my troops in Europe were on alert from August on, after those bombings in, in Tanzania and Kenya-

Ben Mankiewicz: Right.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: -in 1998. We knew that was coming from Al Qaeda. We had a full-court press on against Al Qaeda. Probably should have done more than we did, but we did send Tomahawk missiles in there. I wasn’t in on the planning of that. I don’t know what the considerations were. It wasn’t, you know, my responsibility, and I couldn’t get access to it, but that’s the way it works in the military chain of command. You can’t do everything, but we sure knew about Osama Bin Laden. And we talked to the administration.

My friend Richard Clarke talked very clearly to Condeleeza and others, so did Sandy Berger when there was a transition period and after the 25th of Januray of 2001. And they chose to ignore the advice, the information, and the plans they were given.

They chose to ignore it, because it came from an administration that they didn’t respect. And that ignorance, to my view, constitutes command negligence by the President of the United States for failing to organize our government to take action on the intelligence and warnings we received about a potential threat to the United States that resulted in 9/11.

Cen Uygur: See, I don’t-

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: That’s, that’s the flaw. The Iraq war is a coverup of the failure that lead to 9/11.

Young Turks radio show 6/9/06

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March 5, 2006

Evidence of misuse of intelligence clear to Clark

Filed under: 9.11, Intelligence, Interviews, Investigations — faithinwes @ 3:05 pm

The site Patriots Question 9/11 lists General Clark  in its section, “Senior Military, Intelligence, Law Enforcement, and Government Critics of 9/11 Commission Report

General Wesley Clark, U.S. Army (ret) – Former Commanding General of U.S. European Command, which included all American military activities in the 89 countries and territories of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.  Additionally, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), which granted him overall command of NATO military forces in Europe 1997 – 2001.  Awarded Bronze Star, Silver Star, and Purple Heart for his service in Viet Nam and numerous subsequent medals and citations.  Graduated valedictorian of his class at West Point. 

  • Video interview ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos 3/5/06 (at 1:57 of the segment) : “We’ve never finished the investigation of 9/11 and whether the administration actually misused the intelligence information it had.  The evidence seems pretty clear to me.  I’ve seen that for a long time.” http://www.youtube.com
  • Bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wesley_Clark

January 25, 2004

Clark accuses Cheney of putting politics before security

Filed under: 9.11, Intelligence, Investigations, Terrorism — faithinwes @ 7:19 pm

Clark, former supreme allied commander of NATO, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” that by endorsing the Weekly Standard article, Cheney was essentially confirming the contents of leaked classified documents.

“Now, the standard rule on anything like this is, never to confirm it because if you confirm something like this, you’re giving away maybe sources and methods,” Clark said.

“The vice president said that that was the best explanation for the connection between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. So he’s essentially using a leaked memo to confirm his predisposition to believe that Saddam had something to do with 9/11. That’s playing politics with national security. It risks our intelligence community, our sources and methods; it’s wrong.”

Clark’s senior foreign policy adviser, James Rubin, a former assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration, said Clark was calling for an investigation by the White House legal counsel into Cheney’s statements to the Rocky Mountain News.

“The president should call the vice president on the carpet and ask him why he was confirming a highly classified document in public and ask his legal department to see if any damage was done and what the appropriate response for government should be,” Rubin said.

-snip

Source: Scripps Howard News Service 1/25/04

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

September 23, 2002

“Apparently there is no smoking gun evidence”

Filed under: Intelligence, Interviews, Iraq War Resolution (IWR), WMD — faithinwes @ 4:29 pm

Rose: General Wesley Clark is here. From 1997-2000 he was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe. He led the NATO campaign in Kosovo in 1999. In the updated version of his book “Waging Modern War” he writes about the lessons of Kosovo and the challenges of the military in the post Cold War era and the war on terrorism. I am pleased to have you at this table. Welcome. Great to have you here.

I want to come to this book in a minute, but you, a military man, seem to be urging the President to go slow and not…and to be sure that they have evidence that Saddam has nuclear capabilities or.. or weapons of mass destruction. Too, don’t do it without NATO and don’t do it without the UN.

Clark: Well I am on that side of these issues because well for a lot of reasons, and I think fundamentally it’s a strategic issue for the United States. In other words, what is the greatest threat that we face and what’s the best way to come to terms with it? I think that the greatest threat is still Al Qaida.

We don’t know where Osama bin Ladin is and we don’t really have a good system for combating terrorism. Look, we walloped the Taliban and we know now that most of Al Qaida boogied out of there. Somehow they got over the mountains, they slipped back into Afghanistan and we’re still pursuing them. We know the finances have moved all around through uh Iran…

Rose: Sudan

Clark: and now they’re in Sudan apparently with gold. So I mean there are a lot of things about Al Qaida we don’t know how to beat yet but we’re…we’re very good at using our military power. The problem is that when you use military power, you make mistakes and you create enemies, and you end up then bogged in another situation. So keeping in mind strategic priorities- focus on Al Qaeda. Then, if necessary, you go after Saddam Hussein or his weapons of mass destruction capability. I think it’s high time we force Saddam Hussein to comply with the UN Security Council resolutions. But, in doing that, as always, the use of force should be a last resort, and you should use force only when you have to. We’re just, as far as I can see from the information available, not there yet.

Rose: Have you seen everything everybody else sees, you think?

Clark: No, and the thing I learned in the government was you never know what you don’t know. But…it…. Apparently there is no smoking gun evidence. There’s no indication at this moment that he’s about to (clasps hands) put the nuclear components together, stick them on top of one of his remaining SCUD missiles, and point it in the direction of Israel (unintelligible). And, he’s been trying to develop nuclear weapons for a long time. You know, the CIA said that he was about to get nukes in 6 months. Well that was 1991 and apparently it’s harder to get highly enriched uranium than we think. We’re pretty good at controlling that stuff.

Rose: And the administration seems to worry about the fact that if we wake up and he has them, then it may be too late because he may then use them in blackmail.

Clark: Well I think…..

Rose: So how do you go into that blue-gray area?

Clark: It’s a significant concern and if he has nuclear weapons, it definitely changes the political calculus for the United States and the countries in the region. It’s not just the nuclear blackmail, but what it really does is make it much more difficult for the United States to use its military power in the region, because it means we’re vulnerable to being struck.

He might or might not use these weapons. We don’t know whether we can deter Saddam Hussein or not. But I think everybody agrees that it’s much preferable to stop him before he gets the nuclear weapons.

Rose: Do you believe he would use them based off of what you know and what intelligence you had about him in your prior life? That he would use them in the first strike knowing that it would mean assured destruction of him and the Iraqi people?

Clark: Well I would say not. I would say unlikely. He’s calculating, he’s cunning, he’s a man dedicated to his own survival but there is about him a certain irrational ability- a certain messianic streak that’s reported by people who’ve followed his behavior for years. And you can’t rule out the possibility that he might just that thinking that he was going down or that it was the end of his life or whatever, or that the appointed hour had arrived that he might try to do something dramatic to bring the region to catastrophe.

Charlie Rose, September 23, 2002

September 9, 2002

Before Iraq: Strengthen allies, weaken al-Qaeda by Wesley K. Clark

As the Bush administration raises prospects of war with Iraq, USA TODAY asked experts to explore critical military, diplomatic and political factors involved and the possible consequences. This is part of that occasional series.

Saddam Hussein is a cunning, stubborn opponent, as I well know. As commander of U.S. forces in Europe in the late 1990s, I watched Iraqi forces violate the “no fly zone” and defy United Nations inspection teams. He is the kind of leader who starts wars, as when he invaded Kuwait in 1990 and then struck Israel with SCUD missiles. He has a strong streak of irrationality, and, apparently, a messianic complex.

If Saddam had the SCUD missiles armed with nuclear warheads that he wants, the Middle East would face terrible new risks. He might strike at Israel or go after another neighboring state, holding his missiles as a second-strike deterrent. Or Israel might launch preventive strikes. We must act to prevent this kind of war.

The president will address the United Nations on Thursday. This is an appropriate journey. But is the administration asserting that we should start a war now to prevent one later? Rushing too quickly to invade Iraq presents greater problems now than Saddam does.

Saddam has been seeking nuclear weapons for more than 20 years. In 1991, the CIA said he was within six months of having a nuclear weapon. The latest information says he has tried in recent months to acquire aluminum rods necessary to enrich uranium. Despite all of the talk of “loose nukes,” Saddam doesn’t have any, or, apparently, the highly enriched uranium or plutonium to enable him to construct them.

Unless there is new evidence, we appear to have months, if not years, to work out this problem. And today we are still at war with al-Qaeda. These terrorists weren’t destroyed in Afghanistan, just scattered. Thousands of fighters remain, plotting their next moves. (more…)

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