Wes Clark on the Iraq War

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.”

March 27, 2007

Wes Clark on “Averting the Next Gulf War”

Filed under: Diplomacy, Iran, Occupation, OpEds, Strategy — faithinwes @ 5:19 pm

The troop “surge” in Iraq is also a signal to Iran—but stopping Tehran’s nukes for good will require a different kind of leverage.

-snip

In essence, the policy issues come down to a debate over leverage—how much and what type of leverage is required for Iran to dismantle and bar the resumption of any nuclear weapons programs. The administration would argue that it currently lacks leverage, and so must continue to apply pressure and use indirect dialogue—that the Iranians are stubborn, only understand the use of force, can’t be given the impression that they are winning, and so forth. The administration seems to consider “sticks” the only form of leverage. But the truth is that the Iranians have survived almost thirty years of isolation, hostility, and war. The U.S. intervention in Iraq probably altered permanently the sectarian balance of power in the region in Iran’s favor. And whether our allies in the region appreciate Iran or not, its population of nearly 70 million people, enormous wealth of resources, and strong heritage make it a significant power. A policy of sticks alone is unlikely to persuade Iran to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The administration’s dogged pursuit of leverage by sticks, unfortunately, is too much a holdover of the tough-guy, new-sheriff attitude that landed us in the Iraq mess. But another kind of leverage—carrots—could succeed. The United States is the largest economic power in the world, and has control, or very near controlling influence, over almost every international institution of significance to the Iranians. I believe we can gain far more from Iran by dispensing some carrots—and can also apply the sticks more effectively—if we are in face-to-face dialogue. Dangling some carrots now in an unconditional dialogue with Tehran while the surge in Baghdad is only beginning could prove decisive.

What can Congress do to help? First, push the administration to support Iraq with the nonmilitary resources that are essential to progress there. Congress should hold immediate hearings to investigate why the nonmilitary elements of the administration’s strategy have failed so badly, and why the appropriate resources cannot be brought to bear. Second, add pressure on al-Maliki to convince him to take the tough measures required to settle the issues of oil revenues, federalism, and the militias. Congress should strengthen its efforts to investigate corruption inside the economic-development program, and demand stronger accounting for the Iraqi government’s and leaders’ relationships with Iran. And third, demand that the Bush administration commence an unconditional dialogue with the regional powers and each of Iraq’s neighbors immediately. This is the next sense-of-the-Congress resolution that is required.

For the United States, the possible use of force against Iran must remain on the table. But military conflict is not inevitable, and neither is Iranian nuclear weaponry. It is a matter of strategy and leadership. It’s time for the United States to stop isolating those it disagrees with, pretending that other nations have more influence, asking others to carry the burden of dialogue, and leaving our soldiers in Iraq to struggle without an adequate diplomatic strategy to reinforce their efforts. The evidence of the administration’s lack of diplomatic leadership is evident in the new agreement with North Korea, which could have been reached four years ago before the North Koreans acquired fuel for additional nuclear weapons. We cannot afford more delays with Iran while we pursue a misplaced strategy. Congress and the American people should demand that the administration step forward and lead.

By Wesley Clark | Washington Monthly, April 2007

September 5, 2006

The Neo Con: Five Years In

Filed under: 9.11, Afghanistan, Iran, Terrorism — faithinwes @ 1:52 pm

Neil Cavuto: Alright, six days to 9/11, five years since America was attacked by terrorists, proof that the nation is more secure? Depends on who you talk to. Democratic leaders out with a report called “The Neo Con”. It claims that Bush Republicans have failed in the War on Terror.
(video of Harry Reid)

Neil Cavuto: Alright, to General Wesley Clark, right now his thoughts on that, part of this report issued today. General, we haven’t been attacked almost five years. That’s not bad.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well, I, I’m delighted that we haven’t, and I hope we’ll never be attacked. The attack on 9/11 occurred on the President’s watch. He took us into a war with Iraq we didn’t have to fight. It’s been used to incentivize recruiting in Al Qaeda. The number of people who are affiliated with Al Qaeda worldwide has more than doubled since 2001. Our Armed Forces are bogged down in Iraq. We haven’t been able to effectively engage with North Korea. We’re hearing the tom-toms beating for war with Iran. I think the American people can judge. This administration’s policy has been a mistake, and he’s not made us safer. He’s left us more vulnerable.

Neil Cavuto: Let me ask you, General, the folks we’re fighting in Iraq right now, if we weren’t fighting them in Iraq right now, where would they be?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Well those, a lot of those folks who wouldn’t be fighting at all, because what we did is we incentivized a whole generation of young radical people to come and defend Islam against the United States. That’s the foreign terrorists that are there, anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 to 3,000. (more…)

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