Thu Jan, 15 2004
Wesley Clark Is Either A Liar Or Delusional
Writing in the Village Voice about a New Hampshire campaign moment with Wesley Clark, James Ridgeway tells us:
"People began to ask him questions: How come you got relieved of your command? Clark said he wasn't relieved, but in the interests of helping the Kosovo people, he quit his job as supreme NATO commander."Now, everybody who paid attention at the time knows exactly what happened to Wesley Clark. For anyone who didn't pay attention, however, there is this:
"Ultimately, Clark's plan was executed as NATO's first armed conflict. Serb police and military were replaced with an international security force in Kosovo, and costly ground conflict was avoided. It had been a limited war with limited means and objectives but successful coercive diplomacy nonetheless. Clark viewed it as a victory, and although initially shocked to find himself relieved and retired in the aftermath, he reflected that the warning signs had been there all along: 'Somewhere in the back of my mind I had been half expecting something. I had pushed very hard to make the strategy work in the Balkans. Almost from the start there had been frictions, and after [GEN John M.] Shalikashvili's retirement in September 1997, it had been a cool relationship with the Secretary and his team.'"If you go read that, you'll want to pay attention to footnote #36, because it's from page 409 of his own goddamned book.
In case you dodged the point, try this:
Q : General Clark -- will he be invited to come in and brief us when he gets back to Washington? And isn't this his last day today? And is he resigning as well?For anyone who doesn't know, "relieved" means fired in MilSpeak.
ADM. QUIGLEY: General Clark is retiring. This is the day that he has been relieved of command of his U.S. hat. The person that holds his position wears two hats. One is U.S. One is NATO. These are two separate ceremonies. Today's took place in Stuttgart, Germany. Tomorrow's is in Mons, Belgium, for the NATO hat. So today he has been relieved of the U.S. hat. Tomorrow it is the NATO hat. And then he will be relieved of his duties and will retire this summer.
Now, ladies and gentlemen...
Knowing good and well that all of politics is a life of lies doesn't mitigate Clark's face-front mendacity about what happened to his Army career. Some people might give him credit for insinuating his intent to walk the length and breadth of the Balkans in sack-cloth & ashes for The People like a textbook Arkie angler.
However, even if you swallow all that right bloody horseshit, it ought to hit you like a swift kick in the teeth for him to presume that he can run it like this is 1960 and none of the peons can point it out, at large. There can only be two possibilities: 1) he is so utterly delusional that not even Americans could possibly tolerate him in the White House, or; 2) he has defined the art of political lying far below craft to something under quotidian artifice.
(Credit: all of this was distilled from posts within the past ninety minutes to Ray Heizer's superb Clinton Administration Scandals mailing list, which still -- after nine years -- includes the best damned eyeballers on the internet, bar none. The stars of this show were Ray and Edward F. Immler, spendid, as usual.)
More -- Phil Carther writes:
"In a general sense, you can argue that pulling an officer out of command prematurely is a form of 'relief', and semantically, you would be right. But the problem is that in the Army, 'relief' is a term of art. AR 600-20, the Army Command Policy, defines 'relief for cause' in paragraph 2-17. Bear in mind that this policy is written for junior commanders, and it technically doesn't apply to the SACEUR position. But I quote it because it defines 'relief' as its used in the Army today."Okay: What we have here is a case where a "term of art" is important, except that it doesn't apply to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.
I get it.
Phil would have saved a lot of effort if he'd just said, "Whatever".