Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Wesley Clark 
UPDATE: OMG!!!! I've been Insta-lanched!!

(Liberal character assassination and gentle but misguided warnings about the UCMJ to commence in 3...2...1...)

Now that former General Wesley Clark is trying to reassert himself on the public stage, I think it's worthwhile to take a brief look at the man.

Like Westmoreland, by all accounts he was a stellar junior officer, and had tremendous success at his middle management jobs as Battalion Commander, etc.

But remember, after Kosovo, he was all but relieved of his command by President Clinton, who made him an offer he couldn't refuse:

Retire three months early.

Anyone who didn't see that as a public rebuke just short of the level of firing MacArthur just wasn't paying attention.

I mean, despite what the half-wits at Counterpunch, the Kerry campaign, and Paul Begala said, even the SAINTED General Shinseki served out his full term!

You can also ask those who knew him, like former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Shelton:

"I've known Wes for a long time. I will tell you the reason he came out of Europe early had to do with integrity and character issues, things that are very near and dear to my heart. I'm not going to say whether I'm a Republican or a Democrat. I'll just say Wes won't get my vote."

No wonder he gets along so well with the Media Matters crowd: Birds of a feather flock together.

Update II: The Castle of Argghhh! has an insider's view of Clark's tenure during the Kosovo campaign:

Having seen Wes' conduct of the war in Kosovo (as the senior USAF officer attached to V Corps in Albania) up close, the Shelton characterization didn't surprise me.

For the blue suiters, especially the planners in the CAOC at Vicenza, there seemed to be great deal of pressure to introduce an Army aviation unit into the conflict when the latter clearly wasn't ready and their contribution would have had little effect on the fight. The same thing was happening, sort of, with the Corps' MLRS batteries.

That's not to say the Apaches and their crews weren't capable...it just didn't make sense to roll them into the equation given the ROE limitations, the targets, the intel available and the AH-64's capabilities and vulnerabilities. Again, the 11 AVN Rgmt is chock full of great Americans, with balls the size of pickle jars, flying awesome aircraft but sometimes you gotta square peg and a round hole and it doesn't pay to needlessly pound away--it wastes assets and can really screw things up.

Honestly, I agree. Helicopters get downed too often and too easily to use them in a conflict where you cannot get a QRF (Quick Reaction Force) to the site of a crash pronto. Trying to force helicopters into the Kosovo fight over ground we were not willing to physically occupy was a really f'd up course of action from a risk/reward perspective.

Splash, out


Labels: ,

Geeeminy crickets! Wes Clark gets canned by Bill Clinton (of all people) for character and integrity issues! The dude must have some real problems, because Bill had no personal standards to judge him by.
Be very careful here...Disrespect to a senior officer is still a court martial offence.
Clark has just demanded Limbaugh be removed from Armed Forces Radio.

What a pratt.
President Clinton had on staff a gang of shysters whose entire job was to impugn his political opponents for character and integrity issues. These legal geniuses may have had his ear when it came time for him to judge Wesley Clark - we don't have enough info to know.

At any rate, I wouldn't hold up Bill Clinton as a paragon of moral judgements - and myself judging from Clinton's record of evading the military and his political bias against it, any animus he may have had against Wesley Clark may have rested on pretty sordid foundations.
GWB just dumped Peter Pace.

If we're going to hold someone accountable for getting dumped, I think we need to consider all of them.

Wes Clark is a DHIMMIcRAT. That is enough of a commentary on his character for me. But, getting fired as a general officer doesn't factor in. See my comment about Peter Pace.

Note that Wes and Bill are civilians now. The honorifics "General" and "President" have no force in law.
"he came out of Europe early had to do with integrity and character issues"

I was a criminal investigator with the USAF for 24 years.

"Integrity and character issues"

is "G.I. speak" for several violations of the UCMJ including sexual harassment, sexual assault, embezzlement, lying to a superior, malfeasance, etc.

With General Officers it almost always involves sexual misconduct short of physical/sexual assault.

Assaults (of any kind) can’t be resolved by forcing the General into early retirement, that usually requires judicial resolution.

I'm guessing he was involved in an inappropriate sexual affair with a woman other than his wife, possibly with a subordinate.

Most General Officers I’ve known are honorable gentlemen and women and react quite forcibly when confronted with inappropriate behavior by another General. I won’t go so far as to opine that the reason he dropped out of his bid for president was a fear that Shelton would have gone public with the reason why he was forced to retire but there is still a story there that we haven’t heard yet.

I suspect that any other attempt to get into an elective office will finally smoke out that secret.

Jim in Texas, CMSGT USAF ret

Being forced to resign a commission and not being renominated to chair JCS (because of the surety of a bruising confirmation fight) are not the same. Pace will resign on schedule, not early.

Apples & Oranges.
real question is, how much of his career was spent as a Washington hack in the Pentagon.
Let me promptly distance myself and this blog from Jim in Texas's remarks here.

While what he says has some truth to it, in the broad sense, it's still speculative when applied to Clark's case.

Shelton had the opportunity, later, to clarify his remarks, as well, and made no mention of anything other than a sense he didn't get "the full story" from Clark as NATO commander, and that Clark had a reputation of going behind the Chief's back and dealing directly with other agencies - a sure way of ruffling Pentagon feathers.

Absent further information, I'm not ready to speculate on anything beyond that.
It is clear that John Edwards used Hugh Shelton to attack General Clark's character, both the original character and integrity remark and a follow up package for The New Yorker Magazine, which was just a huff and puff by Shelton about a bruised ego when The Secretary General of NATO relayed information to State.

Supreme Allied Commander Europe is a dual chain of Command. The position reports to the Secretary of Defense (At the time Republican Bill Cohen) with the Commander in Chief European Command (Not to the Chariman of the joint chiefs, as has been misstated) and the SACEUR position reports to the Secretary General of NATO (At the time Javier Solana)

Many times message traffic with General Clark's name on it would go directly to the State Department, and the Pentagon folks would feel they were being undermined or that things were being done behind their back. Since this was a critical time for NATO and the Balkans were conflicts that the Pentagon would rather not have gotten involved in, normal message traffic became perceived challenges to authority, and some levels of animosity ensued toward General Clark. For instance, The Air Force wanted to "Shock and Awe" Belgrade. General Clark first didn't agree with that but more importantly knew that there was no way it could be approved by NATO (All member countries have a say in operational conduct) and so he dropped the plan right away. They really didn't appreciate that. They like their "Shock and awe". Ultimately, as General Clark could have predicted from day one, gradual intensification was the model chosen to proceed, with breaks in between for air to negotiate settlement.

I highly recommend "Waging Modern War" for a more detailed description of many of the frustrations the General Clark faced regarding the Balkans. Then go read some of the horror stories of the folks that live there, then go read some of the stories of the survivors who are home now and LOVE General Clark. (They named a street after him.. It's a predominantly Muslim country)

The other part was what you probably already know as the "Up or Out" policy for officers. Ralston was to be General Clark's replacement and as his term as Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs was up, he had 60 days to take on the new position or be retired. SACEUR was the only position that Ralston would have stayed in uniform for.

Do a little research before you attack one of the most highly decorated officer since Ike.
The "Anonymous 3:56" post sounds exactly like the kind of vague message that Clark's highly paid PR rep would write.
I have to assume that "Waging Modern War" is Clark's autobiographical salute to, well, Clark.
I don't know much about Clark's record. But, he is an Arkie and worked for Willie and Hillie and that is MORE than enough to take any good word about him cum grano salis.
Clark = Choppers Lacking Anywhere 'Round Kosovo.
There's a lot of info on Clark with links to news articles, commentary, etc.here- http://www.zpub.com/un/clark.html
I somewhat remembered an incident with the Russians over occupying an airport that could have been very serious, googled and found the link. Also, articles from CNN, the BBC and The Nation for just a few. Nothing was favorable.
Anonymous : 3:56 PM is entitled to post his opinion on Clark, but he should do a little research himself. SACEUR does not report directly to the NATO Secretary General (SECGEN). Allied Command Europe (ACE), of which Clark was in command, receives strategic guidance from the NATO Military Committee. The Military Committee consists of the military Chiefs of Staff of member nations (the CJCS in the case of the USA) and is the highest military authority in NATO. The Military Committe provides strategic advice to the North Atlantic Council (NAC), over which the SECGEN presides. The NAC consists of the Foreign Ministers of member nations (or the Secretary of State in the case of the USA). It provides strategic guidance to the Military Committee.

Thus, with the NAC over the Military Committee, NATO is a political-military alliance, not a military-political alliance. The difference is unsubtle and important. In this case, neither the SECGEN himself nor the NAC as a body directly provided guidance to GEN Clark, and he didn't report to him.
At any rate, if Shelton is being truthful, that pretty much falsifies the idea that finding a job for Adm. Ralston was the only reason that Clark was retired early, no?

3:56 makes a game attempt, but does not address this point. 3:56, if you're still reading, are you stating that Shelton was lying about there being character issues with Clark? If not, how would you know? And are you are going to argue that Shelton was lying, are you willing to identify yourself?
Without any opinions offered, I mention this tidbit:

First time I heard about the man was reading the book "Inside the Pentagon", where MGEN Smith (USAF, ret.) says something to the effect of "For an example of how not to work with the Pentagon, see General Clark's book."

That kind of strong language in public is rare among the GO/FOs in my limited experience around them.
Phooey. 11:54 is me.
Hey, what are all these other fellers doing commenting here?

Nice 'lanche. I've always like your work...nice you're getting some deserved attention.

Keep it up.
Shelton has a great deal of merit since he was a consultant for Edwards at the same time he was trying to drag Clark down. Ask the millions of Albanians who had their their relatives saved and Clark will be at the forefront as a savior. Today he is the most outspoken supporter of our fighting men,including our former and present veterans.
It isn't the character of the president we are talking about; it is the action of Gen. Clark and why he was told to scoot.

Let's face it; he got an endorsement from Madonna. Need I say more?
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