Wes Clark Responds

Wes Clark Responds


He doesn’t apologize…

There are many important issues in this Presidential election, clearly one of the most important issues is national security and keeping the American people safe. In my opinion, protecting the American people is the most important duty of our next President. I have made comments in the past about John McCain’s service and I want to reiterate them in order be crystal clear.

As I have said before I honor John McCain’s service as a prisoner of war and a Vietnam Veteran. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in Armed Forces as a prisoner of war. I would never dishonor the service of someone who chose to wear the uniform for our nation.

John McCain is running his campaign on his experience and how his experience would benefit him and our nation as President. That experience shows courage and commitment to our country – but it doesn’t include executive experience wrestling with national policy or go-to-war decisions. And in this area his judgment has been flawed – he not only supported going into a war we didn’t have to fight in Iraq, but has time and again undervalued other, non-military elements of national power that must be used effectively to protect America.

But as an American and former military officer I will not back down if I believe someone doesn’t have sound judgment when it comes to our nation’s most critical issues.

He should have apologized.

  • http://infieldirt.com/ TheMiddle

    Is canning him an option, or does it hurt his defense credentials too much?

  • Schmedlap

    “He should have apologized”

    For what? For telling the American people, and apparently you, that it is time to wake up and recognize that electing the guy you want to have a beer with or was a war hero POW does not qualify one to be President. There are many in politics and in the military who would make better Presidents than John McCain, including Wes Clark I might add.

    Wes Clark said nothing wrong. He never dishonored McCain. I am a Vietnam vet and retired military. I would know disparagement if I heard it. I have written many a comment to newspapers and to blogs taking issue with those who call McCain “cowardly” and “stupid” and other names. Quite often these are right wing writers. Today I read similar BS about Clark in the NRO.

    I honor McCain’s service but I would not vote for him because his response to everything is the right wing militaristic response. Incidentally, Barry Goldwater did not think much of him as a politician either.

    Please tell me what egregious statement Clark made that he needs to apologize for.

  • http://infieldirt.com/ TheMiddle

    Its not that Clark necessarily said anything that in normal conversation should need to be apologized for. But there is nothing about the political stage that is normal. I dont think were discussing whether or not what Clark said had legitimate roots – rather it more a discussion of political strategy.

    Obama can allow Clark’s comments to run unfettered in the media, and it may come back to bite him as it could rouse support for McCain, or encourage supporters of Obama to see him as under-handed by attacking someones military record, regardless of whether or not thats whats actually happening.

    This is all about perceptions, and in this case the perception could be that Obama is using his surrogates to try and bloody McCain’s war-record. That has a couple negative ramifications from actually highlighting the fact that McCain actually has a war record and Obama doesn’t (which regardless of rationale has proved to be a biggie for US voters), to making people feel like Obama is just another cookie-cutter, do anything to win politician. Neither of which are good for him.

  • http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/ mw

    “That has a couple negative ramifications from actually highlighting the fact that McCain actually has a war record and Obama doesn’t (which regardless of rationale has proved to be a biggie for US voters), to making people feel like Obama is just another cookie-cutter, do anything to win politician. Neither of which are good for him.” – middle

    Exactly. And one more. It seems to have had the effect of “giving permission” to Obmaa supporters in the blogosphere and msm to dis McCain’s service with the disingenuous fig leaf “I honor his service but… for cover. Said supporters then proceeding to make an argument that will never draw a single McCain supporter to Obama, but will drive some independent and moderate voters away (See Schmedlap above). So instead of this being a one day non-story that is soon forgotten, we’ll probably be seeing discussion of this as if it is a real issue for the rest of the campaign – kept alive by Obama supporters, to his detriment.

    Also, strike Wes Clark from the potential VP list.

  • gerryf

    Perceptions? Bull crap. This is misrepresentation by the right to blow an honest assessment up into something it is not.

    Below is the entire relevant transcript:

    CLARK: Because in the matters of national security policy making, it’s a matter of understanding risk. It’s a matter of gauging your opponents and it’s a matter of being held accountable.

    John McCain’s never done any of that in his official positions. I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in the armed forces, as a prisoner of war. He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee. And he has traveled all over the world.

    But he hasn’t held executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded — that wasn’t a wartime squadron. He hasn’t been there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn’t seen what it’s like when diplomats come in and say, I don’t know whether we’re going to be able to get this point through or not. Do you want to take the risk? What about your reputation? How do we handle this publicly? He hasn’t made that calls, Bob.

    SCHIEFFER: Well, General, maybe — could I just interrupt you?

    CLARK: Sure.

    SCHIEFFER: I have to say, Barack Obama has not had any of those experiences, either, nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down. I mean…

    CLARK: Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.


    He may be guilty of being a bi glib, but he did not smear a war veteran and POW, unlike the Swift Boaters, who each outright lied or contradicted earlier statements they had made about Kerry.

    If you really want to be outraged by what Clark said (incidentally, Clark was wounded during battle in Vietnam as well and was awarded a silver star), I can accept your outrage, but only if you are equally outraged at the smears by the right against John Kerry and Max Cleland, which were far more repulsive.

  • http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/ mw

    I am not seeing any outrage by Middle, me or even Justin. Just a simple recognition pf the political ramifications that Clark and Obama supporters do not seem to grasp – to whit – dissing McCains war record does not help Obama. Not at all. Not even a little bit. It actually hurts his chances to be elected the longer that this goes on. It is probably not enough to make a difference, depending on how long the Obama supporters want to keep beating this dead horse.

    BTW – I supported Kerry and was outraged by the swift boat campaign. I am more amused by this kerfuffle.

  • http://stubbornfacts.us/ Tully

    Note that Obama’s record of military and executive experience is ZERO. None whatsoever. The whole purpose of Clark’s blather is to distract attention away from that.

    As compared to McCain’s 26 years of service, which included squadron command. And his 25 years on the Senate Armed Services Committee, his years as the Navy’s liaison to the Senate, and his lifetime in a family distinguished by generations of Naval command.

    AS a designated mouthpiece, Clark is trying to draw attention away from Obama’s utter and complete lack of military and executive experience by running down McCain’s 26-year military record as somehow inconsequential.

    It won’t work.

  • Tango Hotel

    General Wesley Clark hs shown repeatedly that he will do and say anything to keep his name in the public eye. After his own failed presidential bid, he whole heartidly supported Hillary Clinton. Now he’s hitched his wagon to Obama. I’m not sure he’s the most welcome addition to anyone’s campaign in light of his track record in politics. Incidently, I’m also retired military and I admire and respect both Gen. Clark’s and Sen. McCain’s military service. As to Federal Government experience I believ McCain trumps Obama by any means of mesurement.

  • gerryf

    just a point of clarification–when I said “If you want to be outraged…” I was speaking generally, not specifically to anyone.

    I have been listening to family and friends and talk radio listeners hyperventilating over this for the past two days, when few of them came to the defense of Kerry, Cleland, crap even John Murtha….

    I agree, it does Obama no good for this kind of thing to get trotted out, but my point is that this was a nothing comment that got blown up into a huge story by McCain supporters, not due to any real outrage, but simply as an attempt to bash Obama.

  • http://dkelsmith.blogspot.com Dkelsmith

    If Clark were truly the enterprise thinker that he claims to be from his time as SAC at NATO, then he would have had the forethought to know that this statement would ultimately hurt Senatory Obama.

    I am in the service and spent a good deal of time running a rifle platoon in SW Baghdad, that doesn’t qualify me to defend the country. It takes experience that I don’t have, and I don’t believe that being in the military up to the General Officer level is an absolute must. Clark should apologize if he truly supports Obama. Obama must not seem like he is rejecting these statements with a wink and a nod. He needs to categorically refute them in order to not become stained by this.