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Generals don't make good Presidents

Strappado Wrack

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"I have never advocated war, except as a means of peace."
Ulysses S.  Grant

Generals don’t make good Presidents

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Who's war would he fight?

At the outset, only George Washington and Andrew Jackson were inspired presidents. Dwight David Eisenhower was at his best on the golf course. Taylor, Hayes, Arthur and Harrison aren’t known by most, while US Grant is remembered for his corrupt administration. So what would make any sensible citizen think that General Wesley K. Clark could ever aspire to be on the staff of Douglas MacArthur?

According to former Joint Chiefs Chairman General Henry Shelton, Clark flunks another promotion: "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." He added that he would not vote for General Clark. But that infamous old war horse General Alexander M. Haig Jr. said of Clark’s service under him during a NATO tour: "Major Clark is an officer of impeccable character with a rare blend of personal qualities and professional attributes which uniquely qualify him as a soldier-scholar." Who should you believe?

Actually the question itself begs the issue. What is a retired military careerist doing running for the job of commander and chief? Not to say or imply that having served in the military is a disclaimer in and of itself, for residence in the oval office. But what skills does an officer and gentleman have in becoming a partisan politician? Especially, those who rise in rank to such a level that few command them to do the dirty work. The notion that four stars will make you a nova is puzzling. More likely the glow of celebrity status will reside into the back streets of a veterans retirement community.

It seems that both political parties like to recruit a former general when the military pendulum shifts from faint praise to a John Philip Sousa’s march. Clark is no Andrew Jackson and certainly won’t rival for the affection as the father of our country. So why has he come out of no where to climb to top some poll charts? At the risk of cynicism, maybe the explanation lies in a stealth campaign. Substance is trite, when politicians present a media message. Shaping the agenda, defining the character and molding the image has more to do with manipulation than with authentic demand. Being tabbed the Hillary candidate should be the kiss of death. Nay, not for DemocRATS . . . keep the dream alive!

From Global Research - Stephen Gowans writes: “Clark's alleged antiwar credentials were apparently established by a few reservations the former general expressed about the Pentagon's tactics in Iraq, as in "I would have done it differently," so to say Clark is opposed to war is like saying the former executioner is opposed to capital punishment because if he were still in charge he would have used a noose, not the electric chair.”

Some voices out of the mainstream claim he is a WANTED war criminal: “During the war on Yugoslavia, Clark proposed bombing oil pipelines in Hungary, as well as Russian ships in the vicinity. During his stand-off between NATO and the Russian troops, Clark attempted to have British paratroopers storm the Pristina airport.”

A peace maker or a warmonger, take your pick! What can be said with certainty, a real leader he is not . . .  Those who enjoy the parlor game of primary party politics become engulfed in trivia. Spin is meant for the likely voter, while believed only by the neurotic zealot. It’s all show for another round of diversion. Rid the process of Howard Dean and allow John Kerry to become the compromise selection. The next general election will be between “skull and bone” alumni.

The central criticism regarding Clark is that he believes in only himself. He was a poor military commander and would be a disaster as a presidential nominee. No doubt this conclusion hasn’t escaped the Clintons. An inflated ego is not unusual to those who are attracted to power. A Napoleon who rules with the best interests of the ordinary populace would be refreshing to the idiocy of a mass pure democracy. To our credit, the history of the United States has produced neither. However, electing selected candidates, when there is no real contest, has been our curse for decades.

MacArthur was more capable than Ike, but he was never acceptable to the forces that control the political culture. Clark would be a puppet on a string, that’s why he is allowed to register in the polls. Forget about a white knight riding to save the day, he won’t pass the demographic profile. It’s too late in the tragic decline of the Republic to rally behind an elected political savior. The generals are off conquering colonies and have forgotten about defending the homeland. Wesley Clark is a fraud and deserves an unceremonious eulogy.

SARTRE - October 20, 2003

"I deplore the need or the use of troops anywhere to get American citizens to obey the orders of constituted courts."
General Dwight D. Eisenhower

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