From the Politico :
“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,” Clark said.
“I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.”
Had the above criticism come from former Secretary of State Powell or Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf instead of a failed NATO chief whose chronic addiction to Presidential runs has proven tedious, the foolish outburst might have been taken more seriously. But given the erstwhile General’s track record, the disrespectful remarks just fit right in with his arrogant profile and his affection for fantasy.
In 2003, Rush Limbaugh gave us a history lesson, when he compared Clark to another wartime officer in Civil War General McClellan. It was a great psychological dissection, but I was more interested in Clark’s achievements as a prominent military figure in the 90’s.
As NATO chief, Gen. Clark, on the other hand, urged his Pentagon bosses to let him introduce ground troops into the war against Serbia, and he even was willing to use military force to stop the Russians from occupying an airport at Pristina, Kosovo.
But Gen. Clark was badly wrong on both counts. If he had not been overruled by his superior, there would have been unnecessary casualties resulting from the deployment of ground troops. And if his subordinate, British Gen. Sir Michael Jackson, had not refused Gen. Clark’s order to confront the Russian troops–who wound up cooperating with NATO peacekeeping efforts–the outcome could have been disastrous.
In 1994, while nearly one million Rwandans were being slaughtered, Gen. Clark advised President Clinton against America’s intervention, despite the U.N.’s unwillingness to stop the holocaust. But Gen. Clark speaks glowingly of NATO’s success in stopping Milosevic’s ethnic cleansing, for which Mr. Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And now, he dismisses the liberation of nearly 25 million Iraqis from Saddam Hussein’s murderous rule as a Bush foreign-policy failure.
He reportedly circumvented both Secretary of Defense William Cohen and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Henry Shelton on numerous occasions in speaking directly to the media and the president. In fact, the situation got so bad that Gen. Clark was relieved of his NATO position several months before his term ended, and in a major snub, neither Mr. Cohen nor Gen. Shelton attended his retirement ceremony.
Mr. Clark should take a moment of self-reflection before making any further ill-advised attacks. Does he honestly think anyone with an iota of intelligence would believe him over the scrappy, sometimes maddening, but always sincere, war hero who just might defy all odds to become President?
Something positive did result from the interview, however. ‘Face the Nation’, the Sunday show no one watches, might have three viewers next week instead of two.