Clark’s "Character Issues"

While Dean may be sinking in the polls, it looks like Karl Rove hasn’t lost his sense of hope, as the next likely Democratic frontrunner if Dean slides is going to be just as bad.

The Big Trunk over at Powerline finds Gen. Wesley Clark under oath defending war with Iraq in September of 2002. Clark’s words are rapidly coming back to bite him squarely in the ass. Here’s what Clark said in a speech in Detroit in October of 2003:

I’ve been very consistent… I’ve been against this war from the beginning. I was against it last summer, I was against it in the fall, I was against it in the winter, I was against it in the spring. And I’m against it now.

Here’s what Clark said the fall before that statement, under oath in front of the House Armed Services Committee.

There’s no requirement to have any doctrine here. I mean this is simply a longstanding right of the United States and other nations to take the actions they deem necessary in their self defense.

Every president has deployed forces as necessary to take action. He’s done so without multilateral support if necessary. He’s done so in advance of conflict if necessary. In my experience, I was the commander of the European forces in NATO. When we took action in Kosovo, we did not have United Nations approval to do this and we did so in a way that was designed to preempt Serb ethnic cleansing and regional destabilization there. There were some people who didn’ t agree with that decision. The United Nations was not able to agree to support it with a resolution.

There’s no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat… Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons. He’s had those for a long time. But the United States right now is on a very much different defensive posture than we were before September 11th of 2001… He is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn’t have nuclear warheads yet. If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would face greatly increased risks as would we.

And, I want to underscore that I think the United States should not categorize this action as preemptive. Preemptive and that doctrine has nothing whatsoever to do with this problem. As Richard Perle so eloquently pointed out, this is a problem that’s longstanding. It’s been a decade in the making. It needs to be dealt with and the clock is ticking on this.

PoliPundit has a complete transcript of Clark’s statement for those who are interested.

There’s no way Clark can spin this. His feelings on the war are clearly the product of political expediency rather than any sense of conviction. It is clear that Clark is only saying what he is saying to get elected to the Presidency.

You want to know what Gen. Hugh Shelton meant when talked about Clark having “character issues” – well here they are in full view. Clark may be even a worse candidate than Dean is – he doesn’t have the magnetism of Dean and he’s been caught in just as many major whoppers since his campaign began. Clark has been fortunate, the meteoric rise of Howard Dean has largely shielded him from the intense public spotlight of being a front-runner. This is allowed him to largely get away with some intensely bone-headed things.

Believe me, if Clark gets the nomination, it will be just as good for the GOP as if Dean gets the nomination. The Democrats will be trading the hard-left angry Vermont liberal candidate for the disingenious candidate of opportunity whose convictions change with which ever way the winds blow. Should Clark turn up on top, this transcript is going to show up everywhere, and Clark is going to have a lot of explaining to do.

3 thoughts on “Clark’s "Character Issues"

  1. Yes I did, and it directly contradicts Clark’s current rhetoric. He states that Saddam was a danger, that the US should act even without UN approval, and that Iraq "is not a problem that can be indefinitely proposed". – In essence, exactly what the "neoconservatives" said all along.

    Furthermore, as recently as April he was on record as supporting the war.

    His record is clear – he was only anti-war until he realized that he could get more personal power by saying the opposite. Clark is as bad with truthfulness as Clinton was, except Clinton was by far the better liar.

  2. No, he specifically stated that he viewed military intervention as an option only as a last resort. Never did he say that that the current situation deserved the last resort.

    That is clearly stated transcript you linked to.

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