Sep 28, 2003
My dad’s a retired US Army officer. He spent over 30 years in the Army, graduated from West Point, served in Vietnam, etc. So I figured if I wanted to check out Clark, he should be the first call.
He pointed me to the attached story in the Los Altos Town Crier
It pains me to know that Rush Limbaugh also linked to this story from his website, but I guess that’s the way it is in an open society using an open platform like the web.
However, my father also said the following about Clark:
1 – It is highly unusual for one general to make comments about another general like those the former Chairman of the JCS is reported to have made in this forum. Shocking, even. That another officer is lacking in character and integrity is absolutely the worst thing one could say.
2 – While he doesn’t know the basis for General Shelton’s opinion, he suspects that it has to do with Clark’s use of the NATO chain of command during the Kosovo fracas to try to get around restrictions put on him by Clinton/Cohen/Shelton. That’s an excellent way to get fired, but he would not call it a character/integrity issue. In fact it could be argued the other way around: Clark had the guts to use all the means at his disposal to try to save lives and accomplish his mission. My dad has a very soft spot for Douglas MacArthur so it’s not surprising to hear him say that.
3 – He doesn’t think that Shelton’s opinion matches Clark’s overall reputation in the military. That reputation can be characterized by two words: brilliant, abrasive.
4 – He likes Clark better than any of the other candidates including our current President. And he’s normally a Republican. He thinks that the “abrasive” part of his personality, to the extent that it’s true, is a serious problem for him. If that comes out clearly in the campaign, he’ll never get elected, and probably not nominated. Less obviously, if abrasive means unwilling to listen to advice from those he considers his intellectual inferiors, that’s a bad mistake that would make him a less effective, even dangerous, president.
All of this is incredibly helpful to me. It gives me some context to work with in my effort to get to know this man.