Clark criticizes Bush for not respecting U.N.
By John Fritze
September 23, 2003
GREENCASTLE, Ind. -- Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark said Tuesday that President Bush's speech to the United Nations is unlikely to build international support for U.S. efforts to rebuild Iraq.
"The president has caused a tremendous amount of problems for our allies, for our international organizations," Clark, a retired four-star Army general said.
"He hasn't treated the United Nations and our allies with the kind of respect and brought them into the problem the way that he could have. Now he's gone to them and asked them for help."
Clark, who led NATO forces during the 1999 Kosovo conflict, has been a frequent critic of the war in Iraq and reiterated that position Tuesday.
"The administration's policy on Iraq and the way it's been conducted has been faulty," Clark said. "I never saw the imminent threat in Iraq and I think the president failed to make the case of an imminent threat."
Clark came to Greencastle Tuesday evening to speak to students at DePauw University.
It was Clark's first trip to Indiana since announcing on Sept. 17 his plans to seek the Democratic presidential nomination.
"We're out here to speak to the people of Indiana and I'm looking forward to seeing these folks," Clark said upon landing at the Putnam County airport..
About 3,000 students and local residents were expected to attend Clark's speech.
What they witnessed was an unusual spectacle because Indiana rarely hosts candidates for the White House....
America "Needs New Strategy" Gen. Wesley Clark Tells 2600 at DePauw Ubben Lecture
September 23, 2003, Greencastle, Ind. - "Schools like this are really the heart and soul of America," said Democratic presidential candidate General Wesley K. Clark (Ret.) tonight at DePauw University as he began a Timothy and Sharon Ubben Lecture, "Facing America's Challenges." "You're participating in an educational experience here that prepares you not only for your employment but for the kind of citizenry we need to protect this country: to keep it strong, to keep it free, and to keep it safe in the future." The four-star general and former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO entered Neal Fieldhouse of DePauw's Lilly Center by walking through the crowd of 2,600, stopping to shake hands and greet the students, faculty, alumni and visitors he passed as he made his way through the gymnasium. ...
We have to respect other leaders, just as we expect them to respect us. In a democracy, of course, we understand that our president reflects public opinion more or less -- I mean, he has to. If he doesn't, he's held accountable at the next election. It's no different in any democracy. So there's no point in being that angry at the French, because their president is more or less reflecting the opinion of the political class in France. The German Chancellor is reflecting the opinions, more or less, in Germany. And the American President has to understand he speaks to an audience that extends far beyond the borders of these United States. He has to be a world leader."
Asked by students about the Patriot Act, Clark said the implications and effectiveness of the Act -- which he says he's read cover-to-cover three times and is still trying to make sense of -- must be carefully analyzed before, as Attorney General John Ashcroft hopes, its powers are expanded.
"Because when you're dealing with something like the Bill of Rights, it is so precious, it is so central to the this country that we must never allow an administration to abridge it without full, open and complete accountability to the American people."
General Clark, whose speech was interrupted many times by applause, offered this advice to students who may feel disenfranchised and that their vote means nothing.
"I want you to understand that politics is not a dirty word. I want you to understand that in a democracy -- if you love your country, if you love your parents if you love the town you've grown up in, if you love this University -- then you have to fight for it and protect it. And that doesn't mean you need an assault weapon at home. It means you need to use your mind, and your voice and your ideas."
Before attending a forum with 200 DePauw students across the street at the Performing Arts Center, Clark urged the students who filled the gymnasium to dedicate at least part of their lives to public service.
"There's nobody and there's no party in America that has a monopoly on wisdom. It takes dialogue and disagreement... And so, when you have a democracy you might have a pretty raucous set of discussions. But instead of the American public being worried because people don't always agree, we oughta celebrate that, because people have the courage to speak out. I encourage your generation to have that courage, to have that commitment and to care. And let one of your public services be that you vote, and another one be that you think about the issues, you look for the facts, and you listen to the -- well, what the political philosophers used to call -- the 'light of reason' to guide your dialogue rather than the heated emotions of talk radio."
Taking the message to Dan Quayle's alma mater.