Thursday, November 20, 2003

It’s just politics, plain and simple

Clark continues to be questioned about Hugh “can I get some vodka” Shelton’s chickenshit cheapshot. Understandably, he’s kinda peeved by it. Frankly, I think he needs to resist the urge to consistently offer lengthy explanations about policy differences over Kosovo. The average voter needs something more brief and simple. I think he needs to cast that winning smile and laugh it off. The more serious he takes it, others will take it. Here’s how I wish he’d respond:

“Look, it’s pretty obvious that Hugh’s remark was just politics, plain and simple. I served in the military over 34 years and have an established record I invite anyone to examine. I’ve released my entire military record, and encourage President Bush to do the same by the way, and no superior officer that I served under ever questioned my character or integrity. In fact, it was just the opposite. And it wasn’t like I was pulled overnight as the Supreme Allied Commander. I continued to serve for months after the decision was made regarding my replacement and I was assured by Hugh that the only reason was because they had to assign my replacement on a particular timeline or he would have to be knocked back down to a two-star. And when I left I was awarded the highest medals possible for my service during that assignment.

You know, even though we had policy differences, I took Hugh Shelton at his word at that time, so if he is saying something different now both versions obviously can’t be true. But if has any real issue with me, I assume he’ll be man enough to tell me directly and not through some vague innuendo as a dinner speaker. I think he’s a better man than that. But any fair person who looks at my military evaluations will quickly conclude that his single remark is a non-issue. I believe the American people are fair and see through this kind of politics for what it is.”

Now others should raise this point: Hugh Shelton and William Cohen reportedly deceived Clinton into thinking Clark was on board with leaving his post early. Clinton was reportedly angry when he found out he had been duped by Shelton and Cohen. Character and integrity issues? Shelton should be called on to tell the truth about the deceitful way he and Cohen fooled the Commander-in-chief.

Moreover there is this gem from that integrity deprived little weasel Cohen on May 1, 2000:

Q: This is General Clarke's last visit to Kosovo today. Any word on how he has performed his job?

Sec Def.: He has done an extraordinary job. General Clarke is one of our most brilliant officers. He undertook a mission that is perhaps one the most complicated and complex and carried it out successfully. As I mentioned in my remarks, this air campaign was the most successful in the history of warfare. We had over 38,000 sorties that were flown. We had only two planes that were shot down and no pilots lost. That is a record that is unparalleled in the history of warfare. So, General Clarke and his entire staff and subordinates and all who participated deserve great credit.

Q: Why is he leaving office, then?

Sec Def.: He is leaving because we have General Ralston who will become the new SACEUR. We are now replacing many of our CINCs throughout the world.

Q: It is not a reflection on his performance?

Sec Def: No reflection at all. He has done an outstanding job as the Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Southern Command, and he did an outstanding job here as EUCOM Commander and also as SACEUR.

Now, Cohen on October 15, 2003:

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: There was friction between General Clark and myself. And, frankly, I think it would be inappropriate for me to comment on his political aspirations. I made a judgment during the time that he was serving as head of NATO, SACEUR. And I felt that the ax, as such, when it fell spoke for itself.

Really? Then what were the words you spoke at the time, then? Bald-faced lies?

An attorney doing a cross examination would pose the question like this:

"Mr. Cohen you have made contradictory statements about General Clark's removal as Supreme Allied Commander. So which is it, were you lying in the May of 2000 or are you lying now?"

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