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Monday, October 27, 2003

What do I like about Wesley Clark?

This snippet from Ryan Lizza's article, "The Pragmatist" (New Republic 11.3.03 sub req'd), gives a pretty good sense of what I like about Wesley Clark:

After West Point, Clark didn't just fight in Vietnam—he came home and was so disturbed by how the war had harmed the military's reputation that he devoted his career to fixing it. "I spent much of my military career helping to rebuild the war-shattered U.S. army," he writes in Waging Modern War. He's not just boasting. In 1986, a superior noted in one of Clark's performance reviews that it is "not possible to overstate the significance of Col. Wes Clark's impact on our Army." War-gaming as the Soviet or North Korean military, Clark revolutionized the training of U.S. forces when he ran the Army's National Training Center. He is credited with helping the Army prepare for the Gulf war. It's only a slight exaggeration to say that Clark's pre-Kosovo career was devoted to helping the United States win the cold war and overcome the Vietnam syndrome. Not a bad vein of experience for a Democrat to mine.

And Clark is beginning to take advantage of it. The parallels between his military career and his presidential campaign are obvious. Once again, Clark says, he sees the country in danger—this time from terrorism—and he wants to serve. Just as he found Vietnam had damaged an important institution he cared about, he wants to repair the damage he thinks the Bush administration has done to our government. He calls it New American Patriotism, but government reform may best describe the overriding theme of his campaign.

Lizza quotes former President Clinton: "They—Republicans—believe in government by ideology, enemies, and attack. We believe in government by experiment, evidence, and argument. We actually think we might be wrong now and again, we might have to change."

Clark makes a similar case: "Traditionally and ideally, we Americans meet our challenges by starting with the facts, analyzing the problem, and reasoning toward a solution—in as public a manner as possible. This administration does things in reverse. They start with a solution, cast about for a problem that 'requires' their solution, and mold the facts to make their case—in as secret a manner as possible." . . .

"I don't oppose the president's policies because they are Republican policies," he said recently. "I oppose them because they don't work."

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 27 October 2003 at 10:02 PM

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