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Sunday, November 2, 2003

On Wesley Clark's enemies.

Elizabeth Drew has written a great review of the three charges opponents of Wesley Clark like to trot out: that he was relieved of his post as Supreme Allied Commander for Europe for "integrity and character issues," that he is disliked in the military, and that he nearly provoked World War III. Not everyone is content simply to take Gen. Hugh Shelton at his unsubstantiated word:

Several people who are well informed about military politics or who worked with Clark during the Kosovo war believe that his enemies were largely motivated by professional jealousy of a US general who rose so quickly and also got international attention for a war unpopular with many of his colleagues . . .

I spoke recently with retired General Walter Kross, a former four-star Air Force general under whom Clark served on the staff of the Joint Chiefs in the mid-1990s. For two years Kross worked with Clark from 6:00 in the morning until 9:00 at night six days a week, and sometimes on Sundays. He disagrees strongly with Shelton and Cohen about Clark's abilities and character. When I asked him why Clark was disliked by some military officers, Kross replied,

He's not the army general officer from central casting. He's the extra-ordinary senior officer who can do extra-ordinary work on the entire range of challenges senior officers have to face—including Kosovo and the Dayton Accords, on which he worked himself into exhaustion. No army officer from central casting can do that work, but Wes did.

He added, "Some senior officers misinterpret drive, energy, and enthusiasm for overambition...he is outside the mold and that makes some other officers uncomfortable."

("Waiting for the General," Elizabeth Drew, New York Review of Books 11.20.03)

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 2 November 2003 at 9:53 AM

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