GENERAL OF THE ARMY WESLEY CLARK
Two months ago Democratic hopeful Wesley Clark declared in a debate
on 26 October that he has always been firmly against the current Iraq War.
"I've been very consistent... I've been against this war from the beginning... I was against it last summer, I was against it in the fall, I was against it in the winter, I was against it in the spring. And I'm against it now."
Eight months ago in an op-ed in the LONDON TIMES on 10 April 2003 General Clark offered praise for the courage of President Bush's action:
"President Bush and Tony Blair should be proud of their resolve in the
face of so much doubt... Can anything be more moving than the joyous throngs swarming the streets of Baghdad? Memories of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the defeat of Milosevic in Belgrade flood back. Statues and images of Saddam are smashed and defiled."
And on 26 September 2002 just a few weeks before Congress passed the Iraq Congressional Resolution General Clark specifically made the case for going to war in his testimony before the Committee On Armed Services at the U.S. House Of Representatives.
"There's no requirement to have any doctrine here. I mean this is
simply a longstanding right of the United States and other nations to
take the actions they deem necessary in their self defense... Every president has deployed forces as necessary to take action. He's
done so without multilateral support if necessary. He's done so in
advance of conflict if necessary. In my experience, I was the commander
of the European forces in NATO. When we took action in Kosovo, we did
not have United Nations approval to do this and we did so in a way that
was designed to preempt Serb ethnic cleansing and regional destabilization there. There were some people who didn't agree with
that decision. The United Nations was not able to agree to support it
with a resolution... There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a
threat... Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons. He's had those
for a long time. But the United States right now is on a very much
different defensive posture than we were before September 11th of
2001... He is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear
capabilities, though he doesn't have nuclear warheads yet. If he were
to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would
face greatly increased risks as would we... And, I want to underscore that I think the United States should not categorize this action as preemptive. Preemptive and that doctrine has nothing whatsoever to do with this problem. As Richard Perle so eloquently pointed out, this is a problem that's longstanding. It's been a decade in the making. It needs to be dealt with and the clock is ticking on this... I think there's no question that, even though we may not have the evidence as Richard [Perle] says, that there have been such contacts [between Iraq and al Qaeda]. It's normal. It's natural. These are a lot of bad actors in the same region together. They are going to bump into each other. They are going to exchange information. They're going to feel each other out and see whether there are opportunities to cooperate. That's inevitable in this region, and I think it's clear that regardless of whether or not such evidence is produced of these connections that Saddam Hussein is a threat."