Tue Jan 13 17:00:18 2004


As future national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said last August at the Republican convention, the Texan believed that "America's armed forces are not a global police force; they are not the world's 911."

A Warrior Sees Military in New Peace Role

By James Pinkerton

July 24, 2001

President George W. Bush visits U.S. troops in Kosovo today. If there were any justice, retired Gen. Wesley Clark would be at his side. After all, Clark ranks as one of the more successful U.S. commanders since World War II; the 1999 aerial campaign he oversaw, Operation Allied Force, succeeded in ejecting Serb terror troopers from that breakaway province of the former Yugoslavia without the loss of a single U.S. life in combat.

But Clark won't be there. He was involuntarily retired by Bill Clinton's administration just weeks after he won a war for it, and he's been ignored by the Bush administration these past six months. So Clark will watch Bush on TV. And what will he be thinking? "I'm going to be wondering whether he would have done it," Clark said in an interview late last week. "I'm going to wonder whether George Bush, had he been president at the time, would have wanted to stop the great wrong that was occurring." Clark was referring, of course, to the "ethnic cleansing" that the Serbians inflicted on the Muslims of Kosovo.

Then-Gov. Bush said almost nothing about Allied Force; when pressed, he revealed that he "supported winning." But unlike Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who strongly backed Clark's effort, Bush was content to let his voice be drowned out in the Republicans' anti- Kosovo chorus.

Indeed, many observers, including this one, underestimated the effectiveness of Clark's crusade. But now that the leader Clark confronted, Slobodan Milosevic, sits in a Dutch jail cell awaiting a war crimes trial, the Kosovo operation can be compared favorably even to Desert Storm in 1991 - which, after all, left Saddam Hussein still ruling Baghdad.

Moreover, as Clark writes in his recent memoir, "Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat," such nontraditional missions as the United States waged two years ago are destined to be the norm. "Future battlefields," he writes, "are more likely to resemble Kosovo than the Iraqi desert. There will be clouds, vegetation, villages and cities, and civilians we don't want to harm. There will be environmental damage ... and there will be laws, journalists, and widespread visibility of actions." But wait a second. Wasn't President Bush supposed to get away from the incessant interventionism - Somalia and Haiti, as well as Bosnia and Kosovo - practiced by his predecessor?

As future national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said last August at the Republican convention, the Texan believed that "America's armed forces are not a global police force; they are not the world's 911."

That was then. Today, the Bushies are confronting the reality that the United States has no choice but to act in league with its NATO allies. So while Americans once talked of pulling U.S. personnel out of peacekeeping duty in Macedonia - yet another fragment of the former Yugoslavia - the new policy line is that the United States will go in and come out, together with the Europeans. And in the Mideast, the U.S. policy of standing aloof from the failed peace of the Clinton era could well go to the opposite extreme, as Americans are tugged to enter that bloody cauldron as "monitors."

Clark foresaw all this in his book. Despite his credentials as a warrior - 34 years in the Army, including a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart earned in Vietnam - he argues that the U.S. military must learn how to perform such nontraditional functions as peacekeeping and even nation-building, because that's what it will be doing in the 21st century, like it or not. And, since it's no small task to turn gung-ho soldiers into order-keeping policers, it's all the more urgent that the entire military start rethinking its doctrine immediately.

Paradigm-shifting views such as these did not make Clark popular with his superiors at the Pentagon, including former Secretary of Defense William Cohen. In his memoir, he blames them for his unceremonious and unwarranted sacking. But President Bush has no dog in that score-settling fight; his job is promoting U.S. national interests and that task, he has learned by now, includes keeping international peace.

Clark, a still-young 56, could play a leading role in that new- world-ordering, because he not only did it in the last century but he has written a book about doing it in the century ahead.
Copyright: 2001 Newsday

The US military was at Waco

General Wesley Clark was involved in the siege and final assault near Waco, Texas that killed, by a combination of toxic gas and fire, at least 82 people including some three dozen women, children and infants. As outlandish as this claim may seem, it's a reasonable conclusion that can be drawn by any fair minded person who takes the time to examine the evidence. Further, there is substantial circumstantial evidence that, Clark, in addition to acting as a tactical consultant, may, in fact, have been the prime architect and commander of the entire operation.

If this is true, why is it important? First, it represents a clear violation of US law. The military is banned from involvement in the enforcement of US civil law except under certain carefully defined circumstances. The incident at Waco did not come even close to legally qualifying. Second, it casts light on some of the more outrageous tactics used in the war against Yugoslavia, in particular the bombing attacks on Yugoslavian news media, essential life support services, and on civilians, the latter which were sometimes, but not always, described as "accidents." Third, President Clinton began the year with the statement that he is considering a Pentagon proposal to create a new US military command, commander-in-chief for the defense of the continental U.S., a first in peace time and an alarming move for reasons described in "Bombing 'suspended' - and now, the future"


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