September 21, 2003

Clark Calls Iraq War 'A Major Blunder'

Well, the NYTwits' hatchet woman Katherine Sleazy can
go to hell, and screw FAIR (who I support financially,
BUT who really really blew this story!!!)...Here is a
leader to add to the short list of those who could
beat the _resident: Howard Dean (D-Jeffords) and Sen.
Bob Graham (D-Fraudida) AND Wesley Clark (D-NATO)..."I'm a soldier," he said. "I've laid on the battlefield bleeding....Let's make one thing real clear, I would never have voted for this war, never..."

Clark Calls Iraq War 'A Major Blunder'
By Mike Glover
Associated Press

Saturday 20 September 2003

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Democratic presidential
candidate Wesley Clark reversed an earlier opinion
that he likely would have voted for war in Iraq,
telling a cheering college-town crowd the invasion was
"a major blunder" he never would have supported.

Clark said his Army career taught him that "the
use of force is only a last resort" that wasn't
justified in Iraq. "I'm a soldier," he said. "I've
laid on the battlefield bleeding."

While the use of force can occasionally be
justified, he said, "It's not a way to solve problems
and resolve disputes. It's very difficult to change
people's minds when you are bombing them and killing

Clark sought to blunt a controversy that arose as
he opened his campaign. The core is his resume as a
retired four-star general with the credibility to
challenge President Bush and oppose the war in Iraq.

Many of his backers expressed surprise when Clark
told reporters he probably would have voted to
authorize the use of force.

"At the time, I probably would have voted for it,
but I think that's too simple a question," The New
York Times quoted Clark as saying Thursday.

He then added, the Times said, "I don't know if I
would have or not. I've said it both ways, because
when you get into this, what happens is you have to
put yourself in a position. On balance, I probably
would have voted for it."

In a speech Friday to more than 1,000 people
jammed into a lecture hall at the University of Iowa
and in interviews, Clark underscored his opposition to
the war, explaining: "There may be times when you may
have to use force, but only as a last resort.

"Let's make one thing real clear, I would never
have voted for this war, never," Clark said in an
interview with The Associated Press. "I've gotten a
very consistent record on this. There was no imminent
threat. This was not a case of pre-emptive war. I
would have voted for the right kind of leverage to get
a diplomatic solution, an international solution to
the challenge of Saddam Hussein."

Clark's initial remarks left members of his
campaign team flummoxed.

"That caught me off guard a little. The general
has been very critical of the war," said George Bruno,
a New Hampshire activist.

Clark launched his bid for the Democratic
nomination Tuesday with the type of media attention
candidates crave, but early missteps underscore the
dangers facing his late-starting campaign.

The former NATO commander and his campaign staff
went back and forth in a single day on whether he will
participate in a Democratic debate next week. Creating
more confusion were Clark's positive comments on the
resolution that authorized the president to use U.S.
military force to oust Saddam - remarks that were at
odds with his opposition to the war.

Veteran Democrats noted that Clark is in the
unusual position of trying to put a major presidential
campaign in place and clearly lay out his positions in
the glare of the media spotlight. His rivals have had
months to hone their message below the political

"If politics were theater, you get to open in New
Haven (Conn.)," rather than on Broadway, said veteran
Democratic strategist Bill Carrick, who warned of the
dangers of "policy on the fly."

The nine other declared Democratic presidential
hopefuls have spent the last few months meeting with
party activists, getting feedback on various issues
and testing their campaign lines.

"I'm sure Howard Dean has tried a variety of
things along the way," said veteran Iowa activist Jeff
Link. "By the time people began paying attention, he
had it down pretty good."

Iowa casts its votes in four months, giving Clark
little time to smooth out the rough edges.

"The question is, is he ready to jump into a huge
national campaign that's just a few months away," Link
said. "That is a pretty good-sized organization with a
lot of moving parts."

In the AP interview, Clark sketched out a
checkerboard of positions, saying he would leave in
place a tax cut for middle-income Americans and
indicating his support for gun-possession rights,
although he supports a ban on assault weapons.


Posted by richard at September 21, 2003 03:26 PM