Military Record -- Starting World War III?
Involved in Waco Raid
Wesley Clark's Skeleton Closet
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|Wesley Clark Wesley Clark has the most
impressive resume of any candidate since, well, Bill Clinton -- first in
his class at West Point, Rhodes Scholar, Masters in Economics at Oxford,
decorated veteran, 4-star general, commander of NATO forces during the war
in Kosovo. By all accounts, he is very bright, very energetic, and -- many
people say -- also brusque, arrogant, and prone to piss people off. Is he
Clinton without the scandals, or another over-achieving bundle of trouble
In any case, he is also, apparently, brave. Besides the fact that he actively served in the military, was wounded, received several medals and rose to the top of the ranks, we have the anecdotes of Richard Holbrooke, the former Ambassador to the United Nations and before that Clark's boss at the Dayton Peace Accord negotiations.
Holbrooke says that he dared Wesley Clark and Joe Kruzel to dive into the Adriatic Sea from the 3rd story window of their hotel in Split, Croatia, and both did. He also tells of a severe car crash on the dangerous road to Sarajevo, where a car full of American negotiators went off the road, fell several hundred feet down a gorge, and burned, igniting lots of ammunition in the car. Clark rappelled down amidst the flames and bullets and rescued two people (2 others died.)
Clark had an extremely successful career in the Army. Besides rising to the rank of 4-star general and commander of NATO forces, leading the war in Kosovo (which we won in 78 days without a single casualty), he is said to be the most decorated veteran since Dwight D. Eisenhower. Clark has received the following medals: a Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars, a Distinguished Service medal, a Defense Distinguished Service medal, a 2 Meritorious Service medals, 4 Legion of Merit Medals, 2 Army Commendation medals, and a Purple Heart.
But that doesn't mean that his record is uncriticized. The Clinton administration cut short his stint as NATO commander by 3 months after repeated conflicts with the Army (he wanted more Apache combat helicopters in Kosovo) and with Michael Jackson (the British General, not the child-craving singer), who was commanding British forces there. Generally speaking, Clark wanted to pursue the war more aggressively than those he beefed with.
At the very end of the war, after Slobodan Milosevic finally gave up under withering NATO bombing, Russia demanded that they control a section of Kosovo, though they weren't (then) in NATO. (Russia has traditionally been a close ally of the Serbians, whose attacks on Albanians in Kosovo triggered this war, and Albanians rightly feared living under a Russian controlled, pro-Serbian government.) Clark flatly refused any Russian control, and -- despite promising not to -- the Russians sent 200 troops to take over Kosovo's main airport, as a power play.
Clark, who had negotiated with Milovic, Serbia and Russia in the Dayton Peace Accords, was determined not to let that ploy work. With the approval of Javier Solana, the NATO leader, he ordered British troops to occupy the other end of the airport -- where there were few if any Russian troops -- and prevent Russia from flying in more troops to build up their presence. British general Michael Jackson refused in a way Clark called "emotional."
The way Jackson tells the story, he told Clark "I'm not going to start the Third World War for you." That's a great sound-bite, but it seems a bit overblown considering this was a post-Soviet-collapse force of 200 soldiers. (Jackson is a charismatic but controversial British figure, known to his troops as "the Prince of Darkness." He was the British second in command during the "Bloody Sunday" massacre in 1972, when British troops killed 13 unarmed Irish protestors.)
NATO forces in Kosovo had an unusual structure -- they were under Clark's command, but the countries involved could veto the use of their troops in a given engagement, and most of the ground troops were actually British. So when Jackson refused to move his troops to the airport, there wasn't much Clark could do, militarily. (As it turned out, the U.S. convinced Hungary to deny Russian jets flyover rights, so they were not able to reinforce troops anyway. After a standoff, Russia backed down and they never did control a part of Kosovo.) Click here for sources
There are lots of allegations on the Internet -- though not really in any reputable publication -- that Wesley Clark was involved in the raid of David Koresh's cult compound in Waco, Texas, which ended in a catastrophic fire that killed 75 cult members. (4 federal ATF agents had been killed by the cult, and 16 wounded, at the start of the standoff.)
The raid was carried out by FBI agents, but it has been established that Texas Governor Anne Richards consulted with a military official at Fort Hood, Texas (where Clark was stationed at the time), that 2 military officials from Fort Hood met with Attorney General Janet Reno's staff in Washington before the raid, and the Fort Hood provided military equipment including tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles to the FBI raiders. This much is pretty well documented fact.
A link to Clark is not. For one thing, the people alleging such links are pretty much all conspiracy types falling into one of three categories: liberal anti-war types, conservative conspiracy types, and Serbian-Americans stilled pissed over Kosovo.
More importantly, the evidence just isn't there. They best they can do is claim that the Army secretly carried out the raid (though even anti-Waco films show FBI agents driving the tanks and carrying out the raid), or that the two military officers who went to Washington are unknown, but it might have been Clark. Most don't even try that hard, just blindly asserting that Clark ran the whole raid and loves to butcher people.
In fact, even critic Alexander Cockburn -- the most reasonable of these critics, an anti-war liberal who is furious with Clark for being so mean to the Slobodan Milosevic and the Serbs -- concedes that Clark was not one of the two military men. They were actually Colonel Gerald Boykin (recently in the news for saying publicly that the war on terrorism is a war between Jesus and Islam/Satan), and his superior, Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the head of Special Forces at Fort Bragg And the military official that Anne Richards consulted with was Clark's assistant, not him. Click here for sources
"TO END A WAR" (book), by RICHARD HOLBROOKE, chapter 1
"War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton, and the Generals" (book) by David Halberstam (Scribners, 2002)
"Robertson's plum job in a warring Nato", The Guardian Newspaper (London) August 3, 1999
Interview with Wesley Clark, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, PBS-TV, June 15, 2003
"Sources: Top NATO commanders clashed over Russians' actions in Kosovo", by Jamie Macintyre and Reuters News Service, CNN News, August 2, 1999
"Bloody Sunday paratroopers win anonymity" by David Pallister and John Mullin, The Guardian newspaper (London), June 18, 1999
"Clark and Pristina Airfield", Antidotal Website: Fair and Balanced Coverage to Fight the Poison, by Eric Tam, September 15, 2003
"Late-Arriving Candidate Got Push From Clintons", By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE, New York Times, September 19, 2003
"Was Clark at Waco?", by alexander cockburn and jeffrey st. clair, CounterPunch Magazine, 1999
"Waco Update: The Delta Force Was There", by alexander cockburn and jeffrey st. clair, CounterPunch Magazine, June 1, 1999
Here's a rebuttal by a pro-Clark blogger:
"INTERIM REPORT TO THE DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL CONCERNING THE 1993 CONFRONTATION AT THE MT. CARMEL COMPLEX, WACO, TEXAS", by Senator John Danforth, JULY 21, 2000
Huge Collection of Newspaper and Magazine Articles on Waco, Center For Studies on New Religions
"UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE REPORT ON THE EVENTS AT WACO, TEXAS FEBRUARY 28 TO APRIL 19, 1993" (aka the Scruggs Report), by Richard Scruggs, Assistant to the Attorney General, October 8, 1993 (redacted version)
"THE WACO ADVISORY VERDICT", By SOLOMON WISENBERG, Findlaw Website Commentary, July 18, 2000
Clarks possible link to Tyco questioned, By KEVIN LANDRIGAN, Nashua, New Hampshire Telegraph, October 24, 2003
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