Gen. Chutzpah: Wes Clark wasnt prescient about his own war
Call him "Gen. Chutzpah."
General Wesley Clark is riding high on what is universally considered his prescience
about the current Iraq war. Going unremarked is his utter lack of prescience about his own war, in Kosovo in 1999.
Back then, Clark thought he had Slobodan Milosevic figured out, and that the
mere threat of NATO bombing and perhaps a day or two of the real thing would bring him to the negotiating table and force
him to be reasonable. When this turned out not to be the case, Clark had no Plan B, because President Clinton had ruled out
ground troops from the outset.
So, NATO continued with a limp air campaign that was inadequate to stopping
Milosevic's ethnic-cleansing campaign, that appalled other members of the military brass who thought Clark had helped drag
the U.S. into a near-fiasco, and that led to such ill-feeling toward Clark in the Pentagon that he was fired at war's end,
launching his career as a TV pundit.
In his memoir, Clark recounts a conversation with Gen. Joseph Ralston before the war that starkly demonstrates his flawed assumptions.
Ralston wants to know what will happen if the threat of an air campaign doesn't work:
"Well, it will work," I said. "I know [Milosevic] as well
as anyone. And it gives the diplomats the leverage they need."
"OK, but let's just say it doesn't. What will we do?"
"Well, then we'll bomb. We'll have to follow through,"
"And what if the bombing doesn't work?"
"I think that's unlikely, but in that event, I guess we'd
have to do something on the ground, directed at Kosovo."
"And if that doesn't work?" he persisted.
"Well, then we keep going. But I think you have
to work at the front end of the policy, on how to make it effective. Besides, I know Milosevic; he doesn't want to get bombed."
Clark insisted: "'I can't believe that Milosevic won't sign, when the crunch
comes. He always holds out. He has to be leaned on very hard. But he will come around."
Of course, Milosevic didn't. Even when the bombing campaign began, Clark made
threats that had no connection to the amount of force NATO was willing to bring to bear. Clark said NATO would, "systematically
attack, disrupt, degrade, devastate, and ultimately destroy" Yugoslavia's military and security forces. Uh, no it wouldn't
partly because everyone believed, like Clark, in the rosy scenario.
Ivo H. Daalder and Michael E. O'Hanlon write in their balanced account of the
war, Winning Ugly: "NATO did not expect a long war. Worse, it did not even prepare for the possibility. Many alliance leaders deny that
assertion to this day, but the evidence is overwhelming. And the blame begins with Washington, ultimately the most important
architect of the air campaign strategy."
And so NATO stumbled on. "In short order," Andrew Bacevich writes in American Empire, "it became clear that Clark though not he alone had miscalculated. A defiant Milosevic did not fold. The first several
days' bombing succeeded only in stoking the fires of Serb nationalism and providing Belgrade with the excuse to accelerate
its ethnic cleansing of Kosovo."
WESLEY CLARK ALMOST STARTED WORLD WAR THREE!!!!
The guy who almost started World War III?
No sooner are we told by Britain's
top generals that the Russians played a crucial role in ending the west's war against Yugoslavia than we learn that if Nato's
supreme commander, the American General Wesley Clark, had had his way, British paratroopers would have stormed Pristina airport
threatening to unleash the most frightening crisis with Moscow since the end of the cold war.
"I'm not going to start
the third world war for you," General Sir Mike Jackson, commander of the international K-For peacekeeping force, is
reported to have told Gen Clark when he refused to accept an order to send assault troops to prevent Russian troops from taking
over the airfield of Kosovo's provincial capital.
Robertson's plum job in a warring Nato
Mary Robinson, the UN human rights commissioner, said Nato's bombing campaign had lost its "moral purpose". Referring
to the cluster bomb attack on residential areas and market in the Serbian town of Nis, she described Nato's range of targets
as "very broad" and "almost unfocused". There were too many mistakes; the bombing of the Serbian television station in Belgrade
- which killed a make-up woman, among others - was "not acceptable". No blood money by Richard Norton-Taylor on the moral confusion of Nato, which refuses compensation to the innocent people it bombed.
SOME WOULD SAY THIS MAN IS CRAZY. OTHERS WOULD SAY HE IS NOT FIT TO BE PRESIDENT!