Why Wesley Clark will never be president

Clark's 10-minute answer started with an easy-to-consume synposis of

the neocon philosophy mistakenly used by Bush et al. to justify

invasion in Iraq, part of a larger misguided strategy of cleaning up

Middle Eastern countries in the post-Soviet world. Given that strategy

was clearly a mistake, and the president's own recent strategic shifts

confirm that, leaving Iraq now would be equally a mistake, Clark said.

"Once you go in, you've changed the circumstances," he said. A civil

war now exists between Sunnis and Shi'i. The government is not

effective or supported by the Iraqi public. "We never followed through"

with post-invasion reconstruction.

"If we jerk the American troops out right now … what will happen is the

level of violenced will increase." Every nation in the Middle East

would involve itself in a post-U.S. Iraq in an ugly power struggle.

Clark said we are in a period that represents the "last, best chance

for what I call a C+/D- solution." Bush missed his A+ solution (the

Middle East rises up, as one, and thanks the U.S. for bringing western

Democracy to its borders). The only hope to pass the class at all now

is to stay long enough to build stability in Iraq, mostly by creating a

government that works and makes improvements for the vast majority of


"It might work," Clark said. "It's too early to say it can't happen.

Now we are there, so we have to do what is right for America" in

protecting Middle Eastern allies and U.S. interests in that region.

That is a message of pragmatic reality, not to mention military

know-how. It is one that many on the left in the Democratic Party (even Col. Murtha, apparently) don't want to hear. They are the very same

folks who dominate in Democratic primaries, and that is why Clark will never be president.

Oh, and Clark was asked if he is running for president in 2008: "I haven't said I'm not going to."

LITTLE ROCK – First, because he's too smart for the job.

The former general and one-time presidential candidate spoke this morning to a crowd of alternative weekly journalists here at the AAN conference, fresh from an appearance at YearlyKos in Las Vegas. The man is bright, actually professorially smart, and charismatic. He combines a unique blend of immigrant, working class background, a military man's sense of purpose and order and a Democrat's compassion.

The bulk of his speech wasn't too far different from the kinds of things he talked about during his unsuccessful 2004 presidential run. The most interesting point, however, came during a brief Q&A, when the editor/publisher of the Bay Guardian asked Gen. Clark how – given Clark's strong insistence that Iraq was a war we did not have to fight and should not have – he justifies keeping U.S. military there now.


Since 1988, CL Tampa Bay has served as the free, independent voice of Tampa Bay, and we want to keep it that way.

Becoming a CL Tampa Bay Supporter for as little as $5 a month allows us to continue offering readers access to our coverage of local news, food, nightlife, events, and culture with no paywalls.

Join today because you love us, too.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.