General Clark Not Backing Down
by Todd Beeton, Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 01:16:47 AM EDT
It's also nice to see that at least one other military man is coming to Clark's defense and in fact is joining Clark's questioning of McCain's inflated claims to commander in chief credentials. I'll quote liberally from Lt. General Robert G. Gard Jr. (USA, Ret.) because it's such a sweet smackdown, but you've really got to read the whole thing (I've bolded my favorite line):
As a retired military officer and a soldier who served his country for over thirty years, I can tell you that there's nothing in what Wes Clark said with which I disagree. He has not only stated the facts, he knows something about them. John McCain was a prisoner of war, an officer who served as a squadron commander, and has been and is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. John McCain can put his service to country up against anyone's. But General Clark has served also -- and with great courage: he was wounded four times in Vietnam -- and like John McCain, he has met and seen the enemy.
Is what Wesley Clark said true? Let's check some other facts: John McCain made claims about progress in security by walking through the streets of Baghdad. But as I recall, he was protected by at least a platoon of American soldiers and helicopters lying overhead. In matters of national security, as General Clark pointed out, "it's a matter of understanding risk," and it's "gauging your opponents;" and it's also a "matter of being held accountable."
So I too honor John McCain. And, like General Clark, I acknowledge his sacrifice for his country. But being a prisoner of the Vietnamese and serving on the Senate Armed Services Committee does not automatically qualify one for the position of Commander-in-Chief -- understanding risks, gauging your opponents and being held accountable does. We must end this glib obeisance to sacrifice and ask deeper questions: is a man who sings "bomb, bomb, bomb ... bomb, bomb Iran" a man who understands risks? Is a man who says that we must keep our troops in Iraq until we achieve an ill-defined "victory" really know how to gauge America's opponents. If we want to hold people accountable, then let's stand behind my friend Wes Clark -- and hold John McCain accountable for what he's said.
And for good measure, how's this for a parting shot:
Oh, and one more thing: today President Bush signed the GI Bill -- which Senator Barack Obama has unstintingly supported. The bill will spend $63 billion over ten years for increased college aid for military service members and veterans who served after September 11, 2001. Good judgment?
John McCain opposed it.