The Importance of Wesley Clark
For The Hill’s “Pundit’s Blog” - 6/28/2008
We’ve been hearing a lot about John Adams these days. All my Yankee friends who read books have enjoyed the show; the David McCullough biography and the recent PBS series. But as one born and reared in New England, I’ve always preferred
Especially these days. As his father early on compared them to the father and son Adams Presidents, I’ve long thought that George W. Bush modeled – or more likely imagined – his Presidency after Adams, the second President of the
What was troubling was the ease and confidence in which Bush would move forward on issues which were sometimes illegal and unconstitutional and duplicitous. The one historical perspective which resonates is the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts by
Bush has always had the glowing and innocent self confidence of one who has never really been successful at anything. Perhaps he felt that like
In any event he knew, and he was right in this if the current state of the republic is characteristic, that over time people would prefer hagiography to history when crimes, malice and misdemeanors were suggested. The people would remember that the President wrote daily to his charming wife or spent the idle hours cutting brush in the
Since Bush came to office we have lived in a shadow world of deception and duplicity. We still don’t know the origins. We need to know. Our fate and future as American citizens depends on it.
In one of his recent books Wesley Clark said that he had heard rumors of the
Not to get all judgmental, but for myself, I’d like to see something a little less touchy-feely than the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and something more akin to the McCarthy Hearings. Or better still, something like
This is where I see General Clark as important. You cannot abdicate your principles during the time of need then go back to them after the moral crisis has passed. If you do they are not principles, they are talismans. The
We need to be redeemed. And we need to redeem ourselves.
It is in human nature to justify our failings. But little wars lead to bigger wars shortly after as they empower the citizenry to fight. The Mexican War led to the Civil War. WW I empowered Hitler and
I saw only Wesley Clark as standing out in opposition at the very beginning. Others, like Howard Dean opposed, but it is one thing when a northern New England Governor opposes – we oppose everything – and a General with the status of Wesley Clark.
We will need them again and perhaps now we will need them always in public life until we get our bearings back.
Up here in the
President Obama needs a bull dog. He needs someone who in his person represents us and our best instincts in our tradition. He needs someone who represents us as fair-minded and compassionate and patriotic and resolute in our opposition. Someone like Webb who brought a shrill voice to opposition when no one would listen; some one like Wes Clark who came back from Vietnam in a basket without complaint, hubris or public display.
Obama needs someone who can face the difficult tasks ahead with clarity and without bitterness or recriminations. Because this isn’t over. It is just beginning.