Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

General Envy? Think Shinseki, Not Clark

While Democrats from Little Rock to Washington, DC go gaga over retired General Wesley Clark’s recently announced candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, other Democrats rightly question Clark’s past decisions and his future intentions. It is understandable that Democrats, weary of the crypto-fascism of the Bush administration, are willing to support any retired general for the highest office in the land. With Joseph Lieberman sinking fast in the Democratic Leadership Council play book, many Democratic neo-conservatives see Clark as the “anybody but Dean” candidate. Michael Moore, who is as fervently anti-Bush as anyone, sees Clark as the only candidate capable of beating Bush, merely because Clark is a former general who adds military-oriented “gravitas” to the Democratic field.

Allow me to offer up another former four-star general who witnessed firsthand the insanity of the neo-con clique that took over the national security and foreign policy machinery of the United States. Retired General Eric Shinseki. the former Army Chief of Staff, clashed repeatedly with the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Feith troika over the handling of the war in Iraq. After Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz publicly questioned Shinseki’s testimony before Congress that the United States would need 250,000 troops in post-war Iraq, Rumsfeld dissed the general by boycotting his Pentagon retirement ceremony. Rumsfeld decided it would be better to be hobnobbing it with Albanian mafiosi figures and old Balkan war buddies of General Clark in Tirana than in attending a ceremony honoring the distinguished 38-year career of the outgoing Army chief.

If General Shinseki decided to run for national office as a Democrat, he would help negate those who say the Democrats do not have the necessary national security credentials. Shinseki would also add to the mix a general respected by his former subordinates and colleagues — and that is something Clark cannot say about himself. Those Democrats who abhor the pro-war policies of Clark, a man who has waffled on his support of Bush’s war against Iraq and who was more than happy to bomb downtown Belgrade, including the main Yugoslav television building where a number of my fellow journalists were killed, can be assured that although Shinseki served in the Balkans theater, he was never accused by his fellow NATO officers of bellicosity and narcissism.

Would Shinseki, a decorated Japanese-American veteran of the Vietnam War, enter the political fray? All indications are that Shinseki has as much, if not more, political acumen as Clark. Shinseki recently spoke to a meeting of state politicians in Honolulu where he received standing ovations from over thirty State House of Representatives Speakers, both Democrats and Republicans. Shinseki publicly bemoaned the day-by-day deaths of U.S. troops in Iraq. A West Point graduate, Shinseki’s many tours in Europe, including one in Bosnia as the head of the NATO Stabilization Force, would place him in a superb position to repair America’s damaged relations with many of America’s NATO allies. Clark’s ill-tempered decisions, on the other hand, did not ingratiate himself to a number of his fellow NATO commanders during the Balkans Wars. Clark is the worst of all candidates as far as mending the transatlantic alliance is concerned.

A native of Kauai, Hawaii, Shinseki would be the first Asian-American to run for such a high office. That would certainly stem the GOP’s much ballyhooed attempt to win California, a state with a large Asian-American, voting-intensive population. Critics would argue that Dean and Shinseki are from small states that have only seven electoral votes between them. But Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter both proved that one does not have to be from a huge state to win the White House. And the last two Presidents from mega-state Texas have plunged the United States into costly and deadly wars. Small states, like small countries, are not necessarily so bad. After all, tiny Belgium and Luxembourg stood up to America’s insane war against Iraq. And it could be Vermont and Hawaii that help to pull America’s other 48 states out of the morass brought about by the Bush administration. As an Asian-American, Shinseki is also painfully aware how laws like the Patriot Act and its possible successors can be used to target specific ethnic groups for harassment and even internment by the government. And being from a liberal state like Hawaii, Shinseki would likely never utter the comment Clark made about Bush during the Democratic debate: “He’s neither compassionate nor conservative.” Compassionate is fine but if Clark expected a conservative administration, he’s running in the wrong primary.

Shinseki would also relate much better to military veterans who despise what Bush has done to veterans’ benefits, including the cutting of $1.5 billion from veterans’ long-term medical care. And for the active duty military and their families who are facing extended tours of duty in Iraq, Shinseki is on record opposing the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz fuzzy game plan for Iraqi occupation. Unlike Clark, who was fired for dangerous brinkmanship in Kosovo, Shinseki wanted to put the reins on the neo-con rush to war and to do much more reasoned planning for an Iraqi military occupation.

Like other soldier-politicians, including Dwight Eisenhower and George Marshall, Shinseki represents that rare military professional who understands that war can only be the final answer in diplomacy after all other options fail. Clark’s warmongering in the Balkans demonstrates he does not share with Shinseki that same honored philosophy demonstrated by a number of past military commanders, American and foreign, who traded in their uniforms for politician business suits.

Shinseki’s ignoble treatment at the hands of the neo-cons would also present the opportunity for a day of reckoning with the scoundrels who currently infest the body politic of America with an alien philosophy of constant warfare and global expansionism. Shinseki, as a national office holder, working hand-in-hand with a few of the anti-war Democratic candidates, would have my total support in purging the neo-cons and their doctrine from the American political landscape, once, and hopefully, for all.

WAYNE MADSEN is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and columnist. He wrote the introduction to Forbidden Truth. He is the co-author, with John Stanton, of the forthcoming book, “America’s Nightmare: The Presidency of George Bush II.”

Madsen can be reached at: WMadsen777@aol.com

 

More articles by:
October 16, 2018
Gregory Elich
Diplomatic Deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea Diplomacy Survive Maximum Pressure?
Rob Seimetz
Talking About Death While In Decadence
Kent Paterson
Fifty Years of Mexican October
Robert Fantina
Trump, Iran and Sanctions
Greg Macdougall
Indigenous Suicide in Canada
Kenneth Surin
On Reading the Diaries of Tony Benn, Britain’s Greatest Labour Politician
Andrew Bacevich
Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren
Thomas Knapp
Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Muhammad Othman
Khashoggi and Demetracopoulos
Gerry Brown
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy
Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker – Peter Lehman
The Brazilian Presidential Elections and “The Rules of The Game”
Robert Fisk
What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit
Martin Billheimer
Here Cochise Everywhere
David Swanson
Humanitarian Bombs
Dean Baker
The Federal Reserve is Not a Church
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
Marvin Kitman
The Kitman Plan for Peace in the Middle East: Two Proposals
Weekend Edition
October 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
My History with Alexander Cockburn and The Financial Future of CounterPunch
Paul Street
For Popular Sovereignty, Beyond Absurdity
Nick Pemberton
The Colonial Pantsuit: What We Didn’t Want to Know About Africa
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Summer of No Return
Jeff Halper
Choices Made: From Zionist Settler Colonialism to Decolonization
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Incident: Trump’s Special Relationship With the Saudi Monarchy
Andrew Levine
Democrats: Boost, Knock, Enthuse
Barbara Kantz
The Deportation Crisis: Report From Long Island
Doug Johnson
Nate Silver and 538’s Measurable 3.5% Democratic Bias and the 2018 House Race
Gwen Carr
This Stops Today: Seeking Justice for My Son Eric Garner
Robert Hunziker
Peak Carbon Emissions By 2020, or Else!
Arshad Khan
Is There Hope on a World Warming at 1.5 Degrees Celsius?
David Rosen
Packing the Supreme Court in the 21stCentury
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Threats of Death and Destruction
Joel A. Harrison
The Case for a Non-Profit Single-Payer Healthcare System
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail