2003-09-26 21:23:37 UTC
air war in Kosovo, was the director of strategic plans and policy for
the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon during the genocidal
outbreak of killings in Rwanda and and Burundi. He and his boss Bill
Clint0n are among those who bear direct responsibility for allowing
this horror (which cost almost 1,000,000 human lives!) to happen.
So, who is this General?...
A VAIN, POMPOUS, BROWN-NOSER: MEET THE REAL GENERAL CLARK
Anyone seeking to understand the bloody fiasco of the Serbian war need
hardly look further than the person of the beribboned Supreme Allied
Commander, General Wesley K. Clark. Politicians and journalists are
generally according him a respectful hearing as he discourses on the
"schedule" for the destruction of Serbia, tellingly embracing phrases
favored by military bureaucrats such as "systematic" and "methodical".
The reaction from former army subordinates is very different.
"The poster child for everything that is wrong with the GO (general
officer) corps," exclaims one colonel, who has had occasion to observe
Clark in action, citing, among other examples, his command of the 1st
Cavalry Division at Fort Hood from 1992 to 1994.
While Clark's official Pentagon biography proclaims his triumph in
"transitioning the Division into a rapidly deployable force" this
officer describes the "1st Horse Division" as "easily the worst
division I have ever seen in 25 years of doing this stuff."
Such strong reactions are common. A major in the 3rd Brigade of the
4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado when Clark was in
command there in the early 1980s described him as a man who "regards
each and every one of his subordinates as a potential threat to his
While he regards his junior officers with watchful suspicion, he
customarily accords the lower ranks little more than arrogant
contempt. A veteran of Clark's tenure at Fort Hood recalls the
general's "massive tantrum because the privates and sergeants and
wives in the crowded (canteen) checkout lines didn't jump out of the
way fast enough to let him through".
Clark's demeanor to those above is, of course, very different, a mode
of behavior that has earned him rich dividends over the years. Thus,
early in 1994, he was a candidate for promotion from two to three star
general. Only one hurdle remained - a war game exercise known as the
Battle Command Training Program in which Clark would have to maneuver
his division against an opposing force. The commander of the opposing
force, or "OPFOR" was known for the military skill with which he
routinely demolished opponents.
But Clark's patrons on high were determined that no such humiliation
should be visited on their favorite. Prior to the exercise therefore,
strict orders came down that the battle should go Clark's way.
Accordingly, the OPFOR was reduced in strength by half, thus enabling
Clark, despite deploying tactics of signal ineptitude, to triumph. His
third star came down a few weeks later.
Battle exercises and war games are of course meant to test the
fighting skills of commanders and troops. The army's most important
venue for such training is the National Training Center at Fort Irwin,
California, where Clark commanded from October 1989 to October 1991
and where his men derisively nicknamed him "Section Leader Six" for
his obsessive micro-management.
At the NTC, army units face a resident OPFOR that has, through
constant battle practice coupled with innovative tactics and close
knowledge of the terrain, become adept at routing the visiting "Blue
Force" opponents. For Clark, this naturally posed a problem. Not only
were his men using unconventional tactics, they were also humiliating
Blue Force generals who might nurture resentment against the NTC
commander and thus discommode his career at some future date. To the
disgust of the junior OPFOR officers Clark therefore frequently fought
to lose, sending his men on suicidal attacks in order that the Blue
Forces should go home happy and owing debts of gratitude to their
All observers agree that Clark has always displayed an obsessive
concern with the perquisites and appurtenances of rank. Ever since he
acceded to the Nato command post, the entourage with which he travels
has accordingly grown to gargantuan proportions to the point where
even civilians are beginning to comment. A Senate aide recalls his
appearances to testify, prior to which aides scurry about the room
adjusting lights, polishing his chair, testing the microphone etc
prior to the precisely timed and choreographed moment when the Supreme
Allied Commander Europe makes his entrance.
"We are state of the art pomposity and arrogance up here," remarks the
aide. "So when a witness displays those traits so egregiously that
even the senators notice, you know we're in trouble." His NATO
subordinates call him, not with affection, "the Supreme Being".
"Clark is smart," concludes one who has monitored his career. "But his
whole life has been spent manipulating appearances (e.g. the doctored
OPFOR exercise) in the interests of his career. Now he is faced with a
reality he can't control." This observer concludes that, confronted
with the wily Slobodan and other unavoidable variables of war, Clark
will soon come unglued. "Watch the carpets at NATO HQ for teeth
WESLEY CLARK ALMOST TRIGGERS WORLD WAR 3
Robertson's plum job in a warring Nato
As Blair's man is installed, Richard Norton-Taylor details the way the
alliance generals have been fighting
Tuesday August 3, 1999
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.
Hyperbole, perhaps. But, by all accounts, Jackson was deadly serious.
Clark, as he himself observed, was frustrated after fighting a war
with his hands tied behind his back, and was apparently willing to
risk everything for the sake of amour-propre .
Nato's increasingly embarrassing, not to say ineffective, air assault
on Yugoslavia, had ended. It was over, not least as General Sir
Charles Guthrie, chief of the defence staff, acknowledged in an
interview with the Guardian, thanks to the intervention of Moscow -
its refusal to come to the aid of Belgrade. The point was emphatically
underlined by Jackson in a further interview over the weekend with the
"The event of June 3 [when Moscow urged Milosevic to surrender] was
the single event that appeared to me to have the greatest significance
in ending the war," said Jackson. Asked about the bombing campaign, he
added pointedly: "I wasn't responsible for the air campaign, you're
talking to the wrong person."
Having helped Nato out of its predicament, Moscow was embroiled in
arguments with Washington about the status of Russian troops in the
K-For operation. For reasons to do with efficiency as much as power
politics, the west insisted the Russian contingent must be "Nato-led".
With or without Yeltsin's say-so, on June 12 a group of some 200
Russian troops drove out of Bosnia - where they were serving with the
Nato-led S-For stabilisation force - and in full view of the world's
television cameras made for Pristina airport where Jackson had planned
to set up his K-For headquarters guarded by British paratroopers.
The Russians had made a political point, not a military one. It was
apparently too much for Clark. According to the US magazine, Newsweek,
General Clark ordered an airborne assault on the airfield by British
and French paratroopers. General Jackson refused. Clark then asked
Admiral James Ellis, the American commander of Nato's southern
command, to order helicopters to occupy the airport to prevent Russian
Ilyushin troop carriers from sending in reinforcements. Ellis replied
that the British General Jackson would oppose such a move. In the end
the Ilyushins were stopped when Washington persuaded Hungary, a new
Nato member, to refuse to allow the Russian aircraft to fly over its
Jackson got full support from the British government for his refusal
to carry out the American general's orders. When Clark appealed to
Washington, he was allegedly given the brush-off. The American is said
to have complained to Jackson about the British general's refusal to
accept the order to take over Pristina airfield, and Jackson's
subsequent appeal to his political masters when Clark visited Kosovo
on June 24.
The unsuccessful issuing of Clark's order has left a bitter taste,
especially given the delay in US marines joining the K-For operation -
a delay which Jackson had been prepared to indulge even though it held
up the entry into Kosovo. Had the British general carried out Clark's
instruction, all hope for a compromise with the Russians would have
been shattered. In the end, Nato and Moscow reached a compromise and
General Jackson willingly provided water and other supplies to
stranded Russian paratroopers holed up at the airfield. He swallowed
any hurt pride he might have had by insisting, not entirely
convincingly, that control of the airfield was not important.
The episode triggers reminiscences of the Korean war. Then, General
Douglas MacArthur, commander of the UN force, wanted to invade, even
nuke, China, until he was brought to heel by President Truman. So
concerned was Clement Attlee that he urgently flew to Washington to
put an end to such madness. MacArthur was relieved of his command.
The comparison, of course, is not exact, but worth recording
nonetheless. Last week, Clark was told in a telephone conversation
from General Henry Shelton, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff,
that he must leave his post early and make way for an older man,
General Joseph Ralston, a favourite of the American defence secretary,
William Cohen. Clark fell victim, not only to the Pristina airfield
row, but to his tense relationship with Washington throughout the war
- his repeated requests for more aircraft, including Apache
helicopters (never used in conflict because of the risk to pilots),
the need for a ground force contingency plan and an altogether more
effective strategy against Milosevic, a man he got to know well during
the 1995 Dayton peace negotiations on Bosnia. Asked to comment on
Clark's forced retirement, Jackson replied: "He is my superior officer
and that's it."
So Nato will have a new supreme military commander close to Cohen and
a new secretary-general - George Robertson - equally close to the US
defence secretary as documents released under the US freedom of
information act and reported today elsewhere in this newspaper
testify. Though Nato was looking for a German - the defence minister,
Rudolf Scharping declined - Robertson is said to have the enthusiastic
support of the French and German governments to succeed the Spaniard,
Javier Solana, who will take up a new post responsible for developing
the EU's incipient common foreign and security policy.
What does Robertson's appointment - expected to be formally approved
tomorrow - signify ? He is regarded as having a "safe" pair of hands.
He is unlikely to take risks. His main task will be to straddle the
Atlantic, to help patch fissures in the alliance which almost cracked
during the Kosovo war, and to persuade the Europeans to cooperate more
effectively in the defence and security field.
Robertson has talked much of "defence diplomacy". He will need to put
this into practice, no more so than in Nato's relations with Russia,
as the transatlantic alliance looks towards the east. The superficial
rhetoric, Anglo-American arrogance, and the dangerously presumptuous
approach towards Moscow, must be laid to rest.
CLARK DODGES MOST OF SERVICE IN VIETNAM WAR
David H. Hackworth
April 20, 1999
CLARK AND VIETNAM.
NATO's Wesley Clark is not the Iron Duke, nor is he Stormin' Norman.
Unlike Wellington and Schwarzkopf, Clark's not a muddy boots soldier.
He's a military politician, without the right stuff to produce victory
Known by those who've served with him as the "Ultimate Perfumed
Prince," he's far more comfortable in a drawing room discussing
political theories than hunkering down in the trenches where bullets
fly and soldiers die. An intellectual in warrior's gear. A saying
attributed to General George Patton was that it took 10 years with
troops alone before an officer knew how to empty a bucket of spit As a
serving soldier with 33 years of active duty under his pistol belt,
Clark's commanded combat units -- rifle platoon to tank division - for
only seven years. The rest of his career's been spent as an aide, an
executive, a student and teacher and a staff weenie.
Very much like generals Maxwell Taylor and William Westmoreland, the
architect and carpenter of the Vietnam disaster, Clark was earmarked
and then groomed early in his career for big things. At West Point he
graduated No. 1 in his class, and even though the Vietnam War was
raging and chewing up lieutenants faster than a machine gun can spit
death, he was seconded to Oxford for two years of contemplating
instead of to the trenches to lead a platoon.
A year after graduating Oxford, he was sent to Vietnam, where, as a
combat leader for several months, he was bloodied and muddied. Unlike
most of his classmates, who did multiple combat tours in the killing
fields of Southeast Asia, he spent the rest of the war sheltered in
the ivy towers of West Point or learning power games first hand as a
White House fellow.
The war with Serbia has been going full tilt for almost a month and
Clark's NATO is like a giant standing on a concrete pad wielding a
sledgehammer crushing Serbian ants. Yet, with all its awesome might,
NATO hasn't won a round. Instead, Milosovic is still calling all the
shots from his Belgrade bunker, and all that's left for Clark is to
react. Milosevic plays the fiddle and Clark dances the jig. 'Stormin'
Norman or any good infantry sergeant major would have told Clark that
conventional air power alone could never win a war -- it must be
accompanied by boots on the ground.
German air power didn't beat Britain. Allied air power didn't beat
Germany. More air power than was used against the Japanese and Germans
combined didn't win in Vietnam. Forty three days of pummeling in the
open desert where there was no place to hide didn't KO Saddam. That
fight ended only when Schwarzkopf unleashed the steel ground fist he'd
carefully positioned before the first bomb fell.
Doing military things exactly backwards, the scholar general is now,
according to a high ranking Pentagon source, in "total panic mode" as
he tries to mass the air and ground forces he finally figured out he
needs to win the initiative. Mass is a principle of war. Clark has
violated this rule along with the other eight vital principles. Any
mud soldier will tell you if you don't follow the principles of war
One of the salient reasons Wellington whipped Napoleon in 1815 at
Waterloo is that the Corsican piecemealed his forces. Clark's done the
same thing with his air power. He started with leisurely pinpricks and
now is attempting to increase the pain against an opponent with an
almost unlimited threshold. Similar gradualism was one of the reasons
for defeat in Vietnam.
Another mistake Clark's made is not knowing his enemy. Taylor and
Westmoreland made this same error in Vietnam. Like the Vietnamese, the
Serbs are fanatic warriors who know better than to fight
conventionally in open formations. They'll use the rugged terrain and
bomber bad weather to conduct the guerrilla operations they've been
preparing for over 50 years.
And they're damn good at partisan warfare. Just ask any German 70
years or older if a fight in Serbia will be another Desert Storm. It's
the smart general who knows when to retreat. If Clark lets pride stand
in the way of military judgment, expect a long and bloody war.