Thursday, 25 September 2003

General Wesley Clark

I've just posted a rather long article over on The Command Post. Long enough so that my opinions changed markedly between the beginning and the end, as I did more research.

It started out as a hatchet–job, born of instinctive outrage at seeing a photo of a man obviouslly palling–it–up with a Scumbag of the first order, a true War Criminal.

As I dug deeper, looking for the dirt, I noticed a disturbing pattern: the criticism of the man was always coming from people with decided idealogical axes to grind. Some of the juiciest bits I discarded as being all–too–likely to be "Sexed Up" or wholly fabricated in order to prove a point. My view of this guy changed, he was no longer the ambulatory offal that I took him to be, but a complex and contradictory character.

General Wesley Clark appears to be a man of overwhelming ambition. Personally brave, possessed of both charisma and charm, and with a keen intellect that is disturbingly superior to my own. The Ultimate Political Animal, willing to go to any lengths for personal power (all in a good cause, of course). These qualities, not often found together, might just make him somone who will be a truly competent power-broker. Such Fanatical Ambition is not always bad, in fact it's a positive boon under some circumstances, as is the ability to compromise ones principles, morality and ethics in order to avoid disaster. Utterly Ruthless, he has a worrying penchant for taking things very personally. He's quite willing to Lie shamelessly in order to advance his party's cause, and go to bed with the most raddled of political whores. But those qualities sometimes make good Leaders. Politics traditionally makes strange bedfellows, and Truth is so precious it must sometimes be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies.

But (always with the Buts!)... I'd hate to have to serve under him. Because I know that if it came to a choice between doing what's right for his subordinates, or doing what's right for his own career, then the choice is no choice at all. He'd spend lives like so many rounds of ammunition if it infinitesimally increased the possibility of personal success. Now he's no coward, quite the contrary, he's been willing to put his own life on the line in order to advance his career. I have no reason to believe that he wouldn't employ the same methods in the service of his country, even to the extent of laying down his own life if need be. That could make him a great President, (great Leaders are seldom morally sound) except for one thing.

When put in a position where some kind of personal stand could be taken, he always did what was most politically expedient, even when the people whose policies he was supposed to be implementing really needed somone to tell them they were full of it, and say "NO!". A Politician to the end. His judgement is questionable, because he's never used it, except to say what he thought his superiors wanted to hear, and do what would he thought would give him the most brownie points. Even if it meant World War 3.

I guess I've changed my mind about him again. I will say this - he'd make a superb President. Of France.

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