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January 15, 2004

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politicaobscura

With all due respect to you, I STILL think Drudge has a point.

After reading Clark's statement I think he sounds alot more like Colin Powell than he does Howard Dean.

"If the efforts to resolve the problem by using the United Nations fail, either initially or ultimately, then we need to form the broadest possible coalition....blah blah blah"....gee, now that I think of it, he sounds like George Bush!!

Jon Henke

Exactly right Politic-uh, the reader who posted just before me.

He suggested we follow precisely the same course as did Bush. He suggested we give the UN the "right of first refusal", as it were...then act with a coalition if the UN proved unwilling to enforce its will "if necessary backed by force".

The UN proved unwilling to act. (see: Frances promise to veto any resolution leading to war) We formed a coalition and acted.

So, I'm having trouble seeing what part of this Clark disliked. Perhaps he thought we should have waited a couple more months, but France had already made their position quite clear.

I think this ends Clarks campaign, for all intents and purposes.

TM

I think this puts Clark firmly in Kerry country - Kerry's criticism amounts to, Bush should have used the good diplomacy. And I happen to agree with you two (above) that we did exhaust the diplomatic process. But as of Sept 2002, what Clark said seems reasonable. Obviously, the dispute over whether diplomacy had failed, or been given an appropriate chance, came later.

However, the Drudge excerpts are focussing on WMDs and Al Qaeda contacts, rather than Clark's diplo-chatter.

Cecil Turner

Again Clark's penchant for being on all sides of an issue compromises his clarity. He also misses on a couple of points he should understand:

1) Saddam's massing on the border was precisely to get the US to move thousands of troops. He was jerking our chain, and it's not "unpredictable" at all.

2) Deciding whether Iraq and Al Qaeda are part and parcel of the same problem is a strategic point, not operational. Here he echoes Jeffrey Record's recent paper. I also think they're wrong, but that's at least arguable.

Concur that his position is more "nuanced" than Drudge gave credit for, especially regarding WMD. But it also reinforces the perception of him as perilously close to incoherent. (And I expect Sullivan will point that out.) Don't know if it's a killer, but it probably won't help.

TM

As to the General's incoherence, maybe I had one too many cups of coffee, but I went wild on this Washington Monthly article by the General, as did A Sullivan.

Cecil Turner

Yep, that's what I'm talkin' about. Jim Bennett made the same point on Hannity and Colmes a couple of nights ago, and said the White House would prefer Clark as an opponent because of it. He said at least Dean had a position. Not sure if I'm buying any, but it sounded plausible.

HH

For Clark to entertain the notion of going to war (by saying in Sep. 2002 that it wasn't time for war but that the card must be on the table and waved around a bit), he has shown himself to be a misleader after saying he was totally consistent on the war from the moment it was supposedly first mentioned to him. End of story. Drudge's "cherry picking" is a side issue.

Gene

It was clear to those present at Clark's testimony that he was against war at that time. His testimony was a running debate with Richard Perle, and Perle summed up Clark's position after Clark had finished as "So I think General Clark simply doesn't want to see us use
military force and he has thrown out as many reasons as he can develop to
that but the bottom line is he just doesn't want to take action. He wants
to wait. "

Cat M

I guess we need to work on our public school system, because I'm amazed at the poor reading comprehension exhibited by those commenting on this article.

If you read the ENTIRE testimony beginning to end, it is extremely clear--because Clark says it several times--that he does not believe Iraq presents an imminent threat and that we should not launch any attack until we have exhausted EVERY LAST POSSIBILITY.

This is not at all inconsistent with what Clark has said all along, nor is it even inconsistent with Howard Dean's position, the guy who claims to be against the war from the start.

http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/000940.html

On the September 29, 2002, episode of Face the Nation, Dean said, "There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States and to our allies."

Dean on Feb. 2003: "The world would be a better place if he were in a different place other than the seat of power in Baghdad or any other country. So I want to be clear. Saddam Hussein must disarm. This is not a debate; it is a given."

A month later on Meet the Press, Dean said he believed that Iraq "is automatically an imminent threat to the countries that surround it because of the possession of these weapons."

According to an interview with Salon's Jake Tapper, when Dean was asked to clarify his Iraq position, Dean said that Saddam must be disarmed, but with a multilateral force under the auspices of the United Nations. If the U.N. in the end chooses not to enforce its own resolutions, then the U.S. should give Saddam 30 to 60 days to disarm, Dean said, and if he doesn't, unilateral action is a regrettable, but unavoidable, choice.

Five months before this statement, according to a Des Moines Register report on October 6, 2002, Dean said, "It's conceivable we would have to act unilaterally [in Iraq], but that should not be our first option."

On January 31, 2003, Dean told the LA Times' Ron Brownstein that "if Bush presents what he considered to be persuasive evidence that Iraq still had weapons of mass destruction, he would support military action, even without U.N. authorization."

Appearing on Meet the Press on March 9, 2003, just days before the war began, Dean spoke with some certainty about Hussein's dangerous arsenal.

"I don't want Saddam to stay in power with control over those weapons of mass destruction," Dean said. "I want him to be disarmed." In the same interview, as I mentioned above, Dean said he believed that Iraq "is automatically an imminent threat to the countries that surround it because of the possession of these weapons."

So anyone who thinks that Clark's statements were in "support" of a war would have to conclude that Dean was also in support of the war.

The truth is that NEITHER candidate was in support of a war, except with support from our allies, although both kept open the right of the United States to act unilaterally if it believed there was a credible threat.

So enough with this false garbage about Clark. READ the transcript. He's not advocating war. He's advocating statesmanship and diplomacy.

HH

Read it. He wants war on the table. This is not the position of a man who was against it totally, consistently from the start. And Dean has been inconsistent too with his support for Biden/Lugar. I'll stand with the Daily Howler on this.

HH

"he does not believe Iraq presents an imminent threat"

Again with this straw man... neither did Bush. Was he advocating diplomacy?

HH

Speaking of which... here's Clark warning that Bush needs to take more time before going to war:

As for the when, let’s take the time to plan, organize and do the whole job the right way. This will only take a few more weeks, and it’s important.
Quite the warning if it were March or even February of last year... but this was Oct. 2002. Someone who says we should be able to go to war in a few more weeks months before the war is NOT consistently' against it. Someone who praises Bush and Clark for having resolve in the face of doubters is NOT consistently against the war.

Cat M

Clark has never ever said he was against war in Iraq under any circumstances. He has said:

1. He did not support a resolution authorizing force but rather supported one threatening force;

2. He believed, based on old intelligence and current media reports, that Hussein had chemical and biological weapons and was a threat;

3. He did not believe Hussein was an imminent threat;

4. He believed Hussein should be disarmed but that there were other ways to do it besides war;

5. He did not believe war should be taken off the table as an option because he believed it was only this threat that would be likely to induce both the UN Security Council and Iraq to cooperate on allowing stringent inspections.

It wouldn't make much strategic sense for Clark to say in a public meeting (and notice he does comment on the fact that these things are being done publicly) that "Well we should just pretend that we are going to authorize force to scare Hussein." He says the only thing that can be said if that threat of force is to be effective--he says we must be ready to use it.

He also says, EMPHATICALLY, more than once, that EVERY OTHER OPTION should be exhausted. In my opinion, if every other option was exhausted--which would have taken years--and we truly believed Hussein had WMD, then yes we would have to go in and take him out.

But if every other option had been exhausted, it never would have come to that.

MOST of America supported the war, for reasons I can't comprehend, so the idea that Clark supporting force WHEN ALL OTHER OPTIONS HAVE FAILED (what he has said ALL ALONG--war as a last resort, not now, not imminent) is going to be a problem for most of America is rather silly.

And since no other major candidate had a position different from that, including Dean, Bush, Kerry, Gephardt, and Edwards, it's not really going to matter in the primaries either except that Dean has lied and falsely convinced people he was against the war from the start when his position was NO DIFFERENT from anyone else's except Gephardt and Lieberman's who supported the war itself.


Cat M

1. He says it will only take a few more weeks to plan; not that it will only take a few more weeks and we should go to war.

2. Bush did indeed say Hussein was an imminent threat. He didn't use the word "imminent" but telling me that the smoking gun could be in the form of a mushroom cloud suggests pretty darn imminent. He also implied imminent in his State of the Union Speech.

3. Clark published an editorial in September 2002 in USA TOday in which he says we can wait--maybe two, four, even eight years:

Despite all of the talk of "loose nukes," Saddam doesn't have any, or, apparently, the highly enriched uranium or plutonium to enable him to construct them.

Unless there is new evidence, we appear to have months, if not years, to work out this problem. [http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2002-09-09-oplede_x.htm]

In the Time article to which you refer (Let's Wait to Attack), he's talking about the plan to deal with Hussein, not the plan to go to war. You forgot the paragraph that comes right before your selective quote:

"As for the how, the answer is clear--MULTILATERALLY [emphasis added], with friends and allies, with every possible effort to avoid the appearance of yet another Christian and Jewish stab at an Islamic country, with FORCE AS A LAST RESORT [emphasis added], and with a post-conflict plan in place to assure that the consequences of our action do not supercharge the al-Qaeda recruiting machine. As for the when, let's take the time to plan, organize and do the whole job the right way. This will only take a few more weeks, and it's important. It's not just about winning a war--it's also about winning the peace.

HH

Bush, Powell argued "against war"

Exhibit A:

At an earlier press conference with President Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic, Mr. Bush said the United States was prepared to lead a "coalition of the willing" if Iraq refuses to abandon its weapons programs but also repeated previous statements that he considers war a last resort.

"If the collective will of the world is strong, we can achieve disarmament peacefully," the president said. "But one thing is certain, he'll be disarmed, one way or the other, in the name of peace."

Exhibit B:
POWELL: War should never be a self-fulfilling prophecy. It should always be a deliberate act by people acting rationally, hopefully. And in this case, as the president said the other night, we are trying to see war as a last resort.
Exhibit C:
The threat of force must remain. Force should always be a last resort. I have preached this for most of my professional life as a soldier and as a diplomat. But it must be a resort.

Steve

I read this trasncript (entirely) and although it is a very nuanced position, Clark was cleary against rushing to war without broad allied support.

I think serveral other things are made clear. Clark is very intelligent. He is very strong on national defense and dealing with emerging threats. He knows the value of working with international law to benefit the current war on terror.

He separates the War on Terror from the potential threat posed by WMD in Iraq. He downplays the connection between Saddam and Al-queda (although conceding there's most likely low-level contacts).

Clark says that the use of force is an absolute last resort, after all other options have been exhasted. He said the use of force should not begin until we have a good post-war plan with the resources and organizations ready.

The evidence he's seen wouldn't justify an imminent threat. Hence, this is not a case for pre-emption doctrine.

He argues that there is time to work the problem, but the US shouldn't wait indefinately.

He says the congresstional resolution doesn't even need to authorize force at all, just make clear the force is on the table to energize the efforts of the Bush admin in going to the UN.

Clark was for dealing with the problem of Saddam's WMDs; he was not for invasion of Iraq.

He argued that Al-Queda was the more pressing issue, and that a war with Iraq might supercharge Al-Queda recruitments and that terrorists might pour into the country to fight Americans (SEE SENATE ASC TESTIMONY). He says the war could be very hard and costly, and America could end up with an indefinate ground commitment in Iraq.

The real issue at play here is LEADERSHIP. Bush had advisors telling him he didn't even need to approach the U.N. on this issue. The administration had taken a go-it-alone approach since he took office. But somebody, probably Powell talked him into giving the U.N. a shot.

Let's see, what's the best way to approach the UN on this issue? I have it: Tell them that your mind is already made up, you will act if they fail to; that they are irrelevent if they don't act. WHAT A SMART APPROACH, I'M SO GLAD BUSH IS PRESIDENT.

Next step: Present false evidence and make false claims to the UN (Stockpiles of Biological/Chem, aluminum tubes for gaseous diffusion). Then austicise the French.

I could go on but I’ll let Clark do the rest for me when he creams Bush in November.

Cat M

Yeah, well Bush and Powell actually lied. They didn't go to war as a last resort. A last resort would have involved allowing inspections to continue and, as we now know from Richard Perle, considering an offer made to Perle through an intermediary of Hussein's in September 2002, to allow US troops in, allow UN inspectors unfettered access, and to allow supervised elections in Iraq. But Bush & CO. didn't even bother to consider the offer simply because it came through "back channels."

Despite the lip service Powell and Bush gave, they did not exhaust all available options. They didn't even exhaust the ones Clark mentioned in his presentation.

Not sure what your argument is here. Clark's position was certainly different than Bush's, because if Clark had been commander in chief, we never would have gone to war without doing a heck of a lot more on the diplomatic front. Clark was very much in favor of rigorous inspections.

HH

"Bush did indeed say Hussein was an imminent threat. He didn't use the word 'imminent' but telling me that the smoking gun could be in the form of a mushroom cloud suggests pretty darn imminent. He also implied imminent in his State of the Union Speech."

You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means. Bush was saying theoretically that we could see a mushroom cloud but didn't say it was coming tomorrow or next month or next year. Because we just didn't know for sure. That's not imminent, sorry. He SPECIFICALLY denied it was an imminent threat, and the arguments that it was "implied" are all out-of-context quotes from what I've seen.

You forget also that Clark did not always argue that multilateralism was key:

Every president has deployed forces as necessary to take action. He's done so without multilateral support if necessary. He's done so in advance of conflict if necessary. In my experience, I was the commander of the European forces in NATO. When we took action in Kosovo, we did not have United Nations approval to do this and we did so in a way that was designed to preempt Serb ethnic cleansing and regional destabilization there. There were some people who didn' t agree with that decision. The United Nations was not able to agree to support it with a resolution.

HH

"I could go on but I’ll let Clark do the rest for me when he creams Bush in November."

Didn't realize we had Michael Moore here with us... that's kinda like Moore's declaration that Nov. 2002 would be "Payback Tuesday."

"considering an offer made to Perle through an intermediary of Hussein's in September 2002"

Those offers were a sham just like the cease-fire in '91. Please.

Really, all the talk about imminence, inspections is moot, as well as the "Bush lied" attacks. Clark was being misleading, because these positions are not "consistently against war."

Cat M

Bush actually said two or three times (twice NOT attributing it to the British) that Hussein could launch an attack in 45 minutes. I don't know about you, but if someone tells me a bomb could fall on my house in 45 minutes, I'm gathering up the silver and getting out of there. That's pretty darned imminent.

As is a mushroom cloud. He was basically saying "any minute there could be a mushroom cloud" and that we had to act immediately to avert that possibility. He was giving it as a reason for immediate action. If there was no reason for immediate action, why didn't we wait?

It's your opinion that the offer was a sham. And Slate's I suppose. I don't always agree with Slate. All offers should be investigated.

What Clark said is consistent with US policy. No military officer or president would ever say that the US doesn't have the right to act unilaterally. You again used Drudge's technique of selective quoting. While Clark acknowledged we always reserve the right as a sovereign nation to act unilaterally and even pre-emptively if we believe the danger is imminent, he also said this was not the time and that the pre-emptive doctrine was flawed and a bad idea.

You know, you seem to believe you're the only one who can read and has sources. I am an extremely avid reader, and can think for myself.

45 minutes = imminent
war as a last resort when all other options have failed = no support for the Iraq war at that time

HH

One more Clark quote:

I think the first thing is you have a very strong determination that's out in public and supported by this body that says if we don't get the assistance we need from the United Nations, as a last resort we will use force and we will solve the problem ourselves.

HH

"He was giving it as a reason for immediate action."

This was 2 months before the action... you're putting words in his mouth anyway. And the "45 minutes" stuff is a total distortion. He never claimed Saddam would launch a missile in 45 minutes that day or any day just on a whim.

Cat M

Tsk tsk HH. Taken out of context again...

He is answering a question as to how do we galvanize world opinion to support a vigilant inspection regime. His answer is what you respond and surely you are bright enough to understand what he's saying.

He's saying you get it out there in the public that if these people don't cooperate, we'll do it on our own, by force if necessary--the THREAT of force, which he always believed was an effective tool of leverage.

No inconsistency. Just your own imagination. You have to convince people that you are prepared to follow up on the threat or there's no point in issuing it--it won't have any leverage.

Cat M

You also conveniently forgot the next two exchanges, where Clark denies he is suggesting we go in with force if inspections fail. I will be kind enough to provide them for you:

HUNTER: So if the United Nations doesn't give us a strong aggressive inspection regime, we should reject a weaker inspection regime and take military action?

CLARK: I'm not suggesting that.

HUNTER: OK, now what if they give us a weaker -- I think we can --

CLARK: You're leading the witness, sir.

John in Tokyo

I'm sick of this he-said she-said "gotcha" game. It's pretty obvious that Clark is in the clear as far as changing positions goes. While conceding that invasion should be an option, and that Saddam was a potential threat and that unilateral action is sometimes acceptable, he was against invasion a la Bush. Now we squabble over the definition of "last resort" and whether we had reached it 10 months ago; or whether a smoother diplomatic effort could've gotten France and/or Germany on board; or, if containment was working and did the Bushies know that it was working better when they claimed it wasn't (the "imminent threat" issue is moot because Bush clearly said that Saddam's threat was not immminent - yet.)

Critics have a good case on whether Bush jumped the gun on the "last resort" (invasion). Inspections were barely given a chance. Critics are wrong on the part about diplomacy. France et al were recalcitrant and determined. The idea that Bush could have offered them veto power, then hoped that they would've appreciated the gesture and not wielded it instead of humiliating him is just trash. What does that say about France?! They either believed that regime change via invasion was right (or in their interest) or they did not. You don't change positions and go against your perceived interests because the U.S. President kisses your ass (were they holding out for contract promises?). As for the question of Bush lying about Saddam's capabilities - that's one for the history books (volumes). Obviously Bush and Blair were mistaken. The idea that they knew and lied anyway seems dubious. When you plead one's case for the dangers of inaction, you paint lurid pictures, especially when the opposition is throwing just as lurid pictures about the consequences of action. For all the "gotcha" quotes, there has been no proveable case so far for an outright, red-handed deception - even Tony Blair's 45 min. claim. You have to believe that they were surprised by the complete lack of WMD so far. They would not have deliberately raised expectations so high - unless you believe the worst about them. While clear violations have been discovered, the pre-War hype was such that the discoveries have, if anything, backfired politically. Bush and Blair have been lucky that the opposition's arguments have been just as flawed.

Personally, I believe that Bush had decided on invasion sometime soon after the fall of the Taliban. The decision was more or less sealed with the vote in congress. The conclusion was that, more than the WMD, it was the nature of Saddam's regime itself that posed the threat and that our inspections (non-existant at that time) and sanctions regime was a total disaster and a dead-end (a quagmire!). The U.N. and the WMD rigamorole was a pretext to get congressional approval and a show of trying to persuade others (everyone's minds were already set). They knew that Saddam would never cooperate fully and thus give them the opening they needed. It was also designed to show the futility of containment since the inspections had resumed only under the intensity of Bush's belligerent threats (axis of evil speech) and troop build up. Logically, such a threat could not be maintained forever and remain credible which would be the time for Saddam to slowly and slyly return to his customary obstructionism.

What's important is that Bush made the right call. Clark's position doesn't explain why it would have been acceptable to leave Saddam in place. They said that Saddam would never attack us or aid Al-Qaeda but Saddam's record offered no reason for confidence in deterrance. They also failed to deal with the full extend of the disaster that had taken place as a result of the previous 12 years of containment. Remember how it was revealed that Saddam hoarded dead children at hospitals - denying them immediate burial - until he had enough for a parade/rally/protest against the U.S. led sanctions and how these were broadcast across the Muslim world? This is one example out of thousands of other negative consequences of containment. Talk about "why do they hate us???". Containment was Al-Qaida's number 1 grievance, ahead even of our support for Israel.

The containment advocates also never really said how long such a policy should or could have been maintained and the hope that Saddam would fall had all but vanished as early as 94-95. The containment crowd preferred to avoid talk about how healthy Saddam was and how young, strapping and psychotic Uday and Qusay were. Barring a miracle, their proposals amounted to the likelihood of decades more of containment. Either that or an eventual lifting of sanctions on Saddam (most had the good sense not to discuss such a scenario), or a future military action and/or invasion - possibly at a time of Hussein's chosing. With all scenarios falling into these 3 main and unpalatable categories (staus quo, pull out, or invasion), continued containment amounted to punting the ball and further deferring a final resolution to a later date. This was Wesley Clark's position. Actually, I suspect that if Clark were president and tasked with ultimate responsibility for the outcome, he would've invaded too. But the candidates are all moving into the anti-war (or regret-the-war) camp to get the Democratic base and because any other position means giving credit to Bush for doing the Doing The Right Thing. It's a shame because I think it has been and will continue to be an overall success. One of the vilest regimes in recent history and a sworn enemy of America has been overthrown and the status quo in the most unstable and dangerous region has been overturned with the removal of the man who had killed the most people and held the possibility of a brighter future hostage at the point of a gun (or missile). This is a defeat for Al-Qaeda too and they know it which is why they continue to fight us in Iraq - evidence that the people who argue that this was a detour from the WOT are completely mistaken.

Cecil Turner

The "Bush implied an imminent threat" stuff is tiresome nonsense. Once again, from the State of the Union:
"Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option."

Andrew Sullivan's take is up, and uncomplimentary:
"But whatever defense you make of it cannot be that Clark was simply anti-war. He was pro-war until it was politically convenient for him not to be. He was pro-war, depending on what the meaning of "pro" is."

But to me, watching people parse the General's statement and coming up with contradictory interpretations just reinforces the perception that he's all things to all men (and women). Personally, I'd stick with "incoherent."

TM

OK, lots of good points from Cat M - must be the Day of the Cat, here. However, if I may offer a bit of free advice - I haven't seen anyone's mind changed on the "imminent threat" debate in a long time. Spinsanity, attempting to be a voice of reason, said this:

In recent weeks, a debate has raged over the phrase "imminent threat." Many liberal critics have asserted that a central claim in President Bush's case for war in Iraq was that Iraq posed an "imminent threat." They argue that it's now clear that no such threat existed, and thus the President's argument has been revealed as deceptive or illegitimate. Conservatives retort that Bush never actually used the phrase and in fact specifically used language indicating that the threat was not imminent on several occasions.

As a factual matter, conservatives are largely correct and liberal critics and journalists are guilty of cheap shots or lazy reporting. However, the evidence is not completely clear and both sides are guilty of distorting this complex situation for political gain.

I think (and I am saying this on successive days, which is uncharacteristically consistent) that both Clark and Busg supported diplomacy with war as a last resort. The great debate is, what are the criteria by which we decide that diplomacy has failed?

My impression is that there are professional diplomats and committed multi-lateralists for whom diplomacy never fails - and the process must always be supported. Bush is clearly not in this camp. Left unclear from Clark's testimony about Iraq is the question of what he might consider to be an end-point to the diplomatic process; we had the same criticism about his Washington Monthly article describing how he would have gone after Osama, noted earlier.

So, to take his testimony as pro-war, which Drudge did, seems silly. OTOH, he was not a Buddhist monk on this - he did support the concept of war when/if diplomacy failed.

My criticism of Clark would be, did you seriously think the French might get on board if we only fine-tuned the inspection process, or did it strike you that maybe our chain was being yanked? And secondly, to credibly threaten war, we had deployed two hundred thousand soldiers and sailors - what was the plan for keeping them on station indefinitely? And finally, what is the impact on US prestiege if we threaten war and are then seen as backing down?

Questions for Bush may follow, but I have another wild weekend planned. Happy MLK day!

HH

You forget the question again... Clark said he has been consistently against war. If he offers the possibility of war as a last resort, as Bush and Powell did, then he is not consistently against war. There is NO scenario under which the French would have budged. The claim that he is against war is indeed taking him out of context, by that logic Bush is against war too. End of story.

HH

As for Clark's "not suggsting that" quote, that is just plain inconsistent with his other statements. If he wants the war card on the table and waved around for all to see, then he is indeed suggesting that. He wants his cake and to eat it too. Clark is like the Bible... you can quote him to support whatever you wish.

Cecil Turner

Much of this debate assumes a binary (pro/anti-war) solution set. ISTM the polls are remarkably stable, and appear to show a three-way split: Hawks, who saw Iraq's failure to abide by the Gulf War cease-fire and UNSC resolutions as an ample casus belli; Doves, who wanted containment (and many wanted to dump the sanctions), but had no intention of following through on a threat of force; and the Swingers, who wanted containment with sanctions, and a credible threat to force compliance by Iraq. After 9/11, the Swingers sided with the Hawks, forming a (super)majority.

Bush appears to be a Swinger. Many of his advisors are Hawks. Clark is a Swinger if he was serious when he said "the problem of Iraq is not a problem that can be postponed indefinitely." But I'm not sure he was. If he meant to threaten but never to follow through, that's a Dove. Anyone who uses "imminent threat" as a standard is a Dove.

The majority of Democrats appear to be Doves, making it hard for a pro-war candidate to get the nomination. But the majority of the electorate is consistently pro-war. That's going to drive a lot of "nuanced" positions.

TM

Hammer, i see your point. Clark's position on pro-war is reminiscent of Oscar Wilde's query as to whether the woman at the dinner table would sleep with him for a million dollars (she would). Clark is pro-war in the sense that we were just haggling about his price. He would say he was anti- "this war, now", since his price had not yet been met.

In the three way world proposed by C. Turner, I think Clark would have to be considered a swinger who hadn't swung. And to be fair to Clark (it's a cold day somewhere...) he did advocate war as a diplo-alternative in Kosovo, so we know his patience does have an end-point. Or did once.

HH

His comments, however, were that when he was first told about the war (supposedly mere weeks after Sep. 11), he was dead set against it and has been. So it's not "this war, now," he makes it sound as though the mere idea of war with Iraq, regardless of unilateralism, multilateralism, good inspections, bad inspections, whatever, was something he opposed right away.

HH

Number of times "imminent" appears in full transcript linked above: zero.

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