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Paul Hayden

Wesley Clark Run for VP May be Over

July 7, 2008

Retired Army General Wesley Clark apparently enjoyed his time in the limelight during the Clinton Administration enough to want another position of power-this time the one that's a heartbeat from the presidency. With his cutting remarks about Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) experience of "riding" in a fighter plane and being shot down not qualifying him to be president, Clark has thrust himself into the public eye again and offered his attack-dog services to his putative boss, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).

Unfortunately for Clark, he may have inserted his foot too far into his mouth this time to remain on any short list that the Obama camp is developing for a running mate. Instead of giving Obama a shot in the arm, he instead had Obama's handlers playing damage control. Clark's ill-conceived strategy was apparently to hit the enemy in his position of strength rather than his weak spot, hoping that by doing so that he would harm or even destroy the bastion of McCain's campaign-his war hero status.

There is another irony here-what about Obama's almost total lack of experience in foreign affairs? Does Clark really believe that he brings enough to the table to compensate for Obama's glaring weakness in this area? Apparently he thinks so.

It's true that Clark can boast of a supposedly stellar resume in the international arena, with his service as NATO supreme commander and commander of the controversial expedition to Kosovo in the late 1990s. However, Clark's planning and strategy were like something out of Dr. Strangelove-he was ready at one point to attack Russian troops who supported Serbia, and only a more sane British general prevented Clark, in the Brit's words, from "starting World War III." It has been chronicled that the only reason Clark went as far as he did (that is, to four-star rank) was that he covertly did Clinton's bidding in the Branch Davidian standoff and eventual attack by government agents. Clark's help-indirect though it may have been-may well have been against the law (Posse Comitatus Act) which substantially limits the federal government's power to use the military for domestic law enforcement purposes.

Wesley Clark has run for the Democrat presidential nomination in 2004, and therefore he clearly sees himself as qualified to be president. Thankfully, a thinking majority of Americans don't see him that way. As weak a candidate as McCain may be, there's no question that he's far more qualified to be president than Wesley Clark.

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