Posted By RichC on June 20, 2005
I was listening to Wesley Clark on the subject of our stretched military, Gitmo and Iraq yesterday and found his insight very interesting, considering that he is NOT a lover of the current administrations policies. At the same time he doesn’t represent the leftist views that we remove and disengage the militarily from the the problems of this world. Clark did sound a bit more like John Kerry in that we need to include our allies to a greater extent. He did not endorsing the pullout of our troops or a timetable for Iraq, disagreed with those advocating closing Gitmo and believes we need an additional 90,000 troops on top of those that we are unable to attract in filling the needs today. (particularly in the Army)
In Iraq … now that we are there, he believes that our troops are necessary. (Although he is a big supporter of talks with surrounding countries and working to include our ‘so called’ allies in the war on terror.) His position is that it would be wrong to pull out or begin removal of troops as the Iraq forces are not capable of protecting their country from insurgency, whether foriegn or domestic to Iraq. He is seriously concerned with decreased enlistment in our armed forces and in particularly the Army. The retired general believes that we are going to find ourselves in a longterm and constant battle worldwide against terror (not just in Iraq), and that our military is going to play a primary role. Clark also was frustrated with the lack of ally understanding, involvement and support … and believes it is due ‘in part’ to the current administrations policies and ‘in part’ with the naivetÃ© of our democratic allies to combat the threat.
He was particularly critical of the recent move against our military in Guantanamo Bay by the press, our own politicians and other countries believing we should close Gitmo. He would like to see evaluation and separation/sorting of the truly dangerous detainees from those we intend to eventually release. He also said that we need our allies to take on some of this duty of working with the detained as it is something those countries can do in the war on terror. Other countries may not have strong military or the desire to involve themselves on the front lines but they can support the efforts in handling the interogations, detainees and prisoners.
As for the military … he didn’t have answers as to how to encourage more enlistment, but noted that currently we are not keeping up with our needs OR are not poised to grow our forces to handle growing, continual and potential problems down the road. His evaluation was that we needed to add an addition 90,000 troops to the current ‘desired’ number, of which we are already not able to maintain the quality of the enlistee. He noted that the caliber of soldier is crucial to our advanced military and believes we might be able to attract ‘bodies’ but just as in Vietnam would not attract the quality soldier. It was a real concern for him in part due to his inside knowledge and background. I gained a new respect for him and those in the democratic party that see things from his ‘more realistic’ (IMHO) perspective. Unfortunately his party is being lead by several from farther ‘left’ like Howard Dean, DNC Chair and Senator Dick Durbin.
Of course … many will see these positions as ‘GOP-lite’ … and prefer the Moore, Durbin and Dean Democrat … a direction that in my opinion that will continue to divide the DNC and go way left of centerline America. If the Dems continue this approach, I unfortunately see the GOP even more ‘right winged’ than even I’m comfortable will. I hope they come to their senses if for nothing else forcing the GOP resist the rightwing extremes that does not represent most Americans.