Two men served during the Vietnam War, and both had the kind of bad luck that can easily happen in a combat zone. One, a company commander, was shot four times by a Viet Cong, but recovered from his wounds while earning a Silver Star. Another was shot down, captured by the enemy, and tortured for five years by war criminals. He received additional torture for refusing to take advantage of his status as an admiral’s son to gain early release from captivity.
The first hero’s name was Wesley Clark, and the second one’s is John McCain. We are not sure when Wesley Clark, Vietnam war hero and leader of character, died only to be replaced by a shameless political pimp, but it had to have been after his retirement from the Army. We are reminded of Dante’s theory about one of the realms of Hell, in which the person’s soul descends while his living body (animated by a demon instead of a soul) still walks the earth. We know that the original Wesley Clark is dead, though, because a real hero, officer, gentleman, and leader of character would never use another hero’s bad luck in combat to denigrate and belittle his service.
Appearing as a surrogate for Barack Obama on CBS’s “Face the Nation”, Clark, in reference to John McCain, said:
“I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war…But he hasn’t held executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded—that wasn’t a wartime squadron. He hasn’t been there and ordered the bombs to fall.”When moderator Bob Schieffer interjected that “Barack Obama has not had any of those experiences, either, nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down”, Clark responded: “Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.”
If John McCain had used his position as an admiral’s son to gain early release from captivity, and thus not kept his naval career on hold for five years, he might have become an admiral himself and commanded a wartime squadron. Instead, he refused to commit an action that would undermine the morale of his service (by suggesting to other sailors that admiral’s sons receive preferential treatment), and his captors beat the hell out of him for it.
Whatever is inhabiting Wesley Clark’s body does not understand, or does not care about, the phrase “There but for the grace of God go I.” If the enemy had shot up the real Wesley Clark a little more thoroughly, he would have been honorably discharged as a decorated junior officer with no opportunity to become a general. If John McCain had been picked up by an American helicopter instead of war criminals, he might have retired as an admiral like his father and grandfather.
Meanwhile, let’s see what Wesley Clark (or whatever he became after his retirement from the army) endorsed for President in 2004.
“John Kerry has been the kind of leader America needs,” said Clark, a former NATO supreme commander.
Clark’s emphasis on Kerry’s Navy service in Vietnam is noteworthy because many Democrats have made an issue of President Bush’s wartime service in the Air National Guard.
Let’s see what John Kerry said about his own service in Vietnam. We must first point out, however, that we protested accusations that Kerry did not earn his medals. We counseled those who made those accusations that they reflected not only on Kerry but also the Navy because, if someone can get three medals to which he was not entitled, the organization that awards them does not have adequate controls. If Kerry’s three medals were frauds, then that reflects on the decorations that countless other service members earned. It is far better to focus on what Kerry said about himself.
“There are all kinds of atrocities and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free-fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used 50-caliber machine guns which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took part in search-and-destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All of this is contrary to the laws of warfare. All of this is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all of this ordered as a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from the top down.”
Kerry says he committed atrocities in violation of the Geneva Convention, which makes him (per his own words) a war criminal. Nonetheless, Wesley Clark chose to praise this individual’s service in Vietnam–and this is not all that Kerry did. His statement that the United States was committing atrocities as a matter of policy doubtlessly served the enemy’s propaganda purposes, and may even have been instrumental in encouraging General Giap–who was almost ready to pack it in after the disastrous Tet Offensive–to continue the war. Tet demonstrated to Giap that he could not win a direct confrontation with the United States, but John Kerry and his cohorts suggested that he might be able to win politically. Genghis John the Khan also is on record with the following:
I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command….
They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.
It is difficult to envision any West Point graduate praising and whitewashing this kind of record. We know enough about the U.S. Military Academy’s curriculum to be certain that no graduate of this institution would condone lying, cheating, stealing, or the toleration of those who do. Furthermore, no USMA graduate would accept “I was just following orders” as an excuse for an overt violation of the Hague or Geneva Convention. According to “Staff Officer Responsibility for War Crimes” by Lt. Colonel Michael Davidson,
US military personnel who commit war crimes are prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). For staff officers who facilitate criminal activity, a number of punitive UCMJ articles are available to form the basis of a courtmartial prosecution. However, the applicable theories for prosecuting a staff officer for war crimes can be grouped into two general categories: knowingly facilitating commission of a war crime and failing to bring a crime to light either by concealing or failing to report it.
Facilitating the war crime. Although staff officers may not have ordered the illegal conduct, they
can be prosecuted for aiding and abetting its commission. The law considers one who actively assists in a crime to be just as guilty as the person who orders orders or commits it. Conviction of the crime aiding and abetting, Article 77 of the UCMJ, requires that the accused [s]hare in the criminal purpose of design and either [a]ssist, encourage, advise, instigate, counsel, command, or procure another to commit, or assist, encourage, advise, counsel or command another in the commission of the offense.19 The requirement that the accused share in the criminal purpose of the illegal order serves to exclude from criminal responsibility the conduct of those who unwittingly facilitate the crime.20
Genghis John the Khan Kerry states that he followed illegal orders to commit atrocities. This is the record that Wesley Clark, or whatever he has become, chose to praise in 2004.
Now let’s take a look at what he has chosen to endorse in 2008. While denigrating John McCain for putting his life on the line for our country, and getting shot down and tortured for doing so, Clark endorses an individual who, per his own book Dreams From My Father, did the following:
I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though… (page 93)
Right; in the same age group in which John McCain got into a combat plane to put his life on the line for our country, Clark’s candidate–we won’t call it a man–was drinking and getting high on pot. This is not to say that Barack Obama has not changed during the past 25 years, but it underscores just how despicable Clark’s attack on his fellow Vietnam veteran’s service record is. If getting into a combat plane, taking enemy fire, going down, and being tortured in a prison camp does not attest to John McCain’s character, it is hard to see how getting drunk and getting high while in the same age group (20s) makes Obama a better candidate.
Whatever is now animating Wesley Clark’s body has sold the honor of the real Wesley Clark the way a pimp sells a woman’s body on the street, all for political gain. We do not think this analogy is too harsh for an individual who used his status as a decorated service member and retired general to belittle and denounce a fellow veteran’s and hero’s service record for pure political gain.
How should veterans who served with Wesley Clark remember him? Perhaps the best approach would be to hold a military funeral with an honor guard to fire a salute for General Wesley Clark, Vietnam war hero and leader of character, record his death in the 2000-2003 time frame, and try to forget that the thing he has become ever existed.