Infoshop: Michael Moore's Mad Love for Wesley Clark
posted as a comment to an earlier Wesley Clark/Michael Moore thread. reposted here for its own enjoyment.
Michael Moore's Mad Love for Wesley Clark
Marko at infoshop.org
Michael Moore opens his gushing letter to Wesley Clark by stating,
"I've been meaning to write to you for some time. Two days after the Oscars, when I felt very alone and somewhat frightened by the level of hatred toward me for daring to suggest that we were being led into war for "fictitious reasons," one person stuck his neck out and came to my defense on national television.
And that person was you."
Life at the academy awards can indeed be tough, but luckily for our swashbuckling hero he has found a soul mate. Moore goes on, "I sat in Flint with the earpiece still in my ear and I was floored -- a GENERAL standing up for me". Moore's infatuation for the GENERAL became intensified, " Since that night, I have spent a lot of time checking you out." What did Moore discover? Well, "You seem to be a man of integrity. You seem not afraid to speak the truth." OK, let us continue. One reason Moore would have the peace movement support Clark is because he "opposes war".
Let us examine this claim. Clark in "Waging Modern War", writes "in military terms compellence seemed to translate into a certain implicit or explicit bargaining through the graduated use of force, inflicting ever increasing punishment to convince an opponent to change his behaviour. It was to be applicable against the smaller non nuclear states". Clark continues, "many of us in the United States and the Armed Forces had seen early on the fallacies of gradualism. It was clear that the US effort to halt North Vietnamese support of the fighting in South Vietnam (of course, the US mass slaughter in South Vietnam was a non issue for what the besotted one calls "a man of integrity") by 'signalling' US resolve through carefully constrained, politically designed bombing, which avoided decisive military impact, had been a failure" (p5).
For Clark, who Moore informs us "opposes war", this lead to a number of conclusions. "I realized, the force applied must be much greater than we had been willing to commit at the time, must be intensified more rapidly, and must be directed at achieving significant military ends" (p6). Hence for this "man of integrity" who "opposes war" the destruction in Indochina, which led to some 3 million deaths, was not enough. The "force applied" needed to be "much greater" and "intensified more rapidly". Where have we heard that before? Of course, this has been a regular staple of neo-conservative and reactionary thought going way back to the '70s. It goes a long way to explaining the permissive attitude towards the use of military force that the neo-cons have, an attitude shared by our intrepid hero.
However, Clark does not end there. This attitude towards the use of military force has a problem, as Clark notes. "But apparently this was quite difficult, as I reflected on such operations, because modern democracies, the political leaders were usually too hesitant, imposing tough constraints on military actions, and military leaders were not bold enough in pushing for the real military muscle required to achieve significant military objectives. The results, I thought, were extended campaigns that could leave democratic governments vulnerable to the their own public opinion...once fighting had begun, you had to escalate rapidly and achieve "escalation dominance" over an adversary, if you were to succeed".
Interesting thoughts from the "man of integrity" that "opposes war". Notice that for Clark a key reason for the very permissive use of overwhelming military force is the nefarious masses at home, that is the peace movement, which in a democracy may have the tendency to oppose war. Heard this before? Well, this is precisely the line adopted by Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz when they ran Bush the Elder's Pentagon. They argued that the US needs to use rapid, decisive military force because it was understood that support for war at home was thin. This naturally lead to what the neo-conservatives call "rapid dominance" or "shock and awe", the military thinking that lied behind the invasion of Iraq.
Like Moore's hero the authors of "shock and awe", observe "the Vietnam War is a grim reminder of the political nature of conflict and how our power was once outflanked." This is their, and Clark's, starting point. They write that, "the key objective of Rapid Dominance is to impose this overwhelming level of Shock and Awe against an adversary on an immediate or sufficiently timely basis to paralyze its will to carry on. In crude terms, Rapid Dominance would seize control of the environment and paralyze or so overload an adversary's perceptions and understanding of events that the enemy would be incapable of resistance at tactical and strategic levels." See the difference between "rapid dominance" and Clark's "escalation dominance"? Of course you don't, because the difference is zero.
Indeed one of the reasons that the US must pursue "rapid" or "escalation" dominance the authors of "shock and awe" informs us is, "in assessing the future utility and applicability of Rapid Dominance, it is crucial to consider the political context in which force is likely to be employed. As we enter the next century, the probability is low that an overriding, massive, direct threat posed by a peer-competitor to the U.S. will emerge in the near term. Without compelling reasons, public tolerance toward American sacrifice abroad will remain low and may even decrease. This reluctance on the part of Americans to tolerate pain is directly correlated to perceptions of threat to U.S. interests. Without a clear and present danger, the definition of national interest may remain narrow." The problem is the masses at home, the dastardly peace movement. Furthermore, the authors of "shock and awe" informs us, "Americans have always appreciated rapid and decisive military solutions. But, many challenges or crises in the future are likely to be marginal to U.S. interests and therefore may not be resolvable before American political staying power is exhausted. In this period, political micro-management and fine tuning are likely to be even more prevalent as administrations respond to public sentiments for minimizing casualties and, without a threat or compelling reason, U.S. involvement." The difference with General Clark? Again, zero.
What about the occupation of Iraq? First of all Clark offers an interesting take on the reasons for the invasion. Stating to "Newsmax", "'it was never was WMD or regime change... his theory for the invasion: 'to get American troops on the ground' and illustrate that we as a nation had the fortitutude to hang tough and were willing to do more than fire missiles or drop bombs". In other words to furnish "credibility" behind Clark's own doctrine of "compellence" which rejects "gradualism", such as firing some missiles and dropping some bombs. The invasion is now being justified by the "norm" of "humanitarian intervention", the very "norm" which Clark ushered in through the use of aggressive, illegal, and unjust military force whose main strategic objective was civilian infastructures.
Let us turn to the occupation, the matter that lies before the peace movement. The peace movement has adopted the just position of working to end the occupation of Iraq. What does Michael Moore's hero have to say about that? Well, he has been on the record calling for the sending of more troops to Iraq. In other words Clark's position is that the occupation and aggression against Iraq must be escalated. Hence Michael Moore would have the peace movement, dedicated to ending the unjust occupation of Iraq, with a man who, recall "opposes war" , seeks to escalate the occupation. Clark's comments to "Newsmax" on this score are revealing. He believes there are "three levels" to the occupation, two of which are of direct relevance. "Level one is the guerrilla warfare that continues. We still have a 'fighting chance' to win at this level, he (Clark) opines". "The third level, however, represents the biggest rub. Clark describes the formidable Shia Muslim million-man army, which festers in the wings, 'waiting to see if we can handle the guerrilla war'. Adding to the monumental problem, he (Clark) concludes, are the Kurds in the North who 'haven't given up their ambitions'".
What do these comments from the man of integrity indicate? They show us that for Wesley Clark the people of Iraq are the enemy who "haven't given up their ambitions" and whose resistance to the unjust occupation of Iraq is to be meet by an escalation of the US presence, perhaps through "escalation" and "rapid" dominance which would led to how many horrors nobody can know. Even Rumsfeld opposes the escalation of the occupation.
Now, Clark's comments on the Kurds and their unacceptable ambitions are interesting, given his record. As NATO commander during the Clinton administration, Clark was also the commanding officer of European Command, whose responbilities covered the regular bombing of Northern Iraq. A part of this operation, under Clark's command in this sector, were what was called "TSM inbounds", that is "Turkish Special Missions". US pilots would report the results of these TSM inbounds, targeted against Kurdish villages. The pilots, as 'The Washington Post" informed us, would see "burning villages, lots of smoke and fire". Of course, these Turkish aircraft were NATO aircraft. This is the man, a "man of integrity", who informs us that the Kurds "haven't given up their ambitions". But how can we fault Clark for this, afterall Moore informs us, "You (Clark) respect the views of our allies and want to work with them". True enough in this case.
But this is another issue worth exploring. Moore informs us, "You respect the views of our allies and want to work with them and with the rest of the international community". The "Newsmax" interview with Clark is again revealing. "Clark's swan-song war, was of course, Kosovo...instead he (Clark) says, allies came away from that conflict with the feeling that they were 'never going to let America dictate to us again'. In the end, 'both sides pulled away - setting the scene' for the frustrations to follow in Iraq".
Furthermore, NATO's aggression against Yugoslavia was bitterly condemned by the G77, a group of third world states whose membership exceeds 100. It also did not have the approval of the United Nations. Yet Moore would have us believe that Clark wants to work with the "international community". This statement is true, for him at any rate, only because Moore is accepting a key assumption, to his utter shame; the wogs of the world are not a part of the "international community".
According to Wesley Clark it was an "entirely predictable" consequence of his war that there would be very sharp and severe increase in ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. A remarkable admission, worthy of Rumsfeld. Furthermore, Clark has stated on the BBC "Hard Talk" program that the NATO bombing had "nothing to do with the Albanians", contrary to lies and propaganda worthy of Rumsfeld and the neo-cons, but was "all about NATO". Now this war included acts which even human rights groups consider to be war crimes, such as the bombing of television stations, a feat copied by team Bush. So, Clark engaged in a war which would lead to massive ethnic cleansing, this was "entirely predictable", and what's more had "nothing to do" with the people whose suffering he knew his actions would help cause. This was stated well after the war ended, furthermore at the war's conclusion Clark sought a confrontation with Russian troops, refused by his subordinate British GENERAL on the grounds that he did not want to start World War Three for Wesley Clark. This is Michael Moore's "man of integrity" that "opposes war".
The Moore argument then becomes this; only Wesley Clark, because he is a "GENERAL", can (supposedly) beat Bush therefore he must be supported. In other words the peace movement must vote for a Bush clone because only the Bush clone can beat Bush. People don't realise that he does have a potentially very big Achilles heel, namely the Republicans may start digging into the possible relationship between the Clinton administration and radical Islamist groups in Bosnia and Kosovo, including Al Qaida. So, even the pragmatic argument has no legs.
It will be very interesting to see which sectors of the peace movement will fall behind this shameful policy. For instance Michael Albert of Znet has already called for the support of whoever is the Democratic candidate in marginal areas. If it is the objective of the peace movement to oppose and end the unjust occupation of Iraq, then how can it support a candidate that seeks to escalate the occupation?
As for Michael Moore, sadly infatuation is indeed blind.
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