In Book, Clark Sees U.S. Errors in Iraq Strategy
Wed September 24, 2003 03:36 PM ET
By Grant McCool
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq was "a perfect example" of military domination while failing to achieve victory, retired general and Democratic presidential hopeful Wesley Clark wrote in a new book.
Clark, who joined the 2004 race last week, also said he learned in November 2001 that the Bush administration's plan for invading Iraq and ousting President Saddam Hussein had been part of a broader five-year military campaign in seven countries that Washington accused of supporting terrorism.
He believed that would be a mistake, Clark wrote in "Winning Modern Wars. Iraq, Terrorism and the American Empire" to be published by Public Affairs next month.
Clark wrote that a senior military officer told him on a visit to the Pentagon in November 2001 that the U.S. was planning to go against Iraq but there was more to it. After Iraq, the plan called for targeting Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.
"He said it with reproach -- with disbelief, almost -- at the breadth of the vision," Clark wrote. "I moved the conversation away, for this was not something I wanted to see moving forward either.
"What a mistake! I reflected -- as though the terrorism were simply coming from those states," said Clark, whose book is a military, diplomatic and strategic analysis rather than a personal account of his long military career. Clark, a four-star Army general, was Supreme Allied Commander in Europe from 1997 to 2000.
Clark, 58, said that speculation during the summer, when he was still writing the book, that he might participate in the 2004 election against Republican President Bush "had no bearing on my analysis."
TACTICS AND LEADERSHIP
He argued in the book that by pursuing Iraq, the U.S. war against the al Qaeda global network of Islamist militants blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks was subordinated.
Of the Iraq military campaign, Clark wrote that the "brilliancy of the tactics and leadership" in the battlefield "disguised fundamental flaws in strategy."
"Needless risks were taken with the force structure; there was inadequate planning for the postconflict phase; and vital international support was carelessly disregarded.
"It has thus far been a perfect example of dominating an enemy force but failing to secure the victory."