Wes Clark: Prison Not a Pass to Presidency

July 01, 2008 by susan
John McCain as muppet

Booyah for Gen. Wesley Clark for calling the emperor naked. Or the POW not presidential. I've been having this same thought about McCain for a long time, but banished it to the basement for its unseemly lack of gratitude, if not downright un-American way of thinking.
Not that McCain didn't endure a horrific imprisonment and not that it was his fault that he was shot down. But I just didn't see how a miserable time in a Viet Cong preison makes him God's anointed leader. And placing my hand firmly on the third rail, I'd rather have the Navy pilot who didn't get shot down as my leader, not the one who did
But war heros are sacrosanct, right? Well, yes and no. Not if they're Democrats. More.

John Kerry, you might recall, was not really injured in Vietnam, and he was a phony, a liar and unpatriotic for returning his medals. And Shrub wasn't a coke-snorting draft dodger, he was a true patriot who served his nation in the Texas Air National Guard -- except when he couldn't be there due to dental appointments.

And let's not forget George McGovern. He flew 35 high-risk bombing missions in WW2, piloting the huge unwieldy B-24's -- "like driving a Mack truck without any power brakes or power steering" he said -- missions that saw more than half of its squadrons shot down. He was decorated for his valor, but when he ran for president in 1972, Nixon and the Repubs du jour derided him as too weak to fight the Commies in Vietnam.

Over and over it's the ones who've seen the horrors of war first-hand, like Wesley Clark, George McGovern and John Kerry, who understand that it's not the path to peace. But over and over it's those who weaseled out, like Dick Cheney and George Bush, who take us there.

Being a prisoner can do many things for a person's intellect and character -- think Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King -- but it shouldn't be used as an automatic pass to the presidency. And Wes Clark will be pummeled by the Repubs for saying this until he's no more than a smear on the pavement. But to my way of thinking he just earned one more star.

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naomi dagen bloom (not verified) | July 1, 2008 - 1:25pm

it's bothered me that every time obama mentions mc cain, he needs to preface it with "he's a great patriot." we know, we know, so why does he opponent tell us again? to guarantee his own safety from the right wing? very sad.


susan | July 1, 2008 - 11:04pm

Yes, and we're all doing that to a certain degree. God forbid anyone mention "the troops" in anything less than reverential tones. There's some sort of post-Vietnam thing going on here -- guilt that the troops returning from that war were treated badly (which I never saw, even though I was living in Madison, WI at the time) -- so this time we'll give 'em the old broad brush treatment and say that they're all the finest bunch of guys and gals ever assembled.
I'm not saying they're not doing a good and sometimes creative job in a win-less war, and I'm not saying I don't feel sorry for them and their families, but I am saying that we've all had it drummed into us to preface any statement against the war with a declaration of how wunnerful "the troops" are. Yes, we know, we know.

Funny how the other side feels no such compunction when they speak of John Kerry, or Gen. Wesley Clark, who also served in Vietnam. When Clark ran for president in 2004, right wing radio consistently referred to him as "Weasly" Clark. Bottom line, they're a shameless bunch of louts.


S Weisser (not verified) | July 6, 2008 - 7:08pm

It's so great to hear someone speak the truth on this...and I have lots of admiration for Clark for bringing it up.


DKNY (not verified) | July 9, 2008 - 3:27pm

Odd, that two of the Susans in my life posted almost simultaneously similar takes on Wes Clark etc

see www.womenofacertainage.wordpress.com,

"Today's Thoughts" by Amaryllis, alias S Weisser, July 2, 2008