I’ve written several times about my ambivalence towards General Wesley Clark. This Democracy Now interview, in which reporter Jeremy Scahill brilliantly forces the General to answer questions about alleged war crimes committed under his command in Yugoslavia, only furthers my ambivalence.
Clark’s response is much more informed, forthright and honest than the kind of answers we get from the Bush administration. For one thing, he didn’t have to answer these questions. He even tried avoiding them the first time he was approached — but in the end he felt that he should say something. Perhaps his most convincing reply is that his experience making such difficult decisions means he will be more reluctant to use force than the AWOL leaders in the White House:
It was horrible. You never forget stuff like that. That’s why when this government has used force as it has, it makes me so angry. Because these people in the White House don’t understand — you don’t use force except as a last, last, last resort.
But, in the end, how I feel about this depends on the facts. Clark provides his own version of some of the events, and it is hard for me to evaluate how these stand up against the charges. If it is true that war crimes were committed, saying he was doing his “duty” is no defense.
UPDATE: Some wording changes.