From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Clark: I'm proud of my blind allegiance

January 21, 2004 5:10 PM

This is what really scares me about Clark:

Retired General Wesley Clark yesterday noted he “stayed with the U.S. Army” through the Vietnam War, setting up a contrast with White House foe John Kerry, who left the military and became a war critic.

“I stayed with the military all the way through,” Clark told reporters after rallying volunteers at his headquarters. “I stayed with the United States Army through Vietnam. I was company commander there. I fought and I was hit by four rounds.”

I have far more respect for Kerry in this regard than I do Clark. And I can't stand Kerry. Look, you gotta keep an open enough mind to know when what you're doing is just flat out wrong, and have the guts to stand up and say something. Not only does Clark consider it a virtue to not stand up for what's right, he feels it is his duty to continue doing the wrong thing. Colin Powell did this too with the Iraq war.

Sorry guys, that's not leadership.


To continue this thought. The military has a "chain of command" gospel that is drilled into everyone. Anyone that spent his entire career in the military looks at his job as first taking orders from his boss, then giving orders to his subordinates based on what his boss said. But that's not leadership, that's just following orders. A real leader needs to know how to lead all those around him, including his boss. If the boss is wrong, he's got to stand up and say so.

Now it's even more complicated for the President because he doesn't just have one, two or even a handful bosses, he has millions -- plus a few hundred members of congress, and a judicial system. This means the President has to convince a lot of people to do what he wants to do -- they don't just follow his orders.

In a weird way, Wesley Clark's experience raising his son has more bearing on his ability to lead the country than his military service. Is he any more qualified a leader than any average father?

More from the archive in Protest, War and Peace.

Clark: I'm proud of my blind allegiance (01.21.2004)

Next Entry: What Dean should have said in his "concession" speech (01.21.2004)
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Read the 1 comments.

Robin Barrett:

Based on your commentary, you obviously didn't take the time to learn what Clark was about. Clark is not, a just following orders guy. If that were the case, he and the Pentagon would not have had a falling out which rendered him relieved from command as SACEUR.

Tue Apr 20 2004 10:30 AM

Jim Gilliam
Jim Gilliam


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