In doing some basic research on Weasely ClarkBar, I’ve stumble onto a story originally run on the Voice of America in early August of 1999. Much has been suggested about why Clark got canned, along with many denials that he WAS canned.  There are there options given only one of which makes any sense.  The one involving making a hole for Ralston. Let’s face it; Clinton never did anything that didn’t benefit him politically.

Here’s what the US Government news outlet under Bill Clinton, had to say near the end of Clinton’s last term:


INTRO: Near the end of last month, the Pentagon forced U-S General Wesley Clark to retire from his post as NATO supreme allied commander in Europe in April of next year, three months before the end of his official tour of duty.  In this report from Washington, National Security Correspondent Andre de Nesnera looks at General Clark’s contributions in the Kosovo air campaign and discusses some of the reasons why the Pentagon may have decided to remove him from his senior NATO post.

TEXT: General Wesley Clark has been NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe since July 1997.  In that capacity, he was responsible for conducting the western alliance’s successful 78-day air campaign against Serb forces in Kosovo – NATO’s only offensive military endeavor in its 50-year history.

Retired Colonel David Hackworth – a decorated U-S veteran from the Korean and Vietnam wars – says General Clark has not received the necessary accolades for his Kosovo campaign.

He is a winner. He is the first General in U-S military history who fought a war, sustained – as we know – no friendly casualties and at the end of the war didn’t get a bunch of medals, didn’t get a victory parade down (New York’s) Fifth Avenue and ended up getting the sack.
(getting fired)
/// END ACT ///

Colonel Hackworth – now a military analyst – is referring to U-S Defense Secretary William Cohen’s decision to replace General Clark as Supreme NATO Commander in April of next year – three months before his three-year term expires.
Colonel Hackworth says Mr. Cohen’s decision to replace General Clark can only be interpreted as a slap at him.

From my experience, looking over the past NATO Commanders, the average time that people like (General) Bernard Rogers, General (Lyman) Lemnitzer, General (Lauris) Norstad, was a five-year tour of duty – General (Alexander) Haig. So it wasn’t – as it is being put out now by the Pentagon – (seen) as a three-year tour. This guy envisaged staying there until he could move back to the U-S-A and become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
/// END ACT ///

Many analysts and military experts agree with Colonel Hackworth’s assessment. And the question they are asking is why was General Clark fired?

One interpretation is that General Clark advocated a much more vigorous military campaign against Serb forces in Kosovo including the introduction of ground forces.

Retired Colonel Dan Smith – a West Point classmate of General Clark – says the NATO Commander believes the only way you can achieve success militarily, is to have troops on the ground.

/// CLARK ACT ///

He is of the school which in the United States is generally attributed to General Colin Powell: if you are going to fight, you go in with both feet and you go in fast and you go in hard with overwhelming force – and I think that was what Wes was trying to push NATO into.
/// END ACT ///

During the 11-week air campaign, there were signs of friction between General Clark and senior Pentagon officials – especially over the use of ground forces.

That option was essentially rejected by the Clinton administration, putting General Clark in direct opposition to current US policy. Paul Beaver – senior analyst with the British publication “Jane’s Defense Weekly” – says General Clark disagreed with another senior NATO officer about the use of ground troops in the Kosovo campaign.

/// BEAVER ACT ///
Certainly he wanted to be more robust in the Kosovo landing operation. He wanted to go and confront the Russians at Pristina airfield. And that was actually a matter of some debate between him and the ground force commander (British General) Sir Mike Jackson in which Sir Mike Jackson won, because in his words it would have started World War Three and we weren’t quite ready for that.
/// END ACT ///

Sources in the U-S and British military say the confrontation between General Clark and British General Mike Jackson happened June 24th – 12 days after Russian troops occupied Kosovo’s Pristina airfield, surprising NATO officials.  According to the sources, British Prime Minister Tony Blair backed General Jackson, while General Clark did not receive the support from senior Pentagon and White House officials – another sign of their eroding confidence in the senior NATO Commander. 

But U-S officials have dismissed any notion that disagreements with General Clark led to the decision to retire him early.
Analysts say another explanation for General Clark’s early departure was US Defense Secretary Cohen’s desire to place a trusted colleague – Air Force General Joseph Ralston, vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – into a senior NATO post.

Retired Colonel Dan Smith (from the Washington-based Center for Defense Intelligence), says General Ralston could not be re-appointed as vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff since he has held that post for two consecutive terms. So the Pentagon had to find him another posting to keep him on active duty – and Colonel Smith says General Clark’s European Command was the logical choice.

The European Command, which has been (reserved for the) army for many, many, many years. I think you have to go back to the early 1950’s to find an Air Force officer (there) (General Lauris Norstad, 56-62). But that is one in which an Air Force officer could logically serve in and I think it came to – well, if we are going to keep General Ralston, the only place he could go to was the European Command – and that means that General Clark was going to have to leave three months before his basic term is up. Of course most EUCOM Commanders are extended into their fourth year. So it looks a little strange.
/// END ACT ///

In the final analysis, according to sources, General Clark’s premature departure from his senior NATO post was due to a combination of factors: first, the Pentagon’s displeasure with his – as one analyst said – more bellicose views. And the need to find a suitable position for a well-liked, senior US officer who otherwise would have to leave active duty.
So as one analyst put it: “General Clark had to go.”(Signed)

04-Aug-1999 14:37 PM EDT (04-Aug-1999 1837 UTC)
Source: Voice of America

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