The Magazine

Wesley Clark,, Dave Barry

From the September 29, 2003 issue: Tidbits on the General, and Dave Barry takes on the telemarketers.

Sep 29, 2003, Vol. 9, No. 03
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Tomorrow's Opposition Research Today

Memo to all the Democratic party presidential candidates who aren't retired Gen. Wesley Clark:

On August 27, 1994, representing the Joint Chiefs of Staff during a fact-finding mission to Bosnia, Clark "ignored State Department warnings not to meet with Serb officials suspected of ordering deaths of civilians in a campaign known as ethnic cleansing" and paid a courtesy call on Serbian army commander Ratko Mladic. Mladic was already the subject of multiple U.S. war-crimes charges: "artillery attacks on civilians in Sarajevo" and the "razing of Muslim towns and villages," along with random acts of "mass murder." According to a contemporaneous Washington Post report: "On Friday [August 26, 1994] and again on Saturday, State Department officials said, they instructed [Clark] not to go, but he went anyway." The meeting "occurred as the Clinton administration is trying to isolate the Serbs in advance of possible military action against them."

But wait, there's more--there's a "visual," as they say in the 30-second attack-ad business.

"What State Department officials said they found especially disturbing was a photograph of Clark and Mladic wearing each other's caps. The picture appeared in several European newspapers, U.S. officials said. Clark accepted as gifts Mladic's hat, a bottle of brandy, and a pistol inscribed in Cyrillic, U.S. officials said. 'It's like cavorting with Hermann Goering,' one U.S. official complained."

Herewith, then, Wesley Clark, Democratic candidate for president of the United States, cavorting with "Hermann Goering"--the suspected war criminal Ratko Mladic, who to this day is a fugitive wanted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal and presumed to be hiding somewhere in Serbia.

Clark's Source Revealed

Who says nothing worthwhile comes out of Canada? In an article in last Thursday's Toronto Star, reporter Tim Harper uncovered the identity of the man who supposedly called Wesley Clark on Sept. 11, 2001, urging him to go on CNN and blame Saddam Hussein for the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Clark, you'll remember, told Tim Russert last June that the attempt to link Saddam and 9/11 "came from the White House, it came from people around the White House, it came from all over. I got a call on 9/11. I was on CNN, and I got a call at my home saying, 'You've got to say this is connected. This is state-sponsored terrorism.'"

Clark eventually admitted that he never received a call from the White House. Instead, he talked to "a man from a--of a Middle East think tank in Canada, the man who's the brother of a very close friend of mine in Belgium." Clark's explanation threw THE SCRAPBOOK for a loop, because we couldn't locate a "Middle East think tank in Canada." But according to Harper, the man who called Clark was Thomas Hecht, who heads the one-man Montreal office for the Israel-based Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies.

So THE SCRAPBOOK was wrong to refer to the caller as Clark's "imaginary friend." Which is not to say Clark doesn't have an overactive imagination. The retired NATO commander melodramatically said he received the call on 9/11. Hecht says the call was "either Sept. 12 or Sept. 13." Clark said the call was evidence of a conspiracy to link Hussein to 9/11. Hecht says he called to invite the general to give a speech, and in the course of the conversation mentioned possible links between Saddam and international terrorist groups. Hecht, for his part, doesn't understand how his phone call became a central part of Clark's sordid tale of intrigue and corruption at the highest levels of government. "I don't know why I would be confused with the White House," Hecht said. "I don't even have white paint on my house."

The Cult of Krugman

Every now and then, after THE SCRAPBOOK has whiled away too many hours on the web, we like to take a break from reading cogent political analysis and enjoy a hot sauna of hysteria courtesy of the lefties at (typical headline: "Bush lied and our soldiers died").

Recently, they served up a toadying Q & A with New York Times columnist/Princeton professor/professional Bush-basher Paul Krugman that made for lots of unintended laughs.

The un-bylined interviewer could barely contain his/her excitement, writing that "Coming across Paul Krugman's column in the New York Times is like finding an oasis in the desert. Interviewing Krugman was like drinking from a cool pond in 120-degree weather. Reading Krugman is like watching a baby seal get clubbed while its head is being held under icy Arctic waters." Okay, we made up that last part, but see if we're not on to something.