Nevertheless, in the hands of ambitious and unscrupulous campaign operatives willing to bend the truth, misrepresent somebody's actual record, and outright lie about them, those qualities could be disastrous. And they were for Kerry.
There would have been far less information available with which to smear Wes Clark. And I think not having Bob Shrum, Tad Devine, and Mary Beth Cahill as his campaign team (as Kerry did) would have been an enormous plus for him.
Despite his loss, however, Wes Clark has proved himself to be actively engaged in the issues that first drove him to seek the presidential nomination. And he has stayed active as a Democrat, using his PAC to raise funds for other candidates. Although some of the party regulars (or party hacks, depending on how you look at it) questioned his bona fides as a Democrat, when he first ran in the primaries, I think he's proved his loyalty to the party. He didn't pick up his marbles and walk away when he didn't get his way. He stayed and is learning how the political game is played. General Clark is now reviving his PAC specifically to aid candidates in the upcoming '06 midterm elections for Congress.
Not only does his fundraising help any future efforts he might make, his consistent and on target criticism of this Administration gives lots of ammunition to all Democrats, especially his thoughts on America's true national security, national defense, and the real war on terrorism. So, read below, and if you are as impressed as I am, follow the link to his site.
The time has come to investigate the Bush Administration's role in the prisoner abuse and humiliation that has motivated our enemies in the war on terror and endangers the well-being of our fighting forces.
Today, the reports of abuse and humiliation at detainment facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Cuba are distracting the world from focusing on winning the war on terror. Although the military chain of command seems to have properly investigated the role of its personnel and held accountable those in the wrong, the civilian leadership in this country has failed to do the same.
For generations, the United States has been a powerful voice of moral authority in the world. After World War II, we led the world in creating the Geneva Conventions and prosecuting war criminals at Nuremberg, and later became one of the first nations to ratify the Convention Against Torture. Even today, Slobodan Milosevic is being tried for war crimes thanks to a U.S.-led NATO air strike against his brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing in the Balkans.
Unfortunately, the Bush Administration has squandered our legacy of moral leadership.
I need your help to protect the honor of our men and women in uniform and to set us on the right course to win the war on terror. Although the President has said the United States is "committed to the worldwide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example," the Administration's actions don't match his words. In his infamous memo, Alberto Gonzales advised President Bush to ignore the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war – a treaty that protects our soldiers captured abroad – to give the president more "flexibility." This so-called "flexibility" along with other Administration policies and statements may have ultimately contributed to the environment in which the abuses at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan have occurred.
Among the disturbing practices identified so far: the rendition of prisoners to countries where they can be tortured, failing to register "ghost prisoners" to deny them visits by the Red Cross, employing civilian contract agents to conduct interrogations outside military rules, and the reported prolonged degrading treatment of some detainees in U.S. custody. All of these deserve further investigation.
With the right leadership and accountability, couldn't the Administration have prevented the embarrassment of Abu Ghraib and the controversy at Guantanamo Bay? While some are blaming individual soldiers, doesn't at least some of the responsibility rest with the civilian leadership of our government? Don't the American people deserve the truth? Shouldn't Congress lead an investigation?
How can we win the war on terrorism, a fight for democracy and freedom in America and around the world, if we forsake the very principles and institutions for which we are fighting?
The laws of war are designed to regulate combat and to protect non-combatants from the violence and degradation of war. The conduct of this Administration may ultimately lead to a green-light for our enemies to torture our soldiers when captured -- we owe it to our men and women in uniform and their families to investigate.
American soldiers deserve better than to see our allies pointing their fingers at Guantanamo Bay and calling it an "American problem." We are doing their work too – defeating terror is a global priority.
People of good conscience cannot afford to stay silent.
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