Why did Clinton fire Wesley Clark

Clinton fired Clark when he was the top general in the Kosovo conflict, I believe. The media says Clinton stated the firing was due to issues of character and integrity. Whats the SD?

Going on memory:
As far as I remember he didn’t handle the Russians occupation of the airport too well. The British favoured cooperation or negotiation, Wesley Clark confrontation. The British won out - fortunately. The newspapers here had some stories where some British high rankings described him as completely power obsessed or some such thing, and him screaming “maximum destruction now!”. Anyway that’s how I remember it was reported, don’t know how correct that is. Anyway that’s why I found it strange to hear of this new Wesley Clark dove of the Democrats.

  • Rune

One major annoyance was that he would hold his own press conferences and say cavalier things without clearing his statements with the White House or Pentagon.

And yes, he did order a British general to go and wrest control of the airport from the Russians; the Brit is said to have replied “General, I am not going to help you start World War 3”.

any ideas on the “character and integrity” issues. I’ve seen this repeated by commentators as if Clinton said it, but I don’t have a link. Assuming Clinton said it, is he simply referring to the press conference/chain of command issues or something else? Those don’t really seem like character and integrity issues.

This article in slate attempts to defend Clark and discusses the history of the “character and integrity” charge.


Not sure if this is a hatchet job or they are suggesting he’s got Michael Jackson-type problems.

according to this


Clark is a micro-manager of the worst sort. He distrusts his subordinates and injects himself into little decisions so much that he loses track of the big picture. He trusts his superiors even less. That’s what got him fired from NATO.


Clark was fired not by the Clintons, but by then Defense Secretary Bill Cohen. Clark got cross-wise with Cohen for routinely going to Clinton around both Cohen and then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Hugh Shelton. He did this all the time both indirectly–through his pal Madeleine the Short–and directly on the phone and in person with Clinton. Clark was such a publicity hound, that Cohen once ordered a subordinate, ‘‘Tell Clark to get his f#$%^&g face off television.’’ Cohen, no small ego himself, thought Clark was hogging the camera.

   Clark was fired because of his overweening ego and because he--like so many others--misjudged Clinton.

…and apparently because he talks about himself in the third-person.

I think the CW is that Clark was fired for speaking out for ground troops in Kosovo. The story is that Clark thought he had insight into the mentality of Milosevic and that he would capitulate quickly once bombing started. When this did not happen he started advocating for ground troops, which Clinton had ruled out. The administration seemed to think that Clark had sold them on a policy and then started to criticize them for it once it did not work out as he said it would.

Clark never got along too well with Washington or with other allied nations. Basically he wanted free rein to do what he thought it would take to win, whether it was apache choppers or ground troops or what have you, and he didn’t often get it. Kosovo was a real multilateral comedy of manners in that the countries involved didn’t really unanimously agree on much. This overpolitical approach frustrated Clark, and he wasn’t afraid to point that out. Washington wasn’t too keen on that, so they chose to relieve him of command a few months before his tour of duty was over.

Didn’t Clinton say he support Clark’s campaign? Or was that someone else?

And who would vote for this man, again? To have his finger on the button?

Bill Clinton fired someone for character and integrity I am much impressed.

And not favorably.

As someone from the other side of the fence as you, politically, I’ve gotta tell ya’, there’s something spooky about Clark. Just the look in his eye scares me.

I’ve said that I’d vote for the Dem nominee even if he woofs and eats his dinner from a bowl on the floor, since I think the Bush administration is the worst since McKinley’s, but if Clark is the nominee, I’ll have a tough time casting that vote.

Moved to GD.

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People were saying that about Bush in 2000, you know. At least give Clark credit for actually being on the front lines, instead of cooling his heels over the skies of Texas.

Well…There is some amount of support although no outright endorsement yet. Here is a recent newstory (with the caveat that it is from NewsMax…probably not the most realiable source):

I would have thought that after 3 years of being lied to or deceived almost constantly on issues and policies, you might be pining for the days when the White House was occupied by someone whose lack of integrity was confined in large part to lying about his sex life.

To each his own, I suppose!

Was McKinley really this bad?!? :wink:

I think it’s possible that at least some of the criticisms of Clark are the typical distortions of the truth that come from all sides during any political campaign. Check out www.clarkmyths.com. Admittedly it’s a biased site, but it does have some interesting discussions and links about some of the issues that have been raised. “Myth” 4, for example, discusses the Pristina Airfield controversy.
It’s obviously put together by Clark supporters but it’s worth reading.

Eerily similar, actually! McKinley’s economic views are almost indistinguishable from those of the current administration. On the international front, I give you the Spanish-American War, which McKinley led us into on false pretenses (“Remember the Maine,” which sank in Havana harbor because its coal bunker exploded, not because anyone sabotaged it).

McKinley at least had TR as his VP, so when he was assassinated, the country got a better President. I fervently hope for Bush’s continued good health, on the other hand, because the phrase, “President Cheney,” scares the bejeesus out of me.

Here’s one of the original articles on the subject. Note that General Jackson, known as “Macho Jacko,” is the only directly quoted source. One of the few other indirect quotes was from Admiral Ellis saying that Jackson wouldn’t like his putting helicopters at the airport. Only one quote, and everyone’s talking up Jacko. That version of the story makes it look like a mano-a-mano deal between the two generals. It certainly was not.

Clark has consistently told a different story, that the suggestion to block the Russian landing at the airport came from above him, while Jackson apparently took his personal opposition up the British chain of command. General Hugh Shelton, strangely enough, winds up on both sides of the issue if you read between the lines of Clark’s explanation.

Clark took his orders from Shelton, and claims the “suggestion” to go in came from above, which implies that the directive had to either originate with or pass through Shelton. The British Chief of Defence reputedly told Clark that Shelton didn’t want to go in, which is why Clark eventually didn’t.

That casts Shelton in a very unfavorable light. It makes Shelton look as if he came up with the idea or at least passed it on from a higher authority than he. Then, Shelton reversed himself and agreed with the Brits. That makes Shelton look either like he’s a waffler, or unwilling to accept final responsibility for a potentially explosive move.

Shelton went out of his way to trash Clark recently. He cited “character and integrity issues.” I’d put a lot of money on the fact that the main character and integrity issue Shelton has with Clark is that Clark dared to rat out a superior officer by exposing an apparent vacillation on the part of Shelton at a crucial juncture in the campaign.

From my understanding of history I would compare McKinley more to President Clinton. The United States did not declare on Spain but took the embargo route. Public opinion about the main was as much driven by the news papers as anything.

We will never know if the Maine hit a mine or the coal bins exploded. From the description of the hull, it could have been a mine.

Your opinion of Cheney is, of course, your own.