A Citizen's Appeal to a General in a
Time of War (at Home)
Dear General Wesley Clark,
I've been meaning to write to you for some time. Two
days after the Oscars, when I felt very alone and
somewhat frightened by the level of hatred toward me for
daring to suggest that we were being led into war for
"fictitious reasons," one person stuck his neck
came to my defense on national television.
And that person was you.
Aaron Brown had just finished interviewing me by
satellite on CNN, and I had made a crack about me being
"the only non-general allowed on CNN all week."
the interview and then turned to you, as you were
sitting at the desk with him. He asked you what you
thought of this crazy guy, Michael Moore. And, although
we were still in Week One of the war, you boldly said
that my dissent was necessary and welcome, and you
pointed out that I was against Bush and his "policies,"
not the kids in the service. I sat in Flint with the
earpiece still in my ear and I was floored -- a GENERAL
standing up for me and, in effect, for all the millions
who were opposed to the war but had been bullied into
Since that night, I have spent a lot of time checking
you out. And what I've learned about you corresponds to
my experience with you back in March. You seem to be a
man of integrity. You seem not afraid to speak the
truth. I liked your answer when you were asked your
position on gun control: 'If you are the type of person
who likes assault weapons, there is a place for you --
the United States Army. We have them.'
In addition to being first in your class at West Point,
a four star general from Arkansas, and the former
Supreme Commander of NATO -- enough right there that
should give pause to any peace-loving person -- I have
- You oppose the Patriot Act and would fight the
expansion of its powers
- You are firmly pro-choice.
- You filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in
support of the University of Michigan's affirmative
- You would get rid of the Bush tax "cut" and
rich pay their fair share.
- You respect the views of our allies and want to work
with them and with the rest of the international
- And you oppose war. You have said that war should
always be the "last resort" and that it is military
such as yourself who are the most for peace because it
is YOU and your soldiers who have to do the dying. You
find something unsettling about a commander-in-chief who
dons a flight suit and pretends to be Top Gun, a stunt
that dishonored those who have died in that flight suit
in the service of their country.
General Clark, last night I finally got to meet you in
person. I would like to share with others what I said to
you privately: You may be the person who can defeat
George W. Bush in next year's election.
This is not an endorsement. For me, it's too early for
that. I have liked Howard Dean (in spite of his flawed
positions in support of some capital punishment, his
grade "A" rating from the NRA, and his opposition
cutting the Pentagon budget). And Dennis Kucinich is so
committed to all the right stuff. We need candidates in
this race who will say the things that need to be said,
to push the pathetically lame Democratic Party into have
a backbone -- or get out of the way and let us have a
REAL second party on the ballot.
But right now, for the sake and survival of our very
country, we need someone who is going to get The Job
done, period. And that job, no matter whom I speak to
across America -- be they leftie Green or conservative
Democrat, and even many disgusted Republicans --
EVERYONE is of one mind as to what that job is:
Bush Must Go.
This is war, General, and it's Bush & Co.'s war on us.
It's their war on the middle class, the poor, the
environment, their war on women and their war against
anyone around the world who doesn't accept total
American domination. Yes, it's a war -- and we, the
people, need a general to beat back those who have
abused our Constitution and our basic sense of decency.
The General vs. the Texas Air National Guard deserter! I
want to see that debate, and I know who the winner is
going to be.
The other night, when you were on Bill Maher's show, he
began by reading to you a quote from Howard Dean where
he (Dean) tried to run away from the word "liberal."
Maher said to you, so, General, do you want to run away
from that word? Without missing a beat, you said "No!"
and you reminded everyone that America was founded as a
"liberal democracy." The audience went wild with
That is what we have needed for a long time on our side
-- guts. I am sure there are things you and I don't see
eye to eye on, but now is the time for all good people
from the far left to the middle of the road to bury the
damn hatchet and get together behind someone who is not
only good on the issues but can beat George W. Bush. And
where I come from in the Midwest, General, I know you
are the kind of candidate that the average American will
Michael Moore likes a general? I never thought I'd write
these words. But desperate times call for desperate
measures. I want to know more about you. I want your
voice heard. I would like to see you in these debates.
Then let the chips fall where they may -- and we'll all
have a better idea of what to do. If you sit it out,
then I think we all know what we are left with.
I am asking everyone I know to send an email to you now
to encourage you to run, even if they aren't sure they
would vote for you. (Wesley Clark's email address is:
firstname.lastname@example.org). None of us truly know
how we will vote five months from now or a year from
now. But we do know that this race needs a jolt -- and
Bush needs to know that there is one person he won't be
able to Dukakisize.
Take the plunge, General Clark. At the very least, the
nation needs to hear what you know about what was really
behind this invasion of Iraq and your fresh ideas of how
we can live in a more peaceful world. Yes, your country
needs you to perform one more act of brave service -- to
help defeat an enemy from within, at 1600 Pennsylvania
Avenue, an address that used to belong to "we, the
Lottery # 275, U.S. military draft, 1972
Conscientious Objector applicant
September 12, 2003