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 out and
came to my defense on national television.
And that person was
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." He ended 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
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 discovered that...
1. You oppose the
Patriot Act and would fight the expansion of its powers.
2. You are
3. You filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in
support of the University of Michigan's affirmative action case.
would get rid of the Bush tax "cut" and make the rich pay their fair
5. You respect the views of our allies and want to work with them
and with the rest of the international community.
6. And you oppose war.
You have said that war should always be the "last resort" and that it is
military men 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
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.
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 to 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:
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
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: mailto:email@example.com). 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
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 people."
Lottery # 275, U.S.
military draft, 1972
Conscientious Objector applicant