Week after week I attend the Tuesday night gathering of the Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally, and you’d think occasionally some attractive, thirty-somethingish woman looking for a smart, funny guy with proof-of-concept in the parenting department might sidle up to the bar and start hitting on me… but no. I gotta say, blogging is a lousy way to meet women. On the other hand, it’s apparently a great way to meet four-star generals.
There I was the other night, pint of Manny’s in hand, plotting mischief with a couple of politicos, when who should walk up to us but Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander — and I gotta say, perhaps the most energetically outspoken politician I’ve ever met. Within seconds we’re talking Iran, and Gen. Clark didn’t mince words. President Bush is preparing to take us to war with Iran, and the Democratic Congress, Clark warned, is unprepared to stop him. Don’t get too cocky about 2008, Clark told us. The Republican plan is to use the war, and the patriotic fervor that seems to swell up around every new military adventure, to kick ass next November, branding us Democrats as weak, indecisive and obstructionist… if not out-and-out traitors.
It’s so crazy, it just might work.
I’ve heard smart people describe the notion of war with Iran as “unimaginable,” an assertion disproved by the conversation itself. It is in fact easy to imagine Bush launching a “preemptive” strike on an Iranian nuclear facility, or provoking (or fabricating) a Gulf of Tonkin-like incident that absolutely demands immediate retaliation. And it is equally easy to imagine the American people, moved by fear, rewarding the war party for its aggression, despite the growing national disgust over our quagmire in Iraq.
Coming from me, it is easy to dismiss such warnings as the paranoid ravings of the “far-left” “nutroots.” Which is why it is so important to have these warnings come from men of Gen. Clark’s stature and expertise. As Gen. Clark told the Seattle P-I’s Joel Connelly, the chicken-hawks planning and promoting a war with Iran have learned nothing from their disaster in Iraq:
“They know nothing about war,” Clark declared. “Almost none among them has ever seen a battlefield. They don’t comprehend the blood, the mangled bodies. They’ve never seen severed body parts. And they are so absolutely sure that you can predict the outcome.”
Of course, I suppose Bush-defenders would dismiss Gen. Clark’s words as those of a “phony soldier.” But Democrats would do well to heed his advice, and prepare for the unimaginable.
As RonK points out, Gen. Clark was in Seattle on a book tour, so it’s only courtesy to plug the book: “A Time to Lead.”