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    Will Democrats Select The General Of The Waco Siege As Its Presidential Nominee?

    Published: Tuesday, November 11, 2003

    An October 28 report in Insight magazine reminded us that the Democratic presidential candidate and now-retired four-star general, Wesley Clark, was the Army commander who used U.S. soldiers and military hardware against American civilians in the federal assault against the Branch Davidians which violated the Posse Comitatus Act and resulted in the massacre of nearly ninety lives, including old men, women, and children.

    To be sure, General Clark possesses a plethora of great distinctions. He graduated first in his class at West Point. He was a Rhodes scholar, a decorated Vietnam combat veteran, a White House fellow, and Supreme Commander of NATO. However, his role at the disastrous assault of the Branch Davidians outside Waco, Texas, leaves many questions about his fitness to be entrusted with America's civil liberties.

    According to Insight, "Between August 1992 and April 1994, Clark was commander of the 1st Cavalry Division of the Army's III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas. According to a report by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the list of military personnel and equipment used at Waco included: 15 active-duty military personnel, 13 Texas National Guard personnel, nine Bradley fighting vehicles, five combat-engineer vehicles, one tank-retrieval vehicle and two M1A1 Abrams tanks. Additionally, Fort Hood reportedly was used for much of the training for the bloody attack on the Davidians and their children."

    The report quotes West Point graduate Joseph Mehrten Jr. as saying, "It is of critical importance that such vehicles could not have been moved for use at Waco without Clark's knowledge."

    Many will excuse Clark's decision to use military personnel and hardware against American civilians as being justified by saying, "He was only following orders." Mehrten's response to that argument is, "To follow that order is to follow a blatantly illegal order of a kind every West Point officer knows is a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. Clark's obligation was to say, 'No, I'm not going to do it.'"

    Mehrten continues, "Look, Clark went to the same institution I did and at West Point we had extensive instruction in military ethics and issues concerning how one avoids obeying an illegal military order. It is drilled into our heads from the earliest days as cadets that the 'I-was-just-following-orders' defense isn't necessarily a good one."

    Before people elect Wesley Clark as their president, these issues need to be resolved. Why did General Clark allow U.S. military forces, including armored vehicles and tanks to be used in a massacre of American civilians? Who gave him such an order? Was it then-governor of Texas Ann Richards? Was it Janet Reno or Bill Clinton?

    Other questions Clark needs to answer are: What is his understanding of the Posse Comitatus Act? Does he believe it is proper for military forces to be used against American citizens? Would he ever authorize such action?

    To date, General Clark has never been called upon to answer these questions. He wasn't even asked to testify before the congressional committee investigating the circumstances at Waco. The American people need to hear his answers to these questions!

    The Waco tragedy still haunts the American conscience! That nearly ninety Americans, most of whom were old people, women, and children, could be mercilessly gunned down or burned alive at the hands of U.S. military personnel and federal agents eats like a cancer at our nation's character! That General Clark may have participated in both the act and the resultant cover-up is very serious!

    Michael McNulty, an investigative journalist and Oscar nominee for his documentary, "Waco: The Rules of Engagement," said, "Whatever he (General Clark) did, he at least is guilty of being a good German, following orders."

    However, with the federal government's fascination with continued infringements upon the American people's rights and liberties, the last thing we need is a "good German" for president!

    © Chuck Baldwin

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