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A few things aren’t really even partisan debates in the world.  America’s image abroad is in ruins, as is its image as a nation that cares about human rights, the Geneva Convention, and peace keeping have all suffered under the current administration and it’s ideological hacks.  Parts of the armed forces are stretched to the limit, with many service members pulling multiple tours of duty in combat zones.  Equipment available to those serving is substandard.  Basically, the next Secretary of Defense has a huge mess, thanks to Donald Rumsfeld.  Basically, the next person to head the DOD needs to care less about stress positions and other ill informed, disproved policies.  They need to be more than just another Robert Gates, too.  So, here is a novel idea:  the next Secretary of Defense be somebody who’s actually worn the uniform and actually knows something about the military life and service.

That person should be Wesley Clark, and there are a couple of good, compelling reasons.  Clark took part in managing the air war over Kosovo in the 1990s, and he did so in a capacity more than just a mere American four-star general.  Clark has also served as the SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander Europe) of NATO, and that isn’t a position for military slouches.  If you take a quick look at Wikipedia, for example, one would find a list of other former SACEURs, which includes generals like  Dwight Eisenhower, Alexander Haig, and John Shalikashvill.  Basically, running NATO is an act of international coordination and cooperation.  Clark has had, basically, foreign policy experience, in this capacity.    And in an age of unilateral, go-it-alone geo-political nonsense, the next president will need somebody who has some credibility in the international community.

Still, it’s also a little be elementary and basic: a civilian bureaucrat, one who doesn’t know the terrible realities of war — or the ways of the world — doesn’t need any more chances to bungle up the Department of Defense.  Lord knows, one Rumsfeld has been way too many, and Robert Gates has done very little to pick up the pieces of a what was left behind.


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