George Will

Comparisons of Clark to Dwight Eisenhower are ludicrous. Eisenhower, as well-prepared as any president for the challenges of his era, had spent three years immersed in the political complexities of coalition warfare, dealing with Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, de Gaulle and others. Clark's claim to presidential stature derives from directing NATO's 78 days of war at 15,000 feet over Serbia. It was the liberals' dream war: tenuously related to U.S. security, its overriding aim, to which much was sacrificed, was to have zero U.S. fatalities.

As Clark crisscrosses the country listening for a clamor for him (``I expect to have my decision made by Sept. 19,'' when he visits Iowa--feel the suspense), he compounds the confusion that began when he said (June 15, 2003) that on 9/11 ``I got a call at my home'' saying that when he was to appear on CNN, ``You've got to say this is connected'' to Iraq. ``It came from the White House, it came from people around the White House. It came from all over.'' But who exactly called Clark?

July 1: ``A fellow in Canada who is part of a Middle Eastern think tank.'' There is no such Canadian institution. Anyway, who ``from the White House''? ``I'm not going to go into those sources. ... People told me things in confidence that I don't have any right to betray.''

July 18: ``No one from the White House asked me to link Saddam Hussein to Sept. 11.''

Aug. 25: It came from ``a Middle East think tank in Canada, the man who's the brother of a very close friend of mine in Belgium. He's very well connected to Israeli intelligence. ... I haven't changed my position. There's no waffling on it. It's just as clear as could be.''

Now Clark darkly says there are ``rumors" that in February ``the White House" tried -- well, ``apparently" tried -- ``to get me knocked off CNN.'' Clark still coyly refuses to say he is a Democrat but forthrightly confesses to being a ``centrist.'' As he prepares to heed the clamor for him to join the pursuit of Dean, he is earning the description National Review has given to Sen. Bob Graham: ``a deranged moderate.''

George Will

George F. Will is a 1976 Pulitzer Prize winner whose columns are syndicated in more than 400 magazines and newspapers worldwide.
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