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Wesley K. Clark

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General Wesley K. Clark, USA (ret.) “distinguished himself early as an athlete and a scholar, leading his high school swimming team to a state championship and graduating first in his class from West Point. In 1966, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, where he earned a Masters Degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

During thirty-four years of service in the United States Army Wesley K. Clark rose to the rank of four-star general as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. After his retirement in 2000, he became an investment banker, author, commentator, and businessman. In September 2003 he answered the call to stand as a Democratic candidate for President of the United States, where his campaign won the state of Oklahoma and launched him to national prominence before he returned to the private sector in February 2004.

In his final military command, General Clark commanded Operation Allied Force, NATO's first major combat action, which saved 1.5 million Albanians from ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, and he was responsible for the peacekeeping operation in Bosnia.

In previous duty, General Clark was the Commander-in-Chief, US Southern Command, where he was responsible for all US military activities in Latin America and the Caribbean. And from April 1994 through June 1996, he was the Director of Strategic Plans and Policy, J-5, in the Joint Staff, where he helped negotiate the end to the war in Bosnia. His previous assignments include a wide variety of command and staff positions, including Command of the 1st Cavalry Division.

General Clark's awards and honors include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, The State Department Distinguished Service Award; the US Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal;(five awards), The US Army Distinguished Service Medal(two awards), The Silver Star, the Bronze Star (two awards), the Purple Heart, and Honorary Knighthoods from the British and Dutch governments.. General Clark graduated from the United States Military Academy (B.S.) in 1966 and completed degrees at Oxford University B.A. and M.A.) as a Rhodes Scholar. He is also a graduate of the Ranger and Airborne schools.” (securingamerica.com)

General Wesley K. Clark is the author of Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat; Winning Modern Wars: Iraq, Terrorism, and the American Empire; and, A Time to Lead: For Duty, Honor and Country.

 

One reader of A Time to Lead: For Duty, Honor and Country said, “The book could easily be subtitled, "Stories from my life and the lessons they teach," for that is the basic structure of the book. In chronological order, except for the Preface, in which he relates the incident in which he was wounded in Viet Nam, Gen. Clark tells stories of his life and then completes each chapter with the lessons those stories have taught him--lessons for life and lessons on leadership. The final chapter applies those lessons to articulate a vision for America, for governance, and a path to follow for the 21st century.

 

Most of the stories he tells will be familiar to the avid Clark supporter community, but we've never heard them in his own words before, and in some cases in as much detail. The personal touch and the insights he provides bring the stories alive in his straightforward--dare I say simple?--language. It's an easy read, but the message is deep, but not complex.

 

If there was any disappointment in my reading of the book is that he downplays his own achievements, accomplishments, and uniqueness as a public servant, soldier, scholar, and leader. While his brilliance shines through the prose, he goes out of his way to avoid making him the star of the narrative. For example, his account of the Mt. Igman tragedy in Bosnia leaves out the danger and personal risk he undertook in making his rescue attempt. And there are almost too-casual mentions of his being number one in his class at West Point and his selection as a Rhodes Scholar. He omits altogether the praise that has been lavished on him in his formal Army evaluations and in other, less formal ways.

 

His mission in writing the book was to teach. The stories are necessary to understand the significant events in his life that have shaped who he is, led him to his beliefs, developed his character, and instilled the principles that guide him still. Extracting the leadership lessons from the stories and putting them all in one place could be used as the basis for a day-long seminar on principled leadership.

 

I didn't get the impression that he was touting his own leadership traits or promoting himself for his own purposes. Rather, I think he was hoping that others would internalize the lessons he teaches and adopt the same principles. He seems to think that the country has a dearth of such leaders and would like to develop more of them in all walks of life.

 

Readers of Clark's third book should enjoy it at at least two levels: the stories themselves as a compelling and often poignant narrative, and the points to ponder in developing leaders to take America to the places she should go in the future.”

 

Amazon.com said of Winning Modern Wars: Iraq, Terrorism, and the American Empire, “Retired General Wesley Clark's follow up to his insightful, detailed memoir of NATO's victorious Kosovo campaign begins as a concise analysis of the 2003 military invasion/occupation of Iraq and wends its way to a troubling yet ultimately hopeful examination of America at an unprecedented domestic, economic, and geopolitical crossroads. Clark's keen intellect (he was a Rhodes Scholar and graduated first in his class at West Point) and refreshing gift for intelligent plain-speaking often call attention to salient observations too often overlooked in the daily jumble of selective news and political spin. Our conflicts with Iraq have not been two distinct wars, but an unceasing, 13-year-long military campaign; the ambitious Pax Americana envisioned by Bush administration neocons is not only unsustainable, but a redundant anachronism, America having long ago created a "virtual empire" by dint of its interlocking international business relationships, cultural lure, and (ideally) moral leadership. His critics may label it the political manifesto of an ambitious presidential contender (a charge he quickly addresses in his introduction with a pre-emptive strike that is, given the subject matter, a bit ironic), but Clark's vision of an engaged, enterprising America leading the world instead of dominating it is rooted in an objective understanding of history, our nation's own longstanding philosophical ideals, and no small amount of refreshing horse sense (are we fighting terrorism by creating terrorists? And how safe is a country that starves its very security apparatus with unsound economic policies?). Ever loyal to the armed forces he served with distinction for 33 years, Clark also never passes up an opportunity to praise our nation's best and bravest, the men and women who are the cutting edge of America's sword, be it yielded with restrained wisdom or reckless abandon.”


Waging Modern War:Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat
Wesley K. Clark  More Info

A Time to Lead: For Duty, Honor and Country
Wesley K. Clark  More Info

Winning Modern Wars: Iraq, Terrorism, and the American Empire
Wesley K. Clark  More Info

Waging Modern War
Wesley K. Clark  More Info

Publisher’s Weekly said of A Time to Lead: For Duty, Honor and Country, “Army generals frequently remain little known outside the military. That was true of four-star general Clark until he decided to seek the Democratic Party nomination for the 2004 presidential race. In a combination memoir, patriotic tract and broadside about contemporary American politics, Clark explains how his dismay with the Bush administration's determination to invade Iraq without good reason primed him to seek the presidency. On the campaign trail, Clark suggested that using military force to defeat terrorists would likely prove futile. Instead, he touted the value of negotiation. How a four-star general ended up less hawkish than the civilian in the White House is linked to the events of his life, from growing up in the segregated city of Little Rock, Ark., to becoming NATO's supreme allied commander, Europe. The freshest material covers his command of international peacekeeping troops in Kosovo, as the 1990s civil war in the former Yugoslavia threatened to engulf neighboring countries. Little will be unfamiliar to those who supported Clark's presidential bid, or of interest to those who didn't.”

 

According to the book description of Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat, “The Supreme Allied Commander who directed and won NATO's war in Kosovo offers a unique behind-the-scenes look at how the war was actually fought, and explains the conflict's surprising implications for how war will be waged in the decades to come. Ugly, shocking, frightening, war came to Europe once more in March 1999. The world watched in dismay as Yugoslavia's military machine attacked its own citizens in the province of Kosovo. Pictures of refugees fleeing and stories of murder and rape flashed to the top of the news. But this time, the United States and its allies intervened. Using an innovative, high-technology air operation, NATO brought modern military power to bear against Serb forces in the field and the machinery of repression that backed them up. It was modern war-limited in scope, measured in effect, extraordinarily complex in execution. The American commander who oversaw this massive military effort and managed the often incompatible demands of NATO's nineteen governments was General Wesley K. Clark. In Waging Modern War, Clark recounts not only the events that led to armed conflict, but also the context within which he made the key strategic decisions. He also describes, for the first time, the personal conflict he felt as he walked the tightrope of high diplomacy and military strategy and navigated the crushing restraints of domestic politics. Laying out the new realities of war-fighting and war-planning, Clark reveals how the American military infrastructure will have to adapt if it is to meet new threats. This is the story of war today, and as it will be fought tomorrow.

 

One reader said of Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat said, “General (Retired) Clark writes the best account of the tensions and competing demands of senior military leaders trying to bridge the divide between politics and military operations. He also clearly explains the linkages between our national security strategy (NSS) and national military strategy (NMS). As an insider during the Dayton Peace Accords, he had the benefit of understanding the development of a NSS with regard to the Balkans. He was able to transmit his unique insights during Dayton into an effective military campaign to bolster the credibility of NATO and keep soldiers from needlessly getting injured.

 

Anyone on the staff or getting ready to assume a political office which relates to our NSS should read this book to understand the frustrations of competing demands placed on military commanders in a highly complex environment. Likewise, all future field grade officers should read and understand General Clark's insights. Given the complex nature of military engagement and the blurring of strategic, operational, and tactical realms due to new technology and the media, military leaders would do well to study this book. Warfare has changed in many substantive, as well as subtle ways. Thoughts on the subjects that General Clark exposes could save allied soldiers lives in the future.”

 

This book is a great addition to any military library and those interested in strategic thinking.

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