September 18, 2003

Michael Moore on Gen. Wesley Clark

A Citizen's Appeal to a General in a Time of War (at Home)

September 12, 2003

Dear General Wesley Clark,

I've been meaning to write to you for some time. Two days after the
Oscars, when I felt very alone and somewhat frightened by the level of hatred
toward me for daring to suggest that we were being led into war for "fictitious reasons," one person stuck his neck out and came to my defense on national
television. And that person was you.

Aaron Brown had just finished interviewing me by satellite on CNN, and I
had made a crack about me being "the only non-general allowed on CNN all
week." He ended the interview and then turned to you, as you were sitting at the
desk with him. He asked you what you thought of this crazy guy, Michael Moore. And, although we were still in Week One of the war, you boldly said that my dissent was necessary and welcome, and you pointed out that I was against Bush and his "policies," not the kids in the service. I sat in Flint with the
earpiece still in my ear and I was floored -- a GENERAL standing up for me and, in effect, for all the millions who were opposed to the war but had been
bullied into silence.

Since that night, I have spent a lot of time checking you out. And what
I've learned about you corresponds to my experience with you back in March. You seem to be a man of integrity. You seem not afraid to speak the truth. I
liked your answer when you were asked your position on gun control: "If you are
the type of person who likes assault weapons, there is a place for you -- the
United States Army. We have them."

In addition to being first in your class at West Point, a four star general from Arkansas, and the former Supreme Commander of NATO -- enough right there that should give pause to any peace-loving person -- I have discovered that...
1. You oppose the Patriot Act and would fight the expansion of its powers.
2. You are firmly pro-choice.
3. You filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of the University of Michigan's affirmative action case.
4. You would get rid of the Bush tax "cut" and make the rich pay their
fair share.
5. You respect the views of our allies and want to work with them and with the rest of the international community.
6. And you oppose war. You have said that war should always be the "last resort" and that it is military men such as yourself who are the most for
peace because it is YOU and your soldiers who have to do the dying. You find
somethingunsettling about a commander-in-chief who dons a flight suit and pretends to be Top Gun, a stunt that dishonored those who have died in that flight suit in the service of their country. General Clark, last night I finally got to meet you in person. I would like to share with others what I said to you privately: You may be the person who can defeat George W. Bush in next year's election.

This is not an endorsement. For me, it's too early for that. I have liked Howard Dean (in spite of his flawed positions in support of some capital punishment, his grade "A" rating from the NRA, and his opposition to cutting the Pentagon budget). And Dennis Kucinich is so committed to all the right stuff. We need candidates in this race who will say the things that need to be said, to push the pathetically lame Democratic Party into have a backbone -- or get out of the way and let us have a REAL second party on the ballot.

But right now, for the sake and survival of our very country, we need
someone who is going to get The Job done, period. And that job, no matter whom I speak to across America -- be they leftie Green or conservative Democrat,
and even many disgusted Republicans -- EVERYONE is of one mind as to what that job is: Bush Must Go.

This is war, General, and it's Bush & Co.'s war on us. It's their war on
the middle class, the poor, the environment, their war on women and their war against anyone around the world who doesn't accept total American
domination. Yes, it's a war -- and we, the people, need a general to beat back those who have abused our Constitution and our basic sense of decency. The General vs. the Texas Air National Guard deserter! I want to see that debate, and I know who the winner is going to be.

The other night, when you were on Bill Maher's show, he began by reading
to you a quote from Howard Dean where he (Dean) tried to run away from the
word "liberal." Maher said to you, so, General, do you want to run away from
that word? Without missing a beat, you said "No!" and you reminded everyone
that America was founded as a "liberal democracy." The audience went wild with
applause. That is what we have needed for a long time on our side -- guts. I am sure there are things you and I don't see eye to eye on, but now is the time
for all good people from the far left to the middle of the road to bury the damn hatchet and get together behind someone who is not only good on the issues
but can beat George W. Bush. And where I come from in the Midwest, General, I know you are the kind of candidate that the average American will vote for.

Michael Moore likes a general? I never thought I'd write these words. But desperate times call for desperate measures. I want to know more about
you. I want your voice heard. I would like to see you in these debates. Then let
the chips fall where they may -- and we'll all have a better idea of what to
do. If you sit it out, then I think we all know what we are left with.

I am asking everyone I know to send an email to you now to encourage you
to run, even if they aren't sure they would vote for you. (Wesley Clark's
email address is: None of us truly know
how we will vote five months from now or a year from now. But we do know that
this race needs a jolt -- and Bush needs to know that there is one person he
won't be able to Dukakisize.

Take the plunge, General Clark. At the very least, the nation needs to
hear what you know about what was really behind this invasion of Iraq and your
fresh ideas of how we can live in a more peaceful world. Yes, your country needs you to perform one more act of brave service -- to help defeat an enemy
from within, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, an address that used to belong to
"we, the people."

Michael Moore
Lottery # 275, U.S. military draft, 1972
Conscientious Objector applicant

Posted by at September 18, 2003 03:22 PM

Michael Moore is coming to UCSB. I think I'm going to go check out his talk. It should be entertaining if nothing else...

Posted by: nuala on September 18, 2003 05:05 PM

REALLY? When??!!

Posted by: jade on September 18, 2003 05:10 PM

uhhh...Sunday Oct 26, 7pm at the arlington theatre

Posted by: nuala on September 18, 2003 05:25 PM

I would feel better about the new Great Liberal Hope of the Democratic Party if he weren't a general. A general who'd been a huge part of the awful UN-former-Yugoslavia effort. He obviously has no objection to dropping cluster bombs haphazardly on civlians, or supporting genocidal factiosn that happen to be his allies, so I don't know if Michael Moore's endorsement of his liberal street cred is enough for me.

Keep in mind, the Democratic Party doesn't have a ton of moral high ground when it comes to questionably ethical overseas military endeavors. There wasn't a full-scale Iraqi invasion under Clinton, but from 1998 on, Iraq was bombed on a daily basis by our forces. I'm all for trying to get rid of Bush, Cheney, et. al, but I don't trust a general, even this general, to make things much different.

Posted by: sean on September 19, 2003 01:51 AM

Nuala: Damn! That's when Toby and i are going to Catalina for our 2-year anniversary.

Sean: I think what the Democratic Party needs most is strong leadership. While Gen. Clark may not be perfect (and I don't mean to in any way diminish the implications of his actions in Yugoslavia), I think he is the most qualified to get this country back in order. And being the Supreme Commander of NATO and his history with the UN suggests that instead of rampaging alone against the world, like Bush, he is probably more apt to work with other countries--not against them.

I do hate the way the US abuses the rest of the world, but right now I am more concerned with putting this country back in order: getting that stupid FCC ruling squashed, getting us back out of deficit, making education more affordable (the UCs went up a full 30% this quarter), cutting back on Bush's business-friendly environment decisions (like his appointment to the EPA), and repealing things like the Patriot Act. This country is becoming frighteningly reminiscent of Orwell's 1984 and I will fully endorse anyone who can put the brakes on this spiral out of control.

Posted by: jade on September 19, 2003 10:25 AM

I think Wesley Clark, besides being a war criminal, doesn't really have much in his favor, aside from being an outsider and unknown. There's no reason to think he has any special knowledge about economics, or job creation, or education, or the FCC. If one is concerned about the Patriot Act and the increasing fascism of our country, I can't see how electing someone from the military is going to mitigate that.

Maybe he'd be better at fighting wars.

Posted by: sean on September 19, 2003 01:19 PM

I definetly agree that the FCC ruling needs to be squashed. It wouldn't hurt if they squashed Michael Powell as well. And then we could make zuchinni bread with the leftovers.

Posted by: robyn on September 19, 2003 03:12 PM

I definetly agree that the FCC ruling needs to be squashed. It wouldn't hurt if they squashed Michael Powell as well. And then we could make zuchinni bread with the leftovers.

Posted by: robyn on September 19, 2003 03:13 PM

For a long time, I thought M.M. really was a card-carrying member of the NRA. Then I realized he'd just become a member in order to flash his card at Heston during his movie, and I was less impressed with his ability to see both sides of an issue. Then I watched The Awful Truth and realized he's an entertainer, not a political knight errant. And I'm ok with that.

Posted by: didofoot on September 19, 2003 04:03 PM

he's also a hack. don't forget that part. the hack part.

Posted by: holohan on September 19, 2003 04:05 PM

I heard Clark on Tavis Smiley on his NPR show and he used the term "Chinaman" in his comment about race relations. granted, it wasn't used as a deragatory word, and he attempted to cover it a sentence later with the "Frenchmen"...but the damage was done. i'm chinese and he would have prolly been the first democrat i voted for, but given his insensitivity/ignorance to such things, i don't know if i can trust him on others.

Posted by: Arthur on November 7, 2003 03:28 PM