Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Tuesday | September 23, 2003

Hack Tracks Back

by RonK, Seattle

Present company will recognize lavishly decorated combat verteran Col. David Hackworth's 1999 "perfumed prince" critique of Gen. Wesley Clark ... it's been cited incessantly in dailyKos comment boards.

Hackworth has an updated profile of Clark, based on additional research and three hours of interviews. I cite it here because:

(1) It puts the previous profile -- and its echo-chamber repercussions -- in perspective, and

(2) I've been looking forward to it, since the earlier piece was rife with transparent treble-hearsay and backwater carping at the faster-tracked officer.

Hack's commentary, in part:

No doubt he’s made his share of enemies. He doesn’t suffer fools easily and wouldn’t have allowed the dilettantes who convinced Dubya to do Iraq to even cut the White House lawn. So he should prepare for a fair amount of dart-throwing from detractors he’s ripped into during the past three decades.

Hey, I am one of those: I took a swing at Clark during the Kosovo campaign when I thought he screwed up the operation, and I called him a “Perfumed Prince.” Only years later did I discover from his book and other research that I was wrong – the blame should have been worn by British timidity and William Cohen, U.S. SecDef at the time.

Time to salute Col. Hackworth for double-checking his target coordinates ... and time to caution Democrats against being gulled into carrying water for Drudge, Safire, Novak and Rove.

Campaign-season smears are dangerous stuff. In the GOP nomination contest of 1952, adherents of "Mr. Republican" Robert Taft circulated rumors smearing Gen. Eisenhower as a crypto-socialist dupe who betrayed the free world and deliberately handed Eastern Europe over to Stalin.

Eisenhower won the election, but today's PNAC ideology can be traced in a direct line of succession through the Committee on the Present Danger, through the John Birch Society and kindred organizations, to the whirlwind of paranoia spun up by Taft adherents for momentary advantage in an intra-party rivalry.

[P.S. On the positive side, it's only fair to give the Eisenhower smears credit for adding inspiration to generations of aliens-are-taking-over-my-neighbors-brains-one-at-a-time sci-fi thrillers.]

Posted September 23, 2003 01:08 AM | Comments (324)


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