Wesley Clark sought the presidency during the 2004 elections, seeking to bring a less hawkish perspective to the White House. After the campaign, Clark did not end his crusade for what he sees as a better America, one that supports his vision of a responsible foreign policy. He believes that hard work, leadership and determination will ultimately turn the country around- The Commonwealth Club
Wesley Clark is a retired four-star general of the United States Army.
Clark was valedictorian of his class at West Point, was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford where he earned a master's degree in economics, and later graduated from the Command and General Staff College with a master's degree in military science.
He spent 34 years in the Army and the Department of Defense, receiving many military decorations, several honorary knighthoods, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Good evening welcome to tonight's meeting of the Commonwealth Club of California. Iam Jeff Clarke, President and CEO of the Northern California Public Broadcasting, theparent company of KQED. I am also pleased to serve as a member of the CommonwealthClub's Board of Governors. Find this on the internet at commonwealthclub.org.It's my pleasure to introduce our distinguished speaker, Retired Army Four Star GeneralWesley Clark, former presidential candidate, formal NATO Supreme Allied commanderin Europe and author of "A Time to Lead". Wesley Clark was born in Chicago inDecember 1944, the only child of Veneta and Benjamin Kanne. His father a prosecutor,Democratic politician and World War I veteran died when Wesley was a young child. Heand his mother then moved to Little Rock where they lived in a rented house with hisgrandparents while his mother got a job as a secretary in a bank. Using his father'sdeceased veteran's benefits they bought a small house where Wes grew up and became astar swimmer and top student of Little Rock's Hall high school. In 1954 his mothermarried Victor Clark who became Wesley's step father. In 1962 he was admitted to theUnited States Military Academy and began a 38 year carrier of public service in UnitedStates Army. As a 25 year old army captain in Vietnam, commanding a mechanizedinfantry company, his bravery and battle earned him a silver star. After his initial eightyear obligation was completed, General Clark made the decision to stay in the armywhich led to a wide range of assignments including the command of battalions inColorado and Germany, service as the commander of the army's National Training Centreduring the Persian Gulf War and three emergency deployments to Kuwait as theCommanding General of Fort Hood's First Cavalry Division. In 1994 General Clark wasnamed Director for Strategic Plans and Policy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And in 1997after serving his Commander in Chief of the US Southern Command, General Clark wasselected for one of the top post in the military, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, aposition first held by General Eisenhower. After retiring from the army Clark sought theWhite House during the last election because he said he wanted to bring a less hawkishperspective to the White House.Today we look forward to his perspectives on a number of fronts including but certainlynot limited to US foreign policy, the war in Iraq and the 2008 presidential race. Pleasejoin me in welcoming General Wesley Clark to San Francisco and to the Commonwealth Club of California.Thank you very much. Thank you. Well I see a lot of old friends out here and its just greatto be here at the Commonwealth Club. I am on a book tour and I did write this book "ATime to Lead." I wrote it at the behest of a West Point classmate and I was on the dailyshow with Jon Stewart about two weeks ago and he said, so let me get this straight, youran for president four years ago, you didn't write a book. Now you are not running forpresident and you have written a book and its entitled "A Time to Lead." He said, whatgives? And I explained to him, I really want to write a book about America and that'swhat I tried to write about through my own experiences in my life. I can't get through anairport without people asking me what are we going to do about Iraq and what are wegoing to do about America and there is no simple answer, you can't just pop out analgebraic equation and answer that question. You have to go back and ask how did we getto where we are and who are we as Americans. So let me try to tackle both those in a wayand then set the stage for your dialogue because I really want to hear what's on in your mind.The beginning of all this problem that we are in with Iraq and Afghanistan in the war onterror and all of that is its not with the birth of Mohammed and its not with the foundingof the state of Israel. Its actually 1989, it was the year of miracles in Europe. It was theyear in which the Berlin Wall came down; it was the year in which the Soviet Empire inEastern Europe collapsed. It was the year in which we are generally credited with havingwon the Cold War. We won the Cold War with an integrated civil, political, diplomatic,economic and military strategy that was calling upon all of America's resources andstrengths to contain the expansion of communism and deter the use of Soviet military power.Now it was true that Republicans and Democrats never totally agreed on this. Thestrategy was actually formulated in the late 40's by Harry Truman and it was carried byEisenhower and Republicans always believe we should have more weapons and talktougher and threaten more people and do more covert operations, and Democrats alwayssaid, can't we be nicer and have more negotiations and can't we sign more treaties anddon't be nasty. And but those abroad common agreement, that this was America'spurpose in the world and within that agreement then Democratic and Republicans foughtit out. And so Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter and Reagan all carried thisstrategy forward until the Soviet Union collapsed.People of my age in the armed forces I I was commissioned in 1966 and my firstexperience in Germany was 1964 as a cadet, I had a tank platoon with 19 soldiers and fivetanks in Germany to command for the summer of 1964. We went to the we went to thedivided city of Berlin we went to Checkpoint Charlie, we went down Karl Marx's[0:06:56] ____ in East Berlin. We saw the crumbling facades of this cheap communistarchitecture. We saw the angry militant thin faces of these East German borderpolicemen. We saw the mines in the Berlin Wall. We were told and received theintelligence briefings about the four East German divisions who were locked and caughtin their barracks, locked up with their officers, with their equipment uploaded, ready toattack on two hours notice and behind them two Russian armies of a dozen divisionloaded with tanks ready to get to the Rhine River in less than 72 hours. Behind that morearmies, more troops and ultimately 6000 warheads pointed at America, nuclear warheads.That was the world we grew up in. It was unthinkable to us that we would win. I mean wealways wanted to win and there was an American diplomat named George Kennan whowrote this paper called The Sources of Soviet Conduct, in which he said if you just holdon and squeeze them long enough, eventually they will collapse at their own mistakenideas. But nobody was willing to take a bet on it and say it's going to happen in X year. Ieven went to Colin Powell on the summer of 1989, he was coming in to be the Chairmanof the Joint Chiefs of Staff and my friend Bill Odum was going to go in and brief him andI said I said, General Odum, take this message into General Powel for me and becauseI had worked for him and he knew and respected me, I said, tell him he should set a goallike this would be the that the end of the Berlin Wall during the four years he isChairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And a couple of days later I got a note back fromGeneral Odum, it says, no General Powell says that's too ambitious a goal.And four months later the Berlin Wall was down. We couldn't believe it. And within twoyears the Soviet Union had collapsed. We won the greatest victory of the 20th Century.We won it without ever having fought the Russians directly. We won it because we tookwe built our economy and Eisenhower said America's greatest strength was oureconomic strength, we took our military and trained them, but we told them that their realpurpose was to deter war, not to fight war. We took our educational system and we triedto sharpen it for training and teaching and science and education and technology tocompete with the Soviets on Sputnik and the race to the moon. We took our young peopleand we appointed the football coach from Oklahoma to be the Presidential PhysicalFitness Advisor for America. And in the Kennedy administration young people wereencouraged to be physically fit and get a presidential physical fitness badge, and we did alot of things to try to harness America. We brought tens of thousands of young peoplehere to study and see our ideas. We sent American companies abroad; we evenencouraged them to hire local people and then bring them back here for training. Thosemultinational corporations were America's eyes and ears and ambassadors on the world.All of that was designed to contain the spread of communism and deter the Soviet Union and it worked.But but when we won the Cold War, we lost our strategy. We had no adversary; we lostour purpose in the world. We lost the organizing principles that held the Americansociety together and focused just on the outer world, we lost the organizing principles thatkept the NATO alliance together. We were in a new world. It was so new that Harvardhistorian Francis Fujiyama it the end of history. George Bush proclaimed a new worldorder. Gabriel GarcÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Âa MÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¡rquez came to see me in Panama on 1996 and says, it's the mostboring time in history. And I said why, he said because there is no clash of ideas. There isonly one idea. I said I don't think that's boring. But I was wrong, because there were a lotof other ideas. During the that period I was the division commander of the Fort Hood asJeff said in 1992-94'. I had 350 armored fighting vehicles, 350 tanks, battalion of apachehelicopters, battalion of multiple launch rocket systems, three battalions and tubeartillery, 17,000 soldiers and 53 horses. I got to ride the horseback twice a week, I hadboots that came up to my knees, I used boot picks to get on, I had a wind brokethoroughbred because the army wouldn't like you pay more than $1,400 for a horse andhad a big black stetson and with two stars on it. And I actually could gallop and jump and I loved it.And suddenly I was told I was going to go to Washington, get a third star and be theDirector of Strategic Plans and Policy on the Joint Staff, the highest military staff in thecountry. My job was to integrate military thinking with diplomatic and political strategy.So I was the guy who took the military strategic plans and went across the Potomac Rivereveryday to the White House meetings and had a staff of 300 officers to help me and wedid everything from all geographic areas to space, arms export policy, international treatyand negotiations and the UN. I had the whole you might say, what is this what else isanybody doing on the Joint Staff. But believe me, it's a very busy place and there are a lotof people doing a lot of things. But I had a huge port folio and when I went up there. Ididn't know what we were doing because there was no Soviet threat, there was noorganizing principle and so, I arrived at it was I think the fifth of April 1994 was myfirst day. When I walked in, they handed me three, three ring binder, stacked up on mydesk, they said, sir, you have to learn all these. I looked at it and they were full ofacronyms and abbreviations and I couldn't understand what they were saying, I thought Iwas going to learn about NATO. But instead they showed me a map and it had like sixlines and they were all intersecting. They said, well, there is NATO, there is the EuropeanUnion, there is a Western European Union, there is the organization for security andcorporation in Europe, there is a Western Union Treaty organization, I mean they wentthrough all these different organizations and they were all overlapping. So Denmark is themember of the they member of the EU, but they are not a member of the EU, monitory,but they are member of NATO, but they are not a member of the West European union.But they get to vote in the EU on West European Union Defense Policy you know, theyare not member of the you know, there is you are trying to sort this out and it wasincredibly complicated and confusing and I had been there and trying to learn my job,General Shalikashvili told me I was supposed to be the person who drove the staff. I wassupposed to come up with these ideas.So the second day, I was there, I was leaving the office. And somebody said, bad news inAfrica, we just had a shoot down of an aircraft by a missile that shot-down the presents ofRwanda and Burundi; it may be our missile. So this was the crisis on Thursday morning,my third day. So it turned out it was a French missile and not an American missile noproblem. I was leaving the office, so I am and I said well, who are these people onRwanda and Burundi. They said, sir they are the we don't have time to brief you on itright now, but we will get on your calendar and come back and give you the run downnext week, fine. So on Friday, I was leaving the office, I thought I had a full week, mywife was saying, when are you ever going to be home, when are you going to hang thepictures, when are you going to unpack. And I had already learned, when every time Iwent to Shalikashvili's office, he had CNN on continuously. And I realized - my learningexperience was if you ever want to find out what's happening, you don't ask the NationalMilitary Command Center, you watch CNN. So I was leaving office at six o'clock atnight on a Friday night, half the people are gone because they think they can takeadvantage of me as a newbie on the block, that I won't call them on Friday night if theyget out of their seat. And I was looking on the CNN screen, there is fighting, there aresoldiers, they are in Africa. It's dark, there are black faces, there are white soldiers, thereare explosions. I said what is this, a war movie or what? And my assistant said, oh no it'ssome action in Kigali or some place and it looks like I think it's a French and may bemay be it's the Belgians and so I quickly called the National Military CommandCenter and said I am you know, I am the new J5, I am supposed to know everything,what's going on in the world and looks like we got a battle going on in Africa, what's thatabout? They said, sir we don't know anything. I said did you look at CNN, they said, no sir.So I called the European Command Center in Stuttgart, Germany and they are supposedto keep up with Africa, I said, what's going on, they said, we don't know anything aboutit. So I had to call the embassies, anyway, we were up all night with the State Departmenttrying to figure out what the French and Belgians were doing. The Saturday morning, Ihad a nine o'clock meeting with Secretary of Defense Bill Perry and they said, if youimpress Perry you may get to go with him on a trip to Korea. So go to this meeting andsee what he has to say, so I went in there and I thought, ah Korea, I have been there adozen times, I have been over there, I have trained the troops, I know the war plans, Idiscovered we were about to go to war with North Korea. It seemed like PresidentClinton had been there in October of 93', he told the North Koreans, they could have toldhe said, no nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula, he got home, the CIA said, wellMr. President there has been a slight problem, it seemed like we may have misled youmay be we should have told you earlier, but there is this Korean reactor and they can takethe fuel rods out of it and if they reprocess them, they could extract plutonium from thespent fuel and that could make a nuclear weapon and there could be enough plutonium tomake two nuclear weapons. But we don't know if they have done this because they won'tlet the IAEA inspectors look at the reprocessed or non-reprocessed fuel pit to find out ifthere were residue in there, has been reprocessed or not. And so we were going tothreaten them and we were going to take them to the UN and they said, if you take us tothe UN and put sanctions on us, we will consider it as act of war. And so the generals inKorea called us to say they say it's a act of war, it's going to be an act of war, give usmore troops and this thing was ramping up to be a full fledged battle and you know, Ileft about three hours later from the secretary's office kind of stunned, because none ofthis was in the press.And on Sunday I got called into a meeting in the White House, I sat in the back row,Situation Room it's a little tiny room about the size of this stage with a little table andthere was the Secretary of State Warren Christopher, my first meeting with him and therewas Madeleine Albright on a TV screen from New York, she was the UN Ambassadorand Sandy Berger, the Deputy National Security Advisor, Tony Lake, the NationalSecurity Advisor and Bill Perry was there again and Shalikashvili, my boss was there andseveral other people, Vice President's National Security Advisor, and they are arguingabout the Air Rules of Engagement for flying combat air patrols over Bosnia. And theyare talking about what are the criteria which enable them to shoot Serb aircraft. And theyare arguing, well there is a plane here and there is a plane here and if they sees the plane,if it turns back to them and if the radar is on and what if there is a radar on the ground andif the radar on the ground, what kind of radar is it and how does the pilot know the radaris on the ground and tracking him, not tracking and this discussion goes on and they aremoving like this. I am sitting there trying to follow this conversation; I got a littlestenographer's notebook. I am thinking I have to copy everything down, I couldn't followit, they couldn't follow it, they want an aviator in the room, no body understood thetechnology, we spent three hours there on a Sunday afternoon and we ended with nothing.That was my first weekend. And on Monday morning, a guy came in, knocked on thedoor, he was a one star general, he said sir, I was gone last week. I worked for youdidn't me my name is Tommy Hill. And he said, I have to report something to you, I amnot allowed to tell you this because it's classified information and it's compartmented. ButI and I am representing you in this compartmented program, but I feel like how to tellyou any way we are planning an invasion of Haiti. And you know, here I come up, hereit's the end of the Cold War, I don't know why we have armed forces left and we areabout to go to war with North Korea, we are fighting the war over the Balkans and we aregoing to invade Haiti. And it was crazy. And this went on every single weekend with callsand frantic meetings and nothing decide and after about six or eight weeks of thisShalikashvili called me back and he said Wes, he said, look he said in his polishaccent at English. He says, we hired you to be the strategist because you are supposed tobe so smart, so tell us what is this strategy that has us working every weekend? And itwas a joke, because there was no strategy. And so we tried to create a strategy. Weworked really hard to do it. And we labored for year and a half to create. I mean - Whatdo you do after deterrence and containment? There was no obvious threat, we knew thatthere was a threat of regional war, there was a threat of terrorism, there was a threat ofnuclear proliferation, there was a threat of Russia should be become hostile, but therewas no obvious immediate threat that you could sort of run up the flag and say, look outhere come here they come again, you know. And so how could you use that to mobilizeresources, build alliances, so we really puzzle over this. And we wrote this strategy calledthe Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement. It was published in 1995, and if you sawthe title today of Engagement and Enlargement, you think it was an advertisement formen's pharmaceutical product. All most nobody read it it never became the realnational strategy. We were very active you know we went to Bosnia, we put 25,000troops on the ground, we stopped the war, we fought a 78 day air camp, and we bombedSaddam, we bombed Osama Bin Laden, we won that war that saved a million and a halfAlbanians, that I led as NATO commander and at the end of it all when I retired in 2000there was still non national strategy.And in the 2000 presidential election I remember it was just before I left the military, Icame to New York and I heard Ken Black and Bob Shrum who were managingrespectively, the George Bush and Al Gore campaigns, debate in front of these prominentFrench and American business leaders, what would be the 2000 election themes? Whatwould be the top five issues? It was like the economy, education, social security reform,and may be trade and that was it. There was nothing about national security, nothing, nosignificant foreign policy issues. Now, everything was going great. And then 9/11happened. And what happened in 9/11 is we didn't have a strategy, we didn't havebipartisan agreement, we didn't have American understanding of it and we had instead apolicy coup in this country, a coup, a policy coup.Some hardnosed people took over the direction of American policy and they neverbothered to inform the rest of us. I went through the Pentagon ten days after 9/11. Icouldn't stay away from mother army. I went back there to see Donald Rumsfeld, I hadworked for him as a White House fellow in the 1970s, its all listed in the book and and Isaid to him, are you doing okay on CNN and he said yeah yeah yeah fine, he said, Iam thinking about he says, I read your book and he said this is the book that talksabout the Kosovo campaign and he said, I just want to tell you he said, no body is goingto tell where or when we can bomb, no body. He said I am thinking to call this a floatingcoalition, and what you think about that. I said, well sir, thanks for reading my book. Andwell he said, thanks that are all the time I have got, really. And I went downstairs, I wasleaving the Pentagon and an officer from the Joint Staff called me into his office and said,I would want you to know, he said, sir, we are going to attack Iraq. And I said, why? Hesaid, we don't know. He said I said, will they tie Saddam to 9/11? He said, no he saidbut I guess, its they don't know to do about terrorism and so the they think butthey can attack states and they want to look strong its all, I guess they think if they takedown a state, it will intimidate the terrorists and you know what its like that old saying,it said, if the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem has to be a nail.Well I walked out of there pretty upset and then we attacked Afghanistan. I was prettyhappy about that, we should have. And then I came back to the Pentagon about six weekslater, I saw the same officer, I said why why haven't we attacked Iraq? We are sill goingto attack Iraq, he said, oh sir he says, its worse than that. He said he pulled up a pieceof paper of his desk, he said, I just got this memo from the Secretary of Defense's office,it says we are going to attack and destroy the governments in in seven countries in fiveyears. We are going to start with Iraq and then we are going to move to Syria, Lebanon,Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran seven seven countries in five years. I said, is that aclassified memo? He said, yes sir. I said; well don't show it to me. He was about to showit to me, because I don't want to talk about it. And I I sat on this information for a longtime, for about six or eight months, I was so stunned by this, I couldn't begin to talk aboutit. And I couldn't believe it would really be true, but that's actually what happened. Thesepeople took control of the policy in the United States and I realized then it came back tome, a 1991 meeting I had with Paul Wolfowitz you know, in 2001 he was DeputySecretary of Defense, but in 1991 he was the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, it'sthe number three position of the Pentagon. And I had gone to see him when I was a onestar general, I was commanding the National Training Centre, I had met him one time, hesaid, if you ever get to Washington, come with me up there, I always say that. Well, I wasthere in Washington, it was a Friday afternoon, I had visited Colin Powell, he gave mefive minutes of his precious time and set me on my way and I was bored in the Pentagonand and I thought I will just go who could I see. I think I will see Wolfowitz.So I called and up there he was available, Scooter Libby came to the door, I met Scooterfor the first time and he brought me in and I said to Paul and this is 1991, I said Mr.Secretary you must be pretty happy with the performance of the troops in Desert Storm.And he said, well yeah, he said but but not really, he said because the truth is weshould have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein and we didn't. And this was just after the Shiauprising in March of 91' which we had provoked and then we kept our troops on the sidelines and didn't intervene. And he said, but one thing we did learn, he said, we learnedthat we can use our military in the region in the Middle East and the Soviets wont stop us.He said, and we have got about five or ten years to clean up those all Soviet clientregimes; Syria, Iran, Iraq, - before the next great super power comes on to challenge us.And it was like you know I am coming out the Mohave desert, I have been trainingtroops, I haven't been thinking geo strategy for some time and suddenly a guy just sort ofshoves this nugget it well you will remember it it was a pretty stunning thing, I meanthe purpose of the military is to start wars and change governments, its not to sort of deter aa conflict, we are going to have invade countries and you know, my mind was spinning.And I put that aside. It was like a nugget that you hold on to. This country was taken overby a group of people with a policy coup, Wolfowitz and Cheney and Rumsfeld and youcould name a half dozen other collaborators from the project for a new American century.They wanted at us to destabilize the Middle East, turn it upside down, make it under ourcontrol. It went back to those comments in 1991. Now did anybody tell you that, wasthere a national dialogue on this? Did senators and congressman stand up and denouncethis plan? Was there a full fledged American debate on it? Absolutely not; and there arestill isn't, and that's why we are failing in Iraq, because Iran and Syria know about theplan. All you have to do is read the the Weekly Standard and Bill Kristol and he blabbermouthed it out all over the world, Richard, the same way. They could hardly wait tofinish Iraq, so they could move in to Syria. It was like a lay down, oh our legions are going to go in there.This wasn't what the American people voted George Bush in to office, well they didn'tactually vote him to office, but it wasn't what many of the people who it wasn't whathe campaigned on. He campaigned on a humble foreign policy, the most arrogant foreignpolicy in American history. He campaigned on no peace keeping, no nation building andhere he is with Afghanistan and Iraqis; astonishing. So the root of the problem is not howmany troops are in Iraq, please believe me, don't be mad if you are a Democrat at yourDemocratic congressmen because they can't reduce the troops and frustrate the president.That's not the issue. And if you are Republican don't be mad at the Democrats becausethey are fussing with the troops. Whether you are Democrat or Republican, if you are anAmerican you ought to be concerned about the strategy of the United States in this region,what is our aim, what is our purpose, why are we there, why are Americans dying in this region?That is the issue, for lack of an effective strategy we are going to lose in this regionalbattle. David Patreaus, he worked for me, he was a fine young officer, he hasn't workedfor me as a senior officer, I assume he is very competent, no body makes four stars in theUnited States Armed Forces, no matter what [0:29:09] ____ unless they are pretty good.But and David Patreaus is good, darn good, but listen, he doesn't hold the cards thecards for America's success in the region are held by the White House. They have to dowith strategy, whether you talk to or isolate Iran, whether you punish or reform Syria,whether you aid or condemn Lebanon, how you motivate Egypt, how you deal with SaudiArabia, those are key elements in a strategy and there has to be a purpose for it and noneof that has been laid out in any coherent way. No, its all about politics, it's what KarlRove said in January 2002, in Las Vegas, Nevada, he said, "We going to run thisPresident as a War President." And you know what? They are succeeding. TheDemocratic challenge to Iraq was in my view misplaced. We should not havechallenged on troop strength or tactics. Its not about troops and tactics, it's about strategyand policy. And we failed on challenging the strategy and policy. And Bush won ontroops because he knows he has got the Democrats up against the wall. It's all aboutpolitics. If you try to take down the troops, he says you are not you are not supportingthe American troops. If you if you try to challenge what he is doing, he says you don'twant to win. And now the rhetoric is heating up against Iran.So where is this going to go? Likely to a strike against Iran it could be strike againstnuclear, could be build as a strike against Iran because there are aiding and abetting theinsurgents who were fighting and killing Americans. And how many Democraticcongressmen do you think will be able to take a strong and principle stand against this?Well the answer is; any Democrats who want to stand up and say, "No, I believe Iran hasa perfect right to kill and attack American soldiers." Or any congressmen who wants tosay, "No, I have I favor Iran getting a nuclear weapon." So, do you see he is kind ofhe owns the playing field, the President does. Its not about strategy, it's about politics. It'sabout election politics. I am sorry to say, I am so disappointed, we can't seem to controlthe dialogue. And I am out here tonight begging you to help us get this dialoguereoriented in the right direction before it's too late and we are engaged in another anddeeper war with more costs, another unnecessary war in this region.What should we be doing? We should send a diplomatic region mission to the region. Iwould put Richard Holbrooke over there in a heart beat. Put him on a golf stream gavehim a General, gave him a a couple of assistance. So I said, "Dick, see you come backwhen you got it sorted out. I am giving you two months. Go visit every leader in thegood, we will give them this; if they are bad, we are going to do this. And see if you canget make some sense out of this and build some coherence."Iran cannot tolerate a hostile Iraq. We did them a great favor. But Iran is torn betweenwhether they want to be revolutionary power and up and everything, or whether theywants to be recognized and admitted to the world community as a major regional power.They just don't know. They got an ongoing debate and like any you know, good group,they are going to push in both directions as far as they can until they run to an obstacle,because they like to have it both ways. Syria, well, they like to modernize they like toend the conflict with Israel, but on the other hand they they don't have the economicresources, they are under threat, they are trying to maintain alliance with Iran; so theydon't get pushed aside. They are at odds with the Saudi's. There is no one to make peace.Lebanon, completely ripped apart by internal conflict. Israel, the Palestinians you knowabout Hezbollah in the north but did you know that the that the Hamas moment isheavily infiltrated by Iran and is preparing in Gaza, the same kind of fortifications thatthe Israelis went against in south Lebanon.So, there is a lot of problems in this region, before we use force or threaten force weshould talk to people in the region. There is no guarantee, but if it were up to me I wouldpull out two brigades right now, I would that diplomatic mission over and I'd talk about abig regional strategy. We have got to extricated our resources and change our focus fromthe Middle East to the broader world around us because while we are bogged down interrorism, China and India are growing. They are growing at 10 percent; or in the case ifIndia, nine percent a year. They are developing new technologies new challenges newrelationships and we are both customers and competitors of these countries. And we havegot our own challenges. We have got to fix education in this country and healthcare and abusiness environment and re-ignite American technological ingenuity. We have got tohave an energy policy that make sense and gives us greater flexibility and freedom fromdependence on Middle Eastern and Russian Oil. We have got to deal with problems thatare too big for any one nation to handle but there are national security problems likeglobal warming and climate change.All of that is being impacted by the politically driven excessive focus on war in theMiddle East. We need a real American strategy. And to get that strategy, its about who weare as Americans. Are we dividers or uniters, bullies or people who outreach and makefriends? Do we fear others or do we welcome others? Do we build fences aroundAmerica or build bridges to invite others into see us? Who are we as a nation?I think we are open. I think we are a nation of immigrants. I think we are a nation ofincredible energy, courage, stamina, endurance don't ever sell America short. I wantyou to read my book. I want you to figure out who we are as Americans and I want you tohelp me open up this debate into a true dialogue about America's future, not just anargument about 10,000 US Troops in Iraq.Thank you