General Clark working Iowa this time around
Venerable political reporter David Jepsen of the Des Moines Register files a piece on Gen. Wesley Clark's efforts in Iowa and his prospects this time around.
Clark made a mistake in not competing in the 2004 caucuses. He admitted that the day he suspended his campaign, and he's not making the same error in the 2008 cycle.
He's showing up early to help Iowa Democratic candidates and build a base to use to run again. He spends much of his time answering some variation of the question: What should we do to get out of Iraq?
"You'll not get an 'A' out of this," he said in an interview. "You might get an 'F.' If you're lucky, you'll get a 'D+.' The failure will come if you just get mad and pull out - just say 'That's it. You people are fighting; we're leaving.' If you do that, they'll fight even more."
Instead, he said, the United States must now try to hold the country together; not let it become a haven for terrorists, and prevent any other single country in the region from dominating it.
Also, the United States has to work to let people "lead some semblance of normal life," help put a government in place, get U.S. troops off the streets and reduce the U.S. troop presence.
The United States also must expand its diplomatic efforts in the region and make clear it seeks "no permanent presence" of troops in the area. Also, it should work to establish a government, bolster the economy and improve security.
"You'll be left with an Iraq that is a lot more Islamist than before and anti-American. It's not a very pretty outcome, but that's the absolute best you can hope for," he said.