Wes Clark on Late edition last week:
BLITZER: Here’s a quote from the book, your new book, “A Time to Lead.” And you write this: ” ‘Here’s the paper from the Office of the Secretary of Defense outlining the strategy. We’re going to take out seven countries in five years!’ And he named them, starting with Iraq and Syria and ending with Iran. It was straight out of Paul Wolfowitz’s 1991 play book, dressed up as the search for weapons of mass destruction and the global war on terror.” Now, that jumped out at me. Explain to our viewers what you’re referring to when you make a very serious charge like that, that this whole war in Iraq was basically built on a lie.
CLARK: Well, not exactly a lie. But a theory about how to deal with terrorism. It was the “drain the swamp” theory that emerged after 9/11 and people talked about it. But before that, in 1991, I remember being in Secretary Wolfowitz’s office when he was the number three guy in the Pentagon.
And he said, yeah, the Gulf war, well, we didn’t get rid of Saddam, but what we did learn is we can use military power to clean up these old client states. We’ve got maybe five or ten years to clean them up, Syria, Iran, the rest of them, before the next superpower comes along.
I said, five or ten years? You mean, China and — the discussion sort of wandered off. But it was one of those nuggets you remember. And then I’m in the office with this senior general in the Pentagon, and he says, well, he says, sir, I just — this is after I’m retired. Sir, I just got this memo down from the office upstairs. He’s pointing upstairs. And they’re on the second floor, and the civilians are on the third floor.
And he says, seven countries. I said, is that classified? And he read the countries. I said, is that classified? Stop. He was going to show it to me. I said, don’t show that to me. I don’t want to see that. And so it wasn’t a plan. Maybe it was a think piece. Maybe it was a sort of notional concept, but what it was was the kind of indication of dialogue around this town in official circles, just like unofficial circles, that has poisoned the atmosphere and made it very difficult for this administration to achieve any success in the region.