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January 22, 2004


Doug Kenline

Great post Pierre. Thank you very much.


interesting... there is a very interesting article called "What the General Never Told Us About the Bush Plan for Serial War
The Secrets Clark Kept" located at http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0340/schanberg.php

it has very interesting excerpts from his book analizing information he never disclosed ..i would like to know what you think about it, and if it really contradicts his political campaing..

Pierre Omidyar

The article asks why Clark didn't disclose his non-confidential conversations with Pentagon officials while he was a CNN commentator. It asks if this lack of disclosure was censorship or self-sensorship. It goes on to criticize Clark for not disclosing these conversations and his other suspicions while on CNN.

Just so everyone knows, the primary content at issue here is his contention that the Pentagon had begun a five-year, seven-country campaign, with Iraq being the first invasion. Clark asserts senior military officials told him this while he was visiting the Pentagon. Clearly, this was very concerning.

Why didn't he disclose this as a CNN analyst? I haven't asked him. But my guess would be that his job as an analyst was to provide balanced analysis of the military campaign. A one sided point of view that the Bush administration "recklessly" took us into war doesn't fly on CNN.

Had he been an invited guest, or while writing an opinion piece, he might have been more comfortable providing a one-sided point of view. But let's not forget: until this Fall, *any* criticism of the President and his war policy was basically labeled as unpatriotic and un-American. Prior to running for president, this would not have been a smart move for a retired General.

This is a larger problem than Clark. Journalists, who, unlike a CNN analyst, are often paid to dig deep into an issue and present the facts they find, have also been reluctant to draw attention to the Bush Administration's actions, in fear of appearing un-patriotic, or more importantly, of being cut off from access to the Administration.

I don't think the article raises questions about his campaign; rather, it basically asks "why didn't he start campaigning while he was a CNN analyst, or why didn't he criticize the Pentagon two months after September 11th?" I think reasonable people will realize that these are not reasonable questions.


I think I find a contradiction when I read that W. Clark kept in secret his own concerned opinions rather than disclosing them to the public, and “W. Clark Bares all, and fight secrecy”.

Why did he had to hide his concerned opinion to the general public instead of “bare it all, and fight secrecy” at that time?

My guess is more because it wasn't his own interest at the moment.

Because “his job as an analyst was to provide balanced analysis of the military campaign.”? … what about those concerns he had that affected the general public and he never disclosed? what if he won elections one day and “his job as a president was to provide a balanced analysis to the country” instead of giving the real information to the public?

Pierre Omidyar

Concerns, opinions, and hearsay are not facts and shouldn't be presented as such.

Given the explosive nature of the content, if he had disclosed those conversations (hearsay) while on the air as a paid analyst, CNN would probably have received a complaint from the White House and he would have been fired.

Just look how quickly (same day) the White House ordered an investigation into Paul O'Neill's posession of a cover sheet marked "Secret," and how long it's taken for them to order an investigation into how the identity of a CIA operative was disclosed to reporter Robert Novak (months).


"Concerns, opinions, and hearsay are not facts and shouldn't be presented as such." Agree, but personal opinions, concerns and disagreements can always be expressed, maybe not as a "balanced" CNN analyst, but as a person who has his own voice in the community.

"CNN would probably have received a complaint from the White House and he would have been fired” then where is the freedom of speech and democracy? was it government censorship or self-censorship?

"Paul O'Neill was fired from his job as George Bush's Treasury Secretary for disagreeing too many times with the president's policy on tax cuts." and some other reasons.(http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/01/09/60minutes/main592330.shtml)

Are those the consequences of a person "who is known for speaking his mind"? Could it be that Clark was afraid of ending like O'Neill?

I'll have to read "The Price of Loyalty".

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