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Wesley Clark to Bush: "Stop Hiding Behind David Petraeus!"

08/03/2007 10:10 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

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General Wesley Clark delivered a humdinger of a speech this morning in Chicago at YearlyKos.

There's much to it -- and he puts the target for the failure in Iraq not on the military, nor on the Congress, nor other participants in this mess other than President George W. Bush.

Others will get the text and audio file up. I'll try to link later.

But his commentary on engaging our foes and rivals was right on target. He called Bush out and demanded that the President stop trying to look like a leader by chewing up the lives of American men and women in combat. He told Bush to stop hiding behind General David Petraeus.

I want to remind readers and journalists that getting a Democratic presidential contender to state that we ought to be negotiating with Iran directly used to be difficult. It was not Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or Bill Richardson or John Edwards or Joe Biden or Chris Dodd who were in that space first.

Wesley Clark was. He made his first major statement that we should be talking directly to Iran in September 2005 at a conference titled "Terrorism, Security and America's Purpose." (video link here)

Clark then underscored his position in a "Real State of the Union" address he gave for the New America Foundation in January 2006 and then shortly after on Meet the Press with Tim Russert.

Clark has an approach to national security and foreign policy that is very solutions-oriented. He has clear-headed views on how complex military, political, and economic systems need to be molded to achieve results. And he is open to the feedback of failure -- so that systems can learn.

It's probably late in the day for Wesley Clark to get into the race, but the various Democratic presidential competitors would find it well worth their time to learn from Clark who can both get beyond vapid, binary responses on foreign policy issues and still give a straight answer.

Very interesting morning here at McCormack Place Convention Center. The main hall was packed to the gills at 8 am. These folks attending are hyper-motivated.

The last time I saw this kind of enthusiasm in a huge crowd was at AIPAC's 2007 annual conference. Maybe balance will be restored to the American political universe.

-- Steve Clemons is Senior Fellow and Director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation and publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note