Are those same senior


Are those same “senior administration officials” who blew Valerie Plame’s cover to Bob Novak bending his ear again? You don’t have to look too hard at the avalanche of mud being pushed against Wes Clark to get a very clear idea of who the White House doesn’t want to run against next November.

In any case, back to Mr Novak, our cog in the machine. Novak’s column today accuses Clark of hobnobbing with various and sundry war criminals. In particular he describes a meeting between Clark and Bosnian-Serb arch-war criminal Gen. Ratko Mladic. They were in fact photographed wearing each others’ caps.

Thus Novak …

Clark was a three-star (lieutenant general) who directed strategic plans and policy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington. On Aug. 26, 1994, in the northern Bosnian city of Banja Luka, he met and exchanged gifts with the notorious Bosnian Serb commander and indicted war criminal, Gen. Ratko Mladic. The meeting took place against the State Department’s wishes and may have contributed to Clark’s failure to be promoted until political pressure intervened. The shocking photo of Mladic and Clark wearing each other’s military caps was distributed throughout Europe.

U.S. diplomats warned Clark not to go to Bosnian Serb military headquarters to meet Mladic, considered by U.S. intelligence as the mastermind of the Srebrenica massacre of Muslim civilians (and still at large, sought by NATO peacekeeping forces). Besides the exchange of hats, they drank wine together, and Mladic gave Clark a bottle of brandy and a pistol.

Now, why would Clark meet with a man who’d masterminded the Srebrenica mass-killing? Perhaps because the event hadn’t occured yet. Clark met with Mladic in late August 1994. The Srebrenica massacre happened in July 1995.

Now, we knew Mladic was bad news well before Srebrenica. So in itself this doesn’t settle the matter. And this incident deserves to be looked at in the context of all of Clark’s activities in the Balkans — which stretch through much of the 1990s. But I put it forward as an example of the caliber of honesty and integrity in reporting that we’re dealing with in this case.

Certainly we can expect more and more of this from the usual suspects.