One of the reasons that Wes Clark is an appealing candidate to me is because of his unique position as a top military man who is unafraid to call the Republicans on their anti-military actions.
Everyone and the kitchen sink knows that the Republicans are already trying to blame the Democrats for "losing" Bush's Iraq War. They are going to do their damnedest to portray a necessary and thankless job - getting our troops out of Cheney's quagmire with the least amount of death and distruction - into some kind of cowardly retreat or betrayal of the "sacrifices" the military has made.
Wes Clark has consistently opposed the operation since before it was launched as harmful in and of itself to the nation, to military readiness, and to the individual men and women who serve. He can speak authoritatively on the fact that the "loss" was inherent in the operation itself. Unlike Colin Powell, he wasn't afraid to stand up and say so from the very start. Also, unlike people like Edwards, he based his opposition on clear principles and demonstrable facts, and cannot be accused of taking a purely political or expedient stance. Would that more politicians had listened to him at the time.
On the clean-up side of the operation, it is clear that he has both the security of the nation and the long-term viability of the military as primary objectives. He speaks of concrete conditions that must be met in order to withdraw. He is deeply concerned with preserving American power and authority, and that means moral and diplomatic capabilities. A sudden abandonment, while emotionally appealing, is an almost certain way to hamstring US ability to act in the region. I'm not an isolationist or someone who thinks that my nation is inherently corrupt (please, the human stink is the same everywhere) , and I support leaders who think and act for the strategic advantage of the nation.
The Democrats are going to have to act aggressively to change the terms of the debate. The various exposes of the criminal neglect of the military is one of the ways we can use to demonstrate the lie of Republican dedication to security and military strength, but it is going to take people who can speak with authority on this matter. Wes Clark is one of the best positioned Democrats to do so. He knows what he is talking about and his service cannot be impugned. (Though we know the Swiftboaters will try)
He is already out in front on the saber rattling over Iran, and for the same reasons as his oppostion to Bush's Iraq debacle - it is bad for long-term US security, it is destructive of stabilizing initiatives in the region, and it is an inappropriate use of military power when diplomacy and sanctions have not even been tried.
It is time to stop treating the people of the middle east as pawns in our sick national kabuki dance between the fascistic right and the anti-liberal left, neither of whom appear to accept that we must remain engaged and responsible actors on the world stage. Wes Clark is a candidate uniquely positioned to address exactly this issue with consistency and common sense.