WASHINGTON – Former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark accused the Bush administration Saturday of taking the nation on a "path to nowhere" with misguided moves on national security.
The retired Army general and NATO military commander argued in the Democrats' weekly radio address that the United States needs a new plan to win the war on terror after failing to find Sept. 11 terror mastermind Osama bin Laden, fighting an unnecessary war in Iraq and stumbling in halting weapons proliferation in North Korea and Iran.
Clark coupled his criticism of President Bush's policies with a renewed call for the Democratic plan on national security that party leaders unveiled this week.
Portrayed by opponents as weak on national security, Democrats contend that they've cut into the Republican advantage in this midterm-election year based on White House missteps on Iraq and ports security.
"This administration has taken us on a path to nowhere — replete with hyped intelligence, macho slogans and an incredible failure to see the obvious," Clark said in the broadcast.
A candidate in 2004 for the Democratic nomination, Clark has been mentioned as a possible contender again in 2008.
The administration "has shown tragic incompetence in everything from nation building in Iraq to disaster relief in Louisiana," he said. "Let's face it: We're not going to win the war on terror unless we start making more friends and fewer enemies in the world, and we're not going to be able to protect the American people without a new strategy."
Clark joined House and Senate Democrats on Wednesday in calling for a strategy that would provide U.S. agents with the resources to pursue bin Laden, redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq, better equipment for the military and improved screening of containers and inbound cargo.
They amount to many of the proposals that Democrats have offered previously.
"Security is the first promise of any government, and Democrats mean to help deliver it," Clark said.
He argued that the nation "is in danger from the administration's mistaken policies and priorities."
Clark offered a litany of missteps, from the failure to get bin Laden to the more than 2,300 U.S. military deaths in Iraq and the thousands wounded. Domestically, he cited several challenges, including rising gasoline prices, illegal immigration and the impact of global warming.