Four-star retired general Wesley Clark said Tuesday he supports a reinstitution of the draft.
Speaking at the Elliott School of International Affairs, the one-time Democratic candidate for president said “selfish” Americans rely on the poor to serve in the Armed Forces and the draft would create an equal playing field.
“I would personally like to see a reinstitution of the draft,” Clark said. “America cannot survive with a selfish population which hires the least privileged amongst its fellows and sends them to war in our place.”
Clark said if the Elliott School Dean Michael Brown would permit him, he would have an army recruiter sent to the building the next day.
“In two years you can come back to GW and you can be a richer and fuller person from your experience,” Clark said.
Clark served as Supreme Allied Commander of the NATO forces in Kosovo during the late 1990s, where he helped Albanian nationalists in Kosovo earn independence from Yugoslavia led by Slobodan Milosevic, who was on trial for war crimes at the time of his death in 2006. One Albanian was in attendance Tuesday.
“Back home we hold you in high regard as a hero,” Elliott School freshman Xhesika Bardhi said through tears. “Your operation really did save lives.”
Clark said he was “very proud of Kosovo” and all its accomplishments and infrastructure established since he left, including highways and the American University in Kosovo.
“You can’t really recognize the mud hole I landed helicopters in,” Clark said.
Clark was able to recall dates and troop movements from conflicts he had both been in and read about, dating as far back as the Spanish-American War of 1898.
“There’s a lot to learn from understanding the past and from understanding the unique circumstances of the present,” Clark said.