One of the leading “America bashers” on the political scene today has endorsed John Kerry for president. Speaking to reporters after a February 27 Washington press conference to rally support for Haiti’s Marxist President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Ramsey Clark said he’s voting for Kerry because he would take U.S. foreign policy in a new direction.
This is certainly the case. Kerry told the New York Daily News editorial board that he would have intervened “unilaterally” with U.S. troops if necessary to save Aristide’s corrupt regime from a popular rebellion. Aristide, who developed a reputation for brutalizing and killing his political opponents, was encouraged by the Bush administration to leave the country.
“I think John Kerry is a great human being,” Clark told this reporter. “I knew him when he was?I call a youngster?in his 20s. I saw him as an extremely caring person, an extremely courageous person, and a person who was deeply concerned for peace and the well-being of other people.”
Clark has been labeled a “traitor” for his habit of showing up in countries hostile to the U.S. A lawyer, he has represented accused terrorists and war criminals. He told the Haiti news conference that President Bush should be impeached and the U.S. should pay billions of dollars in reparations to Haiti.
Clark served as LBJ’s Attorney General in the 1960s and then participated in the anti-Vietnam War movement in the early 1970s with Kerry, just back from the war, who accused his fellow soldiers of war crimes and genocide. Clark was a lawyer for Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and Kerry was a major leader of the group. A photograph at the time shows Clark on the same stage with Kerry.
Clark traveled to Hanoi, North Vietnam, from July 29 to August 12, 1972, under the sponsorship of the Stockholm-based International Commission for Inquiry, a Communist “peace” front. He was taken on a guided tour and denounced the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam. He also visited American POWs held by Hanoi, falsely declaring that they were in good health and their conditions “could not be better.” Such visits by American figures gave the communists the confidence to continue in the face of defeats on the battlefield.
Clark and Kerry were strongly against the Reagan policy of supporting the anti-communist “Contra” freedom fighters in Nicaragua. The policy, though opposed by a liberal Congress, resulted in the holding of elections in Nicaragua, the electoral defeat of the Communist Sandinistas, and an end to the communist insurgency in El Salvador.
More recently, Clark has been collaborating with the communist Workers World Party (WWP) in staging “anti-war” demonstrations against U.S. Iraq policy. Brian Becker, a member of the WWP secretariat, helped organize those protests and was the moderator of the Ramsey Clark press event on Haiti.
Haiti is a country that was ruled by a Marxist, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was restored to power by the Clinton administration after a popular military coup. Even though he has been accused of running the cocaine trade through Haiti, members of the Congressional Black Caucus have been among his leading supporters and have even served on the board of his “Aristide Foundation for Democracy.” Aristide was a big spender on Washington lobbyists such as Roger Ervin, a foreign agent for the government of Haiti who appeared with Clark at the Washington news conference.
Kerry told a meeting of editors and reporters of the New York Times on February 24 that the Bush administration helped create the popular rebellion that has now forced Aristide to flee. Kerry complained that the administration withheld foreign aid to Aristide and had a bad “attitude” toward him. The Associated Press reported that Kerry decided to speak out on the issue after getting a telephone call from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who wanted President Bush to save Aristide’s regime and deploy U.S. troops to protect him in his presidential compound.
Clark praised Kerry for taking his stand. “I didn’t suggest it to him,” Clark said. “I would have if I had seen him. But he found that one out for himself from his advisers and spoke out courageously on it, I thought.”
The support for Haiti’s Aristide shows that Kerry, like Clark, hasn’t changed his radical views since the Vietnam days. This is a concrete example of how a President Kerry would conduct his foreign policy. He would listen to people like Jesse Jackson and act on their advice. Clark’s enthusiastic endorsement of Kerry speaks volumes about the views of both men. But will Kerry be asked by the press to accept or reject the endorsement of his old friend?