Matt Stoller: I just want to thank you for your service and your work. Let's just get down to questions, particularly your endorsement of Senator Clinton. When did you decide to support her and why did you decide to support her despite her support for the war?
Wes Clark: I've supported, I've known for a long time that she's the most qualified capable person in the race and when it was clear that I couldn't meet my preconditions it was just normal to support her. I mean, she's experienced, she's seen it all, she's been in the White House, she's been there in crisis, she knows how to make decisions, she's seen good decisions and bad decisions. I mean, it's a priceless set of experiences she has, she's spent her whole life learning how to run for elective office and how to serve the people once they're in elective office. And that's another great set of experiences, just like I've spent my life learning about force and diplomacy, she's spent her life in the more general sense of public office. And I think she's got great character and I think she's very tough so I think she's the best candidate in the race.
Matt Stoller: But specifically on the war, though she spent her whole life training for office, that was a terrible judgment call.
Wes Clark: Yeah that was a bad decision and I'd like to think I wouldn't have made that decision had I been in the United States Senate. A lot of people did. She said if she knows now how it would have been used she wouldn't have done it. Yeah it was a mistake but I think it's the kind of mistake you gotta let pass. You can't call everything right, and I think she's made so many right calls I think she'll make the majority of the calls, she's the best hope we've got for the kind of government we need in the future.
Matt Stoller: Clinton, Edwards, and Obama are all calling for residual troops in Iraq while they claim they will 'end the war'. How long do you think residual troops will remain in Iraq under a Clinton Presidency?
Wes Clark: There's no way of knowing because the problem in Iraq is Iran. And you can't deal with Iraq unless you're willing to deal with Iran and the Clinton administration, I meant the Bush administration is not facing reality. When you issue threats unintelligeable they're really working throughout Iraq preparing for the departure of the Americans, they've got a broad front, economic, cultural, political, religious strategy of engagement inside Iraq and so what happens with the troops is entirely incidental to that. They are arming and supporting militias only because those militias serve Iran's interests so when you think you can succeed by popping off at the militias from time to time that really fails to meet the strategic nature of the challenge we're up against. So I don't think there's any way of knowing how long it's going to take to work against the strategic challenge of Iran. First we have to get someone in office who will face it.
Matt Stoller: Can we handle a nuclear Iran? Can we live with that?
Wes Clark: I don't think so. The reason is, there are three reasons. Number one is that I think a nuclear armed Iran would use its clear deterrent to promote conventional or unconventional aggression against other states in the region and believe it could sit back with its nuclear power and not be threatened in return. I think the second reason is you never know how these nuclear capabilities might be smuggled abroad or used in some way. Maybe the way we saw the Israelis strike at this nuclear depot in Syria is an indication of that and apparently that came from North Korea. And the third reason is that once Iran gets a nuclear weapon lots of other countries will want them and the more countries that have them the greater chance a nuke will be used and kill hundreds of thousands of people and so no I don't think you can tolerate a nuclear armed Iran. But I think the right course of dealing with it is to directly engage Iran in dialogue.