Interviews with a wide variety of current and retired military officials reveal that Clark was disliked by only three groups: Those whom ranked above him in the chain of command whom he ignored, his peers at the same rank whom he lied to, and those serving beneath him whom he micromanaged. Other than that, everyone liked him.

The simplest, most likely reason for the scathing, if vague, criticisms of Clark from former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Henry Hugh Shelton and Defense Secretary William Cohen, is this: As NATO commander, Wesley Clark had problems with the Pentagon's chain of command. When Clark's bosses didn't agree with him, he just went around them.

Shelton's and Cohen's views on Kosovo were often diametrically opposed to Clark's. But the Pentagon didn't speak with one voice to the White House, because Clark kept going behind his superiors' backs and proposing ideas to National Security Advisor Sandy Berger and Secretary of State Madeline Albright.

Today, Clark insists he never went around the chain of command. He argues that his job as NATO commander was a "two-hatted" position, partly a U.S. military role and partly a diplomatic post, leading the 19-nation coalition. He contends the latter role required him to assist the secretary of state and other White House officials.

"He was sucking up to Clinton's WhiteHouse even in those days !"

But most of the Pentagon believed Clark crossed a line.