Battleland

General John Allen Salutes…His Wife

  • Share
  • Read Later
Alex Wong / Getty Images

General John Allen testifies last March in Washington with his wife, Kathy, sitting behind him.

Marine General John Allen – caught up and cleared in the email scandal that brought down CIA director David Petraeus – told President Obama on Tuesday he would rather retire from the U.S. military than become Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, one of the top posts in the U.S. military.

“Today, I met with General John Allen and accepted his request to retire from the military so that he can address health issues within his family,” Obama said in a statement. “I told General Allen that he has my deep, personal appreciation for his extraordinary service over the last 19 months in Afghanistan, as well as his decades of service in the United States Marine Corps.”

Obama had already tapped Allen for the NATO post last year when former Army general Petraeus’ affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, became public and forced him to resign from the CIA. Within days, emails between Allen and Jill Kelley, a Tampa socialite, surfaced. She had gone to the FBI to complain about harassing emails she said she was getting from someone, later identified as Broadwell, concerning Petraeus.

The email exchange — said to involved thousands of pages of messages and attached documents — led Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to put Allen’s nomination on hold until the propriety of the emails was established. Allen was cleared of any wrongdoing last month.

Pentagon officials say Allen had been considering retirement ever since his nomination was placed on hold and his wife, Kathy, has grown increasingly ill with an auto-immune disorder. “For more than 35 years, my beloved Kathy has devotedly stood beside me and enabled me to serve my country,” Allen said in a statement released Tuesday. “It is profoundly sobering to consider how much of that time I have spent away from her and our two precious daughters. It is now my turn to stand beside them, to be there for them when they need me most.” Allen, 59, stepped down from the Afghan post Feb. 10.

Panetta praised the longest-serving U.S. commander in the Afghan war – and won who had won Obama’s confidence – last week. “History, when it looks back on the Afghanistan War, will look at the role played by John Allen and see it as pivotal, in terms of the direction that changed while he was in command, and the direction that was set by him has put us on the path towards completing that mission,” Panetta said.

“He’s been under tremendous amount of pressure, a lot of challenges, a lot of, you know, work that he’s had to engage in, a lot of policy decisions he’s had to work on in terms of the recommendations,” Panetta said, without referring to the cloud that had hung over Allen for more than two months.

But fellow Marine general James Amos didn’t hesitate to acknowledge the cost of the scandal, even if Allen ultimately were cleared. Amos, the Marine commandant, said last week that the email probe took “a pretty heavy toll on John, just because he’s a man of such great integrity, and his integrity was being questioned.” Amos’ name has surfaced as a possible replacement for Allen in the NATO slot.

Panetta said he urged Allen not to rush his decision.  “My recommendation to him was take your time, you know, be with your family, think about what you need to do.”

On Tuesday, he did.

12 comments
lordofthefly
lordofthefly

He danned well better be promising mamma the moon - and then some. He has humiliated her and his children beyond what most spouses could imagine doing. A very big and public stage. Media are trying to drum up sympathy for this man. Not buying it. He got "cleared" by The Pentagon so he could collect his huge taxpayer-funded pension. Seemes The Washington Post and other media have tried to learn more about the investigation but were told "no doing: by The Pentagon. Most readers between the lines understand there was more to come out about Allen. Sorry for his wife, but it's no wonder she's ill.

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-02-25/world/37286008_1_allen-probe-e-mails-nato-job

Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

That photograph says so much to me - it's wonderful. He - beaten, and she - sorrowful. Others may well take a different interpretation, but it's still a remarkable photograph. Thank you Alex Wong.

bobell
bobell

If only we could persuade the likes of McConnell and Cantor to spend more time with their families ...

sacredh
sacredh

“Today, I met with General John Allen and accepted his request to retire from the military so that he can address health issues within his family,”

Frying pan to the back of the head? 

Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

He won Obama's confidence by telling him what he wanted to hear, which wasn't the truth. He's another Peter "Perfect" Pace. What happened to the real Marines?

formerlyjames
formerlyjames

Amos goes over the top speaking of the affront to the integrity of a major player in Bimbogate.

lordofthefly
lordofthefly

@sacredh 

He and Petraeus will forever be known as the "Email Generals." This will follow them like Monica's name has stuck with Bill Clinton - and will as his obit is written.

After the email trail, Obama could not have offered Allen the NATO job. The Pentagon cleared him to let him have his pension (probably north of $200,000 annually - taxpayers' expense), and allowed him to withdraw his name from the job offer to save face. Obama has his moments of cunning. He put Petraeus in the CIA job because he knew he was having the affair in Afghanistan with the married woman, a subordinate. He could not name him to head the Joint Chiefs with at least one sex affair - and possibly misuse of public funds charges - clouding him. Obama knew the arrogant general would eventually hang himself.

bobell
bobell

Sure.  The sum will be zero.