Theodore's World: Obama says he has accepted Gen. John Allen 's request to retire from military

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February 20, 2013

Obama says he has accepted Gen. John Allen 's request to retire from military

Obama says he has accepted Gen. John Allen 's request to retire from military

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama says he has accepted Gen. John Allen 's request to retire from military.

The decision ends the career of one of the U.S. military's most well-known leaders, who until February 10 spent 19 months in Afghanistan trying to help wind down America's longest war and strengthen Afghanistan's military to fight insurgency.

Beyond the pressures of war, Allen faced a media frenzy over a high-profile Pentagon investigation that in January cleared him of wrongdoing in his email exchanges with a Florida socialite, Jill Kelley.

Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon made no mention of that probe in statements on Tuesday, instead extolling Allen's 38-year military career. Obama cited Allen's "extraordinary service" in the Afghan war.

"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 am grateful for the sacrifices made by his family in supporting him during his service."

Allen, in a statement, did not give details about his decision. "The reasons for my decision are personal. I did not come to it lightly or quickly, but given the considerations behind it, I recognized in the end it was the only choice I could make."

"While I won't go into the details, my primary concern is for the health of my wife, who has sacrificed so much for so long," he said.


He said his wife, Kathy, had stood beside him for more than 35 years and he had spent much time away from her and his two daughters. "It is now my turn to stand beside them, to be there for them when they need me most," Allen said.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Allen said he wanted to focus on helping his wife cope with chronic health issues that included an autoimmune disorder.

Allen, as the head of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, was known for his ability to work with tribal sheikhs, a skill that also helped him turn the tide against al Qaeda in Anbar province in Iraq five years ago.

But his time in Afghanistan also was marked by a spate of incidents that enraged Afghans. They included video images of troops urinating on Taliban corpses and the burning of Korans and religious texts taken from a prison library. There were also a surge in so-called "insider attacks" on international forces by their Afghan partners.

Panetta called Allen one of the military's most outstanding battlefield leaders and a brilliant strategist, predicting Allen's leadership in Afghanistan would be remembered as "pivotal" to the 11-year-old campaign.

"The strategy he developed and implemented has put us on the right path towards completing this mission, with Afghan forces now on track to step into the lead for security nationwide this spring and to assume full security responsibility by the end of next year," Panetta said.

Wild Thing's comment.............

Another General that can't stand watching the military be destroyed by Obama.

I always remember how General Allen stood up for his men when the don't ask don't tell was going to be changed by Obama. He was furious.

Posted by Wild Thing at February 20, 2013 02:50 AM


Probably one of those one-way conversations that went like this. "Either retire or we're going to release some details of those emails you sent that woman and we're even going to make some stuff up".

Posted by: BobF at February 20, 2013 05:59 AM

obama will find another ego driven political yes man general or admiral to replace Allen. Sadly the hierarchy of military flag officers can be more political than military.

Posted by: TomR, armed in Texas at February 20, 2013 12:10 PM

*THE*RULER* intends to load the upper echelons of the armed services with his sycophants. Be afraid, be very afraid...

Posted by: Willy at February 20, 2013 12:48 PM