Is Gen. John Allen the next high ranking US commander to fall from grace?
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Is Gen. John Allen the next high ranking US commander to fall from grace?

Washington : DC : USA | Nov 13, 2012 at 3:58 AM PST
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The news involving US top generals is starting to read like a soap opera. The US top commander in Afghanistan is the latest general to be investigated. Gen. John Allen is under investigation for alleged inappropriate communications with Jill Kelley, the woman associated with the David Petraeus sex scandal.

Jill Kelley is the woman said to have received threatening e-mails from the woman involved in General Petraeus's extramarital affair. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta issued a written statement to reporters en route to Perth, Australia, stating that the had ordered an investigation of Allen.

Secretary of Defense Statement:

On Sunday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation referred to the Department of Defense a matter involving General John Allen, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

Today, I directed that the matter be referred to the Inspector General of the Department of Defense for investigation, and it is now in the hands of the Inspector General. I have informed the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The House Armed Services Committee has also been notified.

While the matter is under investigation and before the facts are determined, General Allen will remain Commander of ISAF. His leadership has been instrumental in achieving the significant progress that ISAF, working alongside our Afghan partners, has made in bringing greater security to the Afghan people and in ensuring that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists. He is entitled to due process in this matter.

In the meantime, I have asked the President — and the President has agreed — to put his [NATO] nomination on hold until the relevant facts are determined. I have asked both Senators Levin and McCain that the confirmation hearing on General Allen’s pending nomination to be Commander of United States European Command and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe be delayed.

The President has nominated General Joseph Dunford, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, to succeed General Allen at ISAF. I respectfully requested that the Senate act promptly on that nomination. Army Times

Allen, who is currently in Washington, disputes that he has engaged in any wrongdoing, despite allegations of some 20-30,000 pages of inappropriate e-mails between him and Kelley. Kelley is a socialite in Tampa, the location of the US Central Command. She is described as an unpaid social liaison.

Allen's next appointment as commander of the US European Command and Commander of NATO has been put on hold. Allen will remain Commander of ISAF, without suspension, but his replacement, Gen. Joseph Dunford, is due to be confirmed by the Senate on Thursday.

The decision to put Allen's nomination to the US European Command on hold was made in to permit for relevant facts to be determined. The fact that the FBI turned its investigation over to the Pentagon and that the nomination process was put on hold, indicates that officials viewed whatever happened as a possible infraction of military rules rather than a violation of federal criminal law. Adultery is a violation under the uniformed code of military justice (UCMJ).

Panetta praised Allen for being instrumental in making progress with the war in Afghanistan. The investigation adds a new complication to the war, which is to end NATO's combat mission in 2014. Allen was in Washington to present an outline plan and recommendations for troop withdrawals in 2013.

There have been questions as to the success of the war recently. Many see the war as basically stalemated and doubt the ability of Afghan security forces to take over responsibility for Afghanistan's security. Serious peace negotiations with the Taliban have little prospect.

Allen will be 59 next month and has been ISAF's commander since July 2011. He was to take over as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander early in 2013. He graduated from the the US Naval Academy in 1976 and was commissioned in the US Marine Corps. Full biography

Opinion:

Dunford, who is the current Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, is to be confirmed by the Senate on Thursday. He will likely replace Allen earlier than expected. He was currently expected to take command of ISAF and US Forces in Aghanistan in early 2013. The change of command will in all likelihood take place much earlier, since Leon Panetta has asked for the nomination to be expedited.

While Allen is entitled to his day in court, the investigation into inappropriate e-mails has to be embarassing to the Pentagon and the White House, who had placed stock in both Petraeus's and Allen's reputations.

A Hollywood playwright couldn't ask for a better plot for a James Bond movie. It includes the elements of sex, the Benghazi consulate attacs, accusastions of CIA undercover operations at the consulate annex and the murder of an American ambassador.

It seems that new details become available on a daily basis. It would appear that the US military's "tarnished brass" needs some serious polishing. Where will it all end?

Sources: Biography of General John Allen

Biography of General Joseph Dunford

Reuters

Washington Post

CBC

Please read: Petraeus Scandal: The rise and fall of an American Hero

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Karl Gotthardt is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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