The story went this way: The White House relieved Gen. Wesley Clark
as NATO commander three months early to fit the career timetable of his
successor, Air Force Gen. Joseph Ralston.
But the Pentagon cover story was just that. The administration could
have easily extended Gen. Ralston's term as Joint Chiefs vice chairman,
with the consent of the Senate, until Gen. Clark's full tenure ended.
Instead, the White House chose to embarrass Gen. Clark by forcing an
early exit. The reason: During the 1999 bombing of Kosovo, Gen. Clark
made a number of public statements about waging a ground campaign that
were inconsistent with President Clinton's views. The Pentagon was also
unhappy with the slow pace of attacks on Serbia's transportation
But more egregious, in the eyes of White House officials, was Gen.
Clark going behind their backs and lobbying European allies to push his
plan for putting ground troops near Kosovo. The general's aim was to
give the Army a larger role and put more pressure on Yugoslav President
Particularly upset were White House National Security Adviser Samuel
R. Berger and Gen. Henry Shelton, the Joint Chiefs chairman. "The White
House perceived Clark as letting his head get too big and that no one
was more important to mankind than he was,'' said our insider.
The Pentagon's new defense attaché to China is Army Col. Gratton O.
Sealock, a former China policymaker on the U.S. military's Joint Staff.
He brings to Beijing the reputation as a softliner.
Col. Sealock, currently the Army attaché in Australia, will take over
for Brig. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, who is moving from Beijing to a cushy
posting at the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii.
Both attaches worked the China account in the Pentagon during the
early 1990s. They participated in the ill-fated U.S.-China "defense
conversion'' program set up by Defense Secretary William Perry. The
program was killed by Congress over concerns China was using it for
covert acquisition of defense technology.
Col. Sealock, whose promotion to one-star general is pending, and
Gen. Eikenberry, also signed off on the controversial designation of
China as a U.S. "strategic partner.'' The Clinton administration
carefully dropped the label amid growing hostility from China and a real
anti-U.S. strategic partnership now taking shape between Moscow and
Left out in the selection was Col. John Corbett, who speaks Chinese
and is currently a China specialist at the Pentagon; and the current
Joint Staff China specialist, Navy Capt. Michael Mulcahy. Both are
considered "realists'' with a contrasting healthy skepticism of the
People's Liberation Army.
"They promoted the wrong guy,'' said one defense official of the
Gen. Sealock's posting to Beijing continues a tradition of pro-China
defense attachés who can't speak Chinese. The trend began with Rear Adm.
Eric A. McVadon, the attaché in Beijing from 1990 to 1992. Adm. McVadon
was identified to us as a leading "panda hugger'' -- as pro-China
analysts are dubbed -- who aggressively plays down the growing threat
Adm. McVadon and his ilk are to blame, these critics say, for helping
the United States remain ignorant about the Chinese military's true
goals and intentions. That was done by focusing U.S. military
intelligence efforts on unproductive "military diplomacy.'' There is too
much schmoozing of Chinese military and Communist Party leaders instead
of spying on them and providing vital intelligence for U.S.
policymakers, Pentagon critics tell us.
The result: severe gaps in what is known about China's military. The
most important example: the Pentagon doesn't even known whether the
five-megaton nuclear warheads for China's 24 CSS-4 nuclear missiles --
most of which are targeted at the United States -- are "mated'' to the
missiles or stored nearby, defense officials told us.
The government of Libya is wasting no time in taking advantage of
the U.N. decision last year to lift a seven-year embargo against the
North African state. According to sensitive U.S. intelligence obtained
by the U.S. National Security Agency, Libya last month went shopping for
nuclear weapons components.
And a company in Malta is ready to oblige, offering to sell
"hundreds'' of items of nuclear weapons-related equipment, along with
scientific data, to Libya's Tajura nuclear research facility, about 10
miles down the road to the east from the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
A report two years ago by the Center for Strategic and International
Studies stated that Libya sought a development and production capability
for nuclear weapons but had shown little progress. The report stated
that Libya "continues to train nuclear scientists and technicians
The nuclear acquisition efforts followed recent intelligence reports
on Chinese-Libyan cooperation on missile development and official U.S.
protests to Beijing over the sharing.
"Dick Cheney is a cholesterol-producing machine,'' an aide once
said, explaining the former defense secretary's three minor heart
attacks and bypass surgery. Mr. Cheney's clog-prone arteries forced him
into a strict low-fat diet.
When he traveled as Pentagon chief, his plane full of aides and
reporters were treated to hearty meals. Out of the flight kitchen came
chicken smothered in gravy, mashed potatoes, dressing, desserts and a
selection of wine.
But for the secretary, an Air Force flight attendant compiled a
simple fruit plate, hand-delivered to the VIP cabin. Mr. Cheney did
allow himself one indulgence. When the trip was done and the jet headed
back to Andrews Air Force Base, an attendant poured him one full glass
of beer. Just one.
After leaving office in 1993, Mr. Cheney sat down for a chat with
Heritage Foundation's Policy Review. He made it clear he opposes women
in land combat. "The physical requirements are sufficiently difficult
and the physical differences between men and women are sufficiently
great, that the capabilities of these units would be degraded if women
were incorporated into them,'' he said.
No gay jokes
Hollywood sitcoms revel in jokes about the homosexual lifestyle.
But such humor is now forbidden in the politically correct military.
The Army inspector general report on the command climate at Fort
Campbell, Ky., determined that one anti-homosexual incident there
involved an e-mailed joke read by a noncommissioned officer. "BDUs
(battle dress uniform) would be called 'green fashion ensembles' and
combat boots would come in pink and purple instead of black and green,''
the joke read in part.