Gen. John Allen intends to retire, decline military’s top post in Europe
Four months after taking office, President Obama approved the firing of the four-star Army general leading the war in Afghanistan. The following summer, the president sacked his replacement, Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, for making intemperate remarks to a reporter. McChrystal’s successor, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, often disagreed with Obama on troop levels and war strategy.
It was not until Marine Gen. John R. Allen took command of the war in July 2011 that Obama found a general with whom he clicked. Allen demonstrated more flexibility on troop numbers and shifts in strategy than his predecessors. Obama’s aides, in turn, were far more willing to listen to Allen’s views on how the war needed to be waged.
Obama had wanted to give Allen, who relinquished command in Kabul this month, the military’s most prestigious overseas assignment — supreme allied commander in Europe. But on Tuesday morning, Allen announced that he planned to retire from the military because his wife is seriously ill.
The decision deprives the president of a four-star general with whom he had built a close wartime relationship and forces the White House to find a new candidate to oversee U.S. and NATO operations in Europe.