A General Outburst

At the Pentagon, a half dozen top military leaders threaten to quit

Feb. 27, 2007 — LONDON (apj.us) — So. I was sitting, a few days ago, at Number 10 Downing Street in London waiting to go for lunch with a second-tier Tony Blair bureaucrat who is a friend from college when I noticed an unusually large presence of reporters hanging out in the reception lobby whispering and looking “concerned” but still chuckling “knowingly,” as so many journalists tend to do.

My friend finally walked out, draped in a chalk-striped bespoke three-piece suit with a purple tie, and motioned me to follow him into the inner sanctum where I could actually overhear Tony Blair screeching at someone, “You won’t quit because we’ll fire you first!” A commotion ensued and out walked what I assumed was high ranking military officer in quite a huff.

“That’s General Y” hissed my friend. “He’s in a stew over this Iran poppycock.” I nodded and shrugged, still following him down the narrow hall to his office which is about the size of a large steamer trunk. “Poppycock,” I thought to myself; that sounds serious.

It turned out that this English general was not just any general, but the number two in charge of more than two-thirds of Britain’s armed forces in one way or another. He was already steamed that Blair was sending 1,500 more troops to Afghanistan to make President Bush and NATO look good. This general knew that the situation in Afghanistan was even worse than that in in Iraq. The caped and capped crusader — Afghan President Karzai — now finds his "dominion" is down to a tiny closet in his office where he can most often be found hiding from “any-moment-now” Taliban assassins.

“Jeff, it turns out that your leader Bush is funding covert actions in Iran without permission or knowledge of your Congress,” says my pal, “and — to top all off — the Saudis are doing most of his dirty work, hoping to hang on to their kingdom. Bush is also trying to get rid of Assad [President of Syria], and who knows what in hell he’ll do in Lebanon. The man is daft, and my boss is even more so.”

After lunch, I walked over the American Club and had a drink with a colleague who gave me a telephone number that evidently rang at the Pentagon in Virginia. He assured me that the person who would pick up the phone had some information that might “amuse” me.

I jumped on my cell phone and rang up the number. To my surprise a woman answered. “General [X] speaking.” 

“Ah, you’re a woman,” I stammered, “not that means anything,” trying to recover.

“Well it certainly does mean something," she barked. "It means I’ve been taking crap from guys like you most of my professional life. Who gave you this number anyway?

I told her my colleague’s name, introduced myself, and she seemed to relax. Somehow there was more to her relationship with my colleague than I could fathom — but I let my suspicions slide and decided to give her some information rather than ask her for a hot story.

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