James L. Jones
Just like Susan Rice, Senator John Kerry was one of candidate Barack Obama’s earliest supporters, back when it was risky. The conventional wisdom was that Hillary Clinton was going to win and the people who had failed to join her would be left with tombstones for careers. (“A Clinton never forgets,” the terrified saying went.) Just like Rice, Kerry hoped for a certain, specific prize. For Rice it was national security advisor; for Kerry, secretary of state.
Well, here goes... A Taliban militant gets lost and is wandering around the desert looking for water. He finally arrives at a store run by a Jew and asks for water. The Jewish vendor tells him he doesn't have any water but can gladly sell him a tie. The Taliban begins to curse and yell at the Jewish storeowner. The Jew, unmoved, offers the rude militant an idea: Beyond the hill, there is a restaurant; they can sell you water. The Taliban keeps cursing and finally leaves toward the hill. An hour later he's back at the tie store.
With the Iraq war spinning out of control in mid-2005, retired Marine General James L. Jones spoke with his old friend Peter Pace, the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Jones, who is now Barack Obama's national security advisor, had been sounded out for the Joint Chiefs job but demurred. One reason: He felt that civilian leaders in Washington were warping the military planning process. "Military advice is being influenced on a political level," Jones warned Pace, according to Bob Woodward's book State of Denial. Jones's warning squared with other reports at the time that U.S.
A somewhat unexpected tribute from the NSC chief: Statement by the National Security Advisor General James L.
With many, including us, focused on the likelihood of Barack Obama naming James Steinberg as his national security adviser, word comes today that the job may go to Marine General James L. Jones, who retired last year after serving as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and Commander of U.S. European Command. If true, like a Steinberg appointment, it would reinforce the impression that Obama is surrounding himself with powerful advisers known for their pragmatism. Jones has been less bipartisan than nonpartisan, hewing to the traditional idea of an apolitical military.
Some insight into why Jones may be moving up Obama's short list, care of Bob Woodward's State of Denial: Shelton has been [Joint Chiefs] chairman since 1997. His four-year term would be up in the fall. Rumsfeld assigned the sensitive task of helping find a successor to Staser Holcomb, the kitchen cabinet consultant and retired vice admirial... Holcomb had been asking to see Marine Commandant General James L. Jones, a tough, 6-foot-5 Marine who had a cosmopolitan side.