Sunday, November 25, 2007

clinton s first defense secretary

Like most marriages, the union between Bill and Hillary Clinton is a mystery, only more so. Is there any other that we know more about yet understand less? How could he do it? Why did she stay?

Now comes the first of the Clinton books to focus exclusively on the relationship. "For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years" by Sally Bedell Smith, mines every piece of data from the first "two-for-the- price of one" presidency for the light it sheds on what the second might be like.

Smith puts Hillary Clinton in every frame, and at 572 pages covers everything from the early fumbles like gays in the military to triumphs such as Northern Ireland to the biggest misstep of all, Monica Lewinsky. If she shows Bill lingering on a rope line, or playing a late game of hearts in the solarium, she shows the disciplined Hillary backstage tapping her foot or calling it a night at 10 p.m.

During the first foreign trip, to the Group of Seven meeting in Tokyo, Hillary took her mother along and attended Kabuki theater and a tea ceremony. It wouldn't be long before she'd keep a separate but nearly equal schedule to her husband's with her own press corps.

Smith scores coups getting interviews with aides who had ringside seats and had been quiet until now, including former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala and press secretary Dee Dee Myers.

Shalala warned Hillary not to grab a policy post but recalls the first lady "thought she was part of earning the presidency, and she wasn't about not to share the opportunity." Thus, we got a health-care diva who produced a 1,300-page bill in secret. This earned her the distrust of lions of the Senate such Daniel Patrick Moynihan, which assured her failure.

Moynihan, who once called for an independent counsel on the Whitewater affair, came around on Hillary long enough to allow her to come to his farm to announce her bid to succeed him in a Senate seat from a state she had only visited as a tourist.

Not so Moynihan's wife and campaign manager, Liz, who at the outset of Clinton's unprecedented Senate run, scolded her, "You lie about what happens...You mislead people. You haven't taken advice."

One of Shalala's more notable portraits is of a Bible- toting Hillary, who went around Arkansas preaching "What It Means to Be a Methodist," matching the saltiest language of sailors in private.

Once, when Bill had given a speech on Capitol Hill to the National Governors Association where he equivocated on universal health care, she screamed at him on the phone, "What the f-- are you doing up there? I want to see you as soon as you get back." Within hours, he was no longer equivocating.

We see the yin and yang of their personalities over welfare reform. Bill considered vetoing the legislation, but Hillary pressured him not to. Hillary "saw the political reality (reform was overwhelmingly popular) without the human dimensions," even though it was her liberal friends who were most opposed to the measure.

These friends included Marian Wright Edelman, for whom Clinton worked at the Children's Defense Fund, and her husband, Peter Edelman, a high-ranking official in the Department of Health and Human Services, who resigned in protest.

"Bill was anguished," Shalala said. "Hillary was not."

Each Clinton has character flaws that sometimes compensate for, sometimes compound, the other's deficiencies. Bill's is sloppy self-indulgence with a bottomless need to be loved, traits captured in George Stephanopoulos's book "All Too Human."

Hillary makes up for his sloppiness with massive self- discipline that can look all too inhuman when it slips into a desire to control everything and everybody.

In Arkansas, those who knew the Clintons best weren't surprised by her messy land deal or her killing in cattle futures. She was in charge of the family money, or what she saw as the lack of it, wielding the domestic upper hand with professional and political ramifications lasting to this day.

He was beholden to her almost from the start for not leaving him over his marital infidelities, which would have hurt his (and her) presidential ambitions.

"Clinton, womanizing and sex scandals" appears to consume the most pages. Myers illuminates the attitude that saw Hillary through countless bimbo eruptions, including Monica, which was to behave at damage-control meetings as if she were Bill's attorney, calling into question "specific things about the story, dates and times," attacking "the motives and the details."

Smith offers up the sad scene of daughter Chelsea reading online the report on the Lewinsky scandal by special prosecutor Kenneth Starr, "which drove her father to tears." At President George W. Bush's first National Security Council meeting in January 2001, he announced that he did not want to get drawn into the shattered Middle East peace process, people at the meeting recalled, because he believed that former President Bill Clinton had pushed so hard for an Israeli-Palestinian accord that he made the situation worse.

Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld agreed with the president, while Colin Powell, the secretary of state, countered that even if the breakdown in peace talks during Clinton's term had helped lead to the second Palestinian uprising, or intifada, the United States could not stay aloof.

Condoleezza Rice, the new national security adviser, kept silent. But privately she shared the views of Bush.

"There was absolutely no prospect of a Middle East peace process that was going to lead to anything," she said in an interview in May about her thinking in 2001. "I just didn't see it."

Nearly seven tumultuous years later, Rice has led the Bush administration to a startling turnaround and is now thrusting the United States as forcefully as Clinton once did into the role of mediator between Israelis and Palestinians. The culmination of her efforts occurs this week in Annapolis, Maryland, as Bush, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, meet in an effort to set the outlines of a final peace agreement.

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For Rice, Annapolis reflects an evolution from passive participant to activist diplomat who has been willing to break with Cheney and other conservatives skeptical of an American diplomatic role in the Middle East.

Cheney argued with Rice against a pivotal Middle East speech that Bush gave in 2002 in the Rose Garden, fought her on a host of other issues, including Iran and North Korea and today surrounds himself with senior advisers dubious about Annapolis.

Many other Middle East experts remain unconvinced as well, particularly since the failure so far of the Israelis and Palestinians to agree on a joint statement to come out of the 40-nation conference has forced Rice to recast Annapolis as the start rather than the end of negotiations. Rice has been left open to criticism that she is organizing little more than an elaborate photo opportunity.

"This administration has too often engaged in stagecraft, not statecraft," said Dennis Ross, who served as the Middle East envoy to Clinton and the first President Bush. "One of the reasons there's so much skepticism from people in the region is that they were led to believe that this was going to be a breakthrough."

Rice's thinking on the Middle East changed for several reasons, her aides said. She has been under increasing pressure to get involved in the peace process from European and Arab leaders whose support she needs for the campaign of diplomatic and economic pressures on Iran.

She considers it equally important, her aides said, to shore up the moderate leadership of Abbas, who is facing a sharp internal challenge from the more militant Hamas.

Not least, Rice's supporters say, she is determined to fashion a legacy in the Middle East that extends beyond the war in Iraq.

Rice was able to engineer the administration's shift in large part because of her extraordinarily close relationship with Bush - "the president loved Condi," said Andrew Card Jr., the former White House chief of staff - and her ability to move the president at critical moments. But Bush, Rice insisted, is also fully committed to Annapolis.

"The president has wanted to see this happen," Rice said in a recent interview. "We have discussions about how to do it, is the time right for this or is the time right for that? But this is the president's issue as much as it's mine."

Rice began her journey as a voice of caution in the first big Middle East crisis the White House faced, in the spring of 2002, when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up at large Passover seder in a hotel at an Israeli beach resort.

The militant Palestinian group Hamas took responsibility, and Israel's leaders, reacting with fury, sent troops and tanks to storm Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah.

Bush responded by dispatching Powell to the region, even though both he and Powell believed there was little the United States could do. "The president said: 'You've got to go,' " Powell recalled. " 'It's going to be ugly. You're going to get beaten up. But you've got a lot of firewall to burn up.' "

William Cohen
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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For other persons named William Cohen, see William Cohen (disambiguation).
William Cohen


20th Secretary of Defense
In office
January 24, 1997 � January 20, 2001
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by William J. Perry
Succeeded by Donald Rumsfeld


United States Senator
from Maine
In office
January 3, 1979 � January 3, 1997
Preceded by Bill Hathaway
Succeeded by Susan Collins


Representative of Maine's 2nd District
In office
January 3, 1973 � January 3, 1979
Preceded by Bill Hathaway
Succeeded by Olympia Snowe


Born August 28, 1940 (1940-08-28) (age 67)
Bangor, Maine
Political party Republican
Spouse Janet Langhart
Religion Unitarian
William Sebastian Cohen (born 28 August 1940) is an author and American politician from the U.S. state of Maine. A Republican, Cohen served as Secretary of Defense (1997�2001) under Democratic President Bill Clinton.

1 Early life and education
2 Legal, academic, and early political career
3 House of Representatives and Senate
4 Secretary of Defense
4.1 Nomination and confirmation
4.2 Defense budget
4.3 International relations and situations
4.4 Social issues
5 Recent years
6 See also
7 Notes
8 References
9 External links

[edit] Early life and education
Cohen was born in Bangor, Maine. His father, Reuben Cohen, was a Russian-Jewish immigrant and life long baker (Bangor Rye Company). His mother, Clara, was of Irish-Protestant ancestry.

After graduating from Bangor High School in 1958, Cohen attended Bowdoin College, graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin in 1962.

While in high school and college Cohen was a basketball player, and was named to the Maine all-state high school and college basketball team, and at Bowdoin was inducted into the New England All-Star Hall of Fame. Cohen attended law school at the Boston University School of Law graduating with a LL.B (law degree) cum laude in 1965.

Cohen filed for divorce from his first wife Diana Dunn, on Feb. 15, 1987.

On February 14, 1996 Cohen and Janet Langhart[1] were married. Langhart is a former model, Boston television personality, and BET correspondent. Janet Langhart was known as the "First Lady of the Pentagon" during Cohen's tenure as Secretary.[2]

[edit] Legal, academic, and early political career
After graduating from law school, Cohen eventually earned partnership in a Bangor law firm. Cohen became an assistant county attorney for Penobscot County (1968�1970). In 1968, Cohen became an instructor at Husson College in Bangor, and later was an instructor in business administration at the University of Maine (1968�1972).

Cohen served as the vice president of the Maine Trial Lawyers Association (1970�1972) and as a member of the Bangor School Board (1971�1972). Cohen became a fellow at the John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics at Harvard University in 1972, and in 1975 was named as one of the U.S. Jaycee's "ten outstanding young men."

Cohen was elected to and served on the Bangor City Council (1969�1972) and became the mayor of Bangor (1971�1972).

[edit] House of Representatives and Senate
In the 1972 election, Cohen won election to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Maine's 2nd congressional district, succeeding Democrat William Hathaway, who was elected to the US Senate.

During his first term in Congress, Cohen became deeply involved in the Watergate investigation. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, he was one of the first Republicans to break with his party and voted for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. During this time, Time magazine named him one of "America's 200 Future Leaders."

After three terms in the House, Cohen ran for and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978, defeating William Hathaway in his first bid for reelection. Cohen went on to be reelected in 1984 and 1990, serving a total of 18 years in the Senate from 1979 to 1997.

In 1994, Cohen investigated the federal government's process for acquiring information technology, and his report, Computer Chaos: Billions Wasted Buying Federal Computer Systems, generated much discussion. Cohen retired from the Senate in 1996; Susan Collins, who had worked for Cohen, was elected to succeed him. (Maine's other current senator, Olympia Snowe, had also worked for Cohen, while he was in the House.)

While in the Senate, Cohen served on both the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Governmental Affairs Committee (1979�1997) and was a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee 1983�1991 and again 1995�1997. He also participated in the drafting of several notable laws related to defense matters, including the Competition in Contracting Act (1984), the Montgomery GI Bill Act (1984), the Goldwater-Nichols Act (1986), the Intelligence Oversight Reform Act (1991), and the Federal Acquisition Reform Act (1996).

[edit] Secretary of Defense

Cohen as Secretary of DefenseAfter retiring from the Senate, Cohen was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the position of Secretary of Defense during Clinton's second term, from 1997 to 2001. This appointment was rare because it was one of the few political appointments that crossed party lines in recent history.

As Secretary of Defense Cohen played a large role in directing the United States military actions in Iraq and Kosovo, including the dismissal of Wesley Clark from his post as the NATO Supreme Allied Commander. Both Operation Desert Fox in Iraq and Operation Joint Guard in Kosovo were launched just months after al-Qaeda carried out the United States embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, in 1998.

[edit] Nomination and confirmation
On December 5, 1996, President Clinton announced his selection of Cohen as secretary of defense. Cohen, a Republican about to retire from the United States Senate, was the "right person," Clinton said, to build on the achievements of William Perry, "to secure the bipartisan support America's armed forces must have and clearly deserve." In responding to his nomination, Cohen said that during his congressional career he had supported a nonpartisan national security policy and commended the president for appointing a Republican to his cabinet.

Cohen and President Clinton at The Pentagon, September 1997.During his confirmation hearings, Cohen said he thought on occasion he might differ with Clinton on specific national security issues. He implicitly criticized the Clinton administration for lacking a clear strategy for leaving Bosnia and stated that he thought U.S. troops should definitely be out by mid-1998. He also asserted that he would resist further budget cuts, retain the two regional conflicts strategy, and support spending increases for advanced weapons, even if it necessitated further cuts in military personnel. Cohen questioned whether savings from base closings and acquisition reform could provide enough money for procurement of new weapons and equipment that the Joint Chiefs of Staff thought necessary in the next few years. He supported the expansion of NATO and looked on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as the most serious problem the United States faced.

After confirmation by a unanimous Senate vote, Cohen was sworn in as the 20th Secretary of Defense on January 24, 1997. He then settled into a schedule much fuller than he had followed in the Senate. Routinely he arrived at the Pentagon before 7:00 a.m., received an intelligence briefing, and then met with the Deputy Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The rest of the day he devoted to policy and budget briefings, visits with foreign and other dignitaries, and to what he termed "ABC" meetings at the White House with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and National Security Advisor Sandy Berger. He also traveled abroad several times during his first months in office.

[edit] Defense budget
One of Cohen's first major duties was to present to Congress the Fiscal Year 1998 Defense budget, which had been prepared under Secretary Perry. Cohen requested a budget of $250.7 billion, which represented 3 percent of the nation's estimated gross domestic product for FY 1998. Cohen stressed three top budget priorities: people (recruiting and retaining skilled people through regular military pay raises, new construction or modernization of barracks, and programs for child care, family support, morale, welfare, and recreation), readiness (support for force readiness, training, exercises, maintenance, supplies, and other essential needs), and modernization (development and upgrading of weapon and supporting systems to guarantee the combat superiority of U.S. forces). This meant increasing the funds available for procurement of new systems, with the target set at $60 billion by FY2001.

When he presented the FY1998 budget, Cohen noted that he would involve himself with the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which would focus on the challenges to U.S. security and the nation's military needs over the next decade or more. When the QDR became public in May 1997, it did not fundamentally alter the budget, structure, and doctrine of the military. Some defense experts thought it gave insufficient attention to new forms of warfare, such as terrorist attacks, electronic sabotage, and the use of chemical and biological agents. Cohen stated that the Pentagon would retain the "two regional wars" scenario adopted after the end of the Cold War. He decided to scale back purchases of jet fighters, including the Air Force's F-22 Raptor and the Navy's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, as well as Navy surface ships. The review included cutting another 61,700 active duty service members ― 15,000 in the Army, 26,900 in the Air Force, 18,000 in the Navy, and 1,800 in the Marine Corps, as well as 54,000 reserve forces, mainly in the Army National Guard, and some 80,000 civilians department-wide. Cohen also decided to recommend two more rounds of base closings in 1999 and 2001. The Pentagon hoped to save $15 billion annually over the next few years to make possible the purchase of new equipment and weapon systems without a substantial budget increase above the current level of $250 billion.

[edit] International relations and situations

Cohen and Sellapan Ramanathan
Cohen, General John H. Tilelli, Jr., Commander in Chief, United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/U.S. Forces Korea, and a Korean officer walk down the red carpet upon arriving in Korea, January 1988.As he settled into office, Cohen faced the question of the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which he supported, and its relationship to Russia. At a summit meeting between President Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin in Helsinki, Finland, in March 1997, Yeltsin acknowledged the inevitability of broader NATO membership. Two months later he agreed, after negotiations with NATO officials, to sign an accord providing for a new permanent council, to include Russia, the NATO secretary general, and a representative of the other NATO nations, to function as a forum in which Russia could air a wide range of security issues that concerned that country. Formal signing of this agreement would pave the way for a July 1997 invitation from NATO to several nations, probably including Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, to join the organization.

The proposed U.S. missile defense system received attention at the Helsinki summit, where Clinton and Yeltsin agreed to an interpretation of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty allowing the United States to proceed with a limited missile defense system currently under development. Specifically, Clinton and Yeltsin agreed to distinguish between a national missile defense system, aimed against strategic weapons, not allowed by the ABMT, and a theater missile defense system to guard against shorter range missile attacks. Some critics thought that any agreement of this kind would place undesirable limits on the development of both theater and strategic missile defenses. The Helsinki meeting also saw progress in arms control negotiations between the United States and Russia, a matter high on Cohen's agenda. Yeltsin and Clinton agreed on the need for early Russian ratification of the Second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II) and negotiation of START III to make further significant cuts in the strategic nuclear arsenals of both nations.

Cohen (left) and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori pose for photographers prior to their meeting at the Kantei building in Tokyo, Japan, on September 22, 2000.The continuation, at least until mid-1998, of the existing peacekeeping mission involving U.S. forces in Bosnia and the possibility that other such missions would arise worried Cohen, who earlier had expressed reservations about such operations. Humanitarian efforts that did not involve peacekeeping, such as in Rwanda in the recent past, also seemed likely. Other persistent national security problems, including tension with Iraq in the Persian Gulf area, Libya in North Africa, and North Korea in East Asia, could flare up again, as could conflict in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinians.

In preparing future budgets, the challenge would be to find the right mix between money for operation and maintenance accounts on the one hand and modernization procurement funds on the other, while facing the prospect of a flat DoD budget of about $250 billion annually for the next decade or so. A relatively new problem that could affect the DoD budget was vertical integration in the defense industry. It occurred on a large scale in the 1990s as mergers of major defense contractors created a few huge dominant companies, particularly in the aerospace industry. They were called vertical because they incorporated most of the elements of the production process, including parts and subcomponents. Cohen and other Pentagon leaders began to worry that vertical integration could reduce competition and in the long run increase the costs of what the Department of Defense had to buy.

[edit] Social issues
Finally, Cohen had to address social issues that engaged the widest public interest. The status and treatment of homosexuals in the military, the role of women in combat as well as in other jobs in the services, racism, and sexual harassment were serious problems.

[edit] Recent years

Cohen and his wife, author Janet Langhart, August 2006.On January 5, 2006, he participated in a meeting at the White House of former Secretaries of Defense and State to discuss United States foreign policy with Bush administration officials.

Cohen is also the author of several books, including mysteries, poetry, and (with George Mitchell) an analysis of the Iran-contra affair. Cohen is currently head of an international business consulting firm located in Washington D.C. called the Cohen Group. He is on the Board of Directors of insurer AIG, and is a Chairman Emeritus of the US-Taiwan Business Council. The Washington Post recently ran an article (May 28, 2006) entitled "From Public Life to Private Business" about Cohen's abrupt transition to the business of Washington lobbying within "weeks of leaving office." It discussed the affairs of the Cohen Group in greater detail and while alleging no specific impropriety, took a generally negative view of the former Senator and Secretary of Defense.

On August 21, 2006, Cohen's fiction novel, Dragon Fire, was released. The plot revolves around a secretary of defense who contends with a potential nuclear threat from a foreign country. He is also set to release a memoir with his wife, author Janet Langhart, entitled Love in Black and White. It is a memoir about race, religion, and the love Langhart and Cohen share over similar life circumstances and backgrounds.[3] On August 22, 2006, Cohen appeared on The Daily Show to promote his novel.

On August 25, 2006, William Cohen appeared on Fox & Friends First primarily to promote his new novel, but towards the end of the broadcast declared the following while being interviewed by Brian Kilmeade: "I think there should be a commitment to universal service. I think that only a few people are really committed to this war against terrorism.... We ought to have a real call to national service to commit ourselves to some form of public put us on a war footing mentality."

On January 3, 2007, William Cohen appeared on CNN to support John Shalikashvili's OpEd in support of ending the policy known as 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' saying, "The vast majority of service members are personally comfortable working and interacting with gays and lesbians, and there is only so long that Congress can ignore the evidence".[4]

On February 14, 2007, William Cohen appeared on FOX. [citation needed]

On February 20, 2007, William Cohen and his wife, Janet Langhart, appeared on NBC's Today Show to promote their memoir, Love in Black and White.

On February 22, 2007, William Cohen and his wife, Janet Langhart, appeared on local Washington, DC morning radio show Elliot in the Morning to promote their memoir, Love in Black and White

On March 22, Janet Langhart and Cohen appeared on ABC's The View to promote their memoir Love in Black and White.

He appeared on The Colbert Report on April 18, 2007

On Oct. 5, 2007 Bob Woodward presented the The 2007 William S. Cohen Lecture at the University of Maine.

Smith writes that the day after the Starr report came out, the Clintons appeared at an Irish-American dinner where Hillary "put her hand on her husband's leg" leaning over "and whispering in the president's ear," prompting Stephanopoulos to observe, "Whatever their private turmoil, Hillary seems signed on for one more comeback."

The Clintons are all about comebacks, this next one, if it happens, the biggest of all. A president dies twice, the first time upon departing the White House with its power and trappings -- world leaders a speed dial away, Navy stewards bearing Diet Cokes on a silver tray, intersection control in every city in America. Barbra Streisand croons just for you.

Any pretense that theirs wasn't a co-presidency and might be again is over. Hillary now speaks consistently in the first person plural as in "we balanced the budget," as if she'd been vice president.

You would think that only in the movies -- or Argentina -- could a president come back as consort to his wife. If what was unthinkable just a few years ago happens, there's no better preview of what that would be like than Smith's book.


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