The commander of the first U.S. troops sent into Bosnia was the first to speak out. Army Col. James McDonough, now retired and working for the White House, took a shot at President Clinton for carrying on with Monica Lewinsky while making a phone call about Bosnia to a congressman.
McDonough wrote in The Wall Street Journal: "Casual sex at a moment of great importance smacks of reckless disregard of the sanctity of U.S. soldiers' lives." At the time, the president's spokesman pooh-poohed McDonough's complaint.
"I don't that that accurately reflects the sentiment of most of the military uniformed officers that I've talked to," said Mike McCurry.
Not so, says this country's best-known military figure, Gen. Colin Powell who also is now retired. He said, "We're very, very disappointed in the president. What he did was disgraceful. He disgraced the Oval Office, disgraced the presidency, and disgraced himself."
When Col. John Baer retired from the army, he received a standard letter of appreciation signed by the president. He tore it up and sent it back.
Retired military officers are free to criticize the president, but both the Marine Corps and the Air Force have sent out messages reminding active duty service members that the code of military justice prohibits using contemptuous language about the president.
The code is very clear on requiring respect for authority, said Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon.
That didn't stop marine Major Shawn Sellers from writing a blistering article in Navy Times, calling the president "an adulterous liar." He now faces a possible court martial.
As for the retired McDonough, he still works at the White House. He hasn't changed his mind about the president, but he told CBS News that, as long as you wear the uniform, you should not speak out against your commander-in-chief.
Reported by David Martin
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