Ralston Steps Aside

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Having become the poster boy for the Pentagonís double standard on sex, Air Force General Joseph Ralston withdrew from consideration as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff rather than face a hostile and microscopic Senate examination of his past. He insisted to the end that his adulterous affair deserved different treatment than that suffered by a flock of other military officers. "My regret is that the public discussion surrounding my potential nomination blurred the facts in a number of recent cases," Ralston said. He will continue in his post as vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Defense Secretary William Cohen and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. John Shalikashvili lavished praise on the 32-year-military veteran, hailing his "superb advice" and "devotion to duty." Defending his choice for chairman to the end, a resigned Cohen steeled his nerves for round two in the search for candidates who can cut the mustard on their personal history as well as their military service. While the search is underway, Cohenís expected to ask Shalikashvili to stick around for another two-year term.

Poll: Was Cohen Right to Pardon Ralston?