Resignation Under Fire

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Calling the Marines "dangerous" and "extremists" is alright if you're a Haitian strongman; in the U.S. military at least in public it's something of a faux pas. So offender Sara Lister, the Army's senior personnel official, did what military folk seem to be doing in droves these days: she quit.

The Marines, of course, are extremists and proud of it. They select men at extremes, train them at extremes, and fight with great success at the extremes of the United States' foreign policy agenda.

However, they don't relish the label; Lister's comments, in a seminar on military-civilian relations, poked at the very image problem (think "Full Metal Jacket" and Lee Harvey Oswald) the Corps wants to avoid.

When a tape of Lister's comments got out, Congressional ex-Marines began howling. Newt Gingrich, no jarhead himself, demanded a "full apology" from President Clinton. Lister obliged on Thursday, and the Pentagon was calling the matter "over." What? No sex scandal?