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Former Joint Chiefs chairman hospitalized

Retired Army Gen. John Shalikashvili, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been hospitalized at an Army hospital outside Seattle.
Retired Army Gen. John Shalikashvili, here in a July 28 file photo during the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Clinton administration, is hospitalized at Fort Lewis, Wash.Amy Sancetta / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

Retired Army Gen. John Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the early years of the Clinton administration, has been hospitalized in guarded condition at an Army hospital here, a spokesman said Monday.

Shalikashvili, 68, entered Madigan Medical Center on Saturday morning, and the family is requesting that no more information be released, said Mike Meines, a hospital spokesman.

Shalikashvili served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs in the Clinton administration from 1993, the year Clinton took office, until 1997, when the general retired from the Army.

At a gathering honoring Shalikashvili when he retired, President Clinton pointed out that he made the recommendations that sent U.S. troops into harm’s way in Haiti, Rwanda, Bosnia, the Persian Gulf and a host of other world hotspots that had proliferated since the end of the Cold War.

“In every conversation we ever had,” Clinton said at the time, “he never minced words, he never postured or pulled punches, he never shied away from tough issues or tough calls, and most important, he never shied away from doing what he believed was the right thing.”

Shalikashvili’s willingness to commit U.S. forces to crises in remote countries rarely if ever seen on the list of “vital national interests” set him apart from his better-known predecessor, Gen. Colin Powell.

Earlier, under President George H.W. Bush, Shalikashvili served as NATO’s supreme allied commander and also commander in chief of all U.S. armed forces in Europe. At the end of the first Gulf War, he was in charge of the Kurdish relief operation in Iraq.

He came to the United States in 1952 from his native Poland when he was 16. He enlisted in the Army six years later, beginning his rise through the ranks.

He and his wife, Joan, moved to Steilacoom, near the Army base south of Tacoma, in 1998.