Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe,
March 31, 1999.
NOTEBOOK IN HAND, grimacing a little but calm, Brigadier General Pete Chiarelli walked into my office. "Sir, you've got Solana's office calling in," he said. Javier Solana was the Secretary General of NATO, the highest ranking official in the Alliance. Seven days earlier, NATO had begun bombing targets in Yugoslavia in response to President Slobodan Milosevic's refusal to halt his systematic campaign of repression and violence against the ethnic Albanians in the Serbian province of Kosovo.
"They sound a little agitated this morning," Chiarelli went on. "Said he wants to speak to you right away."
Forty-eight years old, twenty-six years in the Army, unfailingly cheerful and optimistic, Pete Chiarelli was my executive officer, my closest personal assistant. I swiveled around from the desk to pick up the phone—the unclassified line, lots of nations probably listening in, I thought—and pushed the speaker switch so Chiarelli could take notes