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Former US Joint Chiefs Chairman Crowe Dies

Retired U.S. Admiral William Crowe, credited with easing tensions with the Soviet Union, has died. He was 82 years old.

The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and ambassador to Britain died Thursday at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center, near Washington.

Crowe balanced his military knowledge with the political science he studied at Princeton University to negotiate an agreement in the waning days of the Soviet Union to stop accidental confrontations from turning into major confrontations.

President Ronald Reagan named him top military commander in 1985. During his four-year tenure, he also oversaw raids on Libya in retaliation for Tripoli's support of terrorism, and helped manage the aftermath of the accidental downing of an Iranian passenger plane by U.S. forces.

In 1989, Crowe turned down an offer by President George H.W. Bush to serve another term, and retired from the military. In 1992, Crowe endorsed Bill Clinton for president, helping the candidate overcome concerns about his lack of military experience. Mr. Clinton appointed him ambassador to Britain.

Admiral Crowe was outspoken in his criticism of the current President Bush. He was one of 27 retired military commanders and diplomats who wrote an open letter three years ago, criticizing Mr. Bush for adopting what they called an "overbearing approach to America's role in the world, relying upon military might and righteousness, insensitive to the concerns of traditional friends and allies, and disdainful of the United Nations."

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.