Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"Top U.S. Mideast commander quits after Iran article"

Navy Adm. William Fallon

The Story

Reuters reports, "The top U.S. commander for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars said on Tuesday he would quit after a magazine reported he was pushing President George W. Bush to avoid war with Iran."

The senior official explained, "Recent press reports suggesting a disconnect between my views and the president's policy objectives have become a distraction at a critical time and hamper efforts in the CENTCOM region."

However, the likelihood that one of the most respected military figures in the country would resign because of "press reports" - and not because of the "disconnect" those reports addressed - is highly unlikely.

In reality, it seemed that Fallon was actually saying, 'let's agree to disagree and I'll do the honorable thing (since you won't) and retire.'

For all one has to do is remove the modifying clause in his statement, "recent press reports suggesting" - to reveal what is likely a more forthright statement. Namely, "a disconnect between my views and the president's policy objectives have become a distraction at a critical time and hamper efforts in the CENTCOM region."

Fallon strategically used the press to allow him to convey his real reason for leaving without directly critiquing executive policy. Though such a tactic is somewhat unusual, it is most fitting for someone often labeled as being "a man of strategic brilliance."

What's really interesting is the straw that broke the camel's back really was an article in Esquire magazine on the commander. The article's title itself was exceedingly blunt and perceivably difficult for the general to face. It was called "The Man Between War And Peace."

How did congressional democrats respond to all of this?

"Democrats in the U.S. Congress charged,” says Reuters, “that Fallon's departure was another sign the Bush administration did not tolerate military commanders who spoke their mind."


This resignation appears to have an undoubtedly negative effect on the best interests of the American people.

Esquire reports, "If...we go to war with Iran, it'll all come down to one man. If we do not go to war with Iran, it'll come down to the same man."

If this is true, it is hard to imagine the possibility of war in Iran not growing with Fallon's resignation. Such developments certainly do not decrease it.

Fallon’s political importance in ebbing the tide of war rhetoric is also of particular importance when noting how virtually irrelevant the facts have become in this issue.

That is to say, the best US intelligence report in existence, the National Intelligence Estimate, concluded Iran stopped its weapons programs in 2003. And yet, it seems the very same intelligence report which was good enough to lead us into a war in Iraq is not good enough to prevent a war in Iran. (The failings here are primarily due to the politicizing of key intelligence products, not within intelligence community itself which is often scapegoated.)

Labeling the Iranian National Guard a "terrorist organization," continually placing sanctions which are bound to be ineffectual, and making it a requirement to settle the main reasons for having talks, before such talks occur, all support how factless this war-machine continues to be.

In addition, this whole occurrence shows the Bush White House, again, as driving some of the best and brightest military officials out of tolerable government positions and into private lives.

What does this really convey to the American people who truly believe that Washington exists to safeguard their way of life?

Are we really safer with more and more of our most seasoned officials, both civilian and military, retiring as a result of myopic and woefully agenda-based executive pressure, leaving the good and obedient to take their place?

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