Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Downfall of Admiral Fallon

Gen. David Petraeus' boss, the top US Commander for the Middle East, has done what Colin Powell should have done over five years ago, and it has cost him his job.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates disclosed today that Adm. William Fallon, after a 41-year Navy career, has asked for permission to retire and that it's been granted.

An article in the current issue of Esquire describes Fallon as opposed to President Bush's Iran policy, a lone voice against military action to stop the Iranian nuclear program who has expressed his opinion publicly.

He told Al Jazeera last fall: "This constant drumbeat of conflict...is not helpful and not useful. I expect that there will be no war, and that is what we ought to be working for. We ought to try to do our utmost to create different conditions."

That's not what the Bush Administration wants to hear. They much prefer Gen. Petraeus' tamer assertion, "You cannot win in Iraq solely in Iraq."

So on the eve of Vice-President Cheney's Mideast visit, presumably to sweet-talk our Saudi allies into producing more oil to lower prices, Fallon's discordant voice on Iran will be stilled.

"I think this is a cumulative kind of thing," Gates said in explaining Fallon's sudden decision to retire. "It isn't the result of any one article or any one issue."

That may even be true as far as it goes, but Fallon's departure looks more like an honorable man's way out of being politicized by Washington warriors who still think war with Iran is a dandy idea.

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