Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Admiral Fallon Out (Updated)

By Cernig

You'll recall that recently Tom Barnett wrote a piece for Esquire saying that Admiral William Fallon was soon to be replaced as the head of U.S. Central Command because he opposed the neoconservative narrative for war with Iran.

Today, Admiral Fallon resigned.
In a written statement, he said the article’s “disrespect for the president” and “resulting embarrassment” have become a distraction. “Although I don’t believe there have ever been any differences about the objectives of our policy in the Central Command area of responsibility, the simple perception that there is makes it difficult for me to effectively serve America’s interests there,” he said.

In Washington, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters at the Pentagon that he accepted Fallon’s resignation “with reluctance and regret.” But he added, “I think it’s the right decision.” “We have tried between us to put this misperception behind us over a period of months, and, frankly, just have not been successful in doing so,” he said.
So Tom Barnett was correct that Fallon would go - but the official reason is the exact opposite of the one Tom pointed to. Spencer Ackerman says that Fallon isn't even hanging around until he can be replaced - something he thinks is "highly suspicious" and sounds like a resignation over a matter of principle whatever the official spin might be.

Is it just me or does this smack strongly of official spin, enabling Fallon to be ousted without the embarassment of having to sack him for disagreeing with a Commander in Chief who "always listens" to his senior officers?

Now poor Tom Barnett will be seen as carrying a large can for his Esquire op-ed, which is highly unfair. And bombing Iran will be easier.

Update Our illustrious researcher, Kat, notes a report that Gates was refusing to take Fallon's calls. In a comment to this post, she writes:
Tonight, NBC Nightly News reported that Gates has been refusing to take Fallon's calls. Since the podcast of tonight's show isn't available yet, I can't quote the report precisely. But I'm not the only one who heard this. The blog 2008run.com just posted this:
"A voice on the tee vee says that Defense Secretary Gates gave Admiral Fallon the message - that he should resign - by refusing to take his phone calls. Refusing to take his phone calls? And if that didn’t work what was he going to do, Hold his breath?" I mean, seriously, is this the Sec of Defense and the Head of CentCom or characters in Mean Girls?"
Not taking Fallon's calls? That doesn't sound much like "reluctance and regret" to me.

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