Wednesday, March 12, 2008

American Icarus flirted with fire

By Mark Perry
Asia Times

"......Well, actually, yes - and no. The decision to go to war will come down to one man, but his name won't be Fox Fallon, it will be George W Bush. More accurately, the constitution of the United States places foreign policy in the hands of the president as the commander-in-chief and the decision for declaring war is in the hands of the US Congress. Fallon's role in all of this, as I am sure he must know, is to obey orders and to keep his mouth shut, a point that was undoubtedly made plain to him by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in the immediate aftermath of the publication of this article. And, we might imagine, Gates put his objections to the article in the following terms: "Fox, just what in the hell do you think you were doing talking to Thomas Barrett?"

But this little exchange, between Barnett and Fallon in Cairo, is what put the admiral on the retirement list: "Fallon sidles up to me during a morning coffee break. 'I'm in hot water again,' he says." And Barnett asks him: "The White House?" And Fallon nods his head: "They say, why are you even meeting with [Egyptian President Hosni] Mubarak." And Fallon goes on: "Why? Because it's my job to deal with this region, and it's all anyone wants to talk about right now. People here hear what I'm saying and understand. I don't want to get them too spun up. Washington interprets this as all aimed at them. Instead, it's aimed at government and media in this region. I'm not talking about the White House ... This is my center of gravity. This is my job." Not anymore. ......

There is a view abroad, commonly held, that Fallon has been sacrificed, has been gotten out of the way, by the Bush administration because he disagreed with its policies on Iran. That Fallon stood in the way of the neo-conservative cabal which is bent on expanding the Middle East conflict and that, when given the order for the attack (at some point in the future), Fallon would have courageously refused the order and reversed the tide of history.

What bunk.

Fallon was and is a navy officer and a patriot. As such, if given a legitimate order from the president of the United States, as passed through the legally constituted chain of command, he would have obeyed the order. Of this we can have absolutely no doubt. To do otherwise is treason and to believe otherwise is to believe that Fallon would have rejected every moment of training, every tradition of his service, every law and custom that has governed US civilian-military relations. The problem is not that Fallon disagreed with George Bush.

The problem is that he talked to Thomas Barnett. "

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