Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fallon falls: Iran should worry

By Gareth Porter
Asia Times

"WASHINGTON - Admiral William Fallon's request to quit his position as head of the US Central Command (CENTCOM) and to retire from the military was apparently the result of a George W Bush administration decision to pressure him to resign.

Announcing the resignation, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he believed it was "the right thing to do", thus indicating the administration wanted it. Gates added that it would be "ridiculous" to suggest that Fallon's resignation signaled that the US planned to go to war with Iran......

Fallon's greatest concern appears to have been preventing war with Iran. He was one a group of senior military officers, apparently including most of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who were alarmed in late 2006 and early 2007 by indications that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were contemplating a possible attack on Iran.

Gates chose Fallon to replace General John P Abizaid as CENTCOM chief shortly after a December 13, 2006 meeting between Bush and the Joint Chiefs at which Bush reportedly asked their views on a possible strike against Iran.

Colonel W Patrick Lang, a former intelligence officer on the Middle East for the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Washington Post last week that Fallon had said privately at the time of his confirmation that an attack on Iran "isn't going to happen on my watch". When asked how he could avoid such a conflict, Fallon reportedly responded, "I have options, you know." Lang said he interpreted that comment as implying Fallon would step down rather than follow orders to carry out such an attack......"

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