Tuesday, March 11, 2008
"Adm. William Fallon, the top U.S. military commander for the Middle East, is resigning, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday.
Gates said Fallon had asked him Tuesday morning for permission to retire and Gates agreed. Gates said the decision was entirely Fallon's and that Gates believed it was "the right thing to do."
Fallon was the subject of an article published last week in Esquire magazine that portrayed him as opposed to President Bush's Iran policy. It described Fallon as a lone voice against taking military action to stop the Iranian nuclear program.
Gates described as "ridiculous" any notion that Fallon's departure signals the United States is planning to go to war with Iran. And he said "there is a misperception" that Fallon disagrees with the administration's approach to Iran.
"I don't think there were differences at all," Gates added.
Fallon has had a 41-year Navy career. He took the Central Command post on March 16, 2007, succeeding Army Gen. John Abizaid, who retired. Fallon previously served as commander of U.S. Pacific Command......."
Top U.S. Commander in Middle East Resigns
"Admiral William Fallon, the top U.S. military commander for the Middle East, has resigned, citing a magazine article in which appeared to criticize President George W. Bush's policy toward Iran.
In a statement released by U.S. Central Command, Fallon cited the a recent Esquire magazine article which suggested differences between his views and Administration policies concerning Iran
"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," Fallon said in a written statement released from his Tampa, Fla office.
"And 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." Fallon's statement read.
"I have therefore concluded that it would be best to step aside and allow the Secretary and our military leaders to move beyond this distraction… and focus on the achievement of our strategic objectives in the region. I have submitted my request to retire to the Secretary of Defense."
Magazine: Fallon Standing Between Bush and Iran
In a recent interview with Esquire magazine, Fallon is described as being the only man standing between the Bush Administration and war with Iran.
"If, in the dying light of the Bush administration, 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. He is that rarest of creatures in the Bush universe: the good cop on Iran, and a man of strategic brilliance. His name is William Fallon," reads the magazine article......."
Combine this news item with Dick Cheney's visit next week to Israel, Turkey, Oman and Saudi Arabia, and the implications could be ominous. Don't panic yet, but it could be getting close.