Top U.S. Commander in Mideast to Retire Early
The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Adm. William J. Fallon, the top American commander in the Middle East whose views on Iran and other issues have seemed to put him at odds with the Bush administration, is retiring early, the Pentagon said Tuesday afternoon.
The retirement of Admiral Fallon, 63, who only a year ago became the first Navy man to be named the commander of the United States Central Command, was announced by his civilian boss, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who said that he accepted the admiral’s request to retire “with reluctance and regret.”
President Bush said Admiral Fallon had served his country with “honor, determination and commitment” and deserved “considerable credit” for the progress in Afghanistan and Iraq.
But despite the warm words from Mr. Bush and Mr. Gates, there was no question that the admiral’s premature departure stemmed from a public appearance of policy differences with the administration, and with Gen. David H. Petraeus, the American commander in Iraq.
Mr. Gates acknowledged as much when he said that Admiral Fallon, in asking permission on Tuesday morning to retire, had expressed concerns that the controversy over his views were becoming “a distraction.” But the secretary labeled as “ridiculous” any speculation that the admiral’s retirement portends a more bellicose American approach toward Iran.
Admiral Fallon had rankled senior officials of the Bush administration with outspoken comments on such issues as dealing with Iran and on setting the pace of troop reductions from Iraq — even though his comments were well within the range of views expressed by Mr. Gates.
Officials said the last straw, however, came in an article in Esquire magazine by Thomas P. M. Barnett, a respected military analyst, that profiled Admiral Fallon under the headline, “The Man Between War and Peace.” The article highlighted comments Admiral Fallon made to the Arab television station Al Jazeera last fall, in which he said that a “constant drumbeat of conflict” from Washington that was directed at Iran and Iraq was “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.”
Larry Johnson's posting at No Quarter says it all "One Step Closer To War With Iran"
And Hillary chimes in "STATEMENT OF SENATOR HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON ON THE RESIGNATION OF ADMIRAL WILLIAM FALLON
WASHINGTON, DC—”Admiral Fallon has served our country with distinction over the course of his 41-year career. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I have had the opportunity to work with Admiral William Fallon and I greatly appreciated his honesty and forthrightness, both in private meetings and during his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee as Commander, U.S. Central Command.
Admiral Fallon was a sensible voice within the Pentagon on the need to have a multi-pronged strategy towards Iran that included support for engaging Iran. Admiral Fallon was a voice of reason in an administration which has used inflammatory rhetoric against Iran. I am asking that the Senate Armed Services Committee hold hearings into the circumstances surrounding his departure. I will also urge my colleagues to join me in supporting Senator Webb’s legislation requiring the Administration to come to Congress before taking military action against Iran.
Admiral Fallon’s resignation should not be used as an excuse to ratchet up tensions with Iran. I am hopeful that the Administration will nominate a replacement who shares Admiral Fallon’s views on a balanced policy towards Iran. I would emphasize to the Bush administration, as I have before, that it has no authority to take this nation to war against Iran, and I again urge the Bush administration to pursue diplomacy, including direct talks with Tehran, at its earliest opportunity. Regrettably, Admiral Fallon is resigning at a time when his straight speaking style would provide our nation with the unfiltered advice we need as we seek a new direction in Iraq and the region.”
Good luck Ms. Clinton on "not be used as an excuse to ratchet up tensions" that was the whole Cheney Point of wishing "fair winds and following seas" to the good admiral. Maybe she can finally show some steel by scuppering Joe Lieberman's next war. If she panders like she did on Kyl-Lieberman, if she tries to prove how tough she is by supporting Dick Cheney's last excellent mis-adventure, well then come on down President Obama!