On CNN tight-lipped SECDEF Robert Gates just announced the resignation of Admiral Fallon as commander of CENTCOM over Tom’s recent profile in Esquire, who then snapped that it was ” Ridiculous!” that Fallon’s removal signaled potential war with Iran ( as claimed in the article).
Of course, while the idea of imminent hostilities might be “ridiculous” you don’t often have a senior 4 star flag officer who has held two combatant commands removed simply over press reports that are legitimately categorized as “ridiculous”. These are dismissed out of hand, everyone chuckles and then they move on.
Galrahn at Information Dissemination has an outstanding post that I believe nails some troubling aspects of this episode:
….I might be mistaken, but I believe we are witness to Bush fire his first General/Admiral of the war. Think long and hard as you contemplate what that means.
There has been a political split in the Pentagon since 2005, when those who wanted to move forward under the cooperative model as opposed to the unilateral model for military action were able to shift the Pentagon position through the release of official strategic papers. Under Gates, the Pentagon has tried to shift to a cooperative phase from what has been a unilateral phase of military action. The cooperative approach is championed by Rice, Gates, and people like Adm. Fallon. Many neo-conservatives, which unfortunately includes a bunch of big blue Navy folks I won’t name specifically, form up the unilateral military action side.
….If you didn’t read the Esquire piece, or didn’t read my earlier response, you may of just missed what could in fact be a signal of war to Iran. I know one thing, if I was Iran, that is the only way to read this. There was a message for Iran in the Barnett article:
Admiral William Fallon shakes his head slowly, and his eyes say, These guys [Iran] have no idea how much worse it could get for them. I am the reasonable one.
Are we assuming the Bush administration can’t read, Barnett is saying that, Barnett makes all the cuts at the Bush administration in the article, not Fallon. Barnett appears to have been dead right though. Reasonable people who do nothing wrong don’t quit because a reporter writes an article bad about a politician, but unreasonable people can make that person quit. I really am stunned, I have never really believed the US was going to strike Iran until today.
“Unilateral” or ” Near Peer Competitor Faction” is probably a better descriptor in my view, than is “neo-conservative”, which is now a term of abuse that has wandered far from it’s original meaning but I’m not a Navy-watcher. Maybe there is a William Kristol book club or something at Annapolis that I’m not aware of; regardless I agree that it’s likely the White House hit the roof over Tom’s Esquire story on Fallon and insisted that Fallon’s head roll.
Dr. Barnett is letting his article speak for itself. Good for him