An admiral takes on the White House
By Gareth Porter
WASHINGTON - A new article on CENTCOM commander Admiral William Fallon confirms that his public statements last autumn ruling out war against Iran were not coordinated with the White House and landed him in trouble more than once with President George W Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
In an admiring article on Fallon in Esquire, former Pentagon official Thomas P M Barnett writes that Fallon angered the White House by "brazenly challenging" Bush on his aggressive threat of war against Tehran. Barnett also cites "well-placed observers" as saying Bush may soon replace Fallon with a "more pliable" commander.
Barnett's account, which quotes conversations with Fallon during the CENTCOM commander's trips to the Middle East, shows that Fallon privately justified his statements contradicting the Bush policy of keeping the "option" of an unprovoked attack on Iran "on the table" as necessary to calm the fears of Egypt and other friendly Arab regimes of a US-Iran war.
Barnett recalls that when Fallon was in Cairo in November, the lead story in that day's edition of the English-language daily Egyptian Gazette carried the headline "US rules out strike against Iran" over a picture of Fallon meeting with President Hosni Mubarak.
That story, published on November 19 and not picked up by any US news media, reported that Fallon had "ruled out a possible strike against Iran and said Washington was mulling non-military options instead".
These statements represented an extraordinary exercise of power by a combat commander, because it contradicted a central feature of the Bush-Cheney strategy on Iran. High-ranking Bush administration officials had been routinely repeating the administration's line that no option had been taken "off the table" since early 2005.
Fallon told Barnett that his ruling out of military action against Iran was necessary to calm the very regimes the Bush administration was hoping to enlist to support its anti-Iran line. "Washington interprets this as all aimed at them," Fallon said in Cairo, according to Barnett. "Instead, it's aimed at governments and media in this region.
My own note, regading the above article:
Fallon was fired (officialy, resigned) If McCain wins, then the very bizarre option of military option against Iran would be not only on the table but on their short term agenda.
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