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 Bushpolicy 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.
The article mentions military reluctance with Clinton to start a fight as well, so Porter is not blatantly partisan. Does anyone have another interpretation of Admiral Fallon’s early departure, given that General Patreaus might be in line for a promotion? How many military leaders need to retire early?