Steve Shippert (Who is responsible for the first and only hangover Princess Crabby has EVA had) -
On Fallon Fallout [Steve Schippert]
The announcement of Admiral Fallon's resignation was no surprise to those with enough proximity to know. That said, it is interesting to see how the story is being presented to Americans far removed from the halls of the Pentagon or CENTCOM. It would be amusing if it were not so disturbing—and, for those weaving the tapestry, self-serving.
Admiral Fallon is presented to middle America as supposedly the one sane mind standing between an off-kilter President George W. Bush and an invasion of Iran. This is both a reach and disingenuous at best.
If President Bush had wanted to invade or bomb Iran, he would not have needed Fallon's nod.
For instance, since before Fallon's appointment, we've known of specific Iranian training camps used to train and equip insurgent fighters and terrorists, who are then sent (or returned) to Iraq. We know that Iranian EFPs (Explosively Formed Penetrators) have accounted for a full 10% of all US combat fatalities since the invasion in 2003. We even have had intelligence presented on precisely where the nexus of Iranian EFP production was situated—long before Fallon.
Yet President Bush has neither sought nor determined to bomb these facilities or storm them with ground incursions. The so-called author of "cowboy diplomacy" has shown remarkable restraint in this regard, both before and since Fallon's appointment.
So when readers entertain the thoughts written and offered by others of how Fallon is some sort of uber-balance against unbridled aggression pursued or dreamed by President Bush, his administration, or others at the Pentagon, check your timelines first before nodding with agreement in deference to the persuasion of others.
I remarked in private yesterday - and Michael Ledeen alluded as well this morning - that in cases of sudden departures (even when, as here, insiders saw them coming), it is much more often due to human matters of ego and personality, rather than policy positions. In order to believe the suggestions offered by so many on his Iran positions, one would have to believe that President Bush would appoint a flag officer to a major regional command while unaware of his views on theaters specifically under that command. That is folly on its face.
Consider that Admiral Fallon was in a senior position to General Petraeus, yet he was reactive to General Petraeus' decisions - strategic and otherwise - with regard to Iraq, rather than directing them. Iraq was seen as a sinking ship when Petraeus took the helm. And it is a safe bet to say, in observing his personal imprint on all things there, that one thing he was granted in taking it was the freedom to command and conduct things his way. Perhaps one factor in Fallon's departure (and this is, to some degree, my speculation) is that he may have found it difficult to be unable to command a general who was technically under his command.
To be sure, Fallon's policy views surprised no one. Now, that doesn't mean that they were any more liked; but Fallon may have been quite surprised at how difficult the command of CENTCOM evolved into being.
A select few know for certain. However, the "Admiral Iran Sanity" red herring is precisely that.
For my money, Max Boot and the Wall Street Journal today offer far more informative discussion for middle Americans blissfully distant from Washington, D.C., than what is passing for news analysis from most generally under-informed news sources.
Two cents. Perhaps less.
03/12 12:40 PM