Revolution#124, March 23,2008

An Ominous Turn of the Screw:

The Fallon Resignation and New Dangers of U.S. War on Iran

As we go to press: On March 11, Admiral William Fallon resigned as chief of the U.S. Central Command. Fallon’s departure is an ominous development that signals increased danger of a U.S. military attack on Iran in the short term.

Fallon’s resignation followed on the heels of an Esquire magazine article that began: “If, in the dying light of the Bush administration, we go to war with Iran, it’ll all come down to one man. If we do not go to war with Iran, it’ll come down to the same man.” (“The Man Between War and Peace,” by Thomas P.M. Barnett, April 2008.)

That man was Fallon. He resigned, by all accounts, under pressure. After a perfunctory expression of “regret,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters that Fallon’s quitting was, “[T]he right thing to do.”

As head of the U.S. Central Command, Fallon oversaw U.S. military moves in a region stretching from East Africa to the Chinese border—a region that includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East, including Iraq and Iran. As reported in the Esquire article, Fallon’s opposition to an immediate military attack on Iran is in part related to his arguments that the U.S. should amp up the military occupation of Afghanistan, provide more (and less critical) backing for Pakistan’s brutal Musharraf regime, as well as other disagreements with those at the core of Bush’s crew over how to pursue and enforce U.S. imperial interests in the Middle East. Hardly a “dove,” Fallon told Esquire that if things did come to a U.S. military attack on Iran, “These guys are ants. When the time comes, you crush them.”

But Fallon has been publicly expressing significant differences with the Bush regime’s stance and approach towards the Islamic Republic of Iran. For example, Fallon told Al Jazeera: “This constant drumbeat of 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.” These sharp differences were why Fallon was sacked. And the firing of Fallon sends a threatening message to Iran and the world.

Anticipating that Fallon might be forced to resign, the Esquire article noted that: “[W]ell-placed observers now say that it will come as no surprise if Fallon is relieved of his command before his time is up next spring, maybe as early as this summer, in favor of a commander the White House considers to be more pliable. If that were to happen, it may well mean that the president and vice-president intend to take military action against Iran before the end of this year and don’t want a commander standing in their way.” [emphasis added]

While we are not attempting here to do a full analysis of these developments, Revolution will continue to cover and analyze this situation. Stay tuned.

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