A good one gets away, while sleazy politics and politicians linger.
Unaccustomed as I am to following the news moment by moment, I did find myself cruising CNN.com more than usual (i.e., usual = never! exception? election night) awaiting the axe to fall on Eliot Spitzer’s governorship.
Life happened while waiting for something else: Admiral William F. Fallon, head of U.S. Central Command, resigned today.
It took an IM from my ex-naval officer son to open my eyes to the tragic implications. He directed me to a profile of Fallon that appeared last week in Esquire, which was hurriedly updated this afternoon.
The Man Between War and Peace
By Thomas P.M. Barnett | March 11, 2008, 3:10 PM
The Bush Administration wanted a war with Iran. The head of U.S. Central Command, Admiral William “Fox” Fallon, disagreed. And now, as of March 11, Fallon has resigned.
That’s the update: here’s the story. Read about an amazingly accomplished diplomat in uniform.
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. He is that rarest of creatures in the Bush universe: the good cop on Iran, and a man of strategic brilliance. His name is William Fallon, although all of his friends call him “Fox,” which was his fighter-pilot call sign decades ago. Forty years into a military career that has seen this admiral rule over America’s two most important combatant commands, Pacific Command and now United States Central Command, it’s impossible to make this guy–as he likes to say–“nervous in the service.” Past American governments have used saber rattling as a useful tactic to get some bad actor on the world stage to fall in line. This government hasn’t mastered that kind of subtlety. When Dick Cheney has rattled his saber, it has generally meant that he intends to use it. And in spite of recent war spasms aimed at Iran from this sclerotic administration, Fallon is in no hurry to pick up any campaign medals for Iran. And therein lies the rub for the hard-liners led by Cheney. Army General David Petraeus, commanding America’s forces in Iraq, may say, “You cannot win in Iraq solely in Iraq,” but Fox Fallon is Petraeus’s boss, and he is the commander of United States Central Command, and Fallon doesn’t extend Petraeus’s logic to mean war against Iran.
U. S. Central Command has never before been headed by an admiral. At an age when most officers of 4-star rank are deep into a second career, Fallon was head of Pacific Command, where he dealt constructively with China at a time when the administration was certain that China was our next military challenge.
And he’s been working similarly strategically in the Middle East as head of Central Command, attempting with grace, diplomacy, attention to detail and an iron will to say the right words, and do the right deeds to win the peace in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the region as a whole, and oh, by the way, forestall Cheney’s war with Iran.
What America needs, Fallon says, is a “combination of strength and willingness to engage.”
Those are fighting words to your average neocon–not to mention your average supporter of Israel, a good many of whom in Washington seem never to have served a minute in uniform. But utter those words for print and you can easily find yourself defending your indifference to “nuclear holocaust.”
How does Fallon get away with so brazenly challenging his commander in chief?
The answer is that he might not get away with it for much longer. President Bush is not accustomed to a subordinate who speaks his mind as freely as Fallon does, and the president may have had enough.
Esquire‘s story is lengthy, but rewarded yr (justifiably) humble svt with a sense of the greatness of a man who may have found his usefulness as a counter to Tricky Dick Cheney and the other chickenhawks in the administration at an end, precipitated possibly due to his “outing” by Esquire.
[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]
As I write this, at 1800 hrs. Central Daylight Time on 11-March-2008, the pompous hypocrite is still governor of New York.
A lonely, but extremely effective force for good in our troubled petroleum-supplies-at-all-costs (even nuclear war — no cost is too great to secure the world for Cheney and Bush’s oil guys) administration has resigned, probably because Esquire paid too much attention to the man behind the curtain.
It’s it for now. Thanks,
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