FALLON RESIGNS….Holy cats. Less than week after Esquire’s admiring profile of CENTCOM chief Adm. William Fallon — admiring, that is, if you think dissenting from Cheneyesque bellicosity is admirable — Laura Rozen reports that he’s stepping down. Not being warlike enough carries a heavy price in this administration.
More here. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, says the New York Times, “labeled as ‘ridiculous’ any speculation that the admiral’s retirement portends a more bellicose American approach toward Iran.” You betcha.
UPDATE: By the way, I’ll bet that no military officer ever again speaks to Thomas P.M. Barnett, who wrote the Esquire piece. Fair or not, he’s gotta be radioactive after this.
UPDATE 2: The suspicion that Fallon opposes the administration’s policy on Iran goes back to last September, when he told al-Jazeera that the “drumbeat on Iran” was “not helpful” and “not useful.” Shortly after that, Barnett approached Fallon to begin work on his profile.
Today, SecDef Gates said this about the idea that Fallon was at loggerheads with the administration: “We have tried between us to put this misperception behind us over a period of months and, frankly, just have not been successful in doing so.”
So I wonder: did Fallon and Gates see the Barnett piece as a way of fighting “this misperception”? Did they figure that Barnett was a sympathetic writer and Fallon would be able to set him straight during their time together? And were they then stunned when the piece appeared and not only failed to fight the misperception, but actively amplified it? And does Fallon blame himself, or does he think Barnett screwed him?