Admiral William J. Fallon, commander of US military operations in the Middle East, has abruptly ended his 42-year military career with a phone call from Iraq in which he asked to resign because of controversy caused by his criticism of the Bush administration’s Iran policy.
Defense secretary Robert Gates accepted Fallon’s request and said the resignation was the “right thing to do.”
The controversy around Fallon had been hovering for weeks after an Esquire magazine story described him as a lone bulwark stopping an overzealous administration from starting a war with Iran. The article, written by a former professor at the US Naval War College, described Fallon as “brazenly challenging the commander in chief.” In it, Fallon is quoted as saying the administration did not seem to understand why he was meeting with Middle Eastern leaders and explaining US policy to business gatherings.
The article also quotes him as telling Al-Jazeera, the Arabic satellite TV channel, that war with Iran was undesirable. “This constant drumbeat of conflict … is not helpful and not useful,” he said. “I expect that there will be no war and that is what we ought to be working toward.”
Meanwhile, Israel’s foreign minister Tzipi Livni, on a visit to the United States, has told the Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama that there was a direct link between Iran and Middle East terror. She said that Israel’s strategy was to work toward understandings through negotiations while working against Hamas and terror. For this strategy to succeed, the international community had to stand fast against terror and Iran.