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Thursday, March 13, 2008

What If Fallon's Just The First Of Many?

The thing about news stories is that they're artificially reduced to stand-alone sort of things. In political news, the whole story is wider in scope than the news can cover. Politics and government are ongoing stories, with each news item merely a facet of the wider narrative. To look at a single newspaper piece or network news report and think the headline tells you everything is like thinking "The King is Assassinated" is all there is to know about MacBeth. You've got your witches, you've got the grasping power-lust of Lady MacBeth, you've got the guilt over the murder of Banquo -- there's a lot more to it than just one dead king. The story goes on in both directions, before and after Duncan's death.

Sometimes, the background to the stories we see reported by the media goes back a bit. And sometimes. as in MacBeth, events foretold come to pass. In two stories, we see the larger story. Like they say, past is prologue. A news story that's been making some waves lately has been the "retirement" of Adm. Fallon:

Bloomberg News:

Admiral William Fallon's resignation as U.S. commander in the Middle East provoked criticism that President George W. Bush won't tolerate dissent and fed speculation his Iran policy could become more confrontational.

"Congress needs to determine immediately whether Admiral Fallon's resignation is another example of truth tellers being forced to the sidelines in the Bush administration," said Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who lost to Bush in the 2004 election. "His departure must not clear the way for a rush to war with Iran."

After a series of interviews critical of the administration's "war at any minute" attitude toward Iran, Fallon's out. An article in Esquire was apparently the final straw. "I want to go through something positive rather than a negative like Iran, which is a real problem," Fallon says.

"This constant drumbeat of conflict . . . is not helpful and not useful," Fallon told Al Jazeera last year. "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." With the White House itching for war -- to the point that Dick Cheney is actually supporting anti-Iran terrorist groups (who are also anti-US). This makes Adm. Fallon something other than a "team player."

William Fallon's departure explained, right? He's gone the way of other military commanders who've had the misfortune of giving this administration good advice. Add him to the list of people like Gen. Eric Shinseki who can now all write books with the same title -- See? I Told You So.

But, as I say, the story is rarely so self-contained. The present spills into the past as much as it does the future. The events of today were preceded by the events of yesterday.

Or last year. February 25, 2007, to be precise.

The Sunday Times:

SOME of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.

Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.

“There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,” a source with close ties to British intelligence said. “There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible.”

Of course, you'd expect that a military man resigning in protest would actually protest. But the story's still fairly fresh -- he only resigned tuesday -- so the possibility exists that the story's not over. Does this mean that war with Iran has been "ordered?" I don't know. Maybe it's just Shinseki all over again. Maybe it's just an administration that constantly tells us they "will continue to be guided by the advice that matters: the sober judgment of our military leaders" disregarding that sober judgment and firing that military leader. Maybe it's just the Bushie hypocritical asses being typical Bushie hypocritical asses.

But it pays to consider the other possibility -- that Adm. William Fallon is just the first to make good on the threat of last year. That sober judgment has once again been tossed out the window by an administration hellbent on making sure that cooler heads never prevail. From where we sit, it's impossible to tell. Fallon would never come out and say, "There's a secret plan to invade Iran."

But watch for other high-profile brass to quit in the near future. If that happens, get out on the street.


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1 comment:

Tom said...

See video: Why Fallon's Resignation is Frightening Defense Secretary Robert Gates did not have to accept Admiral Fallon's resignation. "The military people think basically that Admiral Fallon was PUSHED OUT" - Mark Thompson Time Magazine National Security Correspondent
Fallon is described as "the one person in the military or Pentagon standing between the White House and war with Iran."