"Right Wing Jubilant Over Fallon’s Resignation: It’s ‘Good News’"
Yesterday, CentCom commander Adm. William Fallon submitted his resignation on the heels of an Esquire article reporting that he has been “brazenly challenging” President Bush’s Middle East policy. Fallon opposed the “surge” in Iraq and has consistently battled the Bush administration to avoid a confrontation with Iran, calling officials’ war-mongering “not helpful.”
Right-wing war hawks are glad to see Fallon go. The Wall Street Journal Editoral board wrote today that Fallon’s resignation is “good news” because it will allow Bush to begin “to pay attention to the internal Pentagon dispute” over Iraq withdrawal. That, in turn, will relieve “pressure” on Gen. David Petraeus so he can fight “a frontal war against Islamist militants, not a rearguard action with Pentagon officials.”
The New York Sun ed board followed suit, arguing the “real news” of Fallon’s resignation is that Petraeus might get to take over as CentCom commander, which would be “far better for the man who cracked Al Qaeda in Iraq to be given the broader command in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.”
But most excited by Fallon’s departure is Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Max Boot. Writing an op-ed titled “Fallon didn’t get it” in the LA Times today, Boot cited the Esquire article’s notation that Fallon wanted to banish the phrase “long war” against al Qaeda. But acccording to Boot, its “good news” that Fallon is leaving because Esquire did not offer “any hint of how Fallon intends to defeat our enemies overnight.”
Boot seems most upset that Fallon — who he ridiculed as one of the “guys who think they’re smart” — has been “undermining” Bush’s Iran strategy:
Fallon’s very public assurances that America has no plans to use force against Iran embolden the mullahs. [...]
[T]here is no doubt that the president wants to maintain pressure on Iran, and that’s what Fallon has been undermining. [...]
By irresponsibly taking the option of force off the table, Fallon makes it more likely, not less, that there will ultimately be an armed confrontation with Iran.
Steve Clemons writes that those “excited” about “the prospects of a hot conflict with Iran” now that Fallon is gone need to “stop hyperventilating” because sources tell him that “the diplomatic course is still dominant and preferred.”