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Admiral Fallon and George W. Bush
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Paris, March 13, 2008 – President Bush gave a talk in Nashville Tuesday [March 11] to the National Religious Broadcasters’ convention, reiterating his deep conviction that American foreign policy during the Bush years has been a great and successful moral crusade to make people free.

That not only is what he unquestionably believes, it is what he has to believe. In the light of the useless human suffering caused by his administration’s policies, a man who thought otherwise might have proclaimed distress rather than triumph to these religious broadcasters, and announced his assumption of sackcloth and ashes, and retirement to contemplation and penance among the locusts and lizards of Death Valley.

He is made of other stuff, and his admirers cheered in support when he declared that America’s enemies today “must be confronted [and] must be defeated. It’s the calling of our time. Generations are often called into action for the defense of liberty, and this is such a time.”

He said the battle is against people like the Nazi leaders, Cambodian dictator Pol Pot, and those who perpetrated the Rwanda genocide.
“We’ve seen their kind before,” Bush said. “It’s important not to forget the lessons of history.” His declared that his decision to invade Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein was, remains, “and will forever be the right decision!”

"The Iraqi people have seen what the enemy plans and they have chosen to stand on the side of freedom,” he added. “America stands with them!”

I quote the president at some length because of the contrast this kind of rhetoric makes to the calm, practical, politically realistic words that seem to have been responsible for the president’s military commander supervising Iraq, Iran, Central Asia and Afghanistan to have been fired.

In what may be interpreted either as a political or moral stand, or both, Admiral William Fallon, Commander in Chief of Central Command, embracing the entire region in which America’s two wars are being fought, is resigning at the president’s pleasure, because of what Washington interpreted, and Fallon undoubtedly understood to be, a form of insubordination.

He is reproached for saying that he personally would be willing to engage Iran in discussion of Teheran’s differences with America, and also saying that so long as he held his command, there would be no American attack on Iran.

He added that the windy bluster and threats of attack that for many months last year were being issued from White House and other official circles, as well as from the neo-cons and right-wing press, were “not helpful and not useful.”

Fallon, operating in a world of realities and informed opinion, will have known that such threats were unfounded and their reasoning would be discredited when the facts were made known, as happened when the National Intelligence Estimate of Iran’s nuclear activities was issued by the American intelligence community in December. It cut the political ground from under the case for any attack.

Fallon was also doing what historians and others have reproached other military leaders in other countries for not having done, some as recently as some 70 years ago: telling their political superior that they opposed the policy they were being ordered to execute, and would therefore refuse and if necessary resign.

In America, officers are not hanged from meat-hooks for insubordination, especially when they are polite about it. They are offered jobs in investment groups or industry. They may be invited to go into politics, even presidential politics. One wonders if President Bush told John McCain about his intentions, before making a martyr of Admiral Fallon.

However in America it is extremely rare for any official, least of all a serving senior professional military officer, to assume a public position that is in conflict, on a crucial issue, with the administration in power. Douglas MacArthur did it, and Harry Truman dismissed him.

MacArthur, possibly to his own surprise, was not then made the Republican nominee for the presidency in 1952. He went instead to his alma mater, the military academy at West Point, which he had himself had once commanded, and as cadets sobbed, he told the assembled classes that old soldiers “just fade away.” It will be interesting to see if this is also true of admirals.

by William Pfaff

Source >
William Pfaff.com

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