“If, in the dying light of the Bush administration, we go to war with Iran,” says the March Esquire, “it’ll all come down to one man. If we do not go to war with Iran, it’ll come down to the same man.” The piece describes this top military figure as the last obstacle to the Bush administration’s persistent push for war with Iran: “It’s left to” him and him “alone to argue that, as he told al-Jazeera last fall: ‘This constant drumbeat of conflict is not helpful and not useful. I expect that there will be no war, and that is what we ought to be working [for].'”
That was Adm. William “Fox” Fallon speaking, top U.S. commander in the Middle East, last of the Vietnam vets in the high command, and, yes, the very same Adm. Fallon who has just submitted his resignation as head of Central Command. What makes this particularly ominous is that, according to former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst Patrick Lang, Fallon told him, upon taking over at Centcom, that war with Iran “isn’t going to happen on my watch.” Lang asked him how he thought he could stop it: “‘I have options, you know,’ Fallon responded, which Lang interpreted as implying Fallon would step down rather than follow orders he considers mistaken.”
Do I really need to draw you a picture to get you to imagine what’s coming next? This is as clear a signal as any that the Bush administration intends to go out with a bang one that will shake not only the Middle East but this country to its very foundations.
In a statement, Fallon hinted at the reason for his resignation:
“Recent press reports suggesting a disconnect between my views and the president’s policy objectives have become a distraction at a critical time and hamper efforts in the Centcom region. And although I don’t believe there have ever been any differences about the objectives of our policy in the Central Command Area of Responsibility, the simple perception that there is makes it difficult for me to effectively serve America’s interests there.”
What “efforts” is he hampering but the effort to drag us into another war?
Fallon has long been a thorn in the administration’s side: while in Egypt, on a tour of his Centcom command, he assured President Hosni Mubarak that there would be no attack on Iran, which leaked to the Egyptian media. Washington was livid. “I’m in hot water, again,” he confided to Thomas P.M. Barnett, the Esquire journalist who accompanied him on his trip.
He’s been in hot water with administration hawks including the president, wildest hawk of them all before. Last fall, he was quoted by Pentagon insiders as calling Gen. David Petraeus an “ass-kissing little chickensh*t” for telling the president what he wanted to hear on Iraq and the “surge.” Long an advocate of engagement with China as well as Iran, Fallon has been relentlessly attacked by the neocons as “soft and accommodating.” After Fallon began reaching out to the Chinese, the response was delayed but vehement and telling when it came:
“It was only after the Pentagon and Congress started realizing that their favorite ‘programs of record’ (i.e., weapons systems and major vehicle platforms) were threatened by such talks that the sh*t hit the fan. ‘I blew my stack,’ Fallon says. ‘I told Rumsfeld, Just look at this sh*t. I go up to the Hill and I get three or four guys grabbing me and jerking me out of the aisle, all because somebody came up and told them that the sky was going to cave in.'”
The military-industrial-neocon complex, as it were, has been working overtime to get him out of the way of their war plans, and this week they finally succeeded. Not that Fallon is all that surprised, I’ll bet. Speaking freely to Barnett, he telegraphed his resignation:
“Sitting in his Tampa headquarters office last fall, I asked Fallon if he considered the Centcom assignment to be the same career-capping job that it’d been for his predecessors. He just laughed and said, ‘Career capping? How about career detonating?'”
It’s a detonation that will reverberate throughout the Middle East, prefiguring the mega-explosion to come. One can hardly imagine a clearer indication that the White House has made the decision to go to war with Iran . It’s just a matter of when and how the administration can provoke an incident.
That’s why U.S. warships are patrolling the Lebanese coast; and why our warships are playing hide-and-go-seek with Iranian gunboats in the Gulf. It’s the reason the Israel lobby has been beating the tom-toms for war, and the reason the anti-Fallon, Petraeus, has been so vocal about the Iranian roots of our Iraqi problem. With Fallon out of the way, the road to war a regional conflagration that will make the invasion of Iraq seem like a holiday picnic is cleared. Get ready for World War III.
Responding to the spectacle of a failing presidential candidate offering the front-runner the second spot on the ticket, Barack Obama didn’t confine himself to mocking Hillary’s presumptuousness; he also attacked her judgment and specifically her foreign policy. He coupled a dig at her vote to approve the conquest of Iraq with her support for the Lobby’s resolution, championed by Joe Lieberman, to target Iran’s Republican Guard as a “terrorist group,” which he characterized as “saber-rattling.” The Lieberman resolution was clearly meant to give legal cover to the Bush administration if and when they order U.S. troops in Iraq to cross the border into Iran in hot pursuit of “terrorists,” i.e., the Iranian military.
We know, when push comes to shove, where Hillary stands on this. Obama’s stance is less clear. We know he won’t rule out military action against Iran, as he told the Chicago Tribune, yet his recent pronouncements “I won’t be browbeaten into launching a war that was not necessary,” he said of the Clinton 3-in-the-morning attack ad indicate opposition to the War Party’s Iran project. If Obama is smart, he’ll launch a preemptive strike against the idea of going to war with the Iranians before the president acts.
The antiwar movement had better get off its big, fat butt. If ever there was a time to step up to the plate, it is now. The firing of Fallon clearly he was pressured to step down raises the stakes considerably: it means the odds are we’ll be at war just as the presidential campaign season reaches a dramatic crescendo on the Democratic side of the ledger, and at the moment Republican candidates for Congress begin to campaign in earnest. The antiwar movement can have an effect on the course of events, and, God willing, head Bush off at the pass, but only if we hit key pressure points on the body politic Congress, and Obama-for-President headquarters.
Don’t bother with Hillary. She’s hopeless on this issue and all other foreign policy questions. She votes, talks, and acts in concert with the Lobby, and we can count on her for one thing and one thing only: using this crisis to catapult herself and her circle into power.
As for Obama he is with us, instinctively, but he may shy away from taking a more definitive stand on account of bad advisers, and, perhaps, a fear of going out on a rather creaky and insubstantial political limb. The Lobby, after all, is not inclined to support him, and will go all out against him if he gets in its way. Obama needs to know that if he stands up to the War Party, the people are with him.
After calling your congressional representatives and asking them what they intend to do to stop this madness, call Obama’s Senate office. Be polite, be clear, and be brief. Let them know how you feel about the prospect of war with Iran, and tell them it’s time for Obama to speak out loud and clear: 866-675-2008.