CENTCOM chief resigns

AFP/Getty Images Boy, would I like to learn more about why CENTCOM commander Adm. William J. Fallon just tendered his resignation: Fallon claimed ongoing misperceptions about differences between his ideas and U.S. policy are making it too difficult for him to operate, Gates said, agreeing. He added that the differences are not extreme, but the ...

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596029_080311_fallon2.jpg

AFP/Getty Images

Boy, would I like to learn more about why CENTCOM commander Adm. William J. Fallon just tendered his resignation:

Fallon claimed ongoing misperceptions about differences between his ideas and U.S. policy are making it too difficult for him to operate, Gates said, agreeing. He added that the differences are not extreme, but the misperception had become too great.

AFP/Getty Images

Boy, would I like to learn more about why CENTCOM commander Adm. William J. Fallon just tendered his resignation:

Fallon claimed ongoing misperceptions about differences between his ideas and U.S. policy are making it too difficult for him to operate, Gates said, agreeing. He added that the differences are not extreme, but the misperception had become too great.

“I don’t know whether he was misinterpreted or whether people attributed views to him that were not his views, but clearly there was a concern,” Gates said.

The misperceptions relate to an article published last week in Esquire magazine that portrayed Fallon as opposed to President Bush’s Iran policy. It described Fallon as a lone voice against taking military action to stop the Iranian nuclear program.

“I think this is a cumulative kind of thing,” Gates countered. “It isn’t the result of any one article or any one issue.”

Yesterday, the author of the article in question, popular defense analyst Thomas P.M. Barnett, explained on his blog why he chose to profile Fallon:

[I]n my mind, Fallon represents the last CENTCOM boss likely to enjoy a serious freedom of action, given the unique set of circumstances (Rice focused on Israel-PA, Petraeus running the show in Iraq, and so Fallon is the man on the rest of the region just as the Bush admin winds down and just as Russia, India and China are ramping up their interests/presence).

In short, Fallon has an opportunity to navigate his own course (with support this time from SECDEF Gates) in a way that no future CENTCOM boss may enjoy.

I guess that statement is no longer operative.

UPDATE: Barnett comments:

I reported the story as I found it, because I thought it was crucial for readers to understand this officer and his thinking within the context of his incredibly important and high-profile position.

As readers of my blog know, I have expressed a lot of admiration for the admiral over the years. In my 18 years of working for and with military commands, I have met few with the same capacity for strategic vision. I wish him well on whatever he chooses to do next.

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