U.S. commander for Middle East resigns
Adm. William Fallon stepped down after an article in Esquire magazine portrayed his views on Iran as being at odds with those of President Bush.
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Adm. William "Fox" Fallon, commander of US Central Command in Tampa, Fla., resigned after an article in Esquire magazine portrayed his views on Iran as being at odds with those of his commander in chief, President Bush.
"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," Admiral Fallon said in a prepared statement. "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."
In a profile in the April issue of Esquire magazine, titled "The Man Between War and Peace," Fallon is portrayed as being the sole uniform between Mr. Bush and a war with Iran. The Bush administration has long considered Iran to be part of an "axis of evil." In recent years, new questions have risen over Iran's nuclear program, as well as over its support for Shiite and even some Sunni groups in Iraq, which is blamed for having a destabilizing effect on the country.
"This constant drumbeat of conflict ... is not helpful and not useful," Fallon was quoted as saying during an interview with Al Jazeera television last fall. "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."
The Esquire article reads, "What America needs, Fallon says, is a 'combination of strength and willingness to engage.' " The piece was written by Thomas P.M. Barnett, author of a widely read book a few years ago titled "The Pentagon's New Map."