Casting for the Play

Fallonl An intelligence analyst makes judgments based on available data and interprets that data through a mental "filter" made up of experience, contextual knowledge, probabilities and sheer, unmerited, intuitive talent.  Among the most valuable indicators of intentions are the appointments of senior people to fill leadership positions.

In that regard it must be said that the appointment of Admiral William Fallon the the post of Commander, US Central Command is surely indicative of intentions.

This distinguished officer’s career lay altogether within the field of naval aviation and latterly of joint staff and command functions.  His official biography is posted below.

It makes very little sense that a person with this background should be appointed to be theater commander in a a theater in which two essentially "ground" wars are being fought unless it is intended to conduct yet another war which will be different in character.  pl

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77 Responses to Casting for the Play

  1. majkia says:

    It makes perfect sense if we are going to hit Iran with airpower.

  2. Michael Singer says:

    Dear Pat,
    An Admiral running ground wars? Okay, I don’t get it either but I think I know what you are hinting; we are heading for a sea based attack on Iran. If that is what you think, could you spell it out? I would have thought an Air Force general would have been more appropriate to manage that task. But I am not a miitary man.
    Secondly, I thought you reported some time ago that the Pace’s Chiefs of Staff had persuaded King George that an attack on Iran would have so many negative outcomes for the US that he backed away. What do you think is really going on now?
    And further, can you imagine the anti-war majority in the House and those Republican Senators who are wary of further involvement in ME military adventures would react to an Iranian offensive? We don’t yet know what the King is going to propose for Iraq and what theCongressinal response will be; how do you imagine Congress would react to an Iranian offensive while we are still bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan? Could we be headed for a historical crisis? Michael Singer

  3. johnieb says:

    Having had a basic education and a little experience as an Analyst, plus whatever intuitive gifts there be, I may suggest two avenues, Admiral Fallon (yes to the incongruity of a ariel Admiral doing highly complex counterinsurgency ops on the ground, BTW)is being chosen for qualities he possesses, or he is not; heaven knows one cannot rule out utter incompetence at the top as an explanation. If the President has correctly identified the Admiral’s qualities, which apparently have nothing to do with actual experience, which qualities were they?
    Do they relate to the present insurgency or, perhaps, towards another purpose, say, the bombardment of Iran? If not, again, which are they? or does the administration even care? Does the President actively punish people who bring him bad news, making that the purpose–“find me a replacement!”–or can he blame it all on Rumsfeld? Will his genial brother act hold up?
    I trust I have not deflected the intended direction(s) of your post by following this up the implicit chain of command as best I could spell it out.

  4. bob mcmanus says:

    With trepidation, may I suggest a slim possibility that the appointment of Fallon might indicate a change in the nature of operations in Iraq? A new intense air campaign against unfriendly neighborhoods in Baghdad?

  5. rebecca says:

    Am I correct in interpeting this appointment — and your remarking upon it — as an indication that the planning for an air campaign against Iran is proceeding apace?

  6. confusedponderer says:

    It is a consequent posting if the intention was indeed as you suggest to prepare for war (and not to simply post someone of sufficient servility). But then, the pacific theatre is a predominantly maritime in nature 😉
    The posting makes sense from a turf point of view. In the GWOT the Navy has been pretty low profile, naval interception and sealift left aside. They got to prove their usefulness as an armed service to justify further funding. And it’s about prestige, too.
    It would be consequent for the air power and cruise missile forces of the navy to play a significant part in any strike against Iran. Because of that, and to get a part of the action of course, I imagine them to have been pretty enthusiastic about striking Iran. After all, a new country to blow up, with fixed targets aplenty.
    From the US armed forces the Army and Marines are overstretched. The Air Force and Navy aren’t and thus are likely to be the ones assigned to carry out an attack on Iran. The most common speculative scenarions for US war on Iran have assumed that there would be intense use of naval air power and long range air power.
    Makes sense.

  7. fahrender says:

    one can only hope that this is another one of those screwed up choices made by the administration and your astute observation is, somehow, this time, off the mark.

  8. W. Patrick Lang says:

    bob m.
    4 star theater commanders have nothing to do with the minutia of bombing neighborhoods. pl

  9. John Shreffler says:

    The Admiral is just the latest piece of data. The fact that the AEI/PNAC/Likkud is still dictating our strategy is another, as they mean to kill Iran, the same way Cato the Elder meant to finish off Carthage. Meanwhile the Israelis are pounding their own drum, which goes “If you don’t do it for us, we’ll do it ourselves”:
    I must confess I don’t see the logic in any of this but I feel it coming very intensely.

  10. KH says:

    This also had occurred to me. Laura Rozen raises the same point:

  11. mlaw230 says:

    Petraus appears to be a good choice considering the current situation.
    I would bet that rather than selecting Fallon, he was simply the only alternative, as others in the traditional ground forces may have either declined or shared the views of Abizaid and Casey.
    Clearly there is going to be a long period of reflection and lessons learned when this is done. The Generals may have finally recognized that the extra star, or two, won by joining the “plan of the month” club just isn’t worth the ignomy.

  12. john in the Boro says:

    “The [president] imagines himself a king, and no power can alter his great thoughts and dreams.” (“The Procession”, Khalil Gibran)

  13. ali says:

    I beginning to think having the Congress swung against him may simply be making King George petulant rather than prudent.
    He ignoring Baker, surges into Baghdad and now appoints a carrier man. He shows ever sign of being a man set on demonstrating that while POTUS he can do what he damn well pleases abroad.
    Joe Biden has made the point there was little Congress could do to stop a similarly determined Nixon.
    You could read this as a signal that the US role in Iraq will shortly be providing air support rather than boots on the ground or that the fool is about to go “wide” and hugely escalate the area of conflict. Even the former is bad. Over reliance on air power lead to the recent Israeli humiliation and has near lost us the war in Afghanistan.
    Incidentally the Ranter has made a hobby is watching US carrier movements:
    I’m sure the Iranians will be nervously sampling the same data as well.

  14. SusanUnPC says:

    I urge you all to read this top-rated diary (just above Larry Johnson’s highly rated diary):
    Navy Admiral Goes to CENTCOM: Be Very Afraid
    Author: Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from
    Virginia Beach, Virginia.
    Larry Johnson’s post:
    Taking Stock of the Intel Community Shake Up
    by L C Johnson
    It’s also at No Quarter:

  15. ked says:

    damn… I was hoping (against faint hope) his appt was just a reward for the Marines toeing the line while the Army bitched & moaned. Anchors Aweigh Into the Wild Blue Iranian Yonder!

  16. zanzibar says:

    In addition to the appointment of Adm. Fallon as Centcom commander, I have read that Gen.Petraeus will replace Casey. If my memory serves me right he did not do that great in his previous tour of Iraq.
    The Decider wants to escalate the conflict as a gambler doubling down. But is the country prepared? I think the American people by a significant majority want out of the Iraqi quagmire. The new Speaker of the House seemed pretty clear that she expected the President to respond to the results of the last election by redeploying out of Iraq. Jack Murtha on TV yesterday stated that he is going to go over the $97 billion supplemental for Iraq with a fine toothed comb and is going to hold hearings on readiness of the strategic reserve. Pat Leahy is on a collision course with Alberto Gonzales and the legality of the CIA rendition and interrogation program.
    IMO, we are heading for not only an escalating conflict in the ME but a constitutional crisis in the US. And in addition I believe the economy is already in a recession. Not only is subprime lending imploding and housing inventories rising but the holiday retail environment for consumer electronics was a bloodbath for margins at both retailers and manufacturers. Inventory has piled up for plasma and LCD TVs, cell phones, MP3 players, computers. This liquidation over the next couple quarters means the entire electronics food chain down to the semiconductor equipment manufacturers will get impacted. Watch out for those earnings surprises to the downside as Motorola did today.
    The next 3-6 months is going to bring the confluence of the Decider attempting to escalate and widen the conflict in the ME while engaging in questionable conduct to suppress dissent at home; the Congress trying to put the brakes and the American public increasingly getting sour about life and concerned about the future.

  17. KH says:

    Laura Rozen on this:
    What to think of a NAVAL officer, Pacific Commander Admiral William Fallon, appointed to run Central Command, theater of two current ground wars (Iraq and Afghanistan)? “A general reorientation of our regional policy toward a confrontation with Iran,” suggests one correspondent. So too another reader noted in a version of that NYT article on the appointments that ran last night but is now apparently no longer there:
    Military officers and Pentagon officials said that Admiral Fallon would represent a shift in focus for the Central Command, as he would bring expertise in maritime security operations more than land operations. As the Iraq security operation matures, the focus for Central Command is expected to shift toward countering the threat from Iran. In that capacity, the military’s role focuses on maintaining regional presence through naval forces and combat aircraft and conducting maritime security operations like interdiction of vessels believed to be carrying banned weapons materials or suspected terrorists, in addition to preparing for combat contingencies.
    Hard to know why it was taken out

  18. Duncan Kinder says:

    An alternative hypothesis would be that Admiral William Fallon, who comes from the high tech, capital intensive side of the military, represents a continued emphasis/determination on the part of the US military – the Iraq, Afghan, Hezbollah, and other insurgencies be damned – to pursue a high tech, capital intensive mode of warfare.
    This alternative hypothesis could be tested by observing other high tech, capital intensive appointments in the military in other contexts, independent of any relationship to attacking Iran, where – given the Iraq/Afghan experience – one might think that a low tech, human oriented approach might be better.
    If my alternative hypothesis is correct, then this appointment does not suggest a possible attack on Iran but rather a conclusion by the military that there was no more to be learnt from Iraq and Afghanistan than from Vietnam and that, instead, a greater pursuit of whiz-bang gizmos is called for.

  19. Sam says:

    If I remember the former SecDef was an airdale. Makes you wonder doesn’t it.

  20. pbrownlee says:

    Perhaps Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan could be incorporated in the new nation of Bushistan? But will the trains (or drains) run on time?

  21. jonst says:

    No, no, Zanzibar, the Petraeus is the greatest thing since sliced bread narrative will be all over the nation soon. (and indeed, for all i know he may be.) We will soon be bombarded with another round of push-up and sit-up stories by the good General.
    All I know about the guy is that he was in charge of training Iraqi Troops. Maybe that is not enough to proclaim “enough said”. But it is damn close I suggest. But now we be provided with some convoluted explanation of how the failure of that mission was not the Gen’s fault. And indeed it may not have been. But it will all be spin, spin, spin.
    The truth of the matter? I am reminded of Ava Gardner’s line in Seven Days in May….she invites Kirk Douglas in to her apartment by promising him a “steak, medium rare, and the truth, which is very rare”.

  22. David E. Solomon says:

    Colonel Lang,
    As more than a few of us have commented:
    It is “on to Iran” for the “decider” with the U.S. populace in tow and the rest of the world hostage to his supidity.
    Let us hope that we all survive this next extravaganza relatively intact.
    Somehow, I have my doubts.

  23. Sgt.York says:

    What ever happened to the threatened naval-blockaid (inspections) of NK ships? Also, with Iran there are two military options [1] air strikes [2] naval-blockaid (inspections).
    Resistance to a US Military blockaid and the boarding of ships to search for ‘banned’ WMDs, missle-tech, and Nuc-related equipment provides the cover of “They started it by firing at a US Ship first (as we were attempting to board their vessle in international waters).”

  24. Babak Makkinejad says:

    “Footfalls echo in the memory down the passage which we did not take towards the door we never opened into the rose garden …”
    by T.S.Elliot

  25. John Hammer says:

    The United States has two air forces, floating and non-floating.

  26. Chris Marlowe says:

    The Iranians are very well-prepared for a confrontation with US carrier forces, if that is what the Bush administration is now planning by the appointment of Adm. Fallon to CENTCOM.
    During the Millenium Challenge 2002 games, the Red forces under Marine general Paul K. van Riper were able to defeat US naval forces using weapons the Iranians have in their inventory, see
    Now, the Iranians have Russian-supplied SS-N-22 supersonic cruise missiles which are designed to destroy US carrier groups, see
    Apparently US sailors based on carriers know that they would not last more than 72 hours if they had to face the SS-N-22, according to this blog
    You can read about a possible battle scenario with Iran at
    The Bush administration has consistently underestimated its challenges in Iraq. Now they want to apply the same record of failure to Iran.

  27. John Shreffler says:

    And then there’s this by Arnaud de Borchgrave, chanelling for Benjamin Nenanyahu:
    This one has Gen. Clark alarmed but there’s lots of stuff showing that we’re being pushed into this the same way we got pushed into Iraq. Remember how Feith came up with our Iraq war plan consulting for Netanyahu in 1996?

  28. Happy Jack says:

    It makes very little sense that a person with this background should be appointed to be theater commander in a a theater in which two essentially “ground” wars are being fought unless it is intended to conduct yet another war which will be different in character. pl
    I take it that you see no possibility of a John Rodgers steaming up the Tigris to lob some shells. Oh well, I suppose the Gulf provides more room to maneuver, eh?

  29. Cloned Poster says:

    The Army and Marine Generals on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan must be seething that a sailor is now in charge.
    Precedents for Navy men in Vietnam????
    As for Iran? Well win/lose/draw in Sadr City, it’s full on I am afraid. You think the Israeli’s were humbled last Summer, well sunburn missiles will be a talk-show favourite soon.

  30. arbogast says:

    The worst mistake Israel has made in recent memory was the indiscriminant bombing of Lebanon population centers.
    Hence, Bush will repeat the mistake.

  31. Cloned Poster says:

    As an afterthought to my above post. Why did the USSR not favour a carrier fleet?
    Sitting Ducks, quack quack.

  32. Puzzling

    Ive been trying to puzzle out the meaning of the apparently imminent promotion of Adm. William Fallon to be the new CENTCOM commander and, as such, in charge of the war in Iraq:
    Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) President George W. Bush is likely to na…

  33. Will says:

    Olmeret and Peretz went w/ an Air Power Marschall for their July War with the HA Shiites with stupendous results so the Great Decider(“GD”)is merely playing copy cat for the Gotterdamnerung with the Parsi Shiites.
    As far as the pansywaisted objectors in Congress, one is referred to the wise words of ReichAir Marschall Goering describing how the leaders of a country can always manipulate the simple folk into a war.
    ” “Why, of course, the people don’t want war,” Goering shrugged. “Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”
    “There is one difference,” I pointed out. “In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.”
    “Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.” ”
    “sic semper tyrannis” on your state flag indeedy. show your stuff jim webb. throw a monkey wrench into this oncoming Iran war. you will be remebered for the ages.

  34. John Howley says:

    The Boston Globe published a good article on the Iran and Syria Operations Group, buried in the Jan. 1 edition:

  35. ikonoklast says:

    This is an embarassingly moronic comment, but it’s been hard over the years to misunderestimate Bush when it comes to strategery.
    The decision to appoint Fallon may be no more sophisticated than that of a 10 year old looking at the toy pieces on the board of his war game and thinking, “I’m running out of army guys, and my marine guys are getting worn out, but I’ve hardly used my navy guys at all. Time to put ’em in.”

  36. still working it out says:

    Thanks for the links Chris Marlowe.
    More stuff like this please. War with Iran is likely. I know enough to know it will be a disaster. I want to know what form of disaster people on this site think it will be.

  37. J says:

    schoomaker is ‘out’, and casey is ‘in’

  38. Will says:

    here’s a link to the the new counterinsurgency field manual by
    Lieutenant General, U.S. Army Lieutenant General, U.S. Marine Corps
    A reasonable person can’t argue with the doctrine. Provide security and economic development for the populace. That was the Shineski plan. Go in with enough troops to safeguard the infrastructure and the people.
    Instead the good general got marginalized and Rummy went in for Irak lite. Then Feith got I. (for Idiot) Lewis Bremer to disband the Iraki Army and throw them into the insurgency. It is reported that Jay Garner tried to get Rummy to reverse the darnfool decision and Gen. Petraeus at least got the fool Bremer to soften the blow by paying the former Iraki Army members a montly stipend.
    But three brigades are not going to do it. A dollar short (far short of the Shineski(sp ?) numbers) and a day (three years at least) late. The country has already been raped and pillaged and the fabric of society ripped. Whereas before Shiites and Sunnites had been woven into bonds of matrimony in mixed marriages and children born of those unions and tribes had sunni and shia branches, now couples are splitting apart and neighborhoods have been cleansed.
    Things are so bad, a university is being set up in the desert outside of the city in a cordon sanitaire to stop the brain drain caused by poor security.
    Petraeus has the right doctrine but for 2003. Too late now.
    Moreover, Irak is now the sideshow. The Great Decider has the Persians in his Aerial Gunsights. He really couldn’t give a flying leap about Irak now. He’s had his way with that lady and has his sight on fresh meat.

  39. Will says:

    the site for the counterinsurgency manual was

  40. swerv21 says:

    col. lang:
    great blog. i have have come to respect and enjoy your insights as a commentator.
    i know absolutely nothing about the military (nor, my wife will add, about intelligence), but I wanted to throw a piece of wild, unfounded speculation into the ring.
    given the more or less sympathetic treatment of him by thomas ricks in ‘fiasco’ (and the extremely interesting result provided after ‘googling’ his name) is it possible that petraus didn’t really want the job, but took it as a ‘pre-emptive’ strategy of his own.
    i am suggesting this after considering rick’s assessment of petraus to that of odierno, who will now be his subordinate.
    is this not the iraqi version of ‘good cop/ bad cop’?
    petreaus literally writes the book on classic counterinsurgency and then somehow is made point man for the exalted ‘surge’, pitting him implacably against his military doppelganger, odierno?
    you can’t make this stuff up.
    here is the number one result on google for david petraus:

  41. Andy says:

    Col. Lang,
    I think you make too much out of this appointment. I think he was chosen based on what he did at PACOM along with his leadership style and not his biography. After all, why is Marine Gen. Cartwright, who’s history is tactical aircraft, in charge of STRATCOM? Or why was ADM Stavridis, a surface warfare officer, put in charge of SOUTHCOM just a few months ago? Both those appointments seem completely at odds with the command’s mission if you only look at biographies.
    It seems to me these positions are chosen based more on flag-level politics than anything else. But what do I know, I’m just a retired SNCO.
    Petraeus did not write the new COIN FM. His name is on it as commander of the combined arms center, but I doubt a word was penned by his hand.
    As for a link, go to the mothership:

  42. paul says:

    I think we pretty much all agree that The President is clutching at straws. What’s he got to lose now that he’s screwed up the original objective? – to find and punish those responsible for 9/11. He completely dropped the ball on that one, thought he could prove his mettle by attacking a supposed sitting duck called Iraq – almost a comic book caricature of “the bad guy” but he also screwed up on that one. Now he and his Poodle Tony Blair are looking ahead at their legacy and history is going to vilify them as the Leaders who accelerated the downfall of their respective countries by at least 50 years. So, as a previous post suggests – double or nothing and take the moral high ground.
    So where does that leave us?
    Afghanistan becomes a back burner issue and the people there, especially women get further subjugated to corrupted religious ideals….Oh, and the opium harvest hits new levels of output.
    US withdraws from Iraq with a shrug of the shoulders and a “Well, we did our best and if the Iraqis don’t want to accept freedom (even though it was accompanied with a civil war and horrific levels of death and violence) then that’s their fault – not our problem” (even though it will be for the next foreseeable 20 years+).
    So we now attack Iran based on the “facts” that ALL the problems in Iraq are actually cos of Iran so we should attack them since it’s THEIR fault that we have now pretty much lost 2 wars in the space of 4 years, wasted $400 Billion in actual dollars with a projected $2 Trillion in future costs; have now almost surpassed the death toll for the catalyst to this incredible screw up called “The War on Terrorism” and now George just wants to make sure he is remembered for being the guy who went down fighting for the Just Cause.
    Imagine that – the most powerful country in the world brought to it’s knees by one man who didn’t get enough attention as a child and has sought to prove to Daddy that he has what it takes ever since. And what did YOU do about it?

  43. arbogast says:

    Will’s comment above featuring Herman Goering is one of the best things I have read on the web.
    It sums things up perfectly.
    And I had forgotten that the head of the IDF was an Air Force General.
    Why is our country governed in Tel Aviv? Just asking.

  44. Sylvia says:

    Military tell Bush
    they have only 9000 men available for a surge
    If 9000 men are the best that the United States can round up, then it doesn’t matter who is appointed to do what job. That’s not a surge…it’s a pimple in terms of manpower.

  45. Eaken says:

    Cloned Poster,
    Israel’s humbling during the “34-day war” has shifted the onus of performing all the heavy lifting vis a vis Iran to the USA. The keyword being ALL as heretofore we were at least expectant that Israel could carry its own weight as a competent military partner.
    It looks as though Israel is now essentially getting a free pass as a result of it demonstrating its incompetence.

  46. assisi asobie says:

    The brilliant Anatole Kaletsky writing in The Times describes the planning in progress for a “Middle Eastern equivalent of the Second World War”.,,6-2530313.html
    Kaletsky (also of GaveKal Research [macro-economic] renown) is no wild-eyed conspiracy theorist so confirmatory analysis in this vein from him, too, is very worrying indeed.
    (via Antony Loewenstein’s most excellent blog:
    The human cost of any such war is obvious. Equally obvious is that the world economy will be plunged into a severe recession (at best) with all its second effect human costs.
    This war must not happen.

  47. Chris Marlowe says:

    still working it out:
    Although American public opinion is now very much against expansion of the war, I believe that there may be something like the Gulf of Tonkin Incident:
    which will turn people back into jingoistic flag-waving idiots again.
    This time, the Bush administration would have to ask the American people to make deep and serious sacrifices…Maybe a national emergency would require the suspension of the constitution and all upcoming elections?
    Maybe this is what Pat Robertson is talking about when he says that God told him to expect some major terrorist attack in 2007.
    I didn’t need God to figure that out, just deduction tells me the same thing.

  48. Got A Watch says:

    Given the composition of forces being dispatched to the ME, along with the appointment of Adm. Fallon, the war strategy against Iran will, IMHO, look something like this: (disclaimer: I am an armchair pundit, this analysis prepared from free open internet sources only)
    -carrier groups stand well off the coast (trying to remain out of Iranian missile range)
    -initial massive air raids using long range B-1, B-2, B-52 etc. preceded by a massive barrage of cruise missiles launched from sea, air, land and underwater
    -Marine Expedetionary Forces land on the Iranian coast of the Straits of Hormuz to silence Iranian missile/gun batteries
    -The USA will attempt to guarantee the safe passage of western-bound tankers thru the Straits of Hormuz
    -“Shock and Awe” campaign against Iranian nuclear centres, military bases, headquarters etc. by Naval Air assets and Air Force planes flying from Iraq, Kuwait and other bases in surrounding countries
    -Israeli participation in the air raids and cruise missile attacks
    -special ops to try to attempt to destabilise the Iranian government, kill the top leadership, and seize or destroy the oil-rich region of Iran near Iraq.
    This strategy is bound for almost certain failure, IMHO, because:
    -The Iranians have the internet too, are probably well aware of American/Israeli/UK strategies and tactics, and lessons learned from Lebanon last year
    -Iranian missiles have very long range, carrier groups will not be safe, could be lost. Also, they are said to have purchased various Chinese and Russian anti-ship systems, including submarine deployed remote/automatic controlled torpedos which are probably already pre-positioned, mines, SS-N-22 cruise missiles (designed to sink any known warship with 1 hit, including American carriers)and others (killer dolphins?)
    -American/UK/Israeli bases will be attacked by long range Iranian cruise missiles. Read a while back they bought 330+ units from Ukraine, Soviet stealth design with reputed 3,000+ mile range, capable of mounting any type of warhead.
    -Israel will be hammered by Hezbollah, they will launch everything they have, all 16,000 or so rockets, then Israeli retaliation devastates Lebanon again
    -World oil prices soar to over $150/barrel, most tankers refuse to go near the ME, Lloyds of London will not insure any ship near the ME – only a few token American and British tankers are brave enought to enter the Straits, the Iranians will spare no amount of effort to sink them
    -Marines landed face heavy attack from IRG troops, using Hezbollah style tactics, are probably unable to secure all the 900 mile coastline of Iran facing the Persian Gulf, an area rumored to be full of hardened bunkers and hidden missile launchers
    -long positioned Iranian agents and sympathisers go active in every opposing nation, bombings and “terrorist” attacks become rampant
    -American supporting regimes in the region face insurgency, revolution, assasination and sabotage, causing many to fall, chaos all around
    -new $50 billion gas plant just completed in Qatar, with exports planned for US and UK, is destroyed by Iran- same fate for most petro installations in the region can be expected
    -Saudi/Kuwaiti etc oil facilities are crippled by sabotage, missile attacks, insurgents and Iranian agents
    -Shiite clerics issue the fatwa for world wide Jihad against America/UK/Israel
    -Iraq and most other countries in the ME go up in flames as enraged Shiites attack any US-friendly regime from one side, and Sunni insurgents from the other
    -world economy cannot sustain the oil price shock, global depression ensues
    -Venuezela and other sympathetic to Iran nations (Russia?) repudiate the US $ totally, no oil can be bought in most places for US $
    -Iranian government proves harder to topple than planned (lesson learned from Lebanon), Iranian citizens rally to fight foreign aggression, mullahs remain in charge
    -Iranian nuclear facilities are destroyed, but dispersed and secret sites survive, the nuclear bomb project is accelerated, North Korea possibly sells them complete assembled warheads
    -any use of WMD by America/Israel invites Iranian retaliation in kind
    -given many Iranian installations, nuclear and military, are located right in populated urban areas, civilian casualties are large and seen live worldwide on TV/internet
    -covert Russian/Chinese/North Korean support to the Iranians, includes precise intelligience on US/UK/Israeli ship and plane movements, latest generation weapons and re-supply of ammo
    -Iran has a lot of time to prepare for this, they most likely unleash new types of cyber and financial attacks on the US/UK/Israel, both at home and abroad
    -both sides suffer heavy losses, but since allied supply lines are thousands of miles longer than Iran, and Iranian re-supply needs more low-tech, Iran is able to keep fighting much longer than thought possible
    -Israel ends up in a war vs Syria and Lebanon, wins but suffers heavy losses and damage
    -Israel may use WMD on Iran or even Lebanon/Syria, giving the other side license to retaliate in kind
    -present coalition forces in Iraq are cut-off, face insurgents on all sides, may be lost when the ammo runs out
    -Afghanistan falls to the Taliban again, as a distracted NATO withdraws
    -Turkey may seize the opportunity to invade and finish the “Kurdish Problem” once and for all
    -total loss of American/UK prestige, sympathy and influence around the globe
    -NATO may collapse as some nations opposed to all this withdraw, others join in
    Final outcome is murky, but does not favor the US/UK/Israel/NATO, what with the probable loss of most friendly regimes, world condemnation and possible trade embargoes etc. Oil becomes a commodity destined for Asia, not the West, by new anti-west regimes. World economy faces collapse, or at least 3-10 years of depression. Worst case scenario sees Israel using WMD, then being hit by same in retaliation, causing them to launch their nukes – an Israeli Defense Minister stated this plainly years ago, words to the effect of “if we’re going down, you are going down too!”, spoken to (IIRC) the Italian Prime Minister, meaning if Europe stands idly by while Israel is destroyed, all surrounding nations and Europe will be struck by Israel for failing to help them.
    Final result, depression and disaster, the Four Horseman ride, or the absolute worst case, radioactive fallout and nuclear winter blight the globe. Those few lucky investors heavy in precious metals get really rich, everyone else gets much much poorer.
    Apparently, the neo-cons discount all this and forsee easy victory – which do you believe is probable?

  49. H.G. says:

    Maybe they knew they needed someone to better arrange the aircraft on the carriers so they won’t have to push so many fine helicopters into the sea this time.
    Just a thought.

  50. Chris Marlowe says:

    Got A Watch:
    I don’t see Russia, North Korea and China getting involved on the Iranian side by providing intelligence. There is no need; Iran can do well by itself, and they can make more money just by selling weapons and in China’s case, by buying natural gas and oil from Iran. Why get in the fight when they benefit more by being bystanders who come in and pick up the pieces afterwards?
    In order for the US Navy to guarantee safe passage through the Straits of Hormuz, US warships would have to enter the Gulf; there is no way around that fact. Once they do, they would come within range of Iranian anti-ship missiles based in hardened bunkers.
    The American strategy would be to position naval air strikes from stand-off positions. (That really worked well for the Israelis in their war with Hizbollah, didn’t it?)
    The Iranian strategy will be to draw the Americans into a land war, stretching American supply lines, then harassing them with guerillas, and forcing the Americans to try to occupy territory, and forcing American forces to commit atrocities against a civilian population. This would strengthen hatred against the US and Americans.
    If there is total destruction as you outline it; the western-backed client states (Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel) will be completely destroyed. The dream of al-Qaeda has been to replace these western-backed client states with a new caliphate. (Sunni Arabs harken back to the Abbasid caliphate as the golden age of Arab Muslim history; this scorched-earth scenario would create the conditions for the rise of a caliphate under a new strong leader who would unite the different tribes.)
    On the economics side, the dollar would no longer be a global reserve currency, which would bankrupt most Americans. The dollar would become worthless, and the US would be reduced to a barter economy. This would give rise to militias domestically in the US; something I talked about in an earlier posting.
    The new global reserve currencies would be the euro and the Chinese yuan, which would by that time become a freely convertible currency.
    If the US dollar does not survive as a currency, there is precious little to keep the nation together. Regional governments and banks will spring up, issuing their own currencies and making their own laws. This would mark the end of the US not only as a global power, but as a nation.
    Bush/Cheney are God’s/Allah’s gift to the virtual caliphate.

  51. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Got A Watch:
    I think you have neglected an important consequence of such a war, which is an implicit declaration, by the United States, that she is indeed at war with Islam.

  52. Marcello says:

    “As an afterthought to my above post. Why did the USSR not favour a carrier fleet?”
    They could not afford to match the USN carrier for carrier. So they built submarines, rocket cruisers
    and bombers regiments. It would be like buying an armored car with antitank missiles because you cannot afford to build a tank capable of taking on enemy tanks. It’s cheaper but there are missions that the armored car cannot perform. Eventually they had to accept this and by the end of the Cold War they had three aircraft carriers under construction.

  53. zanzibar says:

    Got A Watch
    Interesting analysis. I suppose a lot of what you project could become reality. I have no way to judge as I have no experience in military affairs and understand the true capabilities of the Iranians or how Russia and China will behave. But your analysis is very scary!
    I think what Putin decides will be crucial. Will he go for paybacks a bitch and try to humiliate the US like what we did by introducing Stingers into Afghanistan and then promoting an expanded NATO to bring in the ex-Soviet sattelites or receive golden handcuffs from the US? He has the financial resources, got Europe by the ???ls with control of the natural gas that flows there and has significantly upgraded their military tecchnology to make a difference. If the ME oil and gas get constrained, then Putin becomes the single most important oil & gas supplier to Europe. As you point out Chavez also gets into a decisive position. The Chinese on the other hand need a functioning US & world economy to prevent chaos at home so will be much more circumspect with respect to threats, however, will likely pull out the stops to prevent any such insane escalation.
    The one thing that I am certain about is that even if there is a legitimate military option vis a vis Iran and we could prevail, the Decider will FUBAR it. I hope that the American people will lobby the new Congress to withdraw the AUMF and change the War Powers Act eliminating the 90 day window for the President to initiate military action without Congressional authorization. I have written both my Senators. I also hope that both the American people and their elected representatives do not fall for the intense propaganda and vehemently oppose any attack on Iran.

  54. Will says:

    Thanks swerv for the great Petraeus 14 point article. He understands his stuff, but again he is late and underresourced to the game. And his strategy will expose our grunts to increased risk. But better to produce results and incur risk than idle away the time uselessly.
    The damage by now is irreperable. Thanks arbograst, Goering was a slick customer.
    Again as far as I’m concerned although I feel for bleeding Irak, but the looming Iranian catstrophe upon the Persians and ourselves will make Irak seem like a picnic.
    Who will be the intrepid lawmaker (Webb, Hagel, or Obama?) or General (Abzaid?) who will gum up the Great Decider’s gears? Who will put sugar in his gasoline tank?
    To use a tactical air power concept insight developed by a Marine fighter pilot, Col. John Boyd. Who will get inside the Great Decider’s OODA loop and send him in a stall figuratively flaming?

  55. Will says:

    sorry guys, Col Boyd was not a semper fi but a wide blue wonder. my bust. But in mitigation I have a a neighbor who was a Marine Corps pilot who flew A6 intruders in Vietnam. I maintain he has cognitive deficiencies from the G’s.
    And a very distant relative whose family remotely hails from Marj Aoun was a short little guy that used to eat a lot of carrots to improve his eyesight. He is credited with being the first jet to jet ace.

  56. Grimgrin says:

    Just been reading about Iran’s navy, and what interests me are the fact that they apparently have at least three, and possibly up to six Kilo class subs.
    Do we have any squids here who want to comment on how much of a threat these subs might be? Assuming they’re being manned by reasonably well trained and competent submariners.

  57. …And how stupid does a media pro have to be not to figure this out? The court jester used to include a grain of turth and realsim in with his hilarity; our own court jesters only purvey lies and deceit. The joke is that they might not even know it’s lies.
    At this point you have to ask whether the media are just plain stupid or downright propagandists.

  58. jimbo says:

    From a different perspective: a huge investment has been made into radical modification of our institutions. There is evidence these changes will be ongoing, even with Republican losses of the House and Senate. Already we hear that the White House will not yield to Congress or the courts, the religious corruption of our military, the increasing power of the “private” military companies, the intrusions into our privacy.
    Consider the ease with which these folks have taken and retained the power of the presidency over the last six years. They are experts at swift boating, at lying, at doing anything to gain and hold power. Electing one of their will be easy; all they need is one who is slimy and ambitious, who can be “convinced” that their anti-American activites are necessary. You know, one who may even today be saying there must be a curtailment of our freedoms to save us.
    There is ample evidence the Bush-Cheney administration has committed criminal activities, apparently with little fear of consequence.
    We are reaching a cusp where the dangers to our democracy demand clarification of our situation. Bush-Cheney must become partners with Congress and the American people to produce a change in direction. Without that change steps must be made to curtail Bush-Cheney’s power by leveraging their lawbreaking. Congress must plan and execute , with heavy involvement of the Republican Congressional leadership.
    The whole world must be viewing our drama with concern. America is the source of progress toward peace and freedom. That source must not be disrupted. With luck this source can be strengthened by the lessons taught us by the dangers we are experiencing. And the world may better appreciate the value even imperfect America offers, and the dangers all of us in this world must face together.

  59. Israel Planning Nuclear Strike on Iran?

    Israel is planning to strike Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with bunker buster nukes, Uzi Mahnaimi and Sarah Baxter report in the Sunday Times of London. They cite several Israeli military sources who say two Israeli air force s…

  60. at-Largely says:

    TIA cleared for lift off

    “Vice Adm McConnell will take over the leadership of the US’s 16 intelligence agencies from John Negroponte.
    Mr Negroponte is to become the deputy to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
    The changes come just days before Mr Bush is expect…

  61. Got A Watch says:

    From the “Let’s Pour More Gasoline On The Fire” Dept.:
    ” Blood and oil: How the West will profit from Iraq’s most precious commodity”
    Remember how the pro-war forces adamantly denied the invasion was all about oil? This is political dynamite in Iraq, guaranteed to cause the insurgency to gain support – another self-inflicted wound for America/UK, courtesy of Darth Cheney.
    Chris Marlowe – during the ’03 invasion, I used to read an alleged GRU-connected website (Russian military intelligience) where they would post almost real-time updates of fighting including exact locations (down to streets) of battles, casualties taken on both sides, number of sorties flown by coalition aircraft, number of medevac flights, movements of units etc. This information appeared highly accurate to me at the time. Political pressure (probably from the US) made them drop this coverage after a couple of weeks. The site is still there, it’s very interesting reading for military buffs, sort of a low-budget Russian Janes Weapons.
    My point is that the information is there, Russian satellite imagery and signals intelligience appears capable, it is merely a political decision on the part of the governments of Russia and China if they want to provide this to Iran. I feel they would so as to limit the size of any potential US/UK/Israel victory, and preserve existing energy and trade agreements with Iran which would be threatened if the Iranian government falls. It’s all about the oil/gas, as usual.
    Babak: since the Pew Polls and all readings indicate that a majority of Muslims alrady believe “the West is on Crusade again”, this just pours some more gas on the fire, already blazing high.
    Let’s just hope my predictions are wrong and these events don’t come to pass.

  62. Will says:

    @Andy. According to the WashPo, Petraeus had a large hand in writing this particlar manual.
    Interesting tidbits from article. Petraeus is sun of a Dutch sea captain that took refuge here during World War II, grew up w/i sight of US Army military academy which he attended and married superintendent’s daughter.
    He took a M-16 round in his chest at Ft. Campbell Ky in a training mishap wan was operated on for “five hours of surgery by Bill Frist, who a decade later became Senate majority leader. While skydiving in 2000, Petraeus survived the abrupt collapse of his parachute 60 feet up. His shattered pelvis was reassembled with a plate and long screws.”
    One tough cookie. Haarborne Deadly- Deadly bone
    right docrine but dealt a losing hand by the VicePotus a.k.a. PumpHead whose office had handed down the order disbanding the Iraki army and deep deBaathication.

  63. Will says:

    Frank Rich, NYT columinst is very Rich commenting on the twin deaths of former Presidents Ford and SH.
    Inter alia he notes
    “Gen. Eric Shinseki was when he dared assert before the invasion that securing Iraq would require several hundred thousand troops.
    It would still take that many troops, not the 20,000 we might scrape together now. Last month the Army and Marines issued an updated field manual on counterinsurgency (PDF) supervised by none other than Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, the next top American military commander in Iraq. It endorsed the formula that “20 counterinsurgents per 1,000 residents” is “the minimum troop density required.” By that yardstick, it would take the addition of 100,000-plus troops to secure Baghdad alone. ”
    MY COMMENT. How is Petraeus going to pull it off shorthanded. Or is the Iraki forces going to supply the extra 90 thousand missing troops?
    Here is the other Rich comment
    ” Every Ford attribute, big and small, was trotted out by Washington eulogists with a wink, as an implicit rebuke of the White House’s current occupant. Mr. Ford was a healer, not a partisan divider. He was an all-American football star, not a cheerleader.
    He didn’t fritter away time on pranks at his college fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon, because he had to work his way through school as a dishwasher. He was in the top third of his class at Yale Law. He fought his way into dangerous combat service during World War II rather than accept his cushy original posting. He was pals with reporters and Democrats. He encouraged dissent in his inner circle. He had no enemies, no ego, no agenda, no ideology, no concern for his image. He described himself as “a Ford, not a Lincoln,” rather than likening himself to, say, Truman.
    Under the guise of not speaking ill of a dead president, the bevy of bloviators so relentlessly trashed the living incumbent that it bordered on farce. ”

  64. Will says:

    to answer a question I raised, the troop shortfall to quiet Baghdad will be Kurdish. From a lead by nur-al-cubicle who reads the French, italian, and Spanish press
    ” Quant aux troupes irakiennes qui doivent être affectées à Bagdad, elles seraient au deux tiers composées de pershmergas kurdes du nord de l’Irak, peu rompus aux conflits intercommunautaires de la capitale… ”,1-0@2-3222,36-852811@51-823016,0.html

  65. Chris Marlowe says:

    Got A Watch:
    For China, the single most important political and economic relationship is with the US. China still depends on exports to the US, so much so that it continues to lend money to Americans to go deeper into debt to buy more Chinese goods. But it needs to do this before China’s domestic economy takes off and it can lessen its dependency on the dollar and the US consumer.
    Then there is another potential flashpoint with the US: Taiwan. In the interests of maintaining the political and economics relationship, both sides seek to play down the Taiwan issue, even though the Taiwan government seeks to play up the differences between China and the US in order to garner support from the American left- and right-wing.
    As for gas and oil, it’s just a commodity, and even though China has the fastest growing major economy, China has sought to diversify its energy sources. This is why China has been aggressively making oil deals in Africa, where the US is not heavily politically involved, and where there is no conflict of interest with the US.
    China is also at an earlier point in its economic development, it wants to diversify to other renewable energy sources. It has learned the danger of being overly reliant on energy from a politically volatile part of the world.
    There is another thing: China’s challenges all across the board are HUGE. These challenges are social, political and economic, and make American problems look comparatively small. As Americans living under the Bush presidency it sounds hard to believe, but it’s true.
    There is another difference; when Americans vent against government policy, it is usually that, just venting. When Chinese vent, they know that they have to kill the king, or be killed themselves. Just take a look at Chinese history; most Chinese dynasties last 200-300 years, bringing comparative peace after they are established. Then they become corrupt, and are overthrown violently. As the Chinese say, the old dynasty has lost the mandate of heaven. A new dynasty is established by force, members of the previous imperial family are killed, and the bureaucracy begins working for their new overlords. Then the cycle begins again…
    The PRC is a new Communist dynasty which is creating prosperity. They do not want to jeopardize stability, and do not want to give a militant US any reason to hurt relations or attack China. They are early in their cycle and don’t want to do anything which jeopardize stability and growth. Achieving growth and stability in a nation of 1.5 billion with five major dialects and huge wealth gaps is no small feat.
    That is why China will not easily make moves which antagonize the US.
    Most Americans and the American media are paranoid, thinking that everyone wants to harm the US in some way.
    In the case of China, it is simply not true. The Chinese government has issues which are actually more important and immediate.

  66. Chris Marlowe says:

    I have added a link to a book where an author discusses the issues China is now facing. I take the book and commentary with a pinch of salt because he does not know Chinese and is not able to follow the subtleties of the situation; nevertheless it is helpful.

  67. zanzibar says:

    Great points Chris. China’s communist party craves internal stability more than anything else. They will not rock the boat. Putin however has every reason to cause waves not the least avenge the humiliation in Afghanistan. And to get back into the game of geopolitical machinations while the US is back on its heels and Europe is on its knees for energy supply. He has wrested all political control in Russia and is flush with petrocash and has already started to assert himself in the neighborhood.

  68. walrus says:

    Applying Occam’s razor, an Admiral is being appointed because the focus of the next phase of operations in the “Global War on Terror” is mainly naval in character.
    There are two elements to this:
    1. Carrier born air power, the notable characterisitic of which is its ability to “surge” large numbers of sorties with a very rapid turn around time.
    2. The classic naval role of keeping sea lanes open.
    I make three observations:
    Were we to attack Iran, it is highly unlikely that European public opinion would permit us to “surge” large numbers of sorties from European bases, hence the Navy would be required to do the heavy lifting.
    Were we to attack Iran, the navy would have the heavy lifting role in keeping the Straits of Hormuz open.
    Inter service politics have, I understand, seen the Navy and Airforce take a back seat to the Army and Marines for the last six years. This is galling for them.
    I think I understand that, as a result, said Navy and Airforce are much more gung-ho about attacking Iran than the Army or Marines.
    My guess would be that these two services have jointly promised Bush that they can:
    a) Destroy Irans’ nuclear infrastructure.
    b) Keep the Straits of Hormuz open during and after (a).
    c) Protect (insulate) our forces in Iraq from the wrath of Iran.
    I don’t believe (b) and (c) can be achieved, and while (a) may be achieved for now, I believe such an attack will make a future nuclear attack on U.S. soil a certainty, assuming, that is, that the U.S. survives the economic and political fallout caused by (a), in a format recognisable to an attacker, which is in my opinion by no means sure.
    George W. Bush could well be the LAST President of the United States, as well as (logically) the worst.

  69. Got A Watch says:

    China has signed long-term natural gas and oil supply agreements with Iran to the tune of some $100 Billion US$ equivalent (some very recently), IIRC, and are still trying to make more. If Bush succeeds in ousting the Iranian government, those deals would be in jeopardy.
    I am not saying the Chinese will mount a re-supply effort for Iran, but covert aid would seem highly likely, and the same applies to Russia. The North Koreans, ablsolutely anything goes. They all have shown no compunction about selling the latest generation weapons to Iran, who then turns around and clones them for domestic manufacture. Iran’s arms are mostly locally made copies of Chinese/Russian/NK designs which feature tech stolen from America or designed to compete with American/NATO deployed equipment. An Indian Air Force unit won a Top Gun competition a while back flying Russian fighters against the best from around the world. And recall the famous US Air Force “spy plane” “allowed to land” by the Chinese. If the reputed capabilities of many of their weapons systems really match up to the specs, it is bad news for Western military forces.
    Iran and now Syria are reputed to be receiving the latest Russian AA defenses, both large systems and man-portable launchers. The large new Russian naval base in Syria will most certainly have heavy AA capability, and its radars and missiles will cover a large portion of Syria. They are clearly trying to diminish the odds of Israel attacking their Syrian “friends” – and Israel gets almost all oil/gas from Russia, IIRC, so maybe Syria gets a pass this war. Quite a while back had a map up showing existing and proposed major AA sites and radars in Iran and Syria – it showed then concentric rings of defenses between Israel and Iran, and this was before many new systems were purchased recently. In order to achieve any surprise, the Israeli F-15E ‘s would have to fly way out to sea and back in, requiring mid-air refueling, in both directions of the flight, and pilot fatigue then becomes an issue as well. As was commented, the US will have to do the heavy lifting in the end.
    Will Israel be kept out of the confict by the USA? I don’t know, but with the more right-wing noises coming out of Israel these days (I only look at Haaretz and DebkaFile now and then, no time to read other sources there), I suspect they may join in this go. After all, they seem to be concerned about some unfinished business in Lebanon. Will Hizbullah launch on Iranian command? Not sure, but seems likely, especially if they see their patron Iran getting hammered.
    One final scary note I did not touch on is CBW. All players have CBW programs, holding tanks full of only God knows what on hand. These toxins can be released accidentally by stray missile, air raid (not knowing the real nature of the target) or crazed commanders determined to retaliate. This could happen without government authorization, though the other side probably won’t view it that way when they retaliate back. Thus, the end comes by accident with no one wishing it to occur, but no one restrained enough to not push the button. Once the genie is out of the bottle, no one will be arguing for restraint when their nation has been devastated.
    It’s all speculation, until the missiles start to fly – but the Law of Unintended Consequences (Blowback Codicil) will probably apply as usual, not that any neo-cons have ever heard of it. Hoping I am wrong.

  70. Israel Denies Nuke Plans against Iran

    The Israeli Foreign Ministry of course denied the report. My first question is, “What’s wrong with nuking Iran’s nuclear facilities?”

  71. Jo says:

    As a retired print journalist, I find it interesting, amusing and terribly disheartening that the posts here are not at least echoed in the “main stream” media. Of course I realize the people who deliver the news are still playing catch-up after several years of lionizing the Decider-in-Chief’s inspiring reign as a wartime president and destroyer of the Constitution. (And to think, the Pope believes he is the only infallible person in the universe.)
    Thomas Jefferson and James Madison must be dizzy from rolling over in their respective graves.

  72. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Pope does not believe that he is infallible. There are very very rare conditions under which the Pope can assume the mantle of ingallibility and speak to and for the Church. After he has sopkn there can be no contraditiong that position that he has taken – not by the Cardinals and not by future Popes.
    That has happened but rarely.

  73. bernie says:

    arbogast: re your comment that “The worst mistake Israel has made in recent memory was the indiscriminant bombing of Lebanon population centers….”
    Sorry to take so long to respond but I could find no legitimate western source for that idiotic remark. Only Hezbollah areas were bombed, with warnings beforehand, and only at positions from which missiles were launched. You failed to mention that Hezbollah fired hundrred of missiles into civilian aras only with no military purpose. Why is that?
    You have to discount reports in which images were photoshopped, otherwise you have been taken in by terrorist propaganda.

  74. confusedponderer says:

    Seems I did injustice to Admiral Fallon. I now want to correct that.

    Commander’s veto sank Gulf buildup
    By Gareth Porter
    WASHINGTON – Admiral William Fallon, then US President George W Bush’s nominee to head Central Command (CENTCOM), expressed strong opposition in February to an administration plan to increase the number of aircraft-carrier strike groups in the Persian Gulf from two to three and vowed privately that there would be no war against Iran as long as he was chief of CENTCOM, according to sources with access to his thinking.
    Fallon’s resistance to the proposed deployment of a third aircraft carrier was followed by a shift in the Bush administration’s Iran policy in February and March away from increased military threats and toward diplomatic engagement with Iran. That shift, for which no credible explanation has been offered by administration officials, suggests that Fallon’s resistance to a crucial deployment was a major factor in the intra-administration struggle over policy toward Iran….
    Fallon’s resistance to a further buildup of naval striking power in the Gulf apparently took the Bush administration by surprise….
    Fallon’s refusal to support a further naval buildup in the Gulf reflected his firm opposition to an attack on Iran and an apparent readiness to put his career on the line to prevent it. A source who met privately with Fallon around the time of his confirmation hearing and who insists on anonymity quoted Fallon as saying that an attack on Iran “will not happen on my watch”….

    Good news and truly scary given the light it sheds on the Cheneyites. They learned nothing.

  75. johnwinner says:

    With new rumors that Fallon remains adamantly opposed to strikes against Iran, while Bush now hints about a nuke attack, a number of issues are becoming clear: (1) Fallon was clearly Gates’ choice, and Gates has different geopolitical issues than Bush-Cheney. (2) Intercine debate concerning Iraq/Iran in the Pentagon is heating up, rather than responding to renewed pressure from the White House; and we can expect unpredictable alliances, leaks, and perhaps even legal moves to appear in greater number. (3) Bush has finally put himself in an incredibly precarious position, by trying to play the Pentagon against itself just at the moment Defense and State appear to be working together again (again probably Casey’s work, Rice is just about out of the picture thanks to her bumbling efforts at ‘international diplomacy’); and by clinging on to the hope of possible war with Iran. If his government cracks open from these pressures, he will spend his last year as the weakest president in US history, having no support anywhere but in the mainstream media (which has translated itself into one of the great jokes of Western History). That would indeed be ironic for the ‘president’ who only a month ago was letting right-wingers speculate on the possibility of declaring a state-of-emergency to keep him in office after 2008.
    As for Fallon himself: after reviewing his diplomacy in China, I find no fault with him personally. The ridiculous “Surge” was almost certainly planned without him (it was a political ploy, militarily meaningful only in beefing up US “Coalition” forces while Britain reduced their own numbers), and any CentCom commander would have been stuck with it.

  76. Jones says:

    I agree on that thanks for sharing it.

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