Like the muted, hockey-masked monster 'Jason' in Halloween: The Recapitulation Pt. XIX after he's been run through with a telephone pole, drowned in an acid vat, attacked by mechanical sharks and then feted with a flamethrower flambee, it's tempting to heave a sigh of relief and say, "Thank god they're finally dead" about the minions of Castle Bush. Unfortunately, that's not how horror movies work. The monsters have to be really, really, really dead, as in obliterated, and even then you know it's only a matter of time for them to some-how, some-way find their way back. And these things are not dead yet.
As proof neither the fork-tongued zombie reptiles nor their ambitions have yet been thwarted, they just made the CENTCOM commander resign over a minor magazine article. Regarded as the best strategic mind in the US command, Admiral William Fallon was quoted by a source (probably a Senate confirmation committee member) as privately saying an attack on Iran "Will not happen on my watch." The anonymous confirmation source also related Fallon as saying:
"You know what choices I have. I'm a professional. There are several of us trying to put the crazies back into the box."Fallon's resignation comes in the wake of this month's Esquire article, one which focused on his resistance to administration warmongering. Amongst other things, he vetoed the deployment of a third carrier task force to the Persian Gulf last spring, a move which blocked the surprised Cheney Faction from further attack preparations. At the time, there were conflicting reports from the White House and the Navy about the USS Nimitz Task Force's destination, shortly after I sounded a blog alarm: three carrier battle groups were about to join two amphibious marine assault carrier groups off Iran. Not good.
A Navy press release closely followed the Nimitz departure, stated that the USS Eisenhower would be rotated out of the Gulf and would not overlap with the Nimitz on-station; the mixed signals can be retroactively disambiguated, and it looks like the call to deescalate was the CENTCOM commander's alone. Last week's Esquire article described his contribution, and predicted the possible effects of his demise:
If, in the dying light of the Bush administration, we go to war with Iran, 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. He is that rarest of creatures in the Bush universe: the good cop on Iran, and a man of strategic brilliance. His name is William Fallon, although all of his friends call him "Fox," which was his fighter-pilot call sign decades ago. [...]If you've spent any time boning up on who The Crazies are and the crypts they come from, you know they're Washington's most experienced politicians, and that their box must be incinerated and its ashes scattered before full denouement and decompression. You have to hope Fallon has plenty more Friends.
Just as Fallon took over Centcom last spring, the White House was putting itself on a war footing with Iran. Almost instantly, Fallon began to calmly push back against what he saw as an ill-advised action. Over the course of 2007, Fallon's statements in the press grew increasingly dismissive of the possibility of war, creating serious friction with the White House.
Last December, when the National Intelligence Estimate downgraded the immediate nuclear threat from Iran, it seemed as if Fallon's caution was justified. But still, well-placed observers now say that it will come as no surprise if Fallon is relieved of his command before his time is up next spring, maybe as early as this summer, in favor of a commander the White House considers to be more pliable. If that were to happen, it may well mean that the president and vice-president intend to take military action against Iran before the end of this year and don't want a commander standing in their way.