Saturday, March 15, 2008


Why did Admiral Fallon resign as CENTCOM CINC? I review the literature at Pajamas Media.

The real reason for Fallon's resignation may be much more straightforward: disputes over the conduct of ground operations which have resulted in conflicts with General David Petraeus. Barnett's Esquire article hinted at difficult relations with Petraeus, claiming that Gates appointed Fallon to put the brakes on the general. Barnett wrote, "in fact, any time he talks with Petraeus, there are only two men in the room — the admiral and the general — and their exchanges remain private."

Nothing follows.


Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

This administration is either incomprehensibly incompetent, or incomprehensibly competent. Either way, it's damn near scary to watch its machinations unfold.

3/15/2008 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Vice President Fallon?
Democrats could be looking to reward insubordination.

Gaffney gives a laundry list of Fallon's questionable actions, including actions wrt the Chinese Army. One thing he left out, that anyone reading the Honolulu papers at the time that Fallon headed PacCom was the Chinese Navy.
Over and over we'd read shocking articles of his latest great ideas for letting Chinese spys get an up close look at our latest technology in action, including Aegis Destroyers.
A very shakey character imo.
"The question is: Will rank insubordination on a scale arguably not seen in a military commander since MacArthur faded away nearly six decades ago be rewarded by still higher office? Will Democratic politicians, so anxious to demean George Bush’s presidency and seek partisan advantage by pandering to the American people’s penchant for ignoring, rather than confronting emerging threats, resist the temptation to embrace Fox Fallon? Or will they seek to burnish their own, woefully inadequate national-security credentials by enlisting this arrogant, short-sighted, and insubordinate officer in a new, and probably even more problematic, political career?"

3/15/2008 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Incompetent, lazy, and fearful. Administration fears criticism from Dems on anything having to do with the military. They are weak and will not assert themselves.

I would add another dimension Wretchard for the reason Fallon went.

The Navy. Fallon was the chief "do nothing" in response to Iranian provocations in the Gulf and was apparently behind very restrictive rules of engagement that could lead to loss of a carrier group.

Recall that incident where Iranian gunboats harassed the USN for days? With no response?

NYT reported a war-game with just such a scenario, that led to "swarming" attacks by speedboats and coordinated missile attacks from shore that sank a carrier group in minutes. After days of harassing moves but no overt attacks. Relying on restrictive ROE by the US.

This upset more thoughtful commanders who saw the potential for their prized commands to go down with horrendous loss of life. Fallon's ROE that were so restrictive to avoid any possibility of war with Iran ironically gave the Iranians the ability to sink a carrier group and inflict a grievous WWII style defeat on the US. We only have 12.

So, Fallon had to go from the perspective of the USN. He had allied himself with Dem doves and Europeans against his own Navy. Forgetting who his backers were. You won't find many in the USN who have respect for him.

3/15/2008 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

If Dems DO pick Fallon, expect a LOT of dirt being dished by USN people.

Fallon has made a LOT of enemies by being "Clinton's Admiral" and WILL be creamed.

3/15/2008 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Fallon and Gates are both favorites of Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party. It's appalling that men who should be loyal to the CURRENT Commander in Chief only default to the gratitude they owe to a former CIC.

Read Kenneth Timmerman's "Shadow Warriors." You will find details of how the embedded Clinton people in all departments subverted President Bush, and also the President's incompetence or unwillingness to fight for his own policies and make those who don't follow orders walk the plank.

3/15/2008 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

And if it comes to war?

"Get serious," the admiral says. "These guys are ants. When the time comes, you crush them."

Interesting comment

3/15/2008 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

The Barnett interview makes him sound very competent and charismatic. It's hard to avoid the MacArthur comparison. But then again, when MacArthur was fired, the Japanese were reportedly very upset. I wonder if there's been anything comparable with Fallon.

3/15/2008 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Yes JJ, MacArthur was dismissive of the North Koreans and Chinese. To his everlasting discredit. A disaster in Korea, letting the NK escape and instead taking Seoul. And dismissing the Chinese threat over the Yalu in November. Stupid stupid stupid.

Iran is no joke. They CAN sink at least one carrier group. Missile tech is much more advanced. Ask the Brits in the Falklands how they fared 25 years ago. Geography favors the Iranians. Choke point at the Straights of Hormuz.

ONLY a decisive and overwhelming first strike against Iranian navy, shore missiles, and other supporting installations (radars and such) will allow the USN to avoid losing at least ONE carrier group and possibly more.

Technology has changed. We don't have that advantage. Europe in particular is selling insanely advanced systems that can be networked cheaply and provide as much as our expensive air cover. The new Bofors-Saab missile system can knock anything we have out of the sky up to 15,000 feet. Including stealth aircraft, cruise missiles, drones, etc. Range is 25 miles. It's ... MAN PORTABLE. By THREE MEN. Ponder THAT.

Fallon is an idiot. Underestimating your enemy is going to cost men, machines, and possibly victory.

He ought to be cashiered just for dismissing the Iranians. Who have lots of good, state-of-the-art equipment from Europe and Russia, and lots of experience fighting.

We CAN beat them. Maybe. But it's not going to be a cakewalk.

3/16/2008 01:14:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...


I doubt there needs to be much of a kinetic punch to trip the Iranians. All that's needed is just enough to send them into insolvency. Of-course, being so reliant on oil, the same applies to US.

3/16/2008 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

met -- I'm speaking of course in terms of military action.

IF there is military conflict with the Iranians, they will be no joke. As the NVA was no joke. As the NK and Chinese were no joke. As the Japanese were no joke.

It's a cardinal sin in military operations to go into a conflict thinking your opponent will be a walk-over. It should be a court-martial offense.

Yes the Iranians are weak as a regime, and have several levers: counter-terror with the Azeris, Arabs, etc. Targeted assassinations of regime leaders. Targeted explosions blowing up regime leaders property/wealth centers such as factories, shrines, hotels, etc. They are not 50 feet tall and invincible.

But neither are they pushovers.

3/16/2008 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I thought allowing the Iranian speedboats to harass Navy war ships was a mistake. If that was Fallon's call, then good riddance.

I wonder if his ROE would have also called for America sailors to allow themselves to be kidnapped and paraded in front of TV cameras like what the Brits allowed to be done to themselves.

3/16/2008 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/16/2008 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Let's not forget that MacArthur had 12 full hours of warning following Pearl Harbor but he did nothing!!!

The naval and Army air force and the ship commanders wanted to attack and had real-time intel, but Macarthur sat on his corncob and let the japs bomb his command into uselessness.

In Korea he copied jap and ancient Chinese actions by taking Inchon...some brilliance that was.

Then he let the Chicoms encircle the Army and then threw away the Marine victory at Chosin by pulling them out, rather than reinforcing them and forcing the Chicom into a battle in far N Korea.

3/16/2008 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Why the Top U.S. Commander in the Mideast Retired

3/16/2008 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"and also the President's incompetence or unwillingness to fight for his own policies and make those who don't follow orders walk the plank."
The number of times anyone on the other side paid any real price are few and far between, from Sandy Bergler to Jefferson Franklin, Fallon, CIA Leakers, Wilson, or any of the do-nothing commanders in Iraq.

Meanwhile the list of allies thrown under the Bus seemingly never stops from Libby to all the real conservatives that were shunned by Bush to promote the likes of "Republicans" like Spector.

Now we have the specter of a guy that might become President that got here via the same transgressions for which Duke Cunningham resides in prison!

3/16/2008 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Fallon’s Fall

"In addition, officers assigned to regional commands seem, like diplomats assigned to one area, inclined to go native. As head of Pacific Command, Fallon (at least as Barnett paints him) seemed transfixed on cooperating with China; at Central Command, he came to believe that pressuring Israel toward a settlement with Palestinians was the way to solve every problem in the region. After all, those are the things the Chinese and Arab military officers he’s been interfacing with have told him."

3/16/2008 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

""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 statement released by CENTCOM officials. "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."

Adm. Fallon and Gen. Patraeus have trained and worked together before, I do not think the differences lie there. The same "closed door sessions" have been anonymously attributed to Petraeus in dealing with Malaki, too. Perhaps there is some confusion on the part of the reporter..., Or some devilry on the part of the source?

I doubt the difficulty lies with the public here, as the MSM will not report it on it in any depth or regularity, but with the diplomatic channels themselves. If that is the case, then chalk another defeat up for the MSM. Of course that noise may be intentional, in which case his follow on at Centcom needs to have the same view of the world as the Admiral.

3/17/2008 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

I spoke with a retired Marine colonel who was at Central Command during Desert Storm and before. He said they did the entire operation with less than 600 people. Now CentCom has over 3,000. His remark was that they must simply send emails all day to each other tasking for more emails. The word he got was that Fallon was a jerk and got fired for exceeding the jerk quotient too often.

3/17/2008 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Mackubin Owen Thomas wrote an article about all of this at the Weekly Standard: The Fall of Admiral George B. McFallon Great read and he refers back to the US Civil War and General McClellan's insubordination towards President Lincoln and the rampant rumors that McClellan was plotting to overthrow the civilian government. The Democrats then ran McClellan against Lincoln, similarly the soldiers were not fooled.

Quite simply Admiral Fallon was stepping out of his role as a military commander and was working to steer US Foreign Policy. He can advise, suggest to and cajole the President in private all he wants, but when the President's decision comes down he is not to undermine it. This is a constitutional imperative.

The Democrats and left should not encourage such insubordination. They paint Fallon as a brave military man being persecuted for not being a yes man, but what will they say when a Democratic President is similarly disobeyed and short-circuited?

Both cases are bad for the foreign policy and the state of our society, nudging a little bit closer to military rule.

3/17/2008 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

I agree with Whiskey_199 on this:

Fallon was the chief "do nothing" in response to Iranian provocations in the Gulf and was apparently behind very restrictive rules of engagement that could lead to loss of a carrier group.

Recall that incident where Iranian gunboats harassed the USN for days? With no response

Yes, that was a bad move on Fallon’s part. Things could have turned out much worse. And, I agree with the statement “never underestimate your enemies.”

With that I will indicate what posters at Blackfive had to say:

[Blackfive comments]

Fallon has been running afowl of the administration over everything, not just Iran. He opposed the Iraq surge, he dissed Petraeus last year as an "ass kissing chickenshit", he's been bucking to draw down forces in the area before Petraeus got the okay for his plan and Fallon has been insisting on a draw down of troops asap already this year. --Kat-Missouri


Let's see: Clinton Flag Officer, publicly disagreed with battlefield GO's, absolutely ZERO writings (strategic or otherwise) in PME, took his wife on mil trips to the mideast that made things VERY culturally awkward, totally abused his staff (talk to some O-5's at CentCom to get the 'flavor'), and then went out and said things in direct opposition to CinC policy. I'm stunned he was ever made CentCom in the first place.

See: Comments at Blackfive

3/18/2008 03:08:00 AM  

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