The odds of Bush bombing Iran have gone up dramatically this week.
There’s just no other way to rationally interpret the resignation of Admiral William Fallon as head of Centcom.
Fallon resigned, and more likely was pushed out, after Esquire published an article on him entitled “The Man Between War and Peace.” It said he was the one standing in the way of Bush bombing Iran.
He’s not standing in the way any longer.
Actually, his rival, General David Petraeus, is now more powerful than ever. And as the Esquire article noted, Petraeus has said: "You cannot win in Iraq solely in Iraq."
Fallon seemed to understand the risk he was taking when he took the job as head of Centcom. He told Esquire: "Career capping? How about career detonating?"
Fallon’s fate as a weathervane for war with Iran has been clear since the time of his confirmation, when he told a source that an attack on Iran “will not happen on my watch.”
His watch just stopped.
He also said, a the time, “There are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box.”
But the crazies are still bounding around outside the box, and none crazier than Dick Cheney, who is off on a Mideast trip, ostensibly to deal with Israel and Palestine and also with high oil prices.
But there are other purposes, as well. Cheney is visiting Oman, “a key military ally and logistics hub for military operations in the Persian Gulf,” notes U.S. News & World Report.
What’s more, according to U.S. News, “two U.S. warships took up positions off Lebanon earlier this month.” The Pentagon “would want its warships in the eastern Mediterranean in the event of military action against Iran to keep Iranian ally Syria in check and to help provide air cover to Israel against Iranian missile reprisals,” the story said. “One of the newly deployed ships, the USS Ross, is an Aegis guised missile destroyer, a top system for defense against air attacks.”
U.S. News cited three other signs why war is more likely now: Israel’s airstrike on Syria, Israel’s war with Hezbollah, and Shimon Peres’s disavowal of unilateral action.
Here’s one more: The director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell, testified to the Senate on February 5 that maybe in last fall’s NIE he overstressed the fact that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons work.
And maybe he overplayed the fact that Iran doesn’t know how to design a nuclear weapon just yet.
And maybe he should have highlighted the fact that Iran was still enriching uranium.
And maybe he should have emphasized that, therefore, Iran still poses a potential nuclear threat.
“In retrospect,” McConnell said, “I would do some things differently.”
Like give Bush and Cheney exactly what they ask for.
Something Admiral Fallon, to his credit, was not prepared to do.