Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Removal of Adm. Fallon, Head of US Central Command, Reflects Failure in US War Policy--Protest Fifth Anniversary of Iraq Occupation, March 15

The Removal of Adm. Fallon Reveals Tactical Differences Among the American Ruling Elites Over the Iraq and Afghan Occupations, As Well As Potential Military Strikes Against Iran

PANW Editor's Note: The forced resignation of the head of the US Central Command Adm. William Fallon illustrates the tactical differences among the political and military elites within the ruling class over the future course of the continuing occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to an article published recently in Esquire magazine, Adm. Fallon had run up against the irrational policy of the Bush administration which wanted some type of military strike against Iran prior to the conclusion of the primary elections in the United States. Yet, military leaders have questioned the effectiveness of such a series of airstrikes and whether the escalation of tensions between Iran and the United States would in the short-run create further instability in Iraq.

What has become clear over the last several months is that the current American military policy of maintaining over 150,000 troops in Iraq and the planned increase in deployment of forces into Afghanistan for an offensive against the resistance by early 2009, is unsustainable. The falsehoods being promoted by the corporate media that the increase in military deployments in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad along with the disengagement from resistance forces in other areas of the country, is "working," is being gradually exposed by the recent breaking of the media blockade on covering military casualties and other anti-US political developments inside the country.

This crisis in Iraq policy among the American ruling class comes at a time when the economic impact of the ongoing occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan coupled with the astronomical defense budget that topped $700 billion this last past year, can no longer be maintained without the furthering weakening of the US dollar causing the worsening of the national debt. The declining dollar and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs monthly, clearly points to the unfeasibility of American political and economic policy.

Adding to the significance of the removal of Adm. Fallan, is that the fifth anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq is March 19. After five years in Iraq and over six years in Afghanistan, the resistance to American military involvement in these respective countries have escalated. At the same time, most people within the United States see the continuation of the Iraq war as being linked to a failed defense policy of the outgoing Bush administration.

Industrial actions represented by the American Axle strike in Detroit and other production facilities throughout the country, represent the sensitivity of the labor movement to the declining living conditions prevailing among working people in the United States. The high rates of personal bankruptcies, home foreclosures, evictions and utility shut-offs, provides the public with a stark view of the severity of the current economic recession. The denial by the Bush administration that there is a recession and the echoing of such disinformation by the corporate media, is causing even more distress among the majority of people.

With March 19 approaching people should utilize this grim anniversary to demonstrate their opposition to this continuing policy of permanent war and military occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan. The maintenance of this Bush administration program will only deepen the economic crisis in the United States and consequently around the world. The infusion of hundreds of billions of dollars by the Federal Reserve in America and by central banks throughout the world will only make the situation worse. It will fuel inflation and speed-up the weakening of the American dollar.

Only the total breaking with the policies of capitalist globalization is their any potential for relief being granted to the people of the United States and the world. The struggle against the war and for economic justice must be combined to ensure that the current crisis can be effectively challenged in the political and social arena.

Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor
Pan-African News Wire

To read the article in Esquire on the fall of Adm. Fallon just click on the URL below:

To protest the fifth anniversary of the occupation of Iraq in Detroit, just meet at the Spirit of Detroit, Woodward at Jefferson, downtown at Noon on Saturday, March 15. March to Central United Methodist Church for a mass rally.

For more information just log on to the URL below:

Top U.S. Mideast commander quits after Iran story

Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:42pm

U.S. Adm. William Fallon oversaw Iraq and Afghan wars

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Adm. William Fallon, the top U.S. commander for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, will retire because of misperceptions he disagrees with the Bush administration on Iran, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Tuesday.

Fallon asked to retire after a magazine article portrayed him as challenging President George W. Bush on Iran policy. The article in Esquire magazine suggested Fallon was pushing the administration to avoid war with Iran.

"I have approved Admiral Fallon's request to retire with reluctance and regret," Gates told reporters at the Pentagon.

Fallon heads U.S. Central Command, the headquarters which oversees U.S. operations in the Middle East, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Fallon will retire at the end of the month and his deputy, Army Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey will take charge of Central Command until a long-term successor is chosen, Gates said.

Gates praised Fallon and insisted the admiral had supported the administration's policy of using diplomacy to try to resolve differences with Tehran while not taking military options off the table.

"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," Fallon said in a 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," he said.

(Reporting by David Morgan and Andrew Gray, Editing by Patricia Wilson)

Fallon resigns as chief of U.S. forces in Middle East

Gates says Fallon will be replaced by his deputy, Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Adm. William Fallon has resigned as chief of U.S. forces in the Middle East and Central Asia after more than a year in the post, citing what he called an inaccurate perception that he is at odds with the Bush administration over Iran.

Adm. William Fallon had been serving as chief of U.S. forces in the Middle East and Central Asia since 2007.

Fallon, the head of U.S. Central Command, was the subject of a recent Esquire magazine profile that portrayed him as resisting pressure for military action against Iran, which the Bush administration accuses of trying to develop nuclear weapons.

In a written statement, he said the article's "disrespect for the president" and "resulting embarrassment" have become a distraction.

"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," Fallon said.

In Washington, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters at the Pentagon that he accepted Fallon's resignation "with reluctance and regret."

But, he added, "I think it's the right decision."

"Admiral Fallon reached this difficult decision entirely on his own. I believe it was the right thing to do, even though I do not believe there are in fact significant differences between his views and administration policy," Gates said.

In a written statement, President Bush praised Fallon for helping "ensure that America's military forces are ready to meet the threats of an often troubled region of the world.

"He deserves considerable credit for progress that has been made there, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Fallon, a 41-year veteran of the Navy, took over as chief of Central Command in early 2007. Gates said he will be replaced by Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, his deputy, who commanded an Army division in Iraq in the early days of the war and led efforts to train the Iraqi military.

The perception that Fallon has opposed a drive toward military action against Iran from within the Bush administration dates to his confirmation hearings in January 2007, when he told the Senate that the United States needed to exhaust all diplomatic options in its disputes with the Islamic republic.

But he also has said that the United States would be able to take steps if Tehran were to attempt to block the Strait of Hormuz, the outlet of the Persian Gulf and a choke point for much of the world's oil.

And he recently told CNN that the United States is looking for a peaceful settlement to disputes "in every case."

"We're trying to encourage dialogue and find resolution," he said. "In fact, that's our message to the Iranians out here, given that everybody is nervous and anxious about their activities, is to come forth and explain what they are doing with all the people in the region."

On Tuesday, Gates said, "We have tried between us to put this misperception behind us over a period of months and, frankly, just have not been successful in doing so."

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Fallon's resignation showed that independent views "are not welcomed in this administration."

"It is also a sign that the administration is blind to the growing costs and consequences of the Iraq war, which has so damaged America's security interests in the Middle East and beyond," said Reid, D-Nevada. "Democrats will continue to examine these matters very closely in the coming weeks and months."

Gates' spokesman, Geoff Morrell, said Monday that the secretary and the admiral still had "a good working relationship" and that the Esquire article -- "The Man Between War and Peace" -- had not changed that.

He said Gates had read the article and had no comment on it.

CNN's Kyra Phillips and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

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